Haiku competition

Friday, November 20, 2009 | 5 comments »

Tepid on the heels of BM's limerick efforts some time ago (see here) Celebrate the appointment of our two glorious leaders on the world stage: write a Haiku.

For inspiration, here they are in all their glory, and here's a few lines of doggerel to get you started:

Most interesting thing
And useful at that, his name:
Five syllables long

The magician says
Pick a card, pick any card,
Anyone but Blair

A woman and man
In the glare of autumn sun
But who are they both


No. Comment.

Friday, November 20, 2009 | 6 comments »


Blair fury at EU snub

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 | 0 comments »

Twinkletoes entertainer Lionel Blair has reacted with outrage at a French-led snub to his ambitions to become EU president.

The septegenarian star of stage and the small screen is understood to be 'incandescent' at his effective early exclusion from the race to be the continent's figurehead.

Close friends say he would have been the best head the EU could have wished for.

But while it was clear he was now not going to come first, he was not in the habit of withdrawing, they confided.

He still hopes to pull it off in the face of his critics.

With Blair all but out of the running, Christopher Biggins is now favoured to get the plum job.

A complete shower...

Thursday, October 29, 2009 | 1 comments »

French diplomats today responded with an interesting excuse to accusations of fiscal irresponsibility for spending 245,000 euros on the construction of a never-used shower in the Grand Palace : it was art.

[insert 'allo 'allo accent here]

"Of course it was never used. It was never intended to be used. The shower was an artistic not a functional installation. A visual demonstration of Gallic strength, never to submit to the weakness of frequent washing, not like those sappy Americans with their power showers and baths the size of Versailles.

The stench of our armpits is the stench of power. And Sarko is the strongest of all. When Carla hugs him, she has tears in her eyes. Tears of a woman experiencing that 'strength' close at hand. We wanted the world to see him not showering, and cower before us."

"You think only the Czechs can do satirical art? Mais non, monsieur." they added, before flouncing out the room in a cloud of Chanel.

No wonder the Belges call deoderant a 'douche francaise'.

The original work of 'art'.

Bless 'em, they're at it again. The European Commission is misfiring with its celebrity endorsement once more, and has ended up looking like, well, a bunch of middle-aged civil servants.

Which, of course, they are.

They should therefore not be trusted with trying to communicate with 'da yoot'.

It will come as no surprise that in order to "mobilise youth before the UN [climate change] conference in Copenhagen," the EU has enlisted ...

... a group of thirty-something American popstars who peaked ten years ago.

The Backstreet Boys, formed in 1993 and voted number one band in Germany in 1996 (among other accolades), are to give a concert on 7 December in Copenhagen "in front of hundreds of young people" (yes, HUNDREDS), coinciding with the opening day of the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

The intention is to 'raise awareness among young people about the dangers of climate change and the importance of having a European Union response to it in the run up to the UN Climate Change Conference' it says here.

To be be superciliously earnest for a moment, somebody may wish to point out that European young people are likely more than aware already of the issues. It's the middle-aged civil servants, politicians and industry leaders who seem not to be getting the message.

Perhaps they should be shipping in Phil Collins and Chris Rea instead.

Now can someone please fetch a step ladder to help me down. This horse is jolly big.


The EU's troubled draft new treaty is a step closer to coming into effect, with the Irish electorate starting to warm towards the document.

In a referendum today, the Irish delivered Brussels a resounding 'maybe' to the reform treaty, softening from the firm 'no' delivered in the previous plebiscite in June last year.

A solid 40 percent of voters today ticked the 'perhaps' box on their ballot papers: a decisive swing away from the 53.4 percent who said 'feck off' last time round. Outright support remained the same, with 46 percent opting for 'grand, so.'

Jens Smarmo of EU think-tank the European Centre for Chin-Stroking told the 'Monster:

"On the one hand it's still not a yes, which is a disappointment."

"But on the other hand opposition does appear to have dwindled. It may only now need one more referendum, or at a push two, to finally win them over."

EU lawmongers welcomed the result with largely unusable quotes.

They said they would "study" the results "carefully" and that it was "too soon" and "premature" to "enter into a debate" about the "hypotheticals."

Others just quacked and limped away.

Pro-Treaty campaigners - both of them - said the "encouraging display of ambivalence sends a clear message."

That message from the Irish people was interpreted as:

"We're starting to realise it doesn't really matter, and we don't really care, now please stop asking us."

Speakie Ingleesh?

Monday, September 21, 2009 | 6 comments »

Moliere is turning in his grave and Goethe can be heard chuntering in his vault. Dante, meanwhile, is shaking his fist from the terraces of Mount Purgatory.

The European Commission has triggered their ire with a fabulous display of linguistic ineptitude.

This week, Friday 26 September is 'European Day of Languages'. Did you know that? Was it in your diary already? If not, why not, and shame on you etc.

In a programme published today for the week's activities (yes, the European 'Day' of Languages is to last a week), the commission trumpets a 'business platform', an awareness campaign entitled 'French, a rare language?', a 'fun' computer game on languages, and a conference on early language learning in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.

The programme, however,

is only available in English...

See it in all its monolingual glory here.

The European Commission has proposed EU member states urgently stockpile reserves of tomato soup and rice pudding, in a bid to counter the mounting flu pandemic.

It also issued harmonised definitions of the illness depending on the severity, ranging from 'a bit of a sniffle' to 'will you stroke my forehead.'

The Heinz tomato soup and Ambrosia rice pudding should only be deployed as a response in individual cases when the illness reaches the critical tipping point of 'I can't cubb to work today.'

In recommendations to the member states, the commission also called for broadcasters to guarantee minimum standards of daytime telly.

Brussels is clearly still a novice when it comes to celebrity endorsement.

British politicians are deep into an era of cosying up to the bold and the beautiful, while their French counterparts go as far as to marry them.

But the European Commission's efforts are hit and miss.

There's the occasional Almodovar appearance on support for cinema, Rem Koolhaas and Umberto Eco have contributed to efforts to define 'European' culture, while Sir Bobby Charlton and a wealth of Manchester United and European football stars were wheeled out to mark the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome.

So what campaign, pray, would the commission choose to hang off Spanish cycling legend Miguel Induráin?

Perhaps the five-time Tour de France winner would be linked to an anti-doping initiative, timed to coincide with the current Tour?

Or a string of pan-European anti-smoking ads?

Noooo, not exactly.

The sporting hero was instead drafted in to help choose a new European logo for organic food...

He joins a jury of design, marketing and biofood experts drafted in to select the winning logo.

And his suitability for the campaign is explained tenuously by the commission as he is "the son of a farmer" and "has had a lifetime to polish his nutritional knowledge, and has personal experience of how this should be applied in practice."

"His determined athletic spirit and strong feel for a beneficial diet provided valuable help to the jury in deciding which logos best represented organic products and which will be put forward to the final stage of the competition."

*snap* oops, stretched that one too far. Why not mention the, er 'organic cycle' or the, erm, 'biocycle', and the ah, erm, 'long road' down which we have 'ridden' towards traceability and labelling Europe-wide for organic food.

Look out for David Beckham's endorsement of new EU banking capital requirements and Penelope Cruz being recruited to back new regional management plans for North Sea pelagic stocks...

Feel then, with BM, the sweet irony of this headline from the the commission's own research directorate's website, which trumpets "Research says celebrity endorsements fail to meet expectations."


*cracks open a can of genetically modified beer*


BNP: have a bath, please.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009 | 1 comments »

Everybody refused to sit next to the BNP's goggle-eyed lard-arsed members of parliament in Strasbourg yesterday.

Diane Dods, the Democratic Unionist, refused to take her place next to "MEP" Andrew Brons for the inaugural session in the chamber.

Diane Dods refused to comment, but a trusted insider said "actually, it's more a body-odour issue than anything else. It's like those two fatties haven't had a bath in months. It was much better sitting next to Edvard Kozusnik, who'd cycled all the way from Prague hadn't changed his clothes."

It seems that Ms Dods wasn't alone. "Stinky" Nick Griffin and his sidekick have so far failed dismally at finding enough like-minded MEPs to form an official group.

Members of Jobbik and Attack (sic, really) went off the record and said "no way would we share a meeting room with them. Griffin's always shouting, his breath is awful and he sweats a lot, whilst Brons smells like he hasn't changed his nappy for days."

The nappy comment, however, was deemed unfair. It seems like a deliberate act of political sabotage led to the European Parliament publishing the following biography of Brons, and there is no evidence at all to suggest that he's only one month old.

Made us giggle (and do a little pooh) though.

BM the Oracle

Tuesday, June 30, 2009 | 1 comments »

Should we start to worry when spoof articles turn out to be true?

In April last year 'Monster flippantly tossed off a little number entitled 'UK to table 'tick-box' candidate as new EU commissioner' (read it in all its mediocrity here).

In it we quoted a fictional UK official as saying that "the PC choice of a chick for commissioner has to be the way forward" and that the candidate would benefit from being "of a beige complexion or darker."

Over a year later The Times this week - Gordon Brown's tome of choice for leakage - is reporting that Baroness Vadera is now hotly tipped to be the British nomination (see here).

This has been, the paper says, in part in response to pressure from commission president Barroso, who in securing a second term is keen to surround himself with the ladies (something else BM has noted before, see here and here).

Lest we get too carried away, however, BM also predicted Downing Street would go for someone with a working class background and a knowledge of modern British street patois. Two out of four ain't bad (unless her reference to 'green shoots' in January was a drug-related slang term that somehow passed us by).

Russia's controversial new envoy to NATO clearly likes journalists: perhaps a little too much. Like in the grotty step-uncle or choir master kind of way...

Thank you to one BM faithful who forwarded us this email from the Russian Mission to Nato's press office:

"Dear Colleagues! [N.B. the adolescent use of punctuation is all Russia's own. ed]

"Unfortunately we have to cancel the Press Conference tomorrow.

"We apologize if this influences your plans and convience you of Dr.Rogozin's friendly feelings :) [re: emoticon, c.f. note above. ed]

"Best regards,

"Russian Mission to NATO Press Office"

UPDATE BELOW - eight people hospitalised.

Workers at the Council received a concerned email yesterday afternoon. BM only got the French version, which has been roughly translated below:

Food poisoning*

Anybody who had grilled tuna or swordfish at the Blue Room restaurant of the Justus Lipsius building and who is now feeling a sick, please get to the infirmary. If symptoms become present when you are at home, please get in touch with the emergency department of your nearest hospital.

It would be wise to indicate that your health problems are probably linked to eating fish.

Symptoms may include rashes, a lowering of blood pressure, tingling and difficulty breathing.

The medical service would like to be informed as soon as possible.

Thanks for your cooperation."

More news if and when we can find any.

Thanks for your, erm, cooperation.

***UPDATE 11h30***

10 people ate the grilled tuna, and eight were hospitalised. Seven of those were released the same evening, with one person staying in for observation. The "Agence féderale de la chaine alimentaire" immediately started an investigation and results are expected in the next 48 hours. It seems that it's a "histamine poisoning" and probably linked to a "rupture de la chaîne du froid" - or a breakdown in the "cold chain".

Anybody who hasn't yet exhibited symptoms has no need to worry. It seems that effects of poisoning came on very rapidly.

*Intoxication alimentaire

Les personnes ayant consommé du poisson grillé (espadon ou thon) à la salle bleue (grill) du restaurant du Juste Lipse et qui présenteraient des symptômes de malaise voudront bien soit se rendre auprès du dispensaire soit si les troubles surgissent à leur domicile prendre contact avec le service d'urgence de l'hôpital le plus proche.
Il conviendra d'indiquer que probablement les troubles sont liés à la consommation de poisson. Les manifestations peuvent être des rougeurs, une chute de tension, des picotements, des difficultés respiratoires, etc.
Le service médical souhaite également être informé dès que possible.
Merci de votre bonne collaboration."

The European elections are just around the corner.

What normally happens is this: every five years, a small number of people stand for European Parliament, where they sit for five years. Rather like a dull game of musical chairs.

To make it more interesting, they get outside judges (the "electorate") to vote for them.

Unfortunately, given the decline in voter interest over the last few years, the mandarins of the Brussels courts have determined that we need "change we can believe in" and have implemented an ambitious plan to boost electoral participation by "jazzing things up" a bit.

Berlaymonster can announce that from next week, all wannabe MEPs (from now rechristened "mepstars") will have to audition in front of a live studio audience, and three celebrity judges.

The judges are still to be confirmed, but the current shortlist includes Silvio Berlusconi, Dana International, Katie Price aka "Jordan" and Neil Kinnock (who used to work in Brussels).

The mepstars in waiting will have to perform six simple tasks, including one ventriloquism act, one musical number as chosen by their political rivals, a recital of the Treaty of Rome, three- or four-ball juggling, basic accountancy and a "Crystal Maze" style puzzle based on the interinstitutional decision-making procedures.

The competition, which including heats, semi-finals and finals, is slated to last no longer than eight months, and the 785 winners, will take their seats as soon as their contracts and sponsorship deals have been signed.

It is hoped that the new format will bring new voters to play, particularly in the Brussels region, where despite their being quite a lot of expats who know quite a lot about European politics, only 4% have bothered to registered to vote in the European elections.


In other news, New Europe has identified the main suspects in the riddle of the Berlaymont Blazes, and Kim Bah Lee gives a geopolitical history of the EU's smallest member through the medium of the Eurovision Song Contest.

'Monster finds oneself out on the pavement yet again, this time after a flood hit the Berlaymont EUHQ.

Following the fire that prompted last week's evacuation, the European Commission is now understood to be considering ulcer and locust insurance.

News reports blame this latest incident on a 'faulty boiler'.

And there's us thinking Vivian Reding had left the commission to campaign in the European elections ...

Attempts by EU industry commissioner Gunther Verheugen to 'slash and burn' unecessary Brussels regulations came to a soggy end today, after Belgian firefighters were called in to dowse a smouldering pile of red tape at the EU executive's headquarters.

The German commissioner's campaign against bureaucracy has been frustrated at every turn by recalcitrant senior officials in his command (as BM previously reported here).

But senior eurocrats had apparently been unaware that when Verheugen promised a 'bonfire of the regulations' four years ago, he would eventually resort to actual pyromania.

Two framework directives on low frequency spectrum management and a number of Combined Nomenclature customs codes definitions are understood to have been lost to the fire.

Further legislative texts may have incurred water damage during the brief, and frankly undramatic fire fight.

The illegally-logged Indonesian timber lining the Brussels HQ's lavish corridors, however, is said to have survived in tact.

Berlaymonster, too, is alive and well, but will be filing for personal injury benefit for a bit-of-a-cough picked up during the evacuation.

However, with officials taking the rest of the day off, and Thursday and Friday being holidays for EU staff this week, expect most of us not to show our sooty faces again until next week.

Enjoy the long weekend.

Barbecue round BM's place anyone?

From time to time the 'Monster feels moved to cast off its satirical typing mittens [patent pending] and plunge its delicate talons into the foetid world of 'fact'. The ensuing will make you do one, some, or all of the following:

- Chuckle
- Tut
- Fulminate
- Seek a cushy EU job on an Italian lakeside and then fall over.


14 EU fonctionnaires investigated for suspected injury benefit fraud have been awarded an extra 3000 euros each from the taxpayer, after it transpired the EU's fraud watchdog failed to tell the accident-prone civil servants that they were to face criminal proceedings in Italy.

The ruling is the culmination of investigations dating back to 2002 into suspected widespread benefit plundering at the EU's Joint Research Centre, based out of the Italian town of Ispra on the shore of Lake Maggiore.

In an initial 2002 audit, 230 JRC eurocrats - one fifth of the total headcount there - were found to be claiming a permanent partial invalidity.

5.7 million euros were disbursed to the accident-prone staff between 1996 and 2002.
On average this worked out at around 25 000 euros each.
But many gleaned much more.

The audit discovered 46 members of staff collected 35 000 euros on average, 23 more than 50 000, eight claimed more than 80 000 and one or two cashed in almost 300 000 euros from the injury benefit system accorded to those on the European Commission's payroll.

76 of the 230 even had the misfortune to suffer a second accident, increasing their claims.
But 42 of them ...
42 ...

42 members of staff out of little over 1000 ...

declared AT LEAST NINE ACCIDENTS EACH between January 1986 and July 2003.

That, according to the EU fraud office OLAF, 'could appear, at first sight, suspect, and should be the object of an indepth review' (sharp-as-a-tack, OLAF).

But on referring the case to the Italian judiciary to conduct an investigation under local penal law, OLAF neglected to inform the mishap-ridden fonctionnaires.

That, the EU's court for civil service employment disputes ruled last week, was in breach of their rights of defence, and awarded the 14 who brought a complaint 3000 euros each in damages.

[*puts mittens back on, taking care not to snag the wool on one's claws*]

The European Commission today indicated that the deadly swine flu had spread to works of fiction, prompting panic measures to shut down bookshops and libraries.

Some authors, too, were put under isolation in order to contain a potential epidemic being passed on.

A spokeswoman for the commission said the condition should now be known as the 'novel flu virus'.

This was, she said, "to avoid misunderstandings" that led to worldwide consumer and stock market panic that 'swine flu' would blight the pork industry.

However the comments instead sent shares in major book retailers crashing, while people known to be avid readers reported being treated with even greater suspicion than usual.

Health authorities put up exclusion zones around branches of Waterstones, while certain governments issued advice to only take "essential reading" of the extended narrative form, made popular in the 19th century.

Online booksellers recorded a peak in poetry and non-fiction sales, as wary shoppers sought alternatives to the blighted genre.

The misunderstanding prompted an urgent statement from EU health commissioner Androulla Vassiliou many hours later, reassuring that novels were "perfectly safe."

Aporkalyptic twitter

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 | 1 comments »

A sigh of relief across Europe as the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC), the Commission and the Member States agreed a common definition for cases of novel influenza virus A(H1N1). Action indeed.

Meanwhile, in an effort to inform the public, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) [shouldn't that be ACDC? Ed] has begun an emergency twitter feed, offering essential information and updates such as:

"CDC reminds you that you can NOT get swine flu from eating pork"

Useful information indeed.

There's no use calling the CDC hotline, however.... you'll just get crackling.

EU Existentialism?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 | 4 comments »

A senior Commission official, sitting in the European Economic and Social Committee, at the launch of the European Integration Forum:

"The added value of this Forum is that we now have a Forum."

Well quite.

But if the Committee of the Regions develops an opinion and nobody listens to it, does it really develop an opinion?

Answers, please.

Rapex. Never a great name.

Monday, April 20, 2009 | 1 comments »

Commission offend sensibilities of most ordinary, thinking people.

DG Health and Consumers (DG SANCO) have caused international outcry by naming a public health initiative "RAPEX".

Dealing with potentially dangerous non-food consumer products, RAPEX, apparently, protects consumers (people who buy and/or use things) from hazards such as choking, chemical burn and electric shock through a series of alerts.

It's not clear who came up with name, and nobody would go on record, even to say that "it sounded like a good idea".

These alerts have been around for several years, it seems, although nobody noticed it until today, when the press pack were urged to "Keep Kids Safe with RAPEX":
After intensive investigation (googling "rapex"), the Berlaymonster can reveal that the name was developed almost simultaneously, in South Africa, by the manufacturer of another consumer protection product, who has since had to change the name of her product to avoid people confusing the two initiatives.

The "RapeX" anti-rape condom sports sharp plastic barbs on the inside of the sheath, to "non-fatally" and "non-lethally" cause inconvenience to perpetrators of sexual assault.

It's unlikely to be available within the EU, but we'd like to think that if it were, it's exactly the kind of thing that RAPEX would let us know can be incredibly bad for your health.

Look at this photo carefully. There are five people in white coats and three or four prone bodies, seemingly recipient of some medical intervention.

This photo was taken by one of our undercover agents in the European Parliament yesterday, and has been the source of tiresome tireless speculation at 'Monster Towers. What is going on?

Putting aside fanciful suggestions about chimeras, cloning, sleep deprivation and clinical trials, we got down to some real journalism and have a definitive answer.

It seems that the powers-in-charge are preparing for the bloodbath of the European elections by forcing all at the EP to donate a pint of the red stuff.

Some hardliners have already opted out, including one notable MEP who said "I have an assistant for that kind of thing". The assistant in question is currently in convalescence.

Parliamentary claret has special properties, it seems. Doctor Hans von Mengl, the medic in charge of the operation, said "the blood collected during these sessions may be stored longer than normal samples, given its particularly high ethanol content".

Europe is in danger of slipping into an era of unprecedented cliché, experts have warned.

Jargon levels are at an all time high, while hackneyed metaphors for the global situation have also reached record levels.

With the storm-clouds of analogy hanging ominously over the continent like a leaden simile, Europe risks falling into a period of platitude not seen since the trite expression of the 1930s.

Brussels has launched a competition for those EU commissioners who want a second term or a seat in the European Parliament, as the institutions undergo a changeover later this year.

For the half dozen or so commissioners who are vying for another five years in the first class carriage of the gravy train, they are now under starter's orders to deliver as many speeches and press releases as possible over the coming weeks and months in order to build profile.

Extra points are awarded to those who manage to elbow their way into subject areas that are not their core competence as commissioner, in order to broaden their perceived scope of expertise and ready them for a wider range of opportunities in whatever new positions come up for grabs.

On your marks ...
Set ...

OH and it's a false start from Reding...

Needing the toilet whilst in the European Parliament, a reader found a comfort station by PHS 7G20. His eyes focused on a prominent notice over the urinals that said:


Under which, some wag had written:

"Why? I've got an assistant for that."


Wednesday, February 18, 2009 | 1 comments »

The EU press room's leading sleaze-buster and smoothie drinker is off - EU news just got less interesting ...

The Sunday Times' Nicci Smith over the years has struck fear into the hearts of MEPs and fonctionnaires alike with her talent for exposing their naughty fiscal wheezes. An overview of her output puts to shame the 'Monster's own rather limp and cowardly excuse for critical satire, with notable exclusives on MEPs creaming off expenses and allowances and a delicious undercover sting operation on a senior EU trade official.

Investigative stories on exploitation of workers in Dubai, homeless children in Bucharest, and buying a baby in Bulgaria, meanwhile, caused trouble - of entirely the right kind - beyond the Brussels beltway. These were recognised by Amnesty International when Smith was shortlisted for a human rights award last year.

Lest the 'Monster be accused of becoming too earnest, however, here are some further highlights from her coverage in recent years, as chosen by friend and colleague David Charter (off of The Times), in kind words delivered at Smith's leaving do this week:

And from her coverage of the 'Film Lovers Will Love This' YouTube clip put together by the commission depicting sex scenes in EU-funded films, she managed to elicit this quote from a commission spokesman:
Henceforth, Smith can be found in India, doubtless continuing to hound officialdom, expose social injustice, and keep us entertained with tongue-in-cheek, journalistic miscellany.

Eagle-eyed Alex Koronakis at New Europe ran a flattering piece on the 'Monster a few days ago, libellously suggesting that we are a "well-known blogger".

He asked whether the commission pulled the plug on the EU Circus Campaign after the 'Monster ran an article "critical" of an initiative that seeks to insult the intelligence of every European over the age of about seven. (Although BM suggests that we never really get to the heights of "critical", but rather "damning with little-to-no praise".)

Unfortunately, it seems, we don't yield that kind of power just yet.

In a letter republished by Mr. Koronakis from the commission's webteam, Tony Lockett says "We would like to reassure you that the withdrawal of the article about the campaign that appeared briefly on the Commission's homepage on February (sic) had nothing to do with the Berlaymonster post."

Phew! Now that we're suitably reassured, he goes on to say that there were "a few factual errors" in the original copy that needed replacing.

Sources close to Berlaymonster have indicated that these errors may have included mention of the word "circus" when "farce" was intended.

Crackpot regimes around the world have been forced into a rethink in their recruitment policies for double agents, after the European Commission publicly rumbled them for placing 'pretty trainees with long legs and blonde hair' within the EU institions.

"Bah!" said one foreign security chief with a comedy generic middle-eastern and/or Russian accent, shaking his fist.

"You may think you have weakened us, but we will return, stronger," he threatened.

"You will not be so lucky next time."

Hostile nations are now expected to turn to short, ugly, mousy candidates for their moles within the institutions.

- In separate news, following the commission's unmasking of existing double agents as attractive young women, it is understood that 70 percent of all assistants in the European Parliament have been taken in for questioning.

The staff offices of most centre-right male MEPs this afternoon were conspicuously empty.

Tis the season to be jolly... the EU silly season to be exact.

With Parliamentary elections a mere four months away, the majority of Commissioners readying to hang up their self-importance (can Reding's hair survive a third term?), and lobbyists finding increasingly eclectic justifications for their billing hours (team-building sudoku, anyone?), now is the time to release the action plan, public awareness campaign or legislative initiative that just wasn't good enough for the first, second, third or even fourth work programme.

First up, the Commission's effort to completely trivialise serious issues through gimmicky use of everyone's favourite form of exploitative entertainment: the EU Circus Campaign.

"The EU has ... launched a campaign to raise awareness of social rights. During 2009, cities across Europe will be staging circus-themed events about social rights. The campaign is inspired by “social circus”, an educational movement that uses circus arts as a teaching tool to help troubled youths. For example, the theatre company involved in the event in Lisbon works with school dropouts."

Yes, because high school drop outs never become actors...

BM isn't sure what it was about circuses which inspired this campaign. Was it the social exclusion of clowns? The extreme poverty experienced by carnies (you know, smell of cabbage, small hands)? The wage gap imposed upon bearded and tattooed ladies? We can only speculate...

Second, the Commission's Action Plan on Sharks. Now, we're not sure about you, but BM hasn't spent a huge amount of time ruminating on how the EU can take action on sharks. Belgian bankers...yes. Sharks...not so much.

However, once set on this train of thought it didn't seem like such a bad idea.... laser-headed sharks protecting our seas from Somalian pirates and the ever-present fear that Robert Maxwell will emerge from the water... a crack team of commando-sharks, capable of knawing on the most hardy of sea-bound dictator... But no.

Joe Borg unveils his evil "action" plan at a press briefing, Thursday.

Apparently: "human beings are now a far bigger threat to sharks than sharks ever were to us." Clearly Joe hasn't seen Jaws. So instead: "the European Commission has decided to help protect these vulnerable predators."

Vulnerable predators? Vulnerable predators? Ah, the EU Commission. Developing sustainable oxymorons since at least 2003.

So in the name of all that is pointless, in this year of kicking heels and waiting for the next roster of gormless self-serving fools to arrive, BM invites you, dear reader, to submit your entries for most creatively irrelevant initiative 2009. Better yet, invent one. Seems they'll fund anything....

China in your hand...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 | 1 comments »

Updates from Permanent Representations are rarely newsworthy, but BM woke on Monday morning to 'Issue No.9 of the Mission of the People's Republic of China to the European Union Newsletter'. It invited the 'Monster to read a speech. And not just any speech. A potentially explosive one.

"On January 17,Ambassador Song Zhe, Head of the Mission of the People's Republic of China to the European Communities gave a welcome speech at the Touching China Pubic Reception."

I don't want anybody else, When I think about you I touch myself, I don't want anybody else, oh no, ooh, oooh, oooooh, aaaaaah....
Sigh, some posts just write themselves.

The staging for the 2006 Touching China pubic ceremony left attendees in no doubt as to what to expect.

A new rhyming slang term is born ...

'Monster left the security of its lair within EUHQ today, only to be horrified at the new level of depravity to which the banking sector seems to have sunk.

Upon meandering innocently into the local branch of KBC bank to make a tally of the mounting untaxed income, BM was confronted with this brochure:

The 'KBC Banker' in question appears to be quite excited by the prospect of splashing out on a new home insurance...

(Click on the picture to see it in all its glory)

We got a comment!

Read it at your leisure (or don't). A young lady writing on behalf of the "European Citizens' Consultations" Snorum asks "if it is possible to put the logo AND the banner of the German and Austrian website, on Your website;"

Well, the logo was already pushing it, darling, and your grammar didn't win you any friends. However, we admire your gumption, and particularly the daring lack of quid pro quo. In return for publicising your slightly obscure waste of time, you offer us ... no ... what? Nothing at all? Aaah, OK, it's all in aid of the European panacea, so we'll be happy to indulge you.

Her next request is more straightforward. She wants to know if we'll put a link to the blah blah Consultations blah blah on the EU Observer.

We can certainly arrange that for you. We've had a chat with the folks at the EU Observer and all you need to do is send us a cheque for 15.000 EUR, made payable to the Berlaymonster. We will not issue an invoice, do not expect a receipt.

Her correspondence goes on, but it involves phrases like "ongoing consultations" and "NGO partners", and, frankly, we were bored to self-harm at the end of the first sentence. It's all we can do not to rearrange our own facial features just thinking about it.

So if you're in the mood to send us a self-serving, badly-copy-pasted and inappropriate request, we'd ask you to consider a small donation to the 'Monster's running costs.

Or a go on your mum.

EC is full of cocks

Thursday, January 22, 2009 | 2 comments »

European Commission embraces rude art too...

The Czech Presidency of the European Union will take some small succour from the knowledge that they are not alone in unwittingly commissioning potentially offensive works of art (see 'Monster's corruscating satire on the 'Entropa' installation scandal, and tireless round-the-clock coverage of the debacle from Bruno Waterfield off-of the Telegraph).

The European Commission, too, is courting controversy with a large 'work of art' tucked away around the back of its press room.

The questionable masterpiece was first spotted by the 'Monster three years ago (see here), but, armed now with a digital camera and with the Czech presidency faux pas fresh in mind, BM thought it fit to bring the oeuvre to your attention anew.

It fluctuates tantalisingly between sacreligious polemic and lewd school-desk graffiti, bearing, as it does, 30 wooden dolls splayed in a crucificial form, and all with what can only be described as large, erect wooden cocks.

A glorification of Europe's Christian heritage? ('our icon's got a bigger knob than yours')

A novelty coat-rack?

Pretentious critiques in an email please.



A reformed EU treaty supposedly put together by Europe's 27 heads of state has been exposed as a hoax, following high profile controversy surrounding the document that infamously put noses out of joint in certain European countries.

European commissioners, leaders, and parliamentarians alike were red-faced this morning, having been taken in by the elaborate prank, which kept them preoccupied for years, and threatened to drag on for many months to come.

The Czech Presidency of the EU is currently trying to decide how to deal with this major embarassment.

Critics from countries who feel they came out badly from the work are already calling for it to be dismantled.

The unnamed architect of the mischief told the 'Monster it was "time to draw the joke to a close."

"Pulling the wool over the eyes of the entire European political elite was a wheeze, I have to tell you, kuñardocz", he confided.

"But ordinary people were being dragged into the prank, and that wasn't the idea."

"Mobilising entire electorates to vote on whether there should be an effective dissolution of the three-pillar division in EU policy making and the mandate of an EU high representative, was kind of killing the humour."

"Then to force them to vote twice was really no longer funny, so I decided to pull the plug."

It's a wonder it wasn't spotted earlier ...

Hear that? It's the delicious 'WHUMP' of worlds colliding...

EU judges have been called upon to rule whether the seedy (ew...) cabins at the back of sex shops for masturbarians to peruse the porn industry's latest celluloid releases can be considered 'cinemas'.

A sex shop based in the Belgian city of Brugges has been caught out by the tax authorities trying to pass off their onanular grumble flick booths as justifying the same reduced VAT rates as yer local Odeon or Multiplex.

And the Belgian courts have now asked the European Court of Justice to lay down the law on the matter.

Seems to BM an ideal cover for eurocrats, court officials, judges and lawyers alike to indulge in a lot of absolutely essential 'research' for this very important case...

There's probably no cod

Monday, January 12, 2009 | 3 comments »

Always one for a little subterfuge, man-sticking-it-to and iconoclasm, as well as getting the backs up of folk who take anything too seriously, BM has been a great fan of the Atheist Bus Campaign in the UK.

The campaign raised close to £150.000 to cover the UK, and its buses, with adverts claiming that "there's probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy your life".

We'd like to jump on the bandwagon and ask our loyal reader/s to contribute to our own campaign to cover Brussels with our own version of the poster, jazzed up to feature our favourite Maltese Fisheries commissioner Joe Borg.

Donations can be sent by PayPal, postal order or pigeon. Excess funds will be ploughed into the Captain Birdseye retirement fund and/or embezzled.

Two men speak

Thursday, January 08, 2009 | 3 comments »

Earth-shattering event prompts world's shortest press release

The Czech government, as of 1 January now holding the EU's six-month rotating presidency, has issued a statement following a conversation between the Czech PM and Barack Obama.

Here it is in its entirety: (don't laugh - size isn't everything...)

'Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek spoke with the American President-Elect, Barack Obama

The American President-Elect Barack Obama spoke on the phone with President of the European Council Mirek Topolánek. He was thoroughly acquainted with the priorities of the Czech Presidency and expressed his support of the Presidency.'