The Other Matters referred to in the previous entry

Just to keep track of what’s going on:

The new European Commission’s jobs were announced on Thursday. In the British and Irish press most attention focused on the fact that Peter Mandelson and Charlie McCreevy both got pretty important jobs (and this isn’t just spin, they really did get important jobs). I am very keen to get a job as a key adviser – a member of the cabinet – assisting one of the new Commissioners. Not, however, Peter or Charlie. The two Commissioners with jobs that interest me are

  • Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the former Austrian foreign minister, now to be responsible for the external relations portfolio including the “European Neighbourhood Policy” which covers the Moldova and Caucasus parts of my current remit, and
  • Olli Rehn, the “Finnish superbrain” who is the youngest of the incoming commissioners and will be responsible for enlargement, meaning Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and the Western Balkan countries I deal with, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia-Montenegro (including Kosovo).

My instinct was going to be to go for a job in the relatively new territory of the European Neighbourhood Policy, but actually I like the look of Rehn rather more – he’s been in the Commission since last month anyway, sitting in for his former boss Erkki Liikanen who was commissioner for the Information Society. The UK Foreign Office told me back in January that they would put my name forward as a serious candidate for one of the cabinet positions when the time came, which was supposed to be in a week’s time rather than now; when I rang the guy in question on Friday, he was still on holiday, and his PA put me through to someone in the Cabinet Office in London, who as it turned out was only dealing with people who want to work with Peter Mandelson. She advised me that she couldn’t do much at the moment but that if I had any other sources of influence to bring to bear I should do so.

So I contacted the chair of the board of trustees of my current employers, who is a former President of Finland, and he promised to put in a word for me with Commissioner Rehn. This may of course have been motivated by a wish to wrap up our phone conversation so that he could get on with his golf. Tomorrow I’ll try and contact a Northern Irish friend and former mentor, whose international liberal connections are very good, and with any luck he may also be able to put a word in for me. The ex-President also gave me the key piece of information, the name of Rehn’s chef de cabinet who will be the main adviser on appointing other advisers. Being Finnish, he probably has his own web-site and will certainly be easy enough to track down once I get another internet commection.

I haven’t completely written off the European Neighbourhood possibility though, and will also try and sound out my two best Austrian contacts, a senior adviser to Javier Solana in Brussels and a former politician from the same party who is now EU special representative for the Balkan stability pact, to see if a) they think she’d be any good to work for and if so b) if they will put a word in for me. If so then I’ll start activating a few other mutual contacts on that side. I’ve been doing political networking at a European level for about ten years now, and am finally cashing in on my investments.

Anyway, I’ll keep updating here, under a special filter which excludes (most) work-related readers.

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1 Response to The Other Matters referred to in the previous entry

  1. nwhyte says:

    Hmm, that’s odd…

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