In a light-hearted break from the doom and gloom of the eurozone crisis, Italian daily Il Corriere della Serareports that yesterday EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn had to field a couple of particularly tough questions during his regular midday press briefing.
Were they about the future of Greece? Or the lack of growth in the eurozone? No.
Apparently, earlier this week the Finnish Commissioner held a very confidential meeting with six male reporters from several major European dailies…in the European Commission’s sauna! Yes, it has a sauna.
The briefing was supposed to remain secret, but it soon became common knowledge in the crowded press room. A German journalist asked Rehn whether he was planning to extend such “confidential briefings” to female reporters at some point. Clearly embarrassed, Rehn managed to put together an answer,
I’ve regular contacts with journalists, in various contexts, on and off the record. I take note that there’s an interest with regard to these meetings.
Ivo Caizzi, Brussels correspondent for Il Corriere della Sera, went one further, enquiring about the dress code for such meetings. Olli Rehn, his head bent, was left speechless, while his Spanish spokesman promptly said that there was no need to provide further details (not that anyone was desperate to know them!) because everyone is aware of “Finnish customs” when it comes to the use of saunas.