Back from Berlin & alumni meetings

I’m back from a cold weekend in Berlin. I love the city, I’ve spent some 5 month living there in 2003, when I did the internship with the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). I’ve previously also spent 2 weeks attending the summer school of DGAP in 2002. And work brought me to Berlin very often in the past years…every time I go there with pleasure.

But to the weekend. All the participants from the various Summer Schools, New Faces Conferences and people that have spent working at the DGAP, are tied into the Alumni Network that is being supported by the DGAP’s International Forum on Strategic Thinking. And we had a great Alumni meeting in 2005, now followed this weekend with its 2nd Edition. The concept is good and it provides both a bit of intellectual stimulus and some fun. Continue reading

Macedonia goes to court

This is an interesting development. For those out there following the case of Macedonia (too long to call it the Former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia + countries should be allowed to call themselves as they see fit), this is a development of considerable interest. So, Macedonia brought Greece to court (MK government’s announcement here, short news here) because of the principle “pacta sunt servanda”. Greece recently blocked the invitation to Macedonia to join NATO and so here we go…after 17 years the issue will land on the International Court of Justice desk. Continue reading

TV on-line – why bother with subscriptions?

I have started to watch TV more often again. Normally, if you would want to watch TV as an expat, you would need to install a satellite dish on the roof and buy a decoder that would bring you your channels home. However, nowadays, there are other options.

1. Octoshape (http://www.octoshape.com)

This is the first such piece of software that I found. You install it and it makes wonders – streams on-line many TV channels, for me most useful: TV Slovenia 1 & 2 for Slovenia and RTV 24H and RTV Docu for Spain. Continue reading

The Balkan Monitor and “Copenhagen minus”

During the Slovenian EU Presidency we did some nice things on the Balkans – some credit goes to us (thanks UroŇ°) for the drafting of the final Declaration on the Western Balkans (PDF) that was part of the European Council conclusions in June 2008. Thanks to those poor guys negotiating our draft through then – many thanks to you as well, I know it was not easy:)

The Balkans are even more central to my current job. And today we organised an internal screening of the “Return to Europe” documentary on Albania, even the Commissioner Olli Rehn joined us. I’ve seen the documentary before and today met part of the team behind – from the ERSTE Stifting and the European Stability Initiative. The Albanian piece in particular is good and above all positive. As I spent some time there in summer 2007, I know how the place looks like. True, Albania has been remote from Europe for far too long, but it has been growing impressively. A country that was subject to a complete chaos in 1997 nowadays looks relatively modern and on the way up. Something to be proud of – many thanks also to people from MJAFT. I wonder if such a civic movement would work in some of the EU countries…Make sure you take your time to visit the website www.returntoeurope.org. Continue reading

Sorting out is finished, back to writing!

So, life is now almost back to normal. As I’ve written before I’ve spent almost 12 months back in Slovenia working for the EU Presidency and the time there was very precious. This blog was the first victim. I’ve then moved back to Brussels and started to work for the European Commission, in the DG Enlargement.

There were so many things in between worth describing that I will try to do that separately, for now the idea is to come back to regular writing. As always, the focus will be Slovenian politics, but I will try to follow regularly EU politics and some IT stuff. The new Slovenian government is just about to be appointed, so there will be plenty of funny stories available soon. Continue reading