Archive | October, 2017

Why are we losing to Farage

24 Oct

Farage won. We could argue if it is a pyrrhic victory or not. Regardless, for now, Farage won. A sociopath, a clown, a racist and arguably a corrupt man won against the Europe.

His lies but also his rude and aggressive attacks against European Institutions have triggered more often than not laughable replies. If somebody calls you an idiot a polite reply in a mind-numbing Euronarnian jargon helps nobody but proves to many that Farage might have a point.

The European institutions are weak.

The European Commission with few exceptions is lead by politicians that are mediocre at best. A good part of them are vulnerable to attacks due to their previous political lives in parties that were or are struggling with corruption scandals and nepotism. Some are simply a liability and most are far from being even a small asset for the European Commission. As it is the case with many Director Generals, Juncker has the political intelligence, vision and charisma of a multilingual boot. Recently, in Romania he met enthusiastically and completely illogically with some of the most corrupted and toxic Romanian politicians.

The Romanian Commissioner is an embarrassment for the European Commission and she is far from being an exception.

It is true that some of the smartest public servants available work for the Commission but they are a minority. A good number of them happen to be British. Unfortunately their intelligence is often in strident discrepancy with the intellectual capabilities of their politically appointed leaders.

The Commission is also stuck in a losing paradigm. The European Social Funds should well be called the Harry Potter Funds as a good part of funding allocations is based on a remarkable but inexistent ability to read the future.

The way the funding process is designed is a nightmare for anybody that wishes to change the realities at the grassroots and the way its priorities are implemented is even worse. The Commission together with (often inept) national politicians managed to create an industry of fake solutions based on fake reporting and wrong incentives that makes lying at fancy conferences and seminars and not hard work in the communities to pay off.

Afraid of not losing their budgets, services within the European Commission prefer to finance the same type of projects that proved to be great on paper and mediocre if not disastrous in reality.

The same types of problems are to be found within all the other intergovernmental organisations with the important distinction that nepotism within is slightly or much worse.

Depending financially on the support of some of the biggest abusers of human rights such as Russia and Turkey and ravaged by corruption scandals within the Parliamentary Assembly the Council of Europe is a good example of a great idea risking becoming a joke due to an increasingly dysfunctional institution that is unable to reform itself.

The European Parliament is no exception. The most popular European politician leads the third biggest party and had no chance whatsoever in the elections for the president of the Parliament. A close ally of Berlusconi with similar qualities as Juncker is holding that position.

But not the weakness of European Institutions is the main problem. I will argue that a culture of lip-service, an obsession for finding always the minimum common denominator and a major lack of spine is what puts in danger the European Project.

Imagining that Russian propaganda and shrewd populists and extremist politicians can be fought with an incomprehensible diplomatic jargon and financial sweeteners is as delusional as pretending that the European Union is fine and we should keep the existing status quo.

Reform is needed. And that should start with inspiring leaders. Timmermans is one but he is far from enough.



Protected: The Harry Potter funds

16 Oct

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The industry of fake solutions

3 Oct

I hate staying within rules. My mother thinks I was born a disruptor. She says it with pride like her stubbornness paid off and she lived her life as the Queen Elisabeth and not as an abused and poor Romani woman. Anyway being a disruptor, is clearly a brilliant (and arguably) genetic choice as being a Roma/Gypsy would not have sufficed.

For the last many years I was, paradoxically, employed or involved in the activities of some of the most elitist political bodies. Enjoyed greatly being a misfit. Not as much as I enjoy writing about the experiences I had to the dismay of the high level bureaucrats, politicians and diplomats I worked with. Some of the opportunities, I guess, came because I was a Gypsy and having a Gypsy on the payroll shows some kind of commitment to human rights.

During these years I had the “pleasure” to meet many morons, sociopaths, vulnerable or easy to blackmail, corrupt, mediocre or spineless leaders. I also met some very polite thugs in incredible power positions. Most of the times those were surrounded by rather decent people that decided to validate a catastrophic institutional culture based on lip-service, shameless praise towards the authority and vicious gossip to release accumulated frustrations.

People that are fully dependent on ridiculous salaries considering the efficiency of their actions. People that will not hesitate to make incredible compromises for the sake of keeping their own position and rationalise their choices in order to fit their positive bias.

I also did have the chance to meet some truly exceptional people, some, in positions of leadership. Those, unfortunately, are just the exception to the rule.

For most of these years I kept a diary. Recently I was invited to talk about trafficking. I talked about the industry of fake solutions. An industry built on talks and imagined solutions from very expensive offices, based on reports that have little to do with reality. About the hypocrisy around the refugee crisis, the stupidity in the way we tackle prostitution and begging.

And I remembered something.

In my last job I was told that what I write doesn’t fit with the institution I was supposed to represent. That I am “more like a foreign body “within the institution and that I need to adapt to the ‘organisation’. The guy telling me this was a retired ‘diplomat’ that worked all his life in the same institution. That used his privileged personal relationship with one of the leaders of the institution to obtain a position that he had no qualifications whatsoever for it. It was done in order for him to get a higher pension.

I realise that indeed compared with him and many others I am a foreigner and I kind of like being one.

I decided that I will write a monthly episode about the industry of fake solutions. Most probably I will start writing about a stupefying meeting with a Director General of the European Commission.

Too many ‘emperors’ are not just naked but toxic for our democracies. Most, I believe, even if they try could not get a grip on reality or change their ways. Lip-service is not going to save anything but a culture of hypocrisy. Corruption is not going to disappear if we continue to imagine there is a silver line in any disastrous project financed through public money. Yes there might be value even in a turd but not if it costs more than the horse it produced.

Well intended bureaucracies and NGOs that rationalise the corruption of politicians, that totally or partially close their eyes to nepotism and incompetence as well as blatant abuses against Human Rights in order to continue to have access to funding tend to end up being a reason for the problems and not the solutions of Europe.

These following articles contrary to most of what I write are not pamphlets. On 4th of November will publish the first one.