A week of politics – and of traffic safety
The week that has passed included quite a lot of politically interesting events.
Tuesday the debate in the Polish sejm about European Union – the summit on the EU multiannual budget as well as the financial pact and also the euro. I tried to follow the TV broadcast as much as I could. To follow and report about Polish views on the future of the European Union is obviously a major task for any European Embassy in Warsaw. I was happy to find a live transmission of the debate (even if there still are some remaining language challenges for me in these situations but there is also help available when needed).
Wednesday: The first ever meeting of the Foreign Ministers from the Visegrad, Nordic and Baltic States took place in Gdańsk following a joint initiative by Poland and Sweden. The political messages are available in the Co-Chairs’ Statement: http://www.government.se/sb/d/17146/a/209531. For obvious reasons issues related to energy, transport and the Eastern Partnership are very natural themes for a meeting of this kind with this group of countries. And the Ministers seem to have been quite satisfied with the format since I saw this morning that a new meeting eventually will be held in Tallinn. Encouraging to see Northern and Central Europe finding common ground and reasons for closer cooperation.
Wednesday was also the day when I followed the news about the Government reshuffle – again making use of live broadcast on TV. Important to be able to report directly to Stockholm about changes of this kind.
Finally Wednesday was the day when I devoted much attention to something less political but clearly very crucial for ordinary citizens: winter maintenance on railways and roads, closely related to traffic safety – an area where Sweden has quite a lot of experience to share. Business Sweden and the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) arranged a conference where Swedish suppliers got the opportunity to meet key Polish actors in thie field.
In that context I learned that there has been an intensive cooperation going on for a long time between Trafikverket and their Polish road counterpart GDDKiA. I know that the State Visit by the King and Queen included activities around traffic safety. Now I learned additionally both about the close relations – and about the fact that Poland now has introduced the concept of two-plus-one roads. That is roads where you for some distance have two lanes in one direction, then for some distance only one lane while the other side of the road has two lanes. Hence, drivers can wait to overtake other cars until the second free lane appears. Quite succesful in Sweden in terms of safety.
Apart from this much internal work these days. Follow up of the survey among staff members. Refining our communication tools including our activities in social media. Planning upcoming activities around gender equality. And much, much more. Diversified work programme for sure. In a snowy Warsaw.