Two fun things happened yesterday. I had been picking up vibes from the Balkans that the chain of command issue was still hampering the deployment of the EU’s first ever military mission in Macedonia. My Brussels sources, on the other hand, were confident this had been resolved. So I went off to the European Parliament to hear MEPs grilling Admiral Feist, the commander of the mission, about it, with the intention of planting a question with one of my parliamentarian friends.
And as we were sitting in the smoky tea-room on the third floor, Admiral Feist himself and a couple of aides appeared and took the next table! So I was able to ask him straight out, and he basically confirmed the Brussels rather than Balkan end of the story.
Then later on, one of my colleagues was feeling a bit miffed that he had not been invited to CEPS‘ big meeting at the end of the week. So I sent a quick email to my former colleagues there, and they both phoned me back asking if he could not only attend but also speak on one of the panels!
And then the new Bulgarian au pair arrived. And with her help we got the kids to school this morning.
This morning I tried to attend the European Parliament debate on the military mission in Macedonia. It nearly worked, except they did it at 0900 rather than 1130 as we had expected. It seems they passed all the amendments by my friends Lagendijk and Wiersma, and also a couple by Morillon, and rejected all but one of the Van Orden amendments. Groan.
But it looks like we may have a person to run our office in Georgia.
I just did a search on my name in Cyrillic – Николас Вајт – and founda nice reference from an interview I’d completely forgotten doing in late 2001, referring to me as водечкиот бриселски експерт – “something Brussels expert”, I thought, but I suppose it must be “the leading Brussels expert” which is very nice.