Friday, July 14, 2006

Being wrong is at times a nice feeling

Google Map Europe
Originally uploaded by Kushtrim Xhakli.
I don't know whether it is the holiday mood or what but this morning's glance to the newspapers gave me a sense of hope. It is a brilliant thing to realise that my remark yesterday about lack of will to intervene is at least slightly misplaced.

The biggest reason for joy was Bush's and Merkel's press conference yesterday. The leaders criticised Russia with clear words. Bush advised Putin to leave the scaremongering and said that it is Russia's own benefit that they would share the same values - such as freedom of the press - as the United States and Germany. Merkel said that a wide range of opinions supports the stability of a country. Although I know that the US is not the number 1 country in the world when it comes to press freedom, I would still congratulate Bush for his courage this time.

The other piece of news that made me extremely happy were the latest comments of my former professor, Commissioner Olli Rehn. I have always seen Rehn as a man with clear values and courage to act and therefore being highly approachable and also excellent to deal with delicate issues such as the EU enlargement. Rehn is one of the best lecturers I had during my studies. He was also very attentive and made an impression when he asked last year in a conference how my thesis was proceeding and even remembered the subject. This was when he was already a member of the European Commission.

In the article Rehn commented on the future of the enlargement negotiations. In addition to many brilliant remarks, he said one of the wisest sentences I have heard from a European politician for a while. At the same time when he is extremely strict on the membership criteria, he is still a firm believer on the idea of enlargement. Rehn said:"There is no point in drawing the border of the European Union with a wide marker when we just got rid of the Iron Curtain."

Speaking of enlargement, I will be travelling during the next two weeks to two of the candidate countries. I am having my holidays with a dear Finnish friend of mine in Bulgaria and Macedonia. I must admit that I have no idea what to expect.

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