Julien Frisch quite rightly took me to task yesterday for using the word ‘important’ too lightly. His simple point: the more the word is used, the less important the issues will appear to be. It’s a fair cop. The problem is that I am consciously writing for two audiences. One is the world ‘out there’. the other, though, is the world in here, in the European Economic and Social Committee. What I was writing about – the new President’s set-piece debate around his work programme – was undoubtedly very important for the Committee, and that is what I meant, I suppose. It’s always a little invidious to single out one speaker in a high quality debate, but I found Professor Maria Joao Rodrigues’s remarks particularly incisive. As one of the founding figures of the EU’s Lisbon Strategy, she knows better than most that, as she put it ‘the EU’s model is not sustainable unless its international partners move in the same direction.’ Hence also, I would argue, the importance of the EESC’s external activities; arguing the case for strong and healthy civil society organisations to support strong and healthy democracies. There – I’ve used the word ‘importance’ again! Sorry, Julien.
Thanks for reacting on my remark concerning the word “important”.
It is in fact not about the word in general, and I understand that for different audiences “importance” might me differently defined, but after the 20th international conference/workshop/roundtable that is qualified as “important”, I find that there are more precise words or more catching ways to describe the relevance or influence of an event or document than with “important”.
But maybe this is the polito-administrative environment we all work in that makes you more attentive to certain phrases that are frequently used but which are often just diplomatic politeness or standard qualifiers for the 5th event of the same kind within one month that only five or six people actually pay attention to.
But anyway, thanks again for reacting on a small comment with a full article, which demonstrates a certain importance or relevance – even without the need to use the word “important”.