Job latest (no actual concrete news)

Well, I just spoke to the Foreign Office who told me that their info was that there are two positions of the six unfilled, not one. Interesting – the chef de cabinet and deputy positions have been announced, which leaves four. I had assumed that two would go to Finns and one to my Swedish friend. Butif there are two vacancies left then either

a) one of the the positions I thought would be taken by a Finn is actually open to other nationalities (and knowing Rehn’s reputation as an internationalist – only one of his current cabinet is a Finn – that seems possible), or else

b) my Swedish friend herself may be off the team if a better candidate comes along.

I think the first is more likely but I don’t think it’s appropriate to inquire of my friend.

Interestingly the Foreign Office told me that they themselves were neutral between me and the guy currently doing the job for Chris Patten, though obviously (they said) Patten himself will be pushing hard on his man’s behalf. But if I were Rehn I would be inclined to start with a team I had chosen myself. Also I suspect my network is deeper rooted than Patrick’s.

What I have done is try to mobilise support from within my own network. The Finnish ambassador I tried last week did actually contact Rehn on my behalf, and got the same reply as the British – “no decision has been made yet”. The former Finnish foreign minister who also promised to contact Rehn hasn’t yet confirmed to me that he did. The leader of the Liberals in the European Parliament promises to mention me when he sees Rehn on Wednesday.

This afternoon I’ve emailed a number of contacts either to ask if they know Rehn or (if I felt it appropriate) to ask them to write a reference. I’ll follow up by phone with them tomorrow.

a) “Do you know Rehn?” – 4 British Liberal MEPs; one Hungarian MP Matyas Eorsi; one Dutch elder statesman type.

b) “Please write me a reference!” – Irish board member and former MEP; Polich board member and MEP; Finnish MP and ex-MEP; Belgian MEP; two Dutch MEPs.

I’m beginning to realise that a strike rate of 1 in 4 from all of this is probably better than I can expect. So I’m trying hard to think of other useful political contacts: Finns, Liberals, or anyone really, I’m not fussy.

I bet the Finnish ex-president never made that phone call. Paddy Ashdown’s people had the decency to confirm that their boss did not in fact mention me over his lunch with Rehn last week. They had warned me in advance that the situation wasn’t really appropriate for it. I also emailed the Irish foreign ministry but I don’t honestly expect anything to come of that – they’re pretty useless at this kind of thing.

So I feel a bit better than I did at the weekend. What bothers me now is that I’m travelling a lot over the next few weeks – Moldova this coming Thursday to Sunday, the Hague today week, then a not-quite-48-hour trip to Belfast from Tuesday night to Thursday morning next week, then Portugal from the following Wednesday through to Sunday. And we have visitors on the weekend in between for Ursula’s christening. So if it comes to a job interview, it could be tricky to track me down.

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1 Response to Job latest (no actual concrete news)

  1. mizkit says:

    Having come from a fishing town, and being constantly and fully aware of the battle between livelihood and stock depletion, you have *no idea* how pleased I am to hear you guys won this round. I understand on a personal and deep level how difficult it is to make a living fishing these days, but nobody’s ever going to make a living fishing again if the stocks are allowed to be destroyed. So hip hip hooray!

    And thank you for being on the front lines.

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