Two nice moments at the Macedonians’ independence day reception last night.
First off, I found myself in conversation with the Bosnian Ambassador to the EU (a Croat), the Serbian Ambassador to NATO (a Serb from the Sandzak region) and the Bosnian Ambassador to NATO (who is Jewish). the atmospherics were warm and affable, and they were deep in discussion of matters of mutual interest. Given that there is a lot of diappointment currently being expressed about where the Balkans are, ten years on from the Dayton Agreement, it was just rather nice to stand back for a moment and look at these people from previously warring background getting on well with each other, and getting on with the job for their countries.
A bit later, I was chatting to a Lithuanian and an Austrian diplomat. The Lithuanian looked at his watch and said, “Sorry, I have to go to a special meeting of COREPER to sort out Turkey.” “You’re voting to let the talks start, I hope?” I asked. The Lithuanian nodded vigorously, and departed. I turned to the Austrian and told him that I was glad to see that he was staying, given that the Austrians are known to be opposed to Turkish membership. But he replied that since they are a larger country than Lithuania, they had enough diplomats to cover both COREPER and the Macedonians’ reception simultaneously! (I’m glad to see that COREPER made the right decision though.)