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A brief missive from the bleary-eyed

I’m back from Brussels after a whirlwind trip to European Union HQ. It was four days in total, of which two went exclusively for travel, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience. Mind you, I had zero expectations at the outset — I’ve done these sorts of official trips before and they were generally filled with excruciatingly dull and mind-numbing PowerPoint presentations in which everyone in the room struggled to stay awake and couldn’t wait for it to be over. And although we had some of that this time around as well, what impressed me most about this trip was the amount of enthusiasm and passion of many of the people we met. I expected a legion of stuffy bureaucrats, but found a collection of individuals who were very unique, intelligent, well informed, and committed to their work and the ideology of the EU.

I was in a group of 11 media people from Iceland, most of whom I had never met, so an additional bonus was the chance to meet with them and compare notes on various things facing the media in Iceland today. That sort of networking doesn’t happen automatically here in Iceland — in fact I think it’s rather rare, so this was really very welcome. Plus the fact that we generally had a blast.

I’ve been up since six this morning [after a mere five hours of sleep, goodtimes] and it’s now midnight in that same time zone, so my brain’s pretty fried and I’ll have to write more about this later. Meanwhile, we have the municipal elections coming up tomorrow [and the Eurovision Song Contest, for which Iceland DOES qualify, much to my surprise] so it’s going to be a big day. The Best Party is still the largest party in Reykjavík, which is both exciting and more than a little scary. I don’t think they have the foggiest idea of how to REALLY play ball in this particular arena, so the fact that they might get elected is, um, slightly worrying. But we shall see.

More anon!



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Marc May 28, 2010, 11:34 pm

    The Best Party even made it into the society news columns on the continent. Obviously we have ample experience with loony parties (the monster raving loony party etc) but not with those scores. But I must admit I can sympathise with the voters.

    I’m pleased you had a good time in Brussels. However ugly the EU quarter is. I do not know whether EU admission is the best thing for Iceland, but I’m sure your compatriots will get to the bottom of that.

  • Michael Lewis May 28, 2010, 11:41 pm

    Talking of trashy European projects (I mean the Eurovision song contest of course) I’ve just seen the Icelandic entry …. big entry from a small country. Like the UK entry though, I predict it will place nowhere.

  • Michael Lewis May 29, 2010, 12:00 am

    “I do not know whether EU admission is the best thing for Iceland…”

    I’d say find out for yourself and make your own mind up. Personally, the whole project stinks in my opinion. A free trade agreement taken too far.

    As for Eurovision :
    “Pork Chop” 33-1 on PaddyPower.
    The UK one is 150-1 (about right for us)
    Azerbaijan favorites.

  • Jeff Garland May 29, 2010, 1:37 am

    The Best party has done an exceptional job of networking, which is a major plus in my opinion. Hopefully other parties will learn a most valuable lesson from all of this to the betterment of all Íslendingar.
    Personally, with their network, I have confidence they can bring about real reform. More than likely, time will tell.

    Speaking of big days, have all the days of sampling mussels & chips, beer, and chocolate made you bigger around? ;-/

    Welcome back ! We all missed you!

    P.S. for me the jury is not yet out on EU membership. Assention or more Dissension are what I still ponder.

  • Easy May 29, 2010, 1:39 am

    “I don’t think they have the foggiest idea of how to REALLY play ball in this particular arena”

    I don’t think the others have an idea too. Besides If this guys win, it won’t take long before they fall in the hands of the same” people”. I acctually think they will win, becuse “they” want to offer a “new” option for the next national elections.

  • Joerg May 29, 2010, 9:06 pm

    Glad to hear, that you are bringing a positive impression from your trip to the EU-headquarters back home to Iceland. Hopefully, it helps to improve the imgage of the EU within the country.  

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