The Cabinet Review, pt 5

Thursday, December 21, 2006 | 1 comments »

We're getting all excited and can't wait until tomorrow, so here's the final installment.

The 'Monster was thrilled to receive the following Out of Office reply from Carlos Tenreiro (Cabinet of Neelie Kroes) when he was emailed to be told of his nomination:

Dear Madam, dear Sir,

My beloved master decided not to spend too much time in Brussels around Christmas, and took a few days off. As you may have guessed he will probably not answer your message before 3rd January.

Until then, I will also do my best to refrain from working.

Best regards,

Out of Office Assistant for Carlos Tenreiro

Let the games begin!
***
Benita Ferrero-Waldner

Calls them: Office.
Includes: No stagiaires or drivers.
Layout/Design: Pretty good if functional

Bloggin' Benita has a nice, but heavily photoshopped photo of herself on the left but the first thing I noticed was Patrick Child's photo loading up. Now I did find it a bit startling. It's a jolly enough photo but he's got that kid in a sweetshop look about him.

A second later I realised why. BB certainly knows about totty and there's some lovely ladies in her office. One is spoilt for choice, even Judith, who handed in a passport photo looks mighty fine. Vincent also handed in a passport photo as he probably couldn't contain his joy at actually being paid to spend time with these ladies. I note he's got responsibility for 'Horizontal Development Policy' which may, or may not include horizontal jogging.

Top Totty: Eva Rodriguez Saez and Deirdre Abma.
Stud-U-Like: Richard Kuehnel.

***
Charlie McCreevy

Calls them: Cabinet.
Includes: Cabinet members only - press spokesperson is on another page.
Layout/Design: Dull, functional, corporate with strange curve on the photos.

None of the little people here which greatly affects the hotness ratio. He's hiding his babes under a bushel somewhere.

Top Totty: Claire Bury - on a coin toss.
Stud-U-Like: Shane Sutherland and his come to bed eyes.

***
Vladimír Špidla

Calls them: My Team.
Includes: Cabinet and spokeswoman only.
Layout/Design: Solid layout, clear design.

As we saw earlier, leaving out the secretaries and stagiaires can drastically reduce the amount of eye candy, but Vlad's brief covers, ahem, 'social affairs' and one suspects that he's on top of that brief if nothing else. There is a lot of skirt here and picking the winner was a three way fight (and wouldn't we all just love a video of that).

Top Totty: Lenka Deylova (wasn't she a character in an Austin Powers film?) wins over Magdalena Frouzova and Isabel Perez-Minayo Barroso.
Stud-U-Like: Handsome slaphead Max Uebe edges out Jan Jařab, the fitfh member of ABBA.

***
Peter Mandelson

Calls them: Cabinet.
Includes: Everyone.
Layout/Design: Horrible, bland, dull with stupid and pointless graphics.

Topped off by a blue rinsed photo of Mandy nervously fiddling with his pen and a cheesy grin. The page is a washed out and faded blue, looking like a bad conference handout. Below is a group photo, once again cropped at the commissioner's genitals. Interestingly he appears to be standing next to a Cherie Blair lookalike, which must be unnerving for him.

Strangely the photos of the cabinet have a sub-NATO graphic added to the left and the humble secretaries are left unadorned. The photos have been put through a blue filter (presumably to reflect Mandy's political instincts), the cabinet have it heavily swashed all over them, the minions less so.

Top Totty: Catherine Wendt and Maria-Carmen Garcia Garcia, who appear to be either the same person or twins.
Stud-U-Like: Peter Hill, who may even be human.

***
Andris Piebalgs

Calls them: My team.
Includes: Everyone.
Layout/Design: clear, functional, teutonic.

Starts off with a group photo that is big enough to recognise most of the team. The photos show the dangers of going round the office ater a staff party as they are all rather unflattering. Many are dark and gloomy and the drivers appear to live their lives in complete darkness.

Top Totty: Ms. Marie-Laurence Buisson.
Stud-U-Like: No contest, it's Mr. Filippo Gruttadauria.

***

That's all folks! The 'Monsters off to the cold north-east for Christmas. If it's snowing, you might get to read something. Subscribe in the left column to be updated regularly. As always, if you have different choices, let us know. We'll try and organise a wet t-shirt competition in the new year.


The Cabinet Review, pt 4

Thursday, December 21, 2006 | 1 comments »

The 'Monster is gasping to the end of this week's guest column, the Cabinet fox-hunt from Simon van der Cowell. This is the penultimate chance to have your say and nominate the Cabinet employee you'd most like to take for a brisk shoot up the Khyber Pass ...

***
Olli Rehn

Calls them: Cabinet.
Includes: Even includes a stagiaire but no drivers.
Layout/Design: Not well spaced and too small photographs.

A dark group photo that is a bit too small, although we can see a group of young ladies edging their way out of the shot on the right instead of standing round the Commissioner. Olli is blocking our view of some enormous norks.

These photos are just too dark and small to be a good guide to hotness. Some are a bit odd, such as Maria's 'Bride of Frankenstein' look.

Top Totty: Ms Heather Grabbe.
Stud-U-Like: Mr Ferdy De Schepper.

***
Louis Michel

Calls them: My team.
Includes: Everyone but drivers.
Layout/Design: Mammoth photos but poorly laid out and the middle column is just confusing.

You just know that you can rely on Louis. We also welcome the appearance of the first fake redhead. A sign of the diversity here, including Pascale's apres-ski raunchiness, sultry Sindy and Helena's executive relief look.

Top Totty: Karin Gardes-Koutny - defines the term angelic. Also ran: Tanguy Stuckens.
Stud-U-Like: Koen Doens.

***
László Kovács

Calls them: Cabinet.
Includes: No drivers or stagiaires.
Layout/Design: Simple layout, clear design.

The first thing you see is a picture of Stephen Bill and the biggest shit-eating grin in the Commission. Why's that? Well just scroll down the page. There is lots of high quality totty here, even if the photos are too small. Hell, many of these should be downloadable as desktop wallpaper.

Top Totty: Ágnes Fekete keeps Bill looking happy so she very narrowly beats out Anabela Gago Filori and Maria Elena Scoppio.
Stud-U-Like: Gáspár Molnar the Prince William lookalike.

***
Neelie Kroes

Calls them: My Team.
Includes: Cabinet and spokesman only. No minions.
Layout/Design: Ok enough, but suffers from the fact that only the members and spokesperson have their photos.

The group photo is very dull, but shows us that there could be some totty in the office (is that a pair of jodhpurs on the right?) but only the top people are pictured on the page. A swinish trick.

Top Totty: Lorena Boix Alonso.
Stud-U-Like: Carlos Tenerino in a weak field.

***
Mariann Fischer Boel

Calls them: Cabinet.
Includes: Everyone, even stagiaires.
Layout/Design: Clear and functional.

Wicked bunch of pictures, slightly informal. Head of Cabinet has his orientated differently to all the others - what does that tell us? Quite a lot.

Top Totty: Stephanie Weiss' smile wins over the Elvish Henriette Johansen and the blonde and blue eyed Lene Naesager.
Stud-U-Like: Johan Reyniers.

The Cabinet Review, pt 3

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 | 1 comments »

In this third of five reviews of Commissioner's cabinet websites, reader Simon van der Cowell picks his favourites from the motley bunch of bureaucrats, with some nerdy web-design comments thrown in for free.

If you don't agree with his top-totty or man of the month judgements, leave your favourites in the comments.

***
Joe Borg

Calls them: My Team.
Includes: Includes a stagiaire, but no drivers.
Layout/Design: Very clear, but spoilt by some of the photos being a different size.

Top of the page of the EU's favourite Hobbit is yet another group photo with a rather glum looking Joe in the middle. Freud would have remarked that it appears to have been cropped at the level of the Commissioner's genitalia.

The photos mainly have the person on the right and a maritime salt-and-spray style background, which could have looked really good if it had been consistent. Joe himself is beginning to resemble Inspector Morse, which is no bad thing. It's pretty good on the totty front, the men are a dreary bunch though.

Top Totty: Joanna Darmanin and Ella Strickland on equal footing.
Stud-U-Like: Luca Vella - a very lucky man.

***
Dalia Grybauskaitė

Calls them: My cabinet.
Includes: Everyone (including drivers).
Layout/Design: Pleasant design utterly ruined by an enormous bottom frame, which, pointlessly, is taken up with a horizontal row of those silly button things.

There's an artistically faded photo of Dalia on the left with an appropriately toothless smile - and a twinkle in her eyes. The rest of the team bring to mind a road-accident. There's some good material here but it does need a bit of a makeover. Additionally many aren't photographed very well - which gives a subliminal hint towards underperformance. Some of them are not only not smiling, but positively grimacing. Joanna's disqualified for making a website that hurts my eyes, Sharon has the look of a hot minx about her, and what is frightening Valdas?

Top Totty: Maria del Carmen Balsa Garcia.
Stud-U-Like: Denis Genton who has experience in 'Inter-institutional affairs'.

***
Janez Potočnik

Calls them: My Team.
Includes: Everyone.
Layout/Design: Good layout but some of the entries are repeated - see below for why this is not necessarily a bad thing.

Despite sharing a name with a Vogon Commander, Janez has come up trumps. You Da Man. This is Totty Central. Hell, even the guys look sharp, and I can see why. This office must be busting with sexual tension.

He's got it all. You want blondes? He's got the Ice Queen, the warm and the romantic. Brunettes? He's got the lot from soft and fluffy to sultry. You want redheads? Yup, Janez won't let you down.

Top Totty: They're all top totty, but Jana Kratochvilova floats my boat.
Stud-U-Like: Matjaž Malgaj, mainly because he's got the best photo I've seen so far.

***
Ján Figel'

Calls them:
Cabinet and hides them under "Profile" - is he shy or embarrassed?
Includes: Cabinet and spokesman only. No minions.
Layout/Design: Mellow yellow, but clear and light graphic touches. I came away from this page thinking I'd caught hepatitis.

The portraits are odd. Each one has had the background erased and replaced with a nauseating yellow to pale blue gradient. Even odder, the gradient varies from photo to photo and poor Margarida looks like she's got jaundice. Frédéric is also in soft focus, something that concerns me as as the last time we saw that it was Gunter's portrait of Petra...

Top Totty: Eva Wenigova.
Stud-U-Like: Frédéric Vincent.

***
Markos Kyprianou

Calls them: Cabinet.
Includes: Everyone, even stagiaires.
Layout/Design: Clear but not transparent - no contact details whatsoever.

"Welcome to my homepage" he says like a fourteen year old building his first website. Very territorial. Markos has got himself an office stuffed with totty and he's not going to let anyone else in with a chance, so he left off the contact details. Smart move because horny Eurocrats would love the opportunity to arrange a briefing over lunch with his secretariat.

Top Totty: Mme. Katerina Malakoudi announces her availability and takes the prize over the sultry and slightly airbrushed Ms Despina Spanou.
Stud-U-Like: Mr. George Zacharakis wants to assist you. personally.

The Cabinet Review, pt 2

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 | 1 comments »

Franco Frattini

Calls them: My team.
Includes: No drivers or trainees. Media people are on a separate page.
Layout/Design: Clear, pleasant and perfectly fine.

Good looking, elegant and that's just Franco himself although his left shoulder seems to be fading. Despite Carlo Presenti going for mean, moody and magnificent the rest all have nice friendly faces. For some reason putting your mouse over the name removes the photo and reveals contact details. Slightly pointless.

Top Totty: Diane Schmitt even if she is picking at a spot on her chin
Stud-U-Like: Franco Frattini

***
Viviane Reding

Calls them: My team.
Includes: Everyone including drivers and an invisible trainee.
Layout/Design: Lovely.

Starts with a large team photo. Oddly most of the team aren't looking at the camera but something out of view. The Commissioner is easily identified by the large bunch of flowers on her lapel. The photos are great, natural looking and psychologically interesting because most of them have the tops of their heads cut off. I wonder what that means...
For some reason their initials of the cabinet members are also included.

The portraits are from a variety of angles and poses so individuality and a little informality makes this look rather fresh.

Top Totty: Viviane Hoffmann - an Anne Robinson who smiles.
Stud-U-Like: Miguel França and his wolfish grin.

***
Stavros Dimas

Calls them: My Team.
Includes: Everyone
Layout/Design: Very nice indeed. Clear and tastefully funky, and it's hard to carry off that shade of green outside on O'Farrells on St. Patrick's Day.

The modest Stavros hardly appears on the page, just a nice little head and shoulders shot at the top. There is yet another group photo, shot from above, but Stavros adds a twist: the background has been replaced with a sandy gradient which leave the group looking like they're floating over a void. hows that for a metaphor.

The most noticeable thing is that Pierre Schellekens, Deputy Head of Cabinet has a much larger photo than Nancy kontou, the Head of Cabinet ... smells like ambition ...

Top Totty: Vassiliki Lerou-Mavroidi is the pick of the secretariat.
Stud-U-Like: Vassilis Giakoumakis looks like a man who knows a good ride when he sees one.

***
Joaquín Almunia

Calls them: Cabinet.
Includes: Every group gets their own page.
Layout/Design: Too fussy, over complicated.

The Cabinet Members page has the usual group photo but in this one no less that three of the men are NOT wearing dark suits. Joaquin certainly believes in leading from the front.

The portraits are pretty cool. They look like snaps, informal and relaxed even if they are underexposed. Daringly, Amelia Torres, spokeswoman, is photographed outside.

Top Totty: Blanca Huergo Gonzalo.
Stud-U-Like: Ignacio Gonzalez Vazquez.

***
Danuta Hübner

Calls them: Cabinet.
Includes: Everyone, even stagiaires.
Layout/Design: Nice and clear.

Another group photo, which captures a guy at the back ogling a ladies rear. also notable for the appearence of a red tie. Sharp.

All the photos are against the same backdrop but they're nice clear pictures, but am I alone in thinking Danuta may have a thing for bearded men? This is not a bad place for totty spotting or for those in search of a bit of trouser.

Top Totty: Denisa Dodekova... How does Mr Von Breska and Mr Panigalli get any work done?
Stud-U-Like: Daniel Tollemans is a man who knows what women want.

The Cabinet Review, pt 1

Monday, December 18, 2006 | 1 comments »

Our last piece on Cabinet totty inspired one reader, Simon van der Cowell, to give us a run-down on each Commissioner's cabinet website, highlighting the bad, the beautiful and the downright grim.

Lest it be said that Berlaymonster never does anything for its masters, we have it on good authority that this five-day series will contribute to discussion, rivalry and jealousy in all the cabinets just in time for Christmas.

***
Jose Manuel Barroso

Calls them: The President's Team.
Includes: Everyone but the drivers.
Layout/Design: Clear, organised and efficient. Entirely un-Portuguese.

All the photos are of the same size and have a nice drop shadow effect. Most of them are smiling and they do look like a nice bunch. It has to be said that Barrosso isn't doing too bad on the totty front, but in his position one has to wonder why he hasn't tried harder. True he hasn't much competition on the stud-u-like front. Perhaps there is a plan after all.

Suspiciously Ana Martinho's assistant goes unnamed and without a photo. Hmmm.

Top Totty: Gabriala Vilela Tavares - hidden away at the bottom of the page
Stud-U-Like: Alex Ellis

***
Margot Wallström

Calls them: My Team.
Includes: Everyone including drivers and trainees.
Layout/Design: clear, organised and efficent. A few non-distracting embellishments.

What does the hottest Commissioner have to offer? Her team are often photographed in gloom and darkness, almost Rembrandt-like tones. She does seem to have a thing for the slightly geeky looking men, but what's wrong with that? Interestingly, Julie Arnaud, press assistant, has that just-been-rodgered look about her.

Top Totty: Charlotta Wennerlund - for those of you who like that Miss Whiplash thing.
Stud-U-Like: Ricardo Lamarti - he may be a driver but he has that 'NSIT' (not safe in taxis) look that could appeal to the faster type of lady.

***
Günter Verheugen

Calls them:
Cabinet.
Includes: Everyone, including drivers and trainees.
Layout/Design: Sort of alright but falls apart towards the end.

Ah Günter, where do we begin. first of all the 'Naked Commissioner' remains fully clothed throughout his site and there's no holiday snaps in his photo gallery. He starts off the cabinet page with a group photo, wittily sending up a Grattons catalogue from 1972, where the women are all at the front surrounding the big man and his suspiciously crumpled suit.

Thankfully the photos are head and shoulder shots so we don't see more of this most unfashionable bunch.

Trinny and Susanna would be apoplectic if they were called into this office.

For some reason Petra Erler is photographed in soft focus... The old goat doesn't do too bad on the totty front with a ratio of two women for each man, so it's not too hard for him to make the transition between his private life and his working environment.

Top Totty: Viviane Ammann - sexy, saucy and sultry
Stud-U-Like: Eric Beelen - for the rugged look

***
Jacques Barrot

Calls them: Cabinet.
Includes: No drivers or trainees.
Layout/Design: Incoherent, all over the place.

Being honest, If I was on a totty hunt, this wouldn't be my first port of call. In fact I worry about the ladies here. Two of them look terrified and some others look as worried as Barrot does himself. Let's move on swiftly.

Top Totty: Armelle Lidou narrowly beats out Helena Kolaj
Stud-U-Like: Thomas Chenevier's cheeky grin beats Michele Cercone's 'just back from a long liquid lunch'.

***
Siim Kallas

Calls them:
Cabinet.
Includes: No drivers.
Layout/Design: Bijou, compact, squashed.

What message is he sending out here? Under a lovely photograph of the Commissioner and his moustache gazing wistfully into the far distance, like a fighter pilot waiting for the last spitfire to return to base, there are the tiniest photos of his cabinet. Tiny as in insignificant, invisible.

It's almost impossible to see what people actually look like, but clicking on the photos brings you to a strange collage and a slightly, and I do mean slightly, larger photo. I think he's hiding something, certainly the totty count is rather good. Is he worried all the other Commissioners will envy him?

Top Totty: Carmela Rizzo by the merest moustache whisker
Stud-U-Like: Kristian Schmidt has no real competition

***

Do you agree with Simon? Leave your comments below. We'll have a Cabinet Top Trumps Battle of the Vixens in the New Year ...



A large creature with no spine and questionable hair has been discovered in the European Commission.

Jose Manuel Barroso, commission president, this week ran scared of French PM and silly orange person Dominique de Villepin and withdrew plans to reform the patchwork of national copyright levies imposed on digital music players.

The tech industry, understandably, was not best chuffed and came out all guns blazing, accusing the commission of 'capitulation' to France's Mr Creosote, who sent a letter to Barroso last month 'encouraging' him to reconsider the publication of the anticipated new recommendations.

A commission spokesman told journalists to take industry's blustering 'with a pinch of salt.'

A tad rich, we thought...

























Why, Oh Mr head EC spoke Johannes Laitenberger, should we believe the commission claim that the withdrawal of the copyright plans had nothing to do with the sudden arrival of a French Letter on Barroso's doorstep?

It's the only high profile quasi legislative initiative poor internal market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy has taken on at all, and that with some gusto. Barroso himself has even been heard chuntering its merits and promising publication before the end of the year.

To pull an initiative that is basically ready, so soon before the timetabled date of publication, is rare in itself. To offer such a limp reason for such an astonishing u-turn only raises suspicions - it leaves Barroso looking like a patsy who has gagged one of his own chums because one of the big boys told him to while administering a chinese burn during breaktime.

Flattery and (half)wit

Friday, December 15, 2006 | 4 comments »

Berlaymonster, over a pint, picks up a copy of "Up Yours", Brussels' laziest listings magazine. Somewhere towards the back, there's a page with the subtitle "Berlaymonster Blues."

And even better, two of the articles look pretty familiar. There's one about stuffed goods, seen here first, and another one with a picture of this.

Does the 'Monster get a mention? Not even a little one?

If anybody read the magazine we might even mind.

Berlaymonster ... enabling boozy hacks to fill their column inches ...

BM Apology - Season of missed puns

Thursday, December 14, 2006 | 0 comments »

The Monster would like to apologise for a gross oversight on our part.

A previous posting, 'BM Campaign - keep Verheugen nude snaps under wraps' (see below) - a story about a commissioner caught in flagrante on a nuddie beach with his Chef de Cabinet - missed a trick.

A faithful reader points out that the headline, or at least the article, should have contained at some point a crass punning reference to the 'Naked Chef'.

We deeply regret any offence not caused by the omission.

BM.


It's simply not in the pubic interest.

Germany's 'Focus' magazine has threatened to publish paparazzi photos of Commission Vice-President Guenther Verheugen and his Chief of Staff (oo-er) Petra Erler sunbathing starkers on a nudist beach in Lithuania.

We say NO.

On bended knees, please for the love of God, no.

However, lest BM be accused of not putting an idle Friday afternoon to profitable use - let us not let this opportunity pass to have a good letch around all the cabinet websites to see if there is in fact anyone worth camping out with a long-lense camera among the sand dunes for.

Our gratuitously shallow line-up for Miss Commission Cabinet 2006 is shaping up thusly:

From Cypriot Markus Kyprianou's hareem
Georgina 'Gorgeous' Georgiou
and
sultry Despina Spanou

from among Louis Michel's otherwise sorry bunch
Karin Gardes-'Cutey'-Koutny

and from chez Vlad 'The Daddy' Spidla
Magdelena 'Fruity' Frouzova
and
Lenka Deylova (no, really, that's what she's called).

Other nominations - male or female - for REAL talent among the EU's elite, are welcome by email to berlaymonster (AT) gmail.com.

World AIDS Day celebrations

Friday, December 01, 2006 | 1 comments »

[Brussels, 01/12/2006] European Health Commission Markos Kyprianou will kick off celebrations to mark World AIDS Day this lunchtime with a game of celebrity five-a-side football in the Cinquantenaire Park. Invitees include Charlie McCreevy, Marianne Fischer-Boel and Elton John. Following the game, which begins at midday, Bob Geldof will host a press conference and needle exchange, while experts from the World Health Organisation will be distributing condoms to EU officials at the Berlaymont building. All comers welcome, and invitees are advised to avoid the Schuman Roundabout, where representatives of the Holy See will be demonstrating and fighting with the police.

Luxembourg to be privatised

Friday, December 01, 2006 | 0 comments »

EU officials announced yesterday that Luxembourg is to be privatised. A competition launched to celebrate 50 years of union saw the Grand Duchy beat other contenders - chiefly Estonia and Malta - to the top place.

"In the spirit of an entirely free market, the Commission is thrilled to announce that from 1st January 2010, the entire nation of Luxembourg will be run as a private company. This will represent untold opportunity for employment, investment and advancement of industry," said the EU's chief spokesperson, Gunther Von Feuerwehr.

The privatisation of a whole nation is far from being a novel concept, as the United States was sold to the hands of the corporation as long as 75 years ago, but this is the first time that citizens will be paid to live in a member-state, as taxes will be abolished.

Long seen as a tax-haven, Luxembourg will now attract top performers from Deloitte and Touche, McKinsey and Ernst and Young, keen to see their profits grow unhindered by state interference.

A call for tenders will be launched at the beginning of 2008, and interested parties are thought to include Coca Cola, George Soros and Stelios Haji-Ioannou. Bookies favourite, however, is Richard Branson, who is likely to rename the state the "European Virgin Low-Cost Destination of the Year" in 2011.

Outraged members of the Luxembourgish Chamber of Deputies were unavailable for comment as Berlaymonster went to press.

Catchy!

Saturday, November 25, 2006 | 1 comments »

From Quarsan, who the Monster is sure doesn't mind being quoted by name ...

Whilst wandering down rue de la loi I happened to pass the Charlemagne building I happened to notice a large banner. I walked a further 100 metres and was able to finally read what it said:

"Towards an EU external energy policy to ensure a high level of supply security"

Sometimes you just know when a slogan was devised by a committee.


Like some squealing handbag-flinging girl outside a Yates Wine Bar in any of Britain's insipid town centres on a Friday night, EU external affairs commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner today futiley garbled "stoppit Gary, isss not worf it" at the warring factions in a divided Iraq.

After another particularly rotten day of violence in Iraq, the powerless foreign policy bint felt compelled to blurt her sentiments to the world, in a touchingly futile bid to end the senseless bloodbath with the power of her compelling rhetoric.

"The European Commision strongly condemns all the indiscriminate attacks which have led to shocking numbers killed and wounded in so many tragic incidents recently" she said adjectivally.

"I am deeply concerned by the spiralling increase in sectarian attacks" she added, tears clearly welling in the corners of her emailed press statement.

"I appeal to all political, religious and tribal leaders, to call on their supporters to refrain from retaliation and revenge. As violence feeds on violence, the perpetrators are achieving nothing for themselves or their people, only breeding further misery."

Shiite and Sunni guerillas as well as a number of insidious Al Qaeda and Iranian cells, on hearing Ferrero-Waldner's plea over the airwaves immediately downed arms, intoning "she's right man."

at least the winner for the time-being ... entries still accepted ...




Pint of beer and a Bloody Mary to Quarsan at Blairwatch

The two faces of Nicola Smith

Thursday, November 16, 2006 | 2 comments »

Nicola Smith as you've never seen her beforeBlonde bombshell journo Nicola Smith continues her run as Brussels' sassiest reporter with this piece in last Sunday's Times on MEPs swanning around in Barbados, sipping Margheritas and cheating on their wives.

Gorgeous Nicola has made quite a reputation for herself in the UK press with sensational articles on Robert Kilroy-Silk, French farmers and Peter Mandelson.

Her finest moment, until now, had been "posing as a childless woman" and trying to buy a baby in Bulgaria. But the Berlaymonster is happy to reveal that Miss Smith shares her name and her fame with "Britain's number one transvestite", Nicola Smith.

Is your name Nicola Smith? Do you have a sordid secret? Contact Berlaymonster on 1-800-SMITH.

Council staffed by nerds

Thursday, November 16, 2006 | 1 comments »

Despite its reputation as a sexy, vibrant place to work, Berlaymonster can today reveal that the Council of the European Union (the institution formerly known as the Council of Ministers) is staffed almost entirely by nerds.

Secret documents confirm that the geeks seem to have the run of the building. One official, who asked not to be named, said: "it's highly unlikely that you'd meet anybody here who has even a feeble grasp of modern pop music."

A sorry UKIP soap-boxer in Tunbridge Wells this weekend was drowned out by the deafening silence of apathy and swallowed up entirely by an unwitting virtuoso performance of irony by the locals.

On a sunny Kentish winter day on the high street in Royal Tunbridge Wells - considered a heartland for the best of stodgy, British right-wingism - your BM correspondent was the only person taking any interest at all in the incompetent Eurosceptic ramblings of the UKIP campaigner.

Passers-by instead passed-by, more intent on Christmas shopping or brunch than Britain's plight at the 'hands of our European unelected masters' etc etc.

Particularly poignant was seeing people stream past the ranting goon to pick up a cappucino in the italian cafe across the road staffed almost entirely by cheap labour from Europe's south and east, or cram into the 'Bistro Blanc' behind the UKIP stall for a continental champagne brekkie, imported free of taxes thanks to the single market.

Perhaps even Telegraph readers have a secret, silent understanding as to which side their pain is beurré.

Or perhaps the illiterate inarticulate purple-faced UKIPPER simply wasn't getting his point across with quite the winning eloquence necessary if they're ever going to 'wrest back Britain's fishing rights from the Brussels mandarins who etc etc' and the like.

Yours,

Dégouté des Puits du Pont de Tun.

The European Commission is considering rewarding its employees with a competitive (subject to review by DG Competition) commission structure for achieving certain targets.

Senior officials will be rewarded for longer meetings, more words per document and most creative use of the English language.

A press release reads "Without continuing regard for functional third-generation policies, the bodies of the institutions of the Community of the European Union, ex-post ante and post-fact, will be unable to be in a position to effectively, or willingly, or non-concommitantly preview a harmonis/zation of synchronis/zed transitional flexibility."

"Points, which mean prizes on the 11th and 17th of every other month (non-consequential and/or notwithstanding prior notification to the relevant authoris/zing authority), will be reasoned to be awarded, once due diligence has been effectuated at a systematic and non-pre-emptive stage of the proceedings, for work achieved in, neither including nor limited to the fields of:
a) extraneous terminology,
b) comitology and its discontents,
c) extension of acceptable non-working hours,
d) over complication of procedures and
e) money for old rope."


Berlaymonster understands that commission payments will be awarded in the form of gifts over the value of 50 euros, previously confiscated from other staff.

Only staff with more than 7 years service and/or three dependents will qualify for the scheme.

Thanks to both of you who submitted entries to the logo competition.

Unfortunately, you were both disqualified, as one of you didn't submit original artwork and the other one wasn't a logo.

It seems that the 'Monster wasn't the only one to notice that this phenomenal mountain of shite was a bad idea, though.

Catherine Colonna, the French Minister for Europe, has written to Barroso, the Commission's top-banana, complaining that "the logo creates a problem".

French philosopher Barbara Cassin called it "absolutely counter productive" and suggested it was a crap version of the Google logo. While The Times has the full story, our very own sexy gerbil, Margot, defends her "slogo" here .

Marco Panella is an MEP, which is why you've never heard of him.

However, following his reaffirming "his availability to be appointed to Iraq in order to save Saddam Hussein from the death penalty", (many thanks to Elaib for the story), Berlaymonster would like to express its support for this brave stance and calls on all MEPs of all creeds and nationalities to follow his lead.

Please sign your name below in support of our petition. Once we have a million names we will be passing it on to Mr. Prodi, or whoever it is that's in charge of the European Parliament.

McCreevy comes unstuck

Thursday, November 09, 2006 | 0 comments »

Fantastic story from the Open Europe blog today:

EU Internal Market Commission Charlie McCreevy addressed a group of businessmen in London last night.

"His audience quickly became restless and ignored him. The MC had to ask for silence several times. When McCreevy finished there was mocking applause.”

Worse was to follow; Ruby Wax gave the next after-dinner speech, wryly thanking McCreevy for "warming up my audience", before going on to say "He spoke for 20 minutes. It seemed like 20 years."

Read the whole, glorious article here.

Brussels - full of spies

Thursday, November 09, 2006 | 0 comments »

Bowler hats, leather boots, invisible cars and sex with impossibly glamorous foreign security agents. All in the realm of a Bond fantasy? Think again!

A senior member of the European Commission's security department has confirmed that many of the grey-suited, grey men that you see pottering around town aimlessly, are likely to be spies on secret missions. Brussels has "more spies per square metre than anywhere else on earth, with the possible exception of New York," he said.

Jan Rotzak, member of "ADMIN.DS" - the codename for the Commission's shady counter-espionage team - went on: "Brussels is where foreign intelligence agencies send their trainees to build their confidence. There's an enormous number of disenchanted employees, littering the bars around the Commission's buildings, only too glad of a friend to speak with. They're easy pickings for a good, or even not so good, spy."

The Commission takes these threats seriously. All newcomers are briefed on the best way to avoid being "slipped a Mickey Ginn" whilst "on mission", the EU's exotic term for a business trip.

And how does Mr. Rotzak know all of this? As a former member of the Dutch secret service, he has placed many of agents within the corridors of power. "We used to like to get them when they were still young, at university. Then, years down the line we would use their information to get the edge we needed."

Like all good operatives, the Commission likes to keep its friends close and enemies closer. Part of Mr. Rotzak's job description is "training foreign intelligence and security agents."

So you see, life in Brussels can be just as exciting as you make it.

For more information on joining the European Commission's counter-espionage and pro-espionage units, please consult our vacancies at www.epso.eu

A staggering 88.95 per cent of Europeans think the European Commission is 'quite, quite lovely', according to a poll released today.

The poll, commissioned by the commission, and conducted by the commission's in-house polling unit Eurobarometer, and written by the commission, came up with the stunning results that despite suspicions that Brussels HQ was unpopular with its subjects, citizens in fact go starry-eyed at mere mention of the institution.

Responding to the multiple choice survey, almost nine in every ten Europeans gave their ringing endorsement to the commission and everything it does.

Asked which of the following they agreed with:

A) Ban home cooking.
B) Death to fluffy bunnies. And some babies.
C) Down with Earth and millinery.
D) The European Commission and everything it does is quite, quite lovely.

most opted for D.

Almost 5 per cent chose option A, which the commission is now looking into as a viable future EU regulation.

See also previous Eurobarometer reports:
'EU Ombudsman? Cracking fellow' (no. 269/Wave66.34)
'Enlargement has been good for our souls' (no.268/Wave66.32)

The European Commission is to add the months September through to December to its annual holidays, which already total fifteen ad hoc days throughout the year, plus six to eight weeks over the summer.

In line with the practice of 'bridging' days off when a bank holiday falls on a Thursday, taking the Friday off for good measure, the commission is expected to say it's hardly worth officials coming back to work after summer recess, with Christmas so close.

Autumn and the first part of Winter will therefore be 'bridged' from next year onwards, with eurocrats only returning from their summer break in the New Year.

Although, with Easter only three months away from New Year there are moves to bridge that gap too.

Which only leaves the intervening three months before the summer break starts again. That eventually may also be deemed to short a period for it to be worthwhile officials making the treck back to Brussels.

That blueprint would leave one Thursday afternoon in May (the following Friday is a Bank Holiday) pencilled in as the only period of activity for the Brussels institutions.

Commission spokesmen were unavailable for comment, as it's the second of three days off this week for EU officials.

Selfless eurocrats

Monday, October 30, 2006 | 2 comments »

A propos the post below (see below), there's a sign in the European Commission 'selfs' (self-service canteens) which raises an intriguing philosophical/ontological dilemma:

"Il est interdit de sortir avec le materiel du Self"

(tr. 'It is forbidden to leave with the material of the Self')


Judging by most in the commission, it's also forbidden to enter with the metaphysical essence of life.

According to recent dross from one of the unions, the staff of the Berlaymont and its outposts are "outraged" and "destabilized" as a result of the service from the heavily subsidised cafeterias and "selfs" (self-service canteens).

Berlaymonster highlights the biggest gripes, emailed out to 27000 staff last week, so you don't have to:

Staff are more and more unhappy (surely less and less happy?) with the services on offer.
The person who measures staff satisfaction vis à vis the cafeterias has noticed a dramatic fall from 76% to 68.5%. The "selfs" are faring a bit better, with a rise in satisfaction levels from 54 to 57.3%.
Sandwiches and salads are the least appreciated products.
The welcome on offer and the length of queues have "equally favoured dissatisfaction" (our translation).

Happily, a "solution seems close" because Mr. Kallas and his cabinet, presumably stuck for owt better to do, are "showing a certain sensitivity" to this matter.

Berlaymonster's heart goes out and offers to share its sandwiches with the disgruntled, moaning, greedy, overweight bags of shite peopling the corridors of the institutions with their £3.50 steak and chips and cheap half-bottles of plonk.

Hacks longing for brief briefings

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 | 1 comments »

The group representing the Brussels international press corps has finally woken up to what hacks have long known - the European Commission is BORING.

Representatives from the Association de la Press Internationale (API) met with the commission's head spokesman last week to complain that the daily midday briefings were unecessarily drawn-out and vapid.

"Journalists note that often statements made in the press room have no informative added value over and above the written material already distributed or made available," API said in a statement of its own this week, adding that the briefings were "too long."

Having been a fixture in the daily press briefing for years, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung correspondent and API rep. Michael Stabenow should know better: spokesmen have come and gone, and from time to time the story itself was more interesting than at present.

But pointless blather from the stage, and eye-rolling clock-watching from the hacks, has been a feature of the midday briefing since time began.

It's the cheap pressbar coffee and valuable pressbar chat after the briefing those in the know in the presspack really turn up for.

But the API complaint raises a valid, if belated, point. There has, it's true, been a renewed tendency of late for every spokesman with a tiresome jargon-ridden vacuous initiative to announce, insisting on coming on stage during the briefing to 'draw your attention to a press release outside' on it. And then proceed to digest the contents of said press release, or worse still, read it out for the gathered journos.

There are many things of which journalists can be accused - often justifiably - but illiteracy is not one of them.

(A small group of veteran British hacks (two) may, however, have found the solution: during the briefing itself they can be found indulging in idle banter and subsidised booze in the pressbar, occasionally (and only occasionally) turning their attention when pertinent to the live relay broadcast on a laptop hooked up to the commission's wi-fi...)

VP Verheugen denies favouritism

Thursday, October 19, 2006 | 0 comments »

Commission Vice President Guenther Verheugen has denied accusations of favouritism after the German press today finally broke their silence over his affair with his head of Cabinet - a job she didn't yet have when the dalliance began.

His spokesman said "Daddy absolutely refutes all claims of impropriety."

Spot the difference.

Thursday, October 19, 2006 | 0 comments »

'A young designer from Poland, Szmon Skrzypczak, has walked away with the top prize in a competition to design a new logo to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the EU. The 23 old student from Poznan in Poland who studies at Academy of Fine Arts collected his prize of 6,000 euro at a ceremony in Brussels co-chaired by Margot Wallstrom, Vice President of the European Commission and Alejandro Vidal-Quadras, Vice President of the European Parliament.'
European Commission, 17/10/2006. (The winning design was entitled 'Together')


'A poster designed by a young art student from Poland has been chosen as the winner of the 'Breaking Stereotypes' competition, part of the European Union's "For Diversity. Against Discrimination" information campaign. The design submitted by Aleksandra Woldańska from the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań, Poland was chosen by a jury of experts from across Europe as the most creative and thought-provoking entry.'
European Commission, 19/10/2006. (The winning design was entitled 'Together')

Today's award ceremony for a competition to design a poster to the EU's 'Breaking Stereotypes' campaign went well.

The winner was a young Polish student. And handily, she was in the commission at the time anyway, fixing the central heating.

German journalists reserved spaces at the bar.

The Italian journalists were late.

And the Brits turned up, asked how much it was costing the taxpayer, but then didn't understand the answer as it was in foreign. So they asked the question again, louder. Pointing.

Oddly this was the second European Commission graphic design award this week, following the announcement of the winner of the 'design a logo' competition for next year's EU 50th anniversary celebrations.

Is it just an excuse for commissioners to be seen gladhanding lithe young arty types?

Or is this perhaps a model for decision-making in the future?

Perhaps with all the trouble the EU has had legislating for the working week, or patents, or liberalising the service sector, the commission could simply open each initiative out to students to design their own legislation.

Then the one with the pertest draft proposal gets a trip to Brussels and a sweaty handshake.

It's a winner...


This is the winner of the "EU at 50" logo competition. It got the winner 6000 euros. Money well spent, says the EU. The rest of the entries can be seen here.

Not one to piss on anybody's parade, but there were more than 1700 entries from 27 countries. Is a typewritten mess by a 23 year old really the best they could manage?

So Berlaymonster is launching its own alternative logo competition. The great news is: everyone's a winner! The bad news is, no 6000 euro prize. You will have the prestige of seeing your "slogo" (quote courtesy one of Wallström's staff) online, and viewed by 250 visitors a day.

Here's Berlaymonster's effort to get you started:

So don't delay! Send your logo NOW to berlaymonster (AT) gmail.com

All entries will be published right here, and, as always, let us know if you prefer to remain anonymous ... ...

Make the most of our unrivalled network of press contacts, a formidable team of media professionals, and unparalleled global political clout to get your professional message accross.

Whether you're announcing a new CEO, floating a company, or launching a new breakthrough product, the European Commission can help YOU get your news in the public eye.

Only this morning, EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes was able to tell the world media about Microsoft's Vista launch ahead of the company's official announcement.

Let our commissioners be YOUR corporate mouthpiece.

(For reasons of conflict of interest, VP G. Verheugen can not speak for any automobile manufacturer other than VW).

A representative from the EU Commission today denied any reports that it was thinking of introducing mandatory sick-leave for employees.

This puts paid to rumours that workers will be obliged to pull twelve paid sickies per year if they don't want to be penalised by the taxman.

Currently Commission employees are allowed twelve sick days per year without a doctor's note, as long as there is no consecutive stretch of absence longer than three days. Recent "flexitime" reforms within the institutions mean that staff can "recuperate" up to 24 days of overtime during the year, or two days a month.

An average employee of the EU can therefore expect 24 days of regular holiday a year, plus up to eight for seniority, age, and place of recruitment, plus the Commission's own "public holidays" (more generous than member states - call it 15), plus their 24 flexitime days. That makes at least 70, or 14 weeks.

And the twelve "non-mandatory" days off sick? Well, they're entirely optional, for the time-being at least ...

Former president: boring

Friday, October 13, 2006 | 0 comments »

One unverified report sent to the Berlaymonster this week suggests that Ion Iliescu, former president of Romania, failed to capture the imagination of a group of MA students in Brussels.

Once his hour-long speech had been read out, the floor was opened to questions. Despite the sixty-strong gathering, not one single question was posed by the floor.

The situation was remedied by the conference organiser posing his own question. Iliescu answered at (great) length.

'Better EU budget transparency as Commission discloses beneficiaries of funding' the commission blurted today.

"As of today you'll be able to access information on beneficiaries of commission grants and tenders" a spokesman gurned.

Well hurrah, bunting and brass bands, the unstoppable onward march of transparency has finally started.

Or has it?

Is the commission actually making anything available that wasn't available before?

*Sigh*

"There's no legislation in force in the community to imply that any new information will be made available" the spokesman reluctantly conceded, the bunting suddenly soggy and the band brassed-off.

The initiative, it seems, is simply to consolidate the many impenetrable web sources for the information into two impenetrable web sources.

BM class exercise:

Here are the two new *par-ra-pa-paaaaa* 'transparent' websites. See if you can track down for example how much money EC subsidised 'information portal' Euractiv received last year...

Beneficiaries of Grants: http://ec.europa.eu/grants/beneficiaries_en.htm
Beneficiaries of Public Contracts: http://ec.europa.eu/public_contracts/beneficiaries_en.htm

You have 90 days and your time starts... now.

Following the publication of a series of open competitions for budding civil servants, a source at EPSO (the European Personnel Selection Orifice, responsible for the recruitment of all EU civil servants) predicts the following activity:

  • 24000 candidates will apply for the role of German, English, French, Italian or Portuguese conference interpreters. 25% of applicants will have Polish or Russian as their mother-tongue. 33% will claim that their mothers had always complimented them on their good French, despite having spoken it for only two weeks on a school exchange trip. The rest will be Italian. Estimated cost to the European taxpayer: 1350 man-hours and 160000 sheets of paper.
  • 65000 candidates will apply to be Lithuanian lawyer-linguists. 65 will be Lithuanian lawyer-linguists.
  • 6000 will apply for all other positions. Seven jobs will eventually become available and the posts will be filled by friends of the Commissioners' wives.

Taxpayer's money?

Monday, October 09, 2006 | 2 comments »

If you've ever wondered what the Commission does all day, this extract from the Official Journal will hopefully explain it to you. Scroll down to page two for the real treat.

Money for nothing?

Sunday, October 08, 2006 | 0 comments »

Lawyers in Brussels appear to have come up with a wheeze to avoid paying costly subscription fees to US financial news provider Bloombergs. The agency's local competition reporter sends a round robin email to any lawyer that wants to be included on the list with all his stories as they are published. One lawyer said he almost choked with laughter earlier this year when a Bloombergs salesman approached his company offering to sell the same news to the firm for $1,500 A MONTH. Evidently the trick is being repeated with other hacks though one wonders what Bloombergs paying clients make of it.

With tax levels high and rising across the EU, bureaucracy stiffling small businesses, house prices climbing out of reach for first-time buyers, countries unable to keep their deficits within the Euro-rules, what now is the European Commission considering to give the EU economy a much needed kick up the vitals?

What, pray, is preoccupying their multilingual little minds?

Moreover, what next can they tenuously tar with the brush of the 'Lisbon Strategy', that all-purpose nebulous platonic model of economic effervescence?

Having a drink.

Berlaymonster can reveal from an internal memo: look out in the next few weeks for proselytising from EUHQ with "the main policy objective to reduce the health and social harm due to alcohol consumption and contribute to higher productivity and a sustainable economic development in EU in line with the objectives set out in the Lisbon Strategy."

Pint anyone?

Commission Vice-President Guenther Verheugen clearly hasn't watched Yes Minister. In an extraordinary outburst in an interview with the Sueddeutsche Zeitung today he is corruscating about the behaviour of some officials, particularly the senior ones, in defying their political masters.

Below is BM's own botched translation of some of the juicy bits.

--

The size of the commission is "already a problem. The more commissioners there are the more DGs there are, and that is the problem. The whole development over the last few decades has ushered in such authority for officials [in the commission] that now the most important political task of the 25 commissioners is to control the apparatus. There is a continuous power struggle between commissioners and the top officials. Some think to themselves: 'the commissioner is going to be gone in five years, and so is just squatting here temporarily, but I'm sticking around.'"

"Of course this all goes on under the surface. The commissioners have to watch out that important decisions are taken in their weekly meetings, instead of officials carrying them out among themselves."

"Formally", officials are not actually taking the decisions. "But unfortunately it does happen that during contacts with member states or with the Parliament, officials give their own personal views as the opinion of the commission. That is the real bureaucracy problem."

For example, "officials have tried to agree among themselves such an important question as the use of pesticides. The commissioners only came to know about this question because all of a sudden there was disagreement between the officials. From then on it became an issue for the commissioners."

[bizarrely, he declines to comment on another issue in which officials are suspected of having taken too much initiative, namely savings banks. 'You're not expecting me to pass comment on this thorny issue' he tells the interviewer.]

"My theory is, that in general too much is being decided by officials."

[why so little progress in the 'bonfire of the regulations'?]

"I posed exactly this question before the summer break. And thereby criticised internally quite harshly some DGs, which obviously were not taking seriously the will of those at the top of the commission to cut bureaucracy, because the whole concept didn't suit them."

A European Commission official this week slammed a directive on child-safety car seats as "ridiculous".

In a letter to Commission en Direct (BM understands the translation for this is "Indirect Commission"), the institution's internal newspaper (circulation: many tens of thousands), Neil Bennett aired his angry views.

"It is a cold and lonely job being a British official," he began. "The EU is currently about as popular as a plague of head-lice."

He goes on to quote Tory darling Boris Johnson: "This EU directive, 2003/20/EC, arises because a few years ago some lonely and bored European Commission official was persuaded (no doubt by the booster seat industry) that in some circumstances children under 135cm would be safer with booster seats. So a directive was drawn up."

Mr. Bennett went on to suggest that "any slight improvement in child safety in cars will be more than offset by increases in car-fume pollution (leading to respiratory diseases)." This, because a car would need three booster seats to carry three children, a figure any one car is unlikely to have.

It is understood that a plague of head lice are considering legal action for defamation.

It's a phallusy

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 | 0 comments »

Has anyone else noticed the enormous 'works of art' round behind the European Commission press room?

There's one giant green canvas with, glued onto it, around 30 wooden dolls with large erect wooden cocks.

And because they've hung the thing so high up it doesn't even function as a serviceable coat-rack.

The Commission will no longer be issuing press releases on Saturday. They will instead release "non-news" for those poor journalists who are working when they should be at the pub.

This Saturday's single non-press release, on airline passenger data exchange with the US contained the following sure-fire maybes:

"Although the negotiations on a PNR agreement between the EU and the US could not be concluded ... have agreed that the negotiations will continue in a constructive atmosphere with a view to concluding an agreement as soon as possible ... it is in the interests of all concerned ... that a new agreement is concluded as soon possible ... In the meantime, the Commission urges the US to continue to apply the safeguards ... that were laid down in the now-lapsed 2004 agreement ... The draft agreement ... may be discussed during the 6th October meeting of the Council of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers ..."
And who says nothing ever happens?

Three chancing liggers were denied access by European Commission security guards on Friday to a cocktail reception in the Berlaymont building to celebrate Reuters' photojournalism or somesuch.

The freeloaders were turned away at the metal detectors as the exclusive drinkies were by invitation only.

So how then to get in? How to get their hands on these treasured glossy passports to free bubbly and rub shoulders with the high and mighty?

A pile of spare invitations it seems was helpfully left at the commission's reception desk ...

Cheers Reuters!

*hic

Getting the drinks in ...

Saturday, September 30, 2006 | 0 comments »

Who's behind the latest spats of Rohypnol-laced lagers in Brussels' expat hangouts? Latest victims include two drinkers at Ralph's on Place du Luxembourg, and at least one incident at "@ Seven", at the Mirano. All three young ladies were hospitalised.

Which amorous Brussels-based consultant-cum-novelist is seeing his foreign escapades played out in a blog on tawdry women's rag Glamour's website?

David vs ... er ... David

Tuesday, September 26, 2006 | 0 comments »

Britain is set to give up and/or defend its veto on justice and home affairs, apparently.

The axis of David - the respective Brussels reporters for the Times and Telegraph - has bucked the trend for 'cartel correspondency' with each Dave filing vastly opposing views on majority voting moves in EU justice policies.

David 'EU' Charter, The Times' newboy in Brussels teamed up with Times Brussels oldboy Anthony Browne to bluster last Thursday that Britain was 'set to give up its EU veto on law and order' ('The Times understands' is the cited source).

Cue David Rennie, the Telegraph's embedded journalist at EUHQ, in his blog the next day:

"Some reports, notably a piece in The Times yesterday, sensationally predicted British ministers would today 'set out their conditions'” for giving up the veto."

"In conversations with several well-placed officials, from more than one country, I am told that is flat wrong, and that a decision has been taken in Downing Street, albeit very recently, that Britain will not go along with giving up the veto."

ooOOOOoh.

Rennie's playground thumb-biting aside, are to we believe Charter's 'understanding' or Rennie's 'well-placed sources from more than one country'?

BM is inclined towards neither. So ner.

EU plans "EU" in Dubai

Monday, September 25, 2006 | 0 comments »

Following the success of "The World" in Dubai, EU officials have approached the developers, Nakheel, with a plan for a luxury offshore development called "The EU".

Initial proposals include 25 individual "member states", actually man-made islands, each with an eight-bedroomed villa, jetty and series of guest-houses.

Other amenities include room-service, helicopter landing pads, tennis-courts and jacuzzis.

Although the price is high - Malta and Estonia start at 28m AED and 42m AED respectively (roughly 6 and 9 million euros) - the advantages are clear; anybody purchasing a property at The EU will automatically become an EU citizen, and enjoy free movement throughout the union.

Said a joint spokesman for DG Enlargement and External Relations, "it's not only a great way of promoting Europe abroad, but also a fantastic resource for boosting EU funds, as we can enlarge to 50 countries without the normal associated costs."

It is understood, however, that take-up is slow. The annual charges, which include a 30 million euro contribution towards the Common Agricultural Policy "Special Fund", are putting off prospective investors.

From The Witloof:

"A young European Commission official was controversially evicted from up-market Rue Dansaert eaterie ‘Bonsoir Clara’ for breezily saying “bonjour” as he arrived to claim his pre-reserved table."
Read the whole story here

Parts of the European Commission risk implosion as the vacuum of activity becomes too much to sustain matter, and with it, human existence, a top scientist has warned.

Professor Carlos Hinch, in an advisory report for DG Admin, has said lack of reform has left a number of individual units within the Commission completely incapable of supporting the very fabric of existence.

Top of his list for local-level inward collapse is DG Admin's own D/3 Human resources and internal reform Unit, whose 22 staff could disappear altogether through pathological and vocational torpor.

Those running 'General Aspects of Structural Policy; Enlargement' in the Commission's Fisheries Directorate are thought to be already in an advanced state of material annihilation, while Hinch delivers a similar warning for DG Employment and Social Affairs' Unit on 'Working Conditions, Adaptation to Change.'

The entirety of DG Enterprise and Industry meanwhile is at danger of gradually folding from the inside unless its political leadership can find anything of substance in the post-Lisbon Strategy. Hinch claims that jargon creation alone for the time being is currently staving off oblivion.

His calculations also predict that Margot Wallström will disappear in an existential whisp of smoke around February next year as the sheer lack of any point to her overpowers the structure of her physical manifestation.

Do you have any examples of inactivity within the bowels of the beast? Send them posthaste to berlaymonster AT gmail.com. Anonymity assured.

The experts speak

Saturday, September 23, 2006 | 0 comments »

From the BBC.

"Have Your Say - Are Romania and Bulgaria ready to join the EU?"

"ABSOLUTELY NOT!
they are way behind any civilized countries, dirty, dangerous, villages without electricity and pluming, no highways,bandits, corruption from the government to the last policeman. Did you see any Hospital? did you visit their Casinos and Brothels? any Pharmacies? any trains? any public rest rooms? any open markets? any schools?
FORGET ABOUT IT !!!!! may be in another 50 yrs or so ! Admitting them, it will be a slap on other former ex communist countries !!!"
- Minodora Pancu, Orastia Mare

"We will be importing trouble. The British are being sidelined, particularly the English. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have their own Parliaments. England as to share its Parliament with everyone. The English have allowed themselves to be ruled by outsiders Scot, Welsh an Irish for too long. We need and English Parliament for English affairs and the right to say who comes and goes in our Country."
- richate1, England, United Kingdom

"How many MORE scrounging vagabond rubbish are we expected to put with?
WE have more that enough of OUR OWN TO WORRY ABOUT!
NO MORE !!!!"
- Tina, UK

The European Constitution is to be rewritten by Richard Curtis, award-winning screenwriter of Love Actually, Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral.

In a bid to "reconnect with the citizen", European top-dogs have approached the millionaire scribe with what both parties are referring to as "a very exciting proposal".

The draft, currently in pre-production, will feature a handsome, bumbling Englishman who falls in love with his Polish cleaner, two Hungarian artists backpacking around the Low Countries, and, in what is seen as a nod to future enlargement plans, a Turkish restaurant owner.

"There'll be something for everybody," said a spokesman for the writer, "whether you're more at home in a tapas bar in Madrid or a drab Communist housing estate in Berlin, you'll find somebody you can identify with."

The Finnish Presidency has put its full weight behind the project, possibly in return for a cameo role as a traffic warden.

FilmFour, the production company, issued the following statement: "The Constitution was rejected because it was inaccessible. By pepping it up with a few swear words, self-deprecating humour, interwoven narrative and a happy ending, this version will win the hearts, minds and wallets of the citizen."

Richard Curtis' Constitution (15), running time approx 687 mins, in cinemas from May 9th, 2007.

EU staff in strike threat

Friday, September 22, 2006 | 0 comments »

Proposals to cut 2000 jobs at the European Commission have prompted the institution's trade unions to issue warning of a strike.

With the exception of the fat beggar on Schuman roundabout who voiced concerns over a day's lost earnings, nobody who could be contacted this afternoon gave a shit.

Homeless and hapless

Friday, September 22, 2006 | 0 comments »

Which former editor of defunct "satirical" magazine, The Sprout, just weeks after its closure for financial inviability is now emailing around his "friends" asking for storage space for household goods and then changing his telephone number? Rumours of eviction are entirely without merit.

A letter to the last edition of the Commission en Direct, the EC's internal waste of newspaper, which BM won't quote here because, frankly, it's too long and dull, proposes the following theory:

  1. The Parliament cuts the Commission budget.
  2. The Commission therefore has less to spend on catering.
  3. Food in the Commission canteens goes from bad to worse ...
  4. ... so Commission officials go to eat in the Parliament.
  5. Only the Parliament doesn't let them in.
And this is a devious and underhand manner of point-scoring which makes victims of all Commission officials.

Mr. Barroso is then called on to appeal to the Parliament. We won't hold our breath.

Signed Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells DG Justice, Freedom and Security.

A senior EU official has been injured in a high-speed attempt to introduce new EU laws.

Using a new and barely tested expedited procedure, Dirk Goelfink suffered a severe knee-jerk reaction while trying to usher in emergency regulations.

One colleague said Mr Goelfink was 'crazy' to try and steer the draft law through so rapidly.

The European Commission chose not to act swiftly in response, fearing further casualties. An ad hoc working party will report back to DG Admin next Spring with their interim findings before an online stakeholder consultation with the aim to present a green paper on the options for inaction with a view to presenting any necessary proposals on a change in the expedited procedure by year-end 2008.

Take a chance on me

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 | 0 comments »


Very rare photo of Wallström karaoke session, courtesy of Elaib

The Centre's Annual Bishop Bash

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 | 0 comments »

Spare a thought for your host this evening, prodding away at his left-handed keyboard, while the rest of the Eurovillage gathers chez La Adamson for his annual smarmfest at his consultancy The Centre. And while BM was left off the invite list, the Financial Times will almost certainly have received the lucky Golden Ticket to gorge on Paul Adamson's hospitality - judging by an item in today's Observer column in the pink'un.

Somehow the paper's diarists have seen fit to make a mini featurette out of the Adamson bash, citing him as the 'eminence grise of the lobbying scene.' When he started in Brussels 25 years ago, the column gushes, lobbying barely existed. Now 'there are thousands of private lobbyists and Adamson remains at the forefront.'

His 'Think-Do Tank' (it's still a consultancy, stupid) The Centre even gets a prominent mention as 'a fixture on the Brussels policymaking circuit.'

While others in the European capital choked on the froth of their cappucinos on reading the extraordinary paean, Adamson will have been basking in the triumph of his second morning glory of the day, perhaps while an FT diary editor fumbled endearingly with the great man's flies beneath the desk, just in case his future directorship at The Centre wasn't quite yet in the bag.

EU institutions "gay-friendly"

Tuesday, September 19, 2006 | 2 comments »

With an openly gay Commissioner, the institutions of Europe have never had to deal with allegations of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Berlaymonster can reveal that they plan to go one step further with the announcement of "Pink Week", scheduled for May 2008.

Although details are sketchy at the time of going to press, it is thought that the festivities will include book-readings in European capitals, tea-dances and golden showers.

When asked if the European Union was "essentially homosexual", a spokesman for DG Communication said, "That's probably going a little far."

DG Competition has been turning away droves of schoolchildren from across Europe.

The sad youths often leave in tears when they discover that the competition is no fun, there are no winners and, crucially, there are no prizes.

One angry schoolteacher, who was in Brussels with eighty of her pupils last week, said "It's disgusting! The kids have been looking forward to this all year. I'm pulling them all out of the European Union as soon as we get home."

Margot Wallström's distress

Monday, September 18, 2006 | 2 comments »

Margot Wallström's distress on collapse of Persson government.

Exiled peroxide hamster Margot Wallstrom struggled to contain her trademark public grief this weekend as news came through of the collapse of Goran Persson's centre left government in Sweden's national elections.

Aides grimaced through her personal sadness as the EU Commissioner for Chaff told reporters that the PM's ignominious slide from power 'couldn't have happened to a nicer persson.'

And the news that 'doughboy' Persson would be stepping down in March amid the shame of defeat filled her 'with no glee whatsoever.'

'It's all I can do to stop laughing through the pain.'

CNN demote Gordon Brown

Monday, September 18, 2006 | 1 comments »

Internal memo: Gordon Brown is no longer to be known as "Chancellor of the Exchequer". Interchangeable nomenclature has been deemed too distracting for viewers. From now on please only refer to "British finance minister".