To round the week off, I went with Janos Toth (Various Interests Group, Hungary), President of the EESC’s Transport and Energy Section, to the European Parliament’s hemicycle to participate in the closing events of Velo-City 2009. The theme of the four-day conference was ‘Re-cycling cities’ and many city mayors were in attendance. On the last day European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas gave prizes for the three best Velo-City 2009 posters and then outlined what the Commission was doing to encourage ‘green travel’ of its officials. Janos Toth followed to say what, at a political level, the EESC was doing (strangely, along with several members of the European Parliament, we were the only other institution to participate). And then it was my turn to say, first of all, what our administration was doing and then, second, to launch our very own European Cycling Lexicon.
There was a very positive atmosphere in the hemicycle and all speakers got generously applauded. The Lexicon is a simple idea. It sets out, in 23 languages (including Gaelic), key terms for cyclists and cycling infrastructure. There are also images to point to, should pronunciation be difficult. It’s designed to help European citizens when cycling abroad to communicate easily in bicycle shops, travel agencies, railway stations, and so on. It’s free and can be ordered or downloaded from our website here. It got very warm applause indeed and afterwards I had to give interviews to several journalists and television teams, including one (gulp) in Italian. You can see general footage of the event at here.
The rest of the day was spent, anticlimactically, in one vast, long, slog to catch up on everything that had been building up during the Bureau, the Plenary and all the week’s other activities. I got home at gone nine in the evening. What a week!