I had to take my first tough administrative decisions today, but I went out of my way to explain them to the people involved. This also involved going before the EESC’s Communication Group. It was a bitter-sweet occasion because this was the last meeting chaired by Jillian van Turnhout, an Irish member (Various Interests Group) with whom I have worked very closely since 2003, when I first came to the Committee. Jillian somehow manages to combine a high profile job in Ireland (she’s chief executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance) with a highly active career in the Committee. I just don’t know how she does it, but I do know it frequently involves catching the first flight to Brussels and the last flight back to Dublin. The more I think about it, the more I find the commitment of our members (who don’t get a salary and have jobs back home) admirable. The occasion was bitter-sweet because the next Chair of the Communication Group, Irini Pari (Greek, Employers’ Group), is also an excellent communicator and a fully paid-up member of the ‘Plan D’ Club. As to my administrative decisions, they seem to have gone down as well as could be expected.
In the evening to a parents-teachers meeting at my son’s school, one of the European Schools. Schooling just seems so advanced in comparison with my own school days; or was I just not paying attention?
During one of the longeurs, with removals much on my mind, I calculated that, over the course of my twenty-three year career in the EU I have moved office eighteen times, involving nine different buildings (Charlemagne, Berlaymont, Breydel, Nerviens, Trèves, Van Maelant, Belliard, Ravenstein and Jacques Delors). It keeps one young, I suppose.