MyParl.eu – No take-off, No crash-and-burn

Gawain Towler has announced the death of MyParl.eu with the followup of Jon Worth .

The project was simply a waste of money. A project which didn’t take off so it doesn’t crash land! Because the project would simply crash-and-burn.

Sometimes I wonder who comes up with these great ideas…

Instead of finding new projects to fund with a few million euros, why not fund existing projects that are successful. Blogactiv (which I am not crazy about but at least have some respect for) is an example of such a project. (note that I have absolutely no affiliation with Euractiv or Blogactiv…

So,etimes it’s like they have competitions for who the most useless projects…

Advertisements

Golden Expat Allowance – Welcome to the European Commission

Not to anger all those very good people working in the European Commission- but I think giving expat allowance is simply ridiculous. From what I understand, and perhaps i’m wrong, people are paid expat allowance of a minimum of 400 or so euros. From what I also understand, is that the employees are entitled to this allowance for the duration of their employment so long as they haven’t lived in Belgium the last 2 years before being hired.

My problem is the following:

1) Belgians don’t get it, and they are the ONLY EU citizens not to……

2) How long is someone considered an expat for? After a year you’re supposed to be part of the community… Not technically an expat anymore…

3) If someone decides to leave their country to go take a job- it’s their problem. Why should they be rewarded extra for it, it’s supply and demand. There’s no shortage of employees in Europe… Only jobs.

4) With all the other benefits which are included, private companies don’t have much opportunity to avoid this internal “Brain drain”. Private company employees not working for google, or microsoft, or another huge corporation are all semi-temporary, awaiting their exam results from the Commission… and then their call to start.

5) All of this money comes from the EU taxpayers’ pockets… Mind you, the employees of the Commission don’t really pay much taxes do they…

Now I understand that it’s very easy for anyone working in the Commission to not like this post, and I’m sorry… But the greater good of 450 million is more important than the good of a few thousands… or tens of thousands…

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Is Microsoft paying in barter? Or… Time to go Open Source

A few years ago Microsoft got hit by a monster fine of about 500 million Euros which was then jacked up to 900 million earlier this year. Microsoft failed to comply with Antitrust legislation which is quite strict on a theoretical level. See Wikipedia page for more info.
My question is, how is Microsoft paying the Commission this money? (Apparently they issued a check for the first fine, perhaps they already have paid in full). From what I know the whole of the European Commission operates with Microsoft programs. What’s more, these products are highly customized, with the customization possibly even varying depending on the DGs. The European Parliament also uses Microsoft products (Word, Outlook, etc) exclusively.

So is Microsoft paying the rest of money back in barter? Obviously not…

The question is, how much money have the European Institutions paid out to Microsoft for licensing fees over the years? Furthermore how much is paid annually for support, and any other services?

Instead of fining a company for going against competition rules, why don’t the institutions attempt to break the monopoly behaviour by going open source? There are alternatives to Microsoft Office. Indeed several governments are going down the open source road. These include Croatia, the Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa, Norway, India, Philippines, Spain, Brazil, Australia, Cuba and others. This list (3 minutes with Google) is meant to serve as an indication that any response saying that it’s not possible is… not acceptable!

The European Commission is enabling this monopoly behaviour. Now I’m a big fan of Microsoft products- they work. But so do other software alternatives. A total move to Open Source is not in the character of the Commission, as a 12-step approach is usually preferred. But with the Commission’s attitude towards the principle of Open Source questionable even this scenario is unlikely.
Time to reconsider perhaps? Or forever live in hypocrisy!
(Just like me… Using Word to spell-check this post…)

 

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

 

 

Mandelson back in “action”

Sooner or later... therell be no more yachts for Mandy to cruise on...

Sooner or later... there'll be no more yachts for Mandy to cruise on...

Peter Mandelson gave trade concessions worth up to £50m a year to Russia’s richest man who has entertained him on his superyacht.  Following my post Bye Bye Mandelson… Back to Business… I found this on a fellow bloggers site. Apparently, Mandelson is back in action:

Only days back in UK politics and Mandy is the centre of controversy. This time according to The Times it is over potential conflict of interest in respect of a rich Russian acquaintance. Apparently trade concessions worth some 50 million pounds a year could be involved.

Mr. Mandelson knows very well how to handle issues of trade… Brussels taught him well. Interesting to note that this is the same paper that did the Sting operation on Fritz-Harald Wenig not too long ago. Go figure…

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Barroso is no Delors… Europe needs someone better

A conversation with Jon Worth after his post “Brown, Barroso and the Baroness” has prompted me to write this post… The aim of the blogosphere is to be able to share thoughts and ideas; my thought today is that Barroso should not be President of the Commission for a second term.

Indeed, Jose Barroso is no Jacques Delors

Barroso hopes to become the second President of the Commission to serve a second term. For myself, unwanted and unlikely.

Two outgoing Presidents. One far more important than the other... and one making it to a second term... (hopefully itll remain that way)

For the people who haven’t been knee deep in the European arena- it suffices to google: Barroso + scandal
You’ll see plenty of results – including the following:

FT, EUX, EUObserver, EUReferendum, Daily Mail, New Europe 1, New Europe2, PSE

And let’s not forget… The several failed referenda to get the European Constitution, and later the Reform Treaty (cleverly renamed the Treaty of Lisbon – absolutely nothing to do with where the honorable president comes from!).

The failure to pass the Lisbon Treaty is a historic failure- and not one to be celebrated by the re-appointment of the man who led the failing campaign. The President might have a glimmer of hope that Ireland will somehow magically get another referendum voted before his term is up- but this seems highly improbable, if not impossible. Even if this were to happen, Barroso’s term would still be a failure! Europe has lost too much time to cite bad leadership as a reason.

Sadly, Barroso has failed as President of the Commission. And Sadly, there are indications that some leaders may back him for a second term. A ray of hope however came through my laptop screen this morning, as I read this article in EUObserver which has Sarkozy and Barroso going head to head.

Losing the French backing is going to be a huge problem for Barroso. And if I may add, a huge present from Sarkozy, to the Europeans looking for a brighter future.

Bye Bye Mandelson… Back to Business…

“Business leaders have welcomed Peter Mandelson’s return to the political fold, characterising the incoming business secretary as just the sort of “big hitter” needed during the current economic instability.” Says the Guardian…

 

Oxfam didn’t mind slamming Mandelson:

Luis Morago, Head of Oxfam’s Brussels office, said: “Commissioner Mandelson, unfortunately, failed to ensure that the EU put development ahead of self-interest in its trading relations with its former colonies. The negotiation of the Economic Partnership Agreements -many of which have still not been signed- has been marked by controversy and discord. ACP countries have consistently objected to both the manner in which the EU has negotiated and to the content of what has been proposed by the European Commission. The EC has sought many concessions from ACP countries likely to undermine their prospects for economic development.”
 
Luis Morago: “Under Commissioner Mandelson, the European Commission did not pass the “development test” in the WTO’s Doha round of world trade talks. While there have been some improvements in the EU position recently, the demands on developing countries are still disproportionate and their potential impact uncertain until further details emerge.”

 

Little whispers in Brussels always echoed about Mandelson’s ability to take care of business… a little bit too well!

A small flight home for Mandelson- a big step for Europe…

Let’s home something better awaits us here in Brussels.

Que Sera Sera

(by the way it’s a bit strange the timing… don’t you think… with Mandelson’s name coming up in the Eurochatter circles quite often in the last month…)

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Bad Weather; Bad EuroPolitics?

Did anyone ever wonder whether all the Gaffe Politiques that come out of Brussels are a result of the terrible terrible weather? Though weve had a couple of bright sundays, they weather is starting to look grayer than ever... And so my fear for things betting worse grows. The financial turmoil is bringing Europe to the drawing board for solutions. Sometimes I cant help but think that senior European political figures are adversely affected by this terrible weather. With months to go before the European Elections, and the establishment of a new College of Commissioners; political activity is growing, and so is the margin for political maladministration. Maybe we should shoot atmosphere altering shells into the sky to clear the clouds... Just like in the Olympic Games- only all year around. Better weather, happier politicians, happier Europe.

Did anyone ever wonder whether all the Gaffe Politiques that come out of Brussels are a result of the terrible terrible weather? Though we've had a couple of bright sundays, they weather is starting to look grayer than ever... And so my fear for things betting worse grows. The financial turmoil is bringing Europe to the drawing board for solutions. Sometimes I can't help but think that senior European political figures are adversely affected by this terrible weather. With months to go before the European Elections, and the establishment of a new College of Commissioners; political activity is growing, and so is the margin for political maladministration. Maybe we should shoot atmosphere altering shells into the sky to clear the clouds... Just like in the Olympic Games- only all year around. Better weather, happier politicians, happier Europe.

   Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine