EU Insider in Brussels. A chat with a IT Coordinator

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As with all important buildings in Brussels, you have to arrive early if you’re on a time schedule. Every time you enter a building, there’s the feeling a gate and a plane ready for take-off is not far away. Belts, laptops, cameras, pocket money. Put it in the basket please. Everybody could be a potential terrorist. After 10 minutes, i am cleared. Safe. Not a threat anymore. Relieved.

I am up for a chat with someone working at EU institutions quite a while. Starting as a scientist, this interviewee worked with lots of people and eventually ended up working as IT coordinator at the European Commission. Just like other conversations i had up till now, there’s protest on the use of ‘Brussels’ or ‘EU’. ” It’s a kind of a foreign enemy or ET figure. The best thing you can do is just open your windows and doors for people. Grab a cup of coffee and explain what we are doing.” So, we did.

I have seen people try to fight the system upwards. Very heroic, but eventually you kill yourself. Sometimes you recognize these kind of people, and you think ”oh no, what are you going to do”. There are other ways far more effective. You just don’t end up as the hero at the center of the universe.

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EU Expert in Brussels. A chat with a freelance writer

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The number of journalists who are leaving Brussels is increasing. You are freelance, you can write and have lots of knowledge about Europe and can tell in-depth stories about it. So, why don’t make a move to the Belgian capital and report about it? It seems like a perfect formula, but when reality comes in, it’s a hell of a job. You discover it’s actually pretty difficult to get your articles published in your own language, says this interviewee.

” I intended to work as a writer and journalist, but i approach it more and more as a part-time job alongside other activities. ”

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EU Expert in Brussel. A chat with a correspondent

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Walking between the high static buildings of Brussels i pass a security guard holding the tip of his hand on his ear. Youth with laptops enjoy their coffee. Business men leaning against expensive looking cars. In front of the entrance at the European Commission a journalist is talking with, what looks like, an important figure. The cameraman is ready. All people i walk by are different in age and looks, but what unites them is a card hanging fashionably around their necks. Access to power is only granted if you show something first.

The European Union. Brussels. Europe. Centre of power. The city, home to supranational institutes like the Commission, the Parlement and the European Council is often summarized in one word. Keep things simple. Not to difficult please. Travelling back to Amsterdam after spending my first day in Brussels, i hear a reporter on the radio say ‘that Brussels has decided something..’  I laugh, knowing i am listening to a big lie.

”There is that strange idea that Europe is some kind of animal that lives in Brussels. The whole story that Brussels decided something is just plain bullshit. Every journalist or politician that tells you Brussels decided something, lies.”

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