Europe’s bureaucratic image

EU Open Day Poster

The European institutions were celebrating Europe Open Doors Day in Brussels on Saturday, in honour of Europe Day on 9 May. It was my first celebration of it here in Brussels, and I had planned to take my five year-old son to visit the European Parliament, having heard that there were games for kids too (just in case he would get bored… 🙂

I want my DG Finance bag!

First thing that struck me as I was walking in the European district on Saturday afternoon with the whole family: people walking to and from the European institutions with blue or white bags mentioning “Directorate General for this and that”, or names of European political groups (they are not called parties here). How sexy! What a great way to sell Europe to give out bags with the complete name of Directorates General, and to fill those bags with posters of such great political figures as Jose Barroso or Catherine Ashton!

The rest was just as enticing, and we couldn’t even get into the European Parliament as there were crowds waiting outside to get in. At least it shows people were interested.

But I’m frankly amazed that the only gadgets European institutions thought of giving out would relate to their institutional nature and not to the achievements of the European Union.

No “exotic” food to compensate

A missed opportunity in my view… My husband, on the other hand, wasn’t shocked by this aspect of the day. He was, however, quite baffled not to see stands for each EU country with good food and spirits (he probably thought the perspective of some nice exotic food would compensate for the bore of having to visit the European Parliament with me). But then again, as I regretfully realised yesterday, the day wasn’t dedicated to Europe, it was dedicated to the European institutions.

Or maybe the day was great and I was just at the wrong place? What was your experience of this event?

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