Wednesday 15 July 2015

The old hands are in despair

At the end of the Barroso Commission, the most experienced staff are heading for the exit after seeing Europe crumble and lose its purpose

It’s widely accepted in the EU institutions that a challenge is often an opportunity that went horribly wrong, indeed this was a motivation behind becoming the first Chief Happiness Officer to the EU.
While some do carp and complain, the need for the care and nurturing of the staff in the institutions, the little nuts and bolts that keep the whole show on the road, has been neglected for too long.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the member states are sticking the boot into the civil service, instead of doing something actually useful, like shutting down Strasbourg and saving real cash.
There is still much gloom around, especially with the more mature end of the staffing spectrum. Some of whom have been looking at the future with concern and have been making arrangements... to get themselves shuffled off into areas that look like being atrophied, yet can’t be shut off.
There are increasing numbers moving to obscure rooms, where they will have no duties at all and can sit it out till pension day. It’s an old practice, think of it as moving to DG DIGNITAS.
There are many of the ‘old school’ feeling despondent after a career in occasionally asbestos smothered offices for decades, trying to build a peaceful Europe that was good for both trade and those on the lower rungs of the social ladder.
It’s these people, whose work routinely involved trying to transform the whims of the great and good into something real, they know that the member states never let the union develop, that Europe was being strangled by incessant squabble over national interest. These will be the `special forces` of the drive to cheer up the institutions.
Leaders come and go and the continent somehow survives their meddling. Although we are in strange days, where the cry of “More Europe!” has morphed into “More Barroso!” and may be become simply “More More!” shortly, we are in a fortunate moment and it’s up to each one of us to use it.
It’s time to begin work on EU 2.0. We have had a system crash. We need a new operating system installed. Take a look at Linux. The open source model might be a better way forward. What makes this time different is that it might just work. The situation, short, mid and long term is so bleak that a reboot might happen, admittedly because all else failed.
We have a year at most. So far, around 25% of voters are looking away from the main political parties, this varies, but the trends are not good. When it comes to increasing support for eurosceptics, we should consider if people are voting against, not Europe, but austerity Europe.
This may not be the most optimistic report by a Happiness Officer, even a junior one, but this is no time for games or silly gimmicks. Being a Chief Happiness Officer is not just a job, it is a moral calling and there is only one way to be happy, by living up to your potential and contributing to the betterment of the world.
This is what must be done.
Berlaymont workers, do not be distracted by the caterwauling of those whose ineptitude has brought the continent to the edge of extinction.
Don’t mourn, organise!

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