Thursday, June 02, 2005

Europe is a dream

It was hectic last night. The flight from Amsterdam to Vienna was okay: we started late, but arrived in time. Then I was confronted with something new in Vienna: they have a direct train link from the airport into the city. Vienna innovates. Although…, you buy a ticket from the airport to the terminal station. That is also where the ticket stops. Unbelievable bad marketing. Make it one euro more expensive and let the ticket be also valid for the underground. Some day a bright young man will come up with it and win a step on his career ladder.

Reception at the ministry of Arts and Science in the framework of WSIS Contributory Conference on ICT & CreativityPosted by Hello

In the city, I had to go on to a reception in the ministry of Arts and Media. I was caught up by Rudi, the Belgian national experts and Isoc official by that time. Hetold me about the competition in Blgium and made me jealous with the prices they have: a diamanond for the category winner. He hopes to do the same for the winners in Tunis.
It was a beautiful building at the Ballplatz. It was in fact the building where the treaty of Vienna was closed. The reception took place in a room full of chandeliers and mirror walls. There were people from the ICNM organisation in Salzburg: Anastasia, Christian, Rainer; and there was a new star Fleur. But I met also the people of the ministry of Economic Affairs. In fact one of them, Christian was one of the jury members in Dubai in 2003. He will chair the e-Government session for which I am rapporteur. I met also the head of the diplomatic service, whom I met earlier in Hong Kong. We talked about the Dutch vote for the European constitution. He did not consider it too much of a problem. In fact it might be good, sometimes. He used the story of new starting diplomats. He would always ask them, whether they were eager to work. Of course no one said no. So he would tell that they also should say no in certain situations. Just at that moment the Ghislain, the Frenchman living in Poland, walked in. It was a nice discussion and little did I know that just an hour later the first exit poll in the Netherlands pointed in the direction of 63 per cent, voting NO. That is almost 10 per cent more than the French! But there were many more people around. Really colourful was the president of Mali, Mr Adama Samassekou in a beautiful blue robe.

At night I checked the program and the papers on e-Government. I picked up a Dutch report on Digital Netherlands 2004 this morning. It has a chapter on e-Government and e-Learning. They are especially interesting as they rank The Netherlands among other European countries. The Netherlands are hanging in the middle. But for example Austria has made a dramatic surge and especially in e-Learning. I met the Austrian official, Robert Kristofl, responsible for the e-Learning program at the reception.

By 11 o’clock Peter Bruck called up. He was with my Finnish friend Cai and propably Sheila and wanted to have a meeting after the official meetings. But as they were on one side of the city and I on the other, we called the meeting off. Before I went to sleep I turned on Euronews to find out the definite score for The Netherlands referendum. It is NO by 61,3 per cent of the Dutch population. Europe is no longer a dream, was the comment of the European Commission.

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