Monthly Archives: July 2010

Coming Week – summer break

The Coming Week feature (haha, definitely need that tongue-in-cheek icon…) is suspended for the summer, as the official calendar won’t be published again until la rentrée in September. I know how much you will all miss it…

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Coalition on Europe

It’s amazing what you find if you read everything in your inbox! An e-mail with the coalition’s reponse to comments on its programme has languished in there all day, and I just got round to reading it. Pretty interesting stuff! Of course my main interest was the Europe section and it’s good to see a pretty straight-down-the-line defense of our EU membership. Also glad to see it wasn’t with foreign affairs, but was a stand-alone issue. I’m looking around to digging about in some of the other sections. Haven’t watched the video yet, I must admit.

Here’s the full set of links (let me know if you have any problems making them work – it may not all have made it with the cut-and-paste!):

The Coalition: Our programme for government

 http://programmeforgovernment.hmg.gov.uk/response/

 Our response

We thank all of you who engaged with this historic Coalition agreement by taking the time to read and comment on our programme. We promised government departments would read and respond to all comments that fall within their policy areas, and they’ve now done so.

 Below you can find a response to each section of The Coalition: our programme for government. These responses focus on the main themes raised in each section.

 You can also watch a video of Oliver Letwin and Danny Alexander discussing your feedback on the homepage.

 Links to responses

 These links take you to the websites of different departments, where the responses have been published.

 Banking

Business

Civil liberties

Communities and local government

Consumer protection

Crime and policing

Culture, Olympics, media and sport

Defence

Deficit reduction

Energy and climate change

Environment, food and rural affairs

Equalities

Europe

Families and children

Foreign affairs

Government transparency

Immigration

International development

Jobs and welfare

Justice

National security

NHS

Pensions and older people

Political reform

Public health

Schools

Social action

Social care and disability

Taxation

Transport

Universities and further education

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Women in UK politics

The Robert Schuman Foundation have recently published some research which compares the level of ministers and members of parliament across the EU and show how many are women. The UK comes in below the EU average on all three indicators that they use:

Women ministers – EU average: 25.75%  //  UK: 17.39%

Women in national parliament – EU average: 24.32% // UK: 21.88%

Women in European parliament – EU average: 34.92% // UK: 33.33%

Which countries came top? You won’t be surprised to hear it was Finland for ministers, Sweden for national parliamentarians and Finland for women in the EP. Bottom? Hungary for ministers, Malta for the national parliament and Malta again for the EP.

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Bullfighting – another Euromyth

On the day that Catalonia bans bullfighting, I just thought I would make clear that whatever you might have heard, the EU doesn’t subsidise bullfighting, either directly (which it never did) or indirectly (through subsidies for raising bulls). Farm  payments are no longer linked to production, so farmers don’t get money for the bulls they raise, but for respecting standards such as environmental legislation.

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Links 27 July 2010

No! Stay! Put in the call, and make Cosmetic Uprise keep blogging!

As my EU-ambassadorial role in the UK has come to its end, I would like to thank everyone for reading this space and being immensely supportive. The feedback and the positive response I got for this blog made me seriously even consider taking a tattoo with the words cosmetic uprise on it. (I didn’t)

A sensible piece from Dennis McShane in the Guardian on Cameron’s position on EU membership for Turkey, which raises some interesting points

…Cameron has pledged a referendum on any major new EU treaty and a final decision to let Turkey in will require a significant new EU treaty. If that is submitted to a referendum, as Cameron and William Hague have pledged, the chances of it being passed are slim.

If you can’t even trust the TV columns… [from Media Monkey in the Guardian]

Has Mike Ward, the Daily Star’s TV critic, got one of the toughest jobs on Fleet Street? In the immediate aftermath of Richard Desmond’s purchase of Channel Five, it wouldn’t be surprising if Ward felt under some pressure to draw readers’ attention to the channel’s roster of shows. Indeed, his “What’s hot to watch today” column in today’s paper features no fewer than four Five programmes out of a total of six recommended: Neighbours and three episodes from CSI and franchises, one of which is at least four years old. Over at the Express, meanwhile, Ward’s opposite number Matt Baylis reflects on last night TV, penning a lengthy piece in praise of Neighbours, above a fact box detailing several things you might not have known about one of its former stars, Stefan Dennis.

And finally, a thought from Jacqueline Novoa Rodriguez via E-blogs about something we could all be doing – handing in medicines we no longer need.

Over a month the authors, who belong to the Mariñamansa Health Centre in Orense, collected all the medicines and medical supplies discarded by patients, doctors and nurses for proper recycling and to avoid disposing of it with general rubbish. They looked at the contents in detail and calculated their cost, which for only in February 2008 was 119 units with a value of 2,740 Euros.

-Donated by patients (and we must thank them for donating there and not throwing away) 78 containers, 47% complete and 56% not expired: 1444 Euros. Three containers were from hospital diagnosis for 645 Euros.

-Free samples given by visitors: 22 complete and 16 not expired: 208 Euros

-Returned by patients: 13 glucometers (4 unused) and tubs of blood glucose strips (3 out of 4 containers complete and all expired): 908 and 108 Euros

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Working in languages

One of the things that attracts most of us to working for the EU is the possibility of using the languages we have studied hard to acquire. In this office we do a lot of work to make people aware of the opportunities that come with speaking languages, not just working for the EU, but in many other ways. Languages do open doors. Two of my colleagues took part in a live q&a on the careers guardian website last week looking at the possibilities of language careers.

I was putting this up on Twitter and thought, maybe I should be writing about this in another language. So I’m going to start an idea to have anyone who blogs about EU issues writing a post in another language on the European Day of Languages, 26 September. Who is in with me?

[This is a post that got caught in my draft folder, so the idea won’t be new to some of you]

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Filed under Digital/social media, EC in UK, EU Careers, Languages

EU Girl Geeks – UK chapter

I have the immense privilege ( is there is tongue-in-cheek emoticon?!) to be considered as an EUGirlGeek. It’s another example of that particularly female phenomenon of finding strength in joining together – see also the GetSET network for women in Science and Engineering, the network of UK women in the EU institutions or even parent networks like Mumsnet or Netmums. So we might be a niche group – women who use technology to develop their interest in EU affairs – but we can’t only be Brussels-based. So this is a shout out to anyone who would like to start a UK Chapter of the EUGirl Geeks. Sign up and we can try to get together occasionally.

Update 4pm: This is the Facebook page that Lino refers to in the comments below, a good starting point for any potential interested parties.

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