BruxBlog #8: Coming Down To Earth

Day Thirty-Eight

Brussels Bureau, Reuters TV

22 June 2010

There’s a reason I haven’t been blogging lately.  I’ve been rather busy.

How busy?  Disliking superlative phrases as I do, I’ll just list some of the names instead.  It’s a long list, you might want to grab some popcorn.  My head is still spinning.

Okay — ready, set, go:

Bart de Wever. Arguably crazy but super cool Flemish separatist politician who won elections two weekends ago. I asked him whether now was the time to basically start the process of splitting Belgium in two — between the Dutch-speaking north and French-speaking south — in a time of volatile markets and economic crisis.

Marianne Thyssen. Woman pegged to be next PM of Belgium, who lost two weekends ago to arguably crazy but super cool Flemish separatist politician.  I asked her what it felt like to lose to an arguably crazy but super cool Flemish separatist politician.

Hermann van Rompuy. EU Council President.  He showed up in a track suit to vote.  He’s very unimpressive and has a funny haircut.  He was followed by goofy protesters who probably voted for the arguably crazy but super cool Flemish separatist politician.

Geert Wilders. The Dutch equivalent of the arguably crazy but super cool Flemish separatist politician, except without the “super cool” or “arguably” parts.  He’s just a crazy Dutch politician who hates Arabs.  He has a funny haircut.  I asked him

Andrus Ansip. The Prime Minister of the Republic of… Estonia.  It’s the EU equivalent of getting the honor of interviewing the mayor of Great Falls, Montana. Still, he gave me the best soundbyte of my internship thus far, about his country joining the Euro Zone: “Unfortunately, our country has to use these ugly euro bank notes.  I can assure you Estonian bank notes are much more beautiful than euro bank notes.”

By the way — best quote I’ve heard secondhand so far, a politician who shall remain nameless was trying to answer a reporter’s question about a highly hypothetical situation:  “Well, if a horse turns into a cat, it climbs trees, no?”

Just some other people who’ve been keeping me busy: Greek PM Georgios Papandreou, Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel, Silvio Berlusconi, David Cameron, José Manuel Barrosso (EU Commish Prez), José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.

This has been a crazy last few weeks, full of travel back and forth — all over Brussels and the Benelux countries and I haven’t had much of a chance to catch my breath, much less blog.

I hope I can write a few more of these notes in the upcoming weeks, maybe about some of the cities I’ve been to already?  I don’t know — anyone have any questions about what’s going on here? World Cup? Politics? EU? Beer? Cities?

I don’t like blogging about boring stuff, like politicians… You all could care less about Herman van Rompuy anyway! 🙂

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