a secretive sphere
A while ago I witnessed a closed meeting of representatives of EU member states with a high-ranking COM official scheduled to get background information concerning the coming policy initiative from the COM. After the presentation the subject of the conversation changed to an ongoing judicial struggle between the COM and one of represented administrations.
Apart from the specific subject, the scene as such allowed for an interesting impression. It seemed to me that the COM is sometimes regarded as a “black box” or a secretive sphere that provides uncertainty for actors. Because of this perception insider meetings are deemed valuable because actors hope to get an insight into the black box.
This black box-perception gives COM officials additional discourse steering capabilities. Those capabilities depend on the officials known poison in the black box as well as her perceived influence in the organisation, which in turn relate to the perception of the internal processes in the black box by actors. This is an indication of the importance of personal and informal contacts in the black box.