Via Neville Hobson I was pointed to the new, not yet really launched blog, of Margot Wallstr�m, Vice President of the European Commission, and Commissioner for Institutional Relations and Communication. She writes on her official website:
I have decided to do a blog during my five year term to give people an idea of what it is like to be a Commissioner and how the EU looks from the inside. (Yes, the blog phenomenon has not escaped my attention!).
Her first entry is about the tsunami in Asia, and contains both personal voice and authentic observations. A promising start. As Neville says, Benefit-of-the-doubt time.
I sent vice president Wallstr�m an e-mail congratulating her on her initiative. Of course I also said that I hope to see RSS, Trackback, and commenting appear soon. But most of all I tried to reinforce the message that blogging is about authentic personal voice and engaging in meaningfull conversations, and that at first this might take some getting used to, feeling like an extra chore. But that over time it will become just part of how one engages with the world, filters and shares information.
It seems hardly a coincidence that Margot Wallstr�m is from Sweden. The same EU-nation, where last November I experienced the openness with which we were welcomed in the Swedish Parliament, and had a pleasant conversation with Swedish MP Ingvar Svensson, with whom I had a brief e-mail exchange afterwards on the blogpost I wrote about that visit.
An interesting observation in her first blogentry, made by one of the people she works with who was in Kao Lhak when the tsunami hit, is worth repeating here:
They then spent four, nearly five days, with Thai people who took care of them, brought them water and food. They experienced the absurd situation of being found by different rescue teams who first of all asked for their nationality. The Germans brought their own citizens home, then the Norwegians, then the Italians, then some other group who came – and my friend asks herself: what does it mean to be European?
Indeed, what does it mean to be European? Of course it is absurd to send out different teams to rescue people based on nationality. Also it is entirely understandable that countries seek to aid their own citizens quickly, with this strange effect in it’s execution. No need to get a Europe based on uniformity, our diversity is something to celebrate, but coordinated actions should well be within our grasp.
Examples of the latter were also visible, thankfully, in the last weeks, when Belgian and Dutch air force crews flew citizens of different EU countries back to Europe.

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