Schulz as an Ewok is a little bit priceless...
Mice are "small" and mock your cling film, memo reveals.
An internal memo warns of an incoming mouse invasion at the European Parliament's offices on the aptly named "Square de Meeus" (imagine a very, very, very posh person saying "mouse").
"If we do not make it more difficult for them, they will stay - and multiply," says the (frankly a little bit right-wing populist) email warning. The punctuatory pause for emphasis is from the original.
The little critters, we're told, "laugh" at our attempts to cover foodstuffs in paper or plastic film.
"Please report mice to Erik," it continues. He, we're reassured ominously, "will take measures if needed."
|Gone. But not forgotten.|
In a shock announcement in this article, self-proclaimed erratic EU satire furball Berlaymonster has called for EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker not to step down.
Former Luxembourg PM Juncker has faced calls to quit following revelations he did some things that weren't nice or something and others also did within the law but anyway boo hiss down with him etcetera.
A source close to this blog, me, told this blog, me, "anyone seeking his departure is a kuñardocz, and appears to have forgotten the last sorry, miserable, stultifying twenty years of commission presidents."
"This guy sounds like FUN" I told me.
"Let him stick around."
A compromise replacement, I told myself under strict condition that I quoted myself fully, "would inevitably land us with five more years of just whinging about how boring he or she is."
In the short term, BM said we were "far from done" with coming up with punning alternatives to Juncker's name or passing snide comments about his chief of staff.
And looking to the coming months and years, "imagine how much more material I'm going to get out of this, if the first fortnight of his tenure has been such a rich seam of funnery."
"Besides, if he goes, what am I going to do with all these pre-prepared photoshopped Juncker heads I've got on file for future tenuous news-themed mock-ups?" I asked, incredulously.
But then lunch wore off.
[*satire typing mittens off - this one's for real, folks*]
Has the Lancashire lass from mining stock got 'erself all airs and graces now she's livin' it up in that-there Brussels as 'igh-rep? La-de-dah.
Flabbergasted staff in her EU 'external action service' are wondering if they've been suckered by some elaborate prank, after being invited to a farewell 'coffee' for the departing peer.
To start with the invite is in Comic Sans. Although that's the least awful thing about the email.
The choice passage is highlighted in shouty red letters with a stern underlining (tho still in cuddly Comic Sans).
"The Cabinet has indicated that HRVP Ashton will come with her own coffee/tea mug and is expecting us to do the same", the invite blurts helpfully.
"Please note that the HRVP does not usually sign autographs: kindly refrain also from taking selfies."
The invite isn't explicit as to whether a light touching of Her hem may be permissible, or if, as a goodbye treat, minions may leave their shoes on in Her presence.
(*hat-doff to the several people who brought this to BM's attention/inbox*)
|"Let me go, |
I have a quasi-governmental superstructure to run."
Former Danish deputy PM Margrethe Vestager has clearly been taking tips from Darth Labour himself, Peter Mandelson.
Vestager appeared before MEPs this week in a confirmation hearing to become European commissioner for naughty companies. Or something.
A couple of hours into the questioning she reached for a piece of chocolate, and then blithely mentioned it in passing as a casual segue into a reply about dynamic tech markets. Or something.
So relaxed. So spontaneous.
So similar to UK candidate trade commissioner Peter Mandelson's hearing in 2004.
That moment, (reported at the time by the FT and Telegraph), was also recalled more recently by Brussels laughist Geoff Meade.
In a blog entry only last week, he reminisced how:
"When Peter Mandelson was quizzed about his designated trade dossier years ago, he casually but calculatedly produced a bar of chocolate during questioning and ate it. The point was to display the FAIR TRADE label on the wrapper. Genius!"
Could she really? Would she have? Did she heed the Meade? Did she hark the prince of Darkness?
Either way, it worked. Look at them lap it up.
"An actual serious politician! With actual chocolate! And a pertinent if forced reference to her field of expertise!"
Judge for yourself:
|This Charming Man|
Brussels, Brussels, Brussels.
Let me tell you a cautionary tale, in a slightly patronising tone.
Many, many years ago, when the EU was much smaller, and when Directorates-General had numbers, and people wore hats and carried newspapers, there was a European Commission change of guard.
It was a simpler time. EU leaders had chosen the Commission President without troubling the proles, in a smoke-filled backroom that was actually smoke-filled and, indeed, at the back of the building.
They each then submitted their respective commissioner candidates, for what were pretty well-defined portfolios.
There was no speculation that transport could be split between "steam-powered" and "combustion". No notion that Employment and Social Affairs could be handled by one Officer-Class Commissioner for white-collar concerns, and a rank-and-file Commissioner for blue-collar policies.
It was "fish; farm; films; foreigners; and miscellaneous flimflam."
Just a small hat of names, another small hat of jobs, and the parlour-game was to pair the name with the job.
Then, on the eve of the planned final announcement, one newspaper - that shall remain nameless - boldly trumpeted its prediction of who would get what position.
The page-lead spread was illustrated with beaming faces plastered onto a giant wagon-wheel depicting the lucky gravy-trainers and what first-class seat they'd be languishing in for the next five years.
It was confidently based on a cast-iron leak from the most reliable of sources, with the source document stamped with a date only a day or two previously.
But, a day later, when the formal announcement finally came, the vast majority of that newspaper's forecast proved haplessly inaccurate.
Even with the only variables being name and job, a late change to one combination meant a knock-on change to another. Which meant so-and-so was no longer content that whatsisface was getting suchandsuch, so thingumybob had to call in ladida and explain that dieda was getting dingsbums so that ... etc.... etc....
Many years and several administrations later, here we are, days from a possible announcement on a new change of guard.
The candidates are more numerous. Some are not even known. The positions are more proliferous, and aren't even fixed.
Agriculture could still be divided between things that bleed and things that don't. Climate-change could go to two commissioners: one for 'places getting drier', another for 'places getting moister'. And 'culture and media' could get rolled into an overarching copyright-reform dossier (OK, that one's just pure fantasy).
And yet despite all these variables, despite all these unknowns, despite the incoming commission president not having even interviewed all the candidates yet, the purported certainties are flying thick and fast like fruit flies.
And fruit flies, as we know, aren't very fast, but are quite thick.
So just sit back, have a gin, and await the announcement.
Perhaps start work on that that thriller you've always said you'd write.
Just don't base it on this.
There's never going to be a movie called "The Juncker Quandary".
No snark here. Just a list of the candidate EU commissioners and links to their wikipedia entries.
Jean-Claude Juncker Lu
Frans Timmermans NL
Maros Sefcovic SK
Marianne Thyssen BE
Vytenis Andriukaitis LT
Kristalina Georgieva BG
Neven Mimica HR
Corina Cretu RO
Jyrki Katainen SF
Andrus Ansip EE
Jonathan Hill GB
Johannes Hahn AT
Federica Mogherini IT
Dimitris Avramopoulos EL
Karmenu Vella MT
Frans Timmermans NL
Cecilia Malmström SE
Tibor Navracsics HU
Carlos Moedas PT
Alenka Bratušek SL
Günther Oettinger DE
Phil Hogan IE
Valdis Dombrovskis LV
Margrethe Vestager DK
Pierre Moscovici FR
Elżbieta Bieńkowska PL
Miguel Arias Cañete ES
No no, don't thank me. Pay me. Preferably in gin.
Time to award the European Commission's tech-and-telco department another one of these.
Repeat offender DG Connect has published a report on Net Innovation following a meeting of sector experts earlier this year.
It's littered with such jewels as:
The EU tech-sector's future:
At worst, mythical.
At best, a short-lived
Following further additions to - and omissions from - the Wurstfest that is the new European Commission line-up, here's an update. More to follow as fresh saucisses arrive.
Look! I done a news!
*satire mittens off*
Claims for more money from contractors working on the EU's new 300 million-euro 'Council' headquarters could push the project over budget, according to a memo announcing further delays to the edifice.
The "Europa" building at the heart of the Brussels EU village has been ten years in the making. It was intended to give national government ministers and officials more room for their regular EU council meetings.
It has earned the nickname of "Herman's Egg," after the current head of the EU Council Herman van Rompuy, and the curious egg-shaped structure at the centre of the building.
Council staff were supposed to get the keys for the place at the end of July 2013. But that deadline was delayed first until the end of 2013, then until mid-April this year, and now until mid February next year, a council memo says.
But even that deadline looks to be in jeopardy. The memo warns that according to the contractors' own schedule, "the earliest date on which the Europa building could be operational and occupied would be January 2016," i.e. another ten months after the new deadline just agreed, and two and half years later than initially planned.
And while the building is currently on budget, the memo cites a previous in-house update on the construction project, which warned that "two contractors have submitted applications for further compensation ... for various unforeseen services rendered, indirect expenses and damages in addition to the construction cost."
If the Belgian public-buildings office, overseeing the Europa project, finds in favour of the claims, the disputes "could result in a budget overshoot," the council has warned.
*satire mittens back on again*
Juncker and Farage flirt today in the European Parliament.
Farage later called him a "sociable cove" with a "better sense of humour than most I've come across in Brussels."
UK PM David Cameron has ended months of uninteresting speculation over who he'd nominate to be Britain's next EU Commissioner. And he's ended it uninterestingly.
In a clear bid to secure one of the least important portfolios in the next EU administration, he has chosen Jonathan Hill, Baron Hill of Oareford.
You know, the lobbyist who went on to be special adviser to Ken Clarke and political secretary to John Major and then became a lobbyist again and then became a lord. Him.
Here he is, acquainting himself with the EU Stationary Cupboard he's going to be in charge of for the next five years:
Poor Juncker is having some stresses,
In finding commissioneresses,
If he doesn't install
Any women at all,
Half the men will just have to wear dresses.
(previous effits here and here)
UPDATE this just in from @CraigWinneker off-of the twitters:
OK, it's never going to be a bestseller, but I couldn't resist it...
New from BM-Tees:
Il y avait un homme called Sarkozy,
Whose existence to date était rosy,
Mais today we all heard
It had all gone to merde,
Quand les pesky ol' cops got all nosy.
(latest news here)
Europe is in crisis today - again - after it transpired that everything that could feasibly be written about EU top-job candidate Jean-Claude Juncker has now been written.
With the crumpled Luxembourger not even confirmed yet for the European Commission president job, journalists have already run out of words to use about him.
In any combination or order, factual, speculative, or completely made up.
Having exhausted absolutely all things Juncker-related in recent weeks, editors are wringing their hands over what to write if he actually gets the position - which has a five-year term.
"We've shot our wad, rather, haven't we?" said one newsman.
"We've even used foreign words, but we're now finding we've run completely dry."
Journalists are hoping Juncker develops a new hobby, such as knitting or collecting Dr Who figurines, either of which could be spun out into several column inches of supposition about his character or suitability for the role.
This just in, after a previous limerical effort earlier this year involving the Man Who Would Be President:
There once was a man called Jean-Claude,
Who by the PM was abhorred.
The others insisted.
Just give him the job now, we're bored.
Following Juncker's triumphant tweet today that he is "more confident than ever that I will be the next European Commission President," BM thinks it's perhaps time to create him an anticipatory 'Mr Potato Head' figurine.
Incumbent commission boss Jose Manuel Barroso, and his counterpart at the Council Herman Van Rompuy, earned themselves potato heads of their own, after their social media teams - for reasons of twitter-based brevity - decided to abbreviate "President" to "PDT" - also a common brasserie-menu shortening of 'pommes de terre'.
So here, with only a modicum of unwieldy exposition, is the aspirant...
|Jaune but not forgotten:|
Monet's poisonous irises
|Carcinogen Red, from the Rembrant range|
EU top spud Barroso has been at it again, meeting the dissatisfied unwashed.
It didn't go so well in October last year, when he was wheeled out to meet some actual Belgians. That rencontre resulted in some egg chucking from protesters and one of the most masterful dismissive waves performed by an ungruntled local.
At a speech at Humbolt University in Berlin today, he was again interrupted by shouty students blurting the cause for 'solidarity' as he crowed about how the PIGS and other countries were now out of the economic mire.
His effort to grin and bear it is tragi-comic. The debate chairman's polite plea of "if you could just be quiet and listen" is teutonicomic.
There's something a little bit awry in the world when politicians are
cut and pasting borrowing campaign ideas from the world of satire.
Possibly, and I'm not ruling this out, there's something wrong with the satire itself. A period of reflection and claw-sharpening is possibly in order.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed this morning, Jean-Claude Juncker, the centre-right's self-proclaimed candidate to be next European Commission President, admitted to his lack of tech credentials. But he said he nevertheless had a vision for getting Europeans all on the interwebs and playing Crazy Birds and Candy Smash on the iPadphone thingies for jobs and growth. Or something.
The op-ed was timed to be released alongside this video, playing up JC's olde-worlde charm as a counterpoint to his deeply-held belief in the kinds of technical things that a man of his age needs different glasses and a protruded tongue to operate.
|*SNARK* - |
Insular and incestuous?
Or playing the game and expanding its reach?