Summer – but no vacation

Finally the Embassy workload is decreasing. These last two weeks things have gradually become more quiet.

In Sweden definitely so. We have a strong tradition of seeing July as the main month of the vacation period. That has to some extent changed due to European integration. In EU meetings are still ongoing until the end of this month. But my friends and contact persons in Sweden are generally on vacation right now, that’s clear not least from what  I notice on Facebook. In my case there is still one more week to go.

These last two weeks have been less packed with meetings than usually but definitely filled with useful experiences.

Friday last week my wife Karin and I made our first visit to Lublin, which both gave us a chance to experience the lovely Old town and to have useful discussions with the City and Region authorities, among them the President Krszysztof Żuk, the Wojewoda Jołanta Szołno-Koguc and the Vice Marshal Sławomir Sosnowski. Extremely interesting to get to know more about this beautiful city having a very special atmosphere  i.a. through the Universities – with 100 000 students - but also through the geographical proximity to Ukraine. The President was very clear about his ambitions e.g. to build upon the multicultural character as well as to develop environmentally sustainable solutions. The interest for Swedish experiences in these areas like waste management and renewable energy was clearly expressed.

In the afternoon we spent two hours visiting the former Nazi death camp at Majdanek in the outskirts of the city. I can strongly recommend a visit to this museum showing the well preserved premises from this centre of evil. The monument shown on the picture above is located at the former entrance to the camp and captures in a remarkable way the horrors of the holocaust.

The weeks that have passed have been filled with several other activities related to different areas of activity within our Embassy. The issue of family friendly policy in general and of fatherhood in particular continues to attract attention. This morning I was interviewed by a webportal called Tatapad, and last week I was invited to make an introduction to a workshop for fathers organised by Institute of Public affairs (ISP) and Gazeta Wyborcza with support also from the Swedish Institute. Great interest, many questions i.a. about attitudes among employers.

The same day The European Commission organised a Citizen’s Dialogue with the participation i.a. of President Barroso and Vice President Reding – and with a clear reflection of the continued strong pro-European sentiments of Poland.

And in parallell we have been organising farewell parties for colleagues that are leaving us including my Deputy Mikael Benthe and Erika Carlsson who has been responsible not least for our reporting about economy. That is part of life at an Embassy but the goodbye’s are still very sad to express. Many thanks for everything – and wszystkiego najlepszego for the future.




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