Back to work
Sunday morning, first day in Warsaw after vacation trying to prepare for the week that lies ahead.
Still, my thoughts are constantly returning to the significance of the date and the day: September 1st. This year a day when 74 years have passed since the Nazi German attack on Poland which started the horrible tragedies of the Second World War. “Kierunek Westerplatte” was the short content of a tweet by Minister of Defence Tomasz Siemoniak some hours ago, and I try to follow the commemorations through media.
I arrived yesterday evening after five hectic, informative and energizing days in Stockholm – the yearly conference with all Swedish Ambassadors from all over the world. This week is always useful since it gives us an opportunity to listen to key personalities like Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, Minister of European Affairs Birgitta Ohlsson and the leader of the Social Democratic opposition Stefan Löfven. We were updated on almost all possible political themes but we also got the opportunity to discuss current trends in the Foreign Service like the dramatically increased role of social media in diplomacy.
This year one additional element was added since we started last Monday with a visit to Linköping in Östergötland, a city and region which clearly illustrates Swedish characteristics like innovativeness and development of environmentally sustainable solutions. Our Embassy has – for this last reason – already had the pleasure to host several Polish delegations during study visits there. The concept of waste to energy is applied and I noted i.a. that all buses in the two major cities, Linköping and Norrköping, are fuelled by biogas.
Obviously Stockholm and the Government Offices are to a large extent focused on the upcoming visit by President Obama to Sweden next week, September 4-5. Nobody can of course be sure of anything these days because of the crisis in Syria but the for the moment it seems that everything is on track. Will be quite exciting to follow.
My own programme the coming days will begin with a visit to the MSPO (The 21st International Defence Industry Exhibition) in Kielce, starting tomorrow. I was there last year and I am happy to return – together with i.a. our Defence Attaché Claes Nilsson. Several Swedish companies are present and our Embassy tries to be as active as possible in facilitating contacts and cooperation.
The days that follow will have a more internal focus, especially welcoming my new Deputy Ulrik Tideström (previously at the Embassy in Helsinki) and our new Economist Elenor Hanson Lundström as well as our two trainees.
But before that I hope that the sun that has replaced the heavy rain of this morning will continue shining, at least as long as it takes me to take a Sunday jogging tour, probably in Pole Mokotowskie. I have managed to increase my training during this fantastic summer we have had in Sweden, and I hope I can keep it up.
Warsaw provides excellent jogging opportunities. Time to use them even more than before.