Sorry I’ve been off air for a few days. Crazy days…
The weekend saw the move into the new house. Well, I already live there, but I had to move rooms and the new guy arrived and Rob and Amanda left, so it was all go. My brother arrived in the middle of it alland I met him and his friends in the evening. So a nice, but knackering day and I slept like a baby. Sunday was very low-key, which was more than made up for by Monday!
We have a really busy week, with several big stories coming out, including the drive to reduce the price of text roaming that will be announced today. We’ve been answering questions, setting up interviews and so on. It’s good to have announcements like this, which prove that we’re not all about arguing over institutional issues – mostly what we’re about is getting on with using our combined strength as a single market to benefit consumers.
Another story that cropped (hoho) up today was about tobacco and the agricultural subsidies that go to it while at the same time we are spending money on combatting smoking. It’s an irony that is not lost on the Commission, which is why we have pushed through proposals to stop the subsidies from 2010. Of course they can’t just be stopped one day, as it’s about livelihoods, and they need time to adjust their farming to a different crop. But from 2010 there will be no EU budget support for tobacco growing, in spite of attempts by some in the European Parliament to extend that deadline.
I had a really interesting meeting yesterday with a woman who does communication for a variety of EU research projects. It was nice to have that link back to my old subject, which still tugs at my heartstrings, and also to hear about how the projects are working with each other to address their communication needs. She works in the field of health and nutrition, so really relevant to today’s world and something that can really resonate. I was speaking to a health journalist a few days ago and she said that when a press release comes from the European Commission about scientific results, they are more likely to take it seriously, as it demonstrates an objectivity (ie not funded by food or pharma companies).
One of the funny sides of this job is being a “diplomat” in your own country. No, don’t worry, I don’t get diplomatic immunity or anything like that, but I am part of a community here in London, with invites to the embassies, working with them on initiatives, taking part in cultural events. It’s a really nice side to the job, and makes it feel less like I’ve “come back” to London, and more like I’m in a different place to last time.