Monthly Archives: January 2008

Viviane Reding likes VIPs

OK, here are some rumours straight from Brussels:

Apparently Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for information society and media, has quite an impressive self-promotional strategy. Of course she is a very important Commissioner who has a very busy schedule; no doubt she is in charge of a very important portfolio and has achieved quite a lot! She has been a member of the European Commission since 1999 (!) … yes .. indeed she is a VIP! (And I don’t know whether she is considering a third term…)

speech_erg_athens_2_t.jpgBut being a VIP is difficult and to work with them is even more problematic! So how to deal with VIPs? If you are organizing a conference, seminar or something similar and you want her to speak at this event, make sure that you invite other VIPs preferably ministers, other (also former!) Commissioners, well known MEPs, and CEOs that run global enterprises …. oh yeah and don’t make the mistake to invite anyone who might oppose Reding’s policies! It is obvious that Ms Reding does not want to sit on a panel with people that are “only” important but lack the “V”(incl. specialized staff, mangers, scientists, advisers…let alone citizens)! If you have doubts whether somebody is acceptable as a panelist I am sure her cabinet can help you! By following these rules it is very likely that Ms Reding will eventually speak at your event!

Somehow not a very convincing communication approach! But rumours are not facts.

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Kosmolinks #10

Here we go again! A (small) selection of interesting links I collected during the last few weeks:

Two articles that remind us of the last couple of years in US politics: Think Progress » The legacy of Bush’s presidency & Iraq: The War Card – The Center for Public Integrity

Here is an interesting article on The Unravelling of Russia’s Europe Policy

Brendan Donnelly writes on the Social Europe Blog about The Reform Treaty and its Impact on the EU Institutions

ECAS blog asks: Why are there transitional arrangements for Romanian and Bulgarian workers?

The Centre for European Reform analyses Poland’s bold new foreign policy

And last but not least, two research papers: The role of UK academics as security
‘experts’ for news media
and Leading think tanks in the world (.pdf)

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I have to get ready

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Now online: The official Kosmopolit Universe

Finally, I own a whole universe (at least virtually)!

www.netvibes.com/kosmopolit

Check it out! I haven’t really decided what to do with it, so maybe it is a good idea to check the ‘universe’ in a few days again! I already have some ideas, so stay tuned! Originally I wanted to post my blogroll in one of the tabs but somehow it was not working…

At the moment you find everything you need to know about Kosmopolit (blogposts, comments, links, videos,…) as well as a small selection of Euroblogs.

Update 25/01/08: My universe is experiencing some turbulences, somehow it must have disappeared in a wormhole… hope it is coming back soon!

Update 26/01/08: The “forbidden universe” is still there…. hope the netvibes team is able to solve it soon…

Update 27/01/08: Still not working…. :-(

Update 28/01/08: It is up and running!!! Thank you, netvibes!

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EU forces iTunes UK to cut prices

Even though I am not a big fan of iTunes this is good news for consumers in the UK:

Apple is ditching its policy of charging UK consumers more than other Europeans when they buy songs from its iTunes service, following an EU antitrust investigation. The computing giant announced this morning that it will cut prices at its UK iTunes store within six months, bringing them into line with iTunes pricing across Europe.

The move is a significant victory for the Which? consumer watchdog. It prompted the EC’s antitrust proceedings against Apple last year by complaining that British customers paid almost 10% more than those in the eurozone.

So, within 6 months there will be a 10% cut in prices for music download on iTunes UK. Here is the EU press release. At the same time a cartel case against big record companies was dropped because the Commission could not prove that record companies were imposing these sales arrangements on Apple.

I think this is a good example how the EU can actually help consumers in Europe. It would be a good opportunity for the EU to communicate this success in the UK in a clear and concise manner. (The press release is not a good example for that…). But positive EU news usually disappear rather quickly. At the end of the day Apple will run a big advertising campaign to promote lower prices which will probably boost sales. It must be frustrating to work in DG Comp.

Another interesting issue in that context is whether this decision will have any implications on the proposed Commission consultation on how to deal with the online content industry in Europe.

Update 11.1.08: Today David Miliband writes about this issue (Europe Makes a Difference to People’s Lives – Shock) in his blog and reckons that this story “will bring a smile to the Prime Minister”.

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Shopping in Belgium

As we all know, Belgium is a shopping paradise where you can shop 24/7 (some irony included). The good news is that winter sales have started today; and the third day of the year is reserved for this local tradition (sounds better than: ‘It is strictly forbidden to advertise any sales before’)!

Anyway, many shops prepared for this special event in a rather surprising way: shops closed yesterday around 4.30 pm (!) in order to prepare the sales. Of course this is rather annoying for the customers, but since this is Belgium we should not be surprised… and this is only the tip of the iceberg! To get the full picture about sales and competition principles in Belgium read this excellent article in The Economist:

During the twice-yearly pre-sales blackouts (there are also summer sales) a hundred inspectors from the Belgian economics ministry scour the country for advertisements, window stickers or price tags that even hint at discounts. A Prohibition-style speakeasy culture has sprung up in response. Gambits include putting question-marks on price tags and advertising “friendly prices”. Chic boutiques in Brussels telephone favoured customers or send them “privilege cards”, inviting them to pop in for an early visit. Controls must be “extremely severe” to ensure that the rules stick, explains Robert Geurts of the economics ministry, who glories in the title of director-general for regulation and organisation of the market. Inspectors receive many tips by telephone as rival shopkeepers denounce each other.

If all this sounds fundamentally illiberal, that is because it is.

(More…)

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Kosmolinks #9

Goodbye 2007, hello 2008!

So, what happened last year? … of course a non exhaustive list ;-)

The Top 10 Stories You Missed in 2007

An Interview with the “Person of the Year 2007″: Putin and the Time Magazine

Can it get any better? well, we have to wait and see:

Awaiting us in 2008…

The world in 2008: a year and an era | openDemocracy

The EU will have to deal with the ratification process of the “Treaty of Lisbon”:

The Treaty of Lisbon – How much ‘Constitution’ is left? An Overview of the Main Changes

Understanding the Lisbon Treaty

Last but not least, an interesting article about Italy:

In a Funk, Italy Sings an Aria of Disappointment – New York Times

…… and a happy new year to everyone! :D

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