Tag Archives: Europe House

Springing online

People (sometimes rightly, sometimes not) often criticise the concept of European Years for not achieving much, and not reaching out beyond the usual suspects. I chair the national steering group for the European Year of Active Ageing in the UK and we have been making an effort to make sure that we have a real impact on the people the year is about and also achieve something that will have value after 31 December 2012. Friday 27 April saw achievements that I think work on both those areas.

Firstly, in the morning, we hosted a digital clinic at Europe House. It was linked to the Spring Online campaign, and the idea was to provide a chance for older people to get advice on all sorts of technical issues. I helped with items as varied as teaching someone to cut and paste, demonstrating Skype, discussing how to host a blog and purchase a domain name, and unblocking hotmail accounts. We had iPads and Kindles for people to try out. We set up Facebook, Twitter and Skype accounts. The over-50s had signed up via Age UK London and we had volunteers from there, this office and the Department of Work and Pensions helping people out. I also noticed a few of the volunteers sneakily getting advice from their more digitally-inclined colleagues! The feedback on the day was amazing, with all the participants really valuing the time that the volunteers had given to help out. In fact, there was significant demand for another event, and we’ll bear it in mind.

Secondly, that afternoon, I chaired a meeting of the national steering group for the European Year, and we spent considerable time talking about how we can make the year mean something for the sector. We’ve had some good ideas, and I hope that in a month or so they will be clear enough to be able to see whether they will work. We’re clearly focusing on sustainability, in terms of, who will carry the work forward if there’s not longer a reason to meet as the steering group. We’re not interested in creating things for the sake of it, without the support of and investment (in the broadest sense) of the sector. Watch this space.

Coming week – 7 to 13 February

It’s a busy one, with several Commissioners in town

Monday 7 February

Commissioner Neelie Kroes (Digital Agenda) is in London at the Business for New Europe seminar “Building a Digitial Single Market”

Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn (Research, Innovation and Science) is in London, meeting the UK Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts, Government Chief Scientific Adviser Sir John Beddington and making a speech at the Royal Society

Foreign and Commonwealth Office launches a new website highlighting the opportunities for careers in the EU

Tuesday 8 February

Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski (Financial Programming and Budget) visit London and addresses the House of Lords European Select Committee

Commissioner John Dalli (Health and Consumer Policy) meets President of Diageo Europe Andrew Morgan in Brussels

Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn (Research, Innovation and Science) meets Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Michael Russell in Brussels

Commissioner Maria Damanaki (Maritime Affairs and Fisheries) and Commissioner Connie Hedegaard (Climate Action) meet the Scottish Minister for Environment and Climate Change Rosetta Cunningham in Brussels.

Wednesday 9 February

HRH the Prince of Wales attends the International Sustainability Roundtable in Brussels, hosted by Commission Presidency José-Manuel Barroso

BBC Director General Mark Thompson meets Commissioner Androulla Vassilliou (Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth) in Brussels. Also meets Commissioner Michel Barnier (Internal Market and Services) on 10 February

Opening of Mimicry, an exhibition of 3D fashion photographs from Slovenia at Europe House, Smith Square

Thursday 10 February

Commissioner Gunther Oettinger (Energy) visits London, where he meets the Minister for Europe David Lidington, Minister for Energy and Climate Change Charles Hendy and makes a speech at the European Centre for Energy and Resource Security of King’s College London

Friday 11 February

Commissioner László Andor (Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion) is in London, speaking at the conference “What future for Europe? What role should the UK play?”

Commissioner Michel Barnier (Internal Market and Services) meets the Chairman of the UK Financial Services authority Lord Adair Turner in Brussels.

New tools

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.