I was part of an event at the Foreign Office yesterday which brought University Vice-Chancellors, department heads and career advisers together to talk to them about the EU as a potential career for their students. It was heartening, if surreal, to sit a foot or two away from William Hague as he said “the EU is vital to the UK’s interests”. This government has really thrown itself behind this issue, and as far as these things matter, the fact that the Foreign Secretary came along the day before the strategic defence review and two days before the comprehensive spending review is impressive.
We kicked off with a film of students talking about what they knew (or perhaps more accurately didn’t know) about the opportunities that exist to work for the EU.
Then Simon Fraser, the top civil servant at the FCO, who did two stints in Brussels, talked very personally about what he had got out of it.
Many of the questions in the first part focused on the teaching of foreign languages in British schools and universities, something regulars will know I write about alot. I was then asked to be one of two case studies, just an example of what working in the EU can lead you to do, where I repeated pretty much what I have said on this blog before. There was, to coin a phrase, a lot of love in the room, and I was inundated at the end by requests to come and talk to students at this or that university. There is such a thing as overexposure (!), so we’re thinking of a sort of “Back to College” scheme, where EU officials who come back to the UK every now and then make themselves available to talk at their old university, or maybe the university in their hometown. Let’s see if we can make that work.
In the meantime, if you’re interested in finding out more, check out the Foreign Office site or the EU careers site.
Monday 18 October
FCO event on getting more British graduates interested in EU careers. Jonathan Scheele and I will be taking part in the panel discussion.
Wednesday 20 October
EU Sport Summit being held at the Oval, organised by CCPR
Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs and Crisis Management, Kristalina Georgieva meeting Baroness Amos, Member of the House of Lords and UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator
Thursday 21 October
Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neeli Kroes visits the UK, including a meeting with Ed Vaizey, UK Minister for Communication, Culture and the Creative Industries, and the Hello Digital event in Birmingham. (to 22 October)
We’ll be launching the new premises of the European Commission and European Parliament in December with a number of conferences and cultural events. One slot will be reserved for a social-media-generated event. So if you are an eligible organisation andhave an idea for an event, leave details on the website and you’ll be in with a shout.
We’re using the same tool, Yoosk, to do a Q&A with the new head of our office, so go and leave him a question and he will answer the top 5 after 20 October.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik meets Barry Gardiner MP & Chair of Globe International.
Competitiveness Council in Luxembourg
Justice Commissioner Vivianne Reding meets John Cridland Deputy Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry in Brussels
Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger launches a policy document on the safety of offshore oil and gas activities with a press conference at 11.30 UK time.
Internal Markets Commissioner Michel Barnier launches a consultative Green Paper on the audit sector.
Taxation Commissioner Algirdas Semeta meets Justine Greening, UK Treasury Minister, in Brussels.
Environment Council in Luxembourg
Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council in Luxembourg
We’ve been moving office this week, which has meant things have been very up in the air. Hopefully normal service will resume next week, and the Coming Week post will be up shortly.
I suppose it’s because of the party conference season, coupled with our office move to new premises, but there are no events of UK interest in terms of the activities of European Commissioners this week. Normal service will resume very soon, I suspect!