European Commission – Afterwork receptions made binding:)

I’ve had a feeling since the start that this event will have a strange flavour. It’s the launch of the European Commission‘s new programme for civil society, entitled “Europe for citizens” (they changed the name from the initial “Citizens for Europe” – common sense you would say). I’m not too picky about the way companies invite people in the name of the Commission, but this story is funny and sad at the same time. Interesting enough to write about it. Continue reading

Houffalize – bikers’ dream in Belgium

Another post about yet another sunny day in Belgium. Saray and I went to the UCI World Cup in mountain biking in Houffalize in Belgium. The men’s race was on Sunday at 2pm, we just made it for the start.

The venue is a fabulous, in-the-middle-of-nowhere, village Houffalize that hosts the World Cup in Cross Country already for several years. This year’s track is slightly longer than usually – 7km. And what kind of 7km! Continue reading

Stiglitz: the EU has realised a dream – where does that leave us?

On a similar note as Jeremy Rifkin in his book European Dream and Mark Leonard in his Why Europe will run the 21st Century, Joseph E. Stiglitz goes on arguing that EU has realised a dream:

Europeans should not be dismayed by comparisons of GDP growth in Europe and, say, the United States. Of course, Europe faces great challenges in perfecting its economic union, including the need to reduce unemployment and boost the economy’s dynamism. But, while GDP per capita has been rising in the US, most Americans are worse off today than they were five years ago. An economy that, year after year, leaves most of its citizens worse off is not a success. Continue reading

Social Democrats: what is the strategy behind?

To follow up on thoughts on Pahor as presidential candidate and the Social Democrats (SD) signing an agreement with the government for the period of the EU Presidency. There has to be some strategy behind, let us see what it could be…

In the last edition of the SD newsletter, I read the news again that the SD will sign the “agreement of cooperation”, even if the government will not take into account their comments and suggestions. OK, how far can you go to please the government without compromising your standing as a party in opposition (ok, we can also argue how much SD still are opposition)? And why? Continue reading

Left-to-right in Slovenian politics : everyone is friends when EU comes around?

Another easily spotted anomaly of Slovenian politics. As many of the readers will know, Slovenia takes over the rotating presidency of the EU in January 2008. Besides the panic that this generates in the large part of the governing structures and public administration, this also has a strange effect on the overall political climate in the country. The last brilliant example of how far this can bring us is a recently suggested and negotiated “agreement of cooperation� for the period during the Presidency (see coverage in Dnevnik here). Continue reading

What has Europe ever done for us – picking up the phone abroad will be cheaper:)

Ok, I’m using the title of the famous animation “What has Europe ever done for us” based on the excerpt from the Monthy Python “Life of Brianâ€? movie to celebrate cheaper mobile calls when abroad. The European Parliament held a key vote in the legislative process to bring the roaming charges down, in some cases by 70%.
Let’s first quote Paul Rubig (via BBC):

“We have one member state where at present you pay five euro cents per minute. If you go outside this member state and phone home, you pay three euros. Nobody can explain why that is justified.”

True, where is the logic? Continue reading

Kacin decides to leave – changing times?

How nice. Jelko Kacin, the current President of the Liberal Democrats of Slovenia, offered his resignation today at an internal party meeting. As reported by Dnevnik, his offer was turned down (=postponed).

After a period of ongoing crisis in the party, Kacin changed his post-January-congress opinion. He back then got re-elected with a majority of votes, but with many abstentions and in the absence of many important members of the party (who in the meantime left…). Now, he offered his resignation and although this was not accepted, stated that he will look for a quick agreement on a new Congress which should elect a new President. Also says, “they” will look for potential candidates.

Which translates into “I’m fed up, I have no support, I want to leave”. Another chapter is then about to close. Let’s hope the future Liberal politics (or politicians) in Slovenia will get more constructive as was it’s mid-life crisis.

Pahor might also go for it – with the support from the right?

This is a short follow-up to the post about Lojze Peterle’s candidacy for the President of the Republic. Pundits have of course long been speculating that Borut Pahor will run as well, as he himself mentioned a few times. Considering the recent ratings, his standing fares above that of Peterle as a potential candidate, but also his party stands close to the governing SDS. According to some surveys, the Social Democrats even lead the polls. As mentioned before, this is partly the case due to Pahor’s personal standing among the electorate and less with the organic growth of the party. But I wanted to turn to something else. Continue reading

On the road again…

Some of you have perhaps read the post from few weeks ago, when I drove from Brussels to my hometown Sempeter pri Gorici in Slovenia. I did the same route back 2 weeks later in my new car – the Ford Focux MKII, 1.8 TDCi Sport. The car is far too nice to explain it in a few lines, so I will concetrate on the routes instead of feelings…It has already 3000km and has seen Barcelona as well. Continue reading