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Day of the German reunification

Last night I went to a reception organized by the German embassy. Today is the the day of the German reunification and a lot of people were invited for this occasion. Being a trainee at the council I was invited as well. Since I have never been to such a gathering before I was really anxious to see how it is going to be like. I arrived a little early and looked at the people arriving. I guess most of the other women present were the wives of diplomats so I was kind of proud to be there because of me and not because I am someones wives.
It was an interesting evening with a lot of champaign and hor d'oeuvre. I met quiet a few other Germans working for the council. One of them gave me the advise to go to such receptions every night (some embassy is always doing something), or whenever I want to have a free meal......
3.10.06 10:50

Response to attack of Jaroka

28/09/2006: Racist attack on Mrs Lívia Járóka MEP condemned. Hans-Gert Poettering, EPP-ED Group Chairman

As it is already well known, Mrs Lívia Járóka MEP (EPP-ED, HU) was nominated by the Brussels-based Parliament Magazine as a candidate for their "MEP Awards 2006".

Dimitar Stoyanov, a Bulgarian observer in the European Parliament, used this opportunity to attack Mrs Járóka - and the 10 to 15 million European Roma she represents - in a disgraceful and openly racist way which is contradictory to all European values.

Today at the plenary session of the European Parliament Doris Pack MEP, President of the Women's Group in the European People's Party, strongly condemned the Bulgarian observer.

"We call upon the relevant Bulgarian authorities to make every effort to recall Mr Stoyanov from the European Parliament as there is no place for him among European politicians", declared Poettering.

Further information:
Robert A. Fitzhenry, Tel. +32 475 493356
2.10.06 12:39

First day in the office

Today is my first day in my office. Toda I will be busy catching up on my emails and reading some documents. When I came in this morning I found an invitation for me. i am invited to some dilpomatic reception as tomorrow is the day of the German reunification.
When I opened my new email account I found a mail which a Bulgarian observer of the European Parliament sent the day it was decided that Bulgaria and Romania will join the EU:

From: STOYANOV Dimitar
Sent: 27 September 2006 21:19
Subject: RE: Please support Lívia Járóka!!!

Well, gentlemen, I must disagree with you. In my country there're tenths of thousands gypsy girls way more beautiful than this honorable one. In fact if you're in the right place on the right time you even can by one (around 12-13 years old) to be your loving wife. The best of them are very expensive - up to 5 000 euros a piece, wow! Of course this is a crime according to the Penal code, Chapter Four (Crimes against the marriage, the family and the youth), Section II (Crimes against the youth), Article 191/3, punishable with 2 to 5 years of imprisonment, but I don't think that most of the so-called "Roma rights organizations" even now about this article, and they in fact don't care (call them what you want, they care only about anti-discrimination laws' articles, because they pay, and crime doesn't you now)!!! This is another story though.
So let's get back to Miss Laroka's nomination. Believe me, I've seen lots of gypsy women, but all that are at her age are much skinnier. Doesn't she sharing the terrible suffering her people are bearing all around Europe, the poverty, the miserable conditions and the unemployment???? Well, I guess when you're an MEP you have to put some weight on you. Have to look serious.
Thirdly, she already has received one award this year. But wait - for a youth leader? This honorable lady is almost 32 years old for the God sake! Most youth organizations are accepting members up to 26. My party is considered liberal in this criterion as our deadline is 30. Honorable Miss Laroka still does not fit. I don't know, there're different kinds of growth, maybe she fits in one of them.

With these justifications I won't support Miss Livia Laroka's nomination. Still she has my deepest regards and I wish her luck and success!!
2.10.06 12:36

Meeting a former revolutionary

One of our lecturers was from the division of Health. He is a former Solidarnsc activist from Poland and gave a highly emotional presentation about ensuring good health for everyone. What I liked most about him was that he made it very clear that his division is not concerned with constructing more and more hospitals but with advising the Council´s member states on how to ensure health care for everyone. The construction of new hospitals has to be a tool but not a goal. This approach is different from the approach of the WHO which is actively constructing and supporting the construction of new hospitals. The main problem here is that very often you make doctors richer but you do not improve the general health situation of the population.
2.10.06 12:31

Open questions, unsatisfactory answers

At the end of the orientation week there are very many open questions.
Why for example does the Council not like to cooperate with the OSCE? Answer: because the USA are also part of OSCE. (They do actually cooperate on some projects but the lecturer from the Human rights division was very sceptical about this).
How come the Council stresses so much its own point of view when cooperating with governments in Transition countries rather than coordinating aims and goals wit other international actors (OSCE, OSI, USAID, American Bar Association, UN, Unesco, WHO etc)? Answer: because the governments are smart and know whom they get the most money from. (I did not like this answer because one of the main criticisms against the involvement of international actors in Transition countries is that they work against each other rather than with each other. In addition each actor has a different idea about how a democracy and human rights should look like. For the governments this means that they do not know whom to listen to and have to meet different standards when cooperating with several actors)
Why does the Council grant only very little funds to civil society? Answer number one: no money, Answer number two: the Council wants to concentrate on institutional skeletons rather than on fire fighting. (I think this answer is somehow convincing because there has to be someone who is responsible for the realization of long term political change rather than supporting the grass root level. Unfortunately support for civil society is scarce also among other international actors. What is missing the most is assistance for the professionalization of small NGOs.
2.10.06 12:30

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