These days are certainly exciting both in Poland and in Sweden.
First of all the decision to elect Prime Minister Tusk as new Chairman of the European Council followed by the ongoing process of appointing a new Prime Minister and a new Government – obviously all these events are followed closely by our Embassy. One element of the significant changes taking place right now is also related to the appointment of a new European Commission. Congratulations to Deputy Prime Minister Elżbieta Bieńkowska, who is getting one of the key portfolios, the internal market. And congratulations to Europe: Poland is now contributing with two of its most prominent politicans to the crucial institutions of the European Union. Good news for the EU!
The fact that the Swedish commissoner Cecilia Malmström is getting the responsibility for trade is another piece of similar encouraging news. Her task will i.a. be to make sure that the important Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between EU and US will be successfully negotiated – sooner rather than later. She is definitely up to the task.
In parallell we are approaching the Swedish election day, coming up this Sunday. 189 of us Swedes in Poland voted in our Embassy here in Warsaw – and another 47 at the Honorary Consulate in Gdańsk. I am happy that we as an Embassy have been able to give our contribution to the efforts to get as high turnout that is humanly possible to achieve. Last time it was almost 85 percent. Let’s hope for more this year. Democracy is at work, and it is up to us citizens to take our responsibility and use our rights (that still so many people around the world are denied).
As I think was evident from my last blog, I have experienced a kickstart after vacation. First to MSPO in Kielce, then to Economic Forum in Krynica. But I actually started with welcoming two new staff members – and I want to do it here as well. Ann Marie Bolin Pennegård will be my Deputy until January during the parental leave of Ulrik Tideström, and Robert Bajo has replace Charlotte Findén as Head of Administration. We have been working together now for two weeks, and it is fantastic to see how smoothly everything is running already.
My calendar is also running reasonably smoothly, although a bad cold slowed me down a bit almost until yesterday. But still a lot has been done. Last Saturday removing hate speech together with the HejtStop campaign and my wife Karin. Wednesday visiting the Multinational Corps Northeast in Szczecin where a Swedish officer, Dan Jansson, now is posted. For those having a deeper interest in these matters, please follow the link here to an interview from the visit I made together with our Defence Attaché Claes Nilsson:http://mncne.pl/sweden-gains-momentum/ Poland, Germany and Denmark are so called framework nations, but several other countries (Sweden now number 14) are particpating, often with a small number of officers like us.
Yesterday we hosted the group of senior officials from the trade union of Swedish academicians and their different member unions for a briefing about Poland. And in between meetings with them I also managed to participate in the event “Side by side – LGBT and friends”.
Next stop is coming in some minutes: Ministry of Foreign Affairs where a Swedish expert Ulrika Grandin is sharing our experiences from the policy coherence for Global development. A key element in my former life at Sida. So I am really looking forward to take part. One more example of the Declaration on cooperation between Poland and Sweden being at work.
Enjoy the weekend. The weather seems to become as lovely as it often can be in Warsaw in September. I intend to restart jogging. Kraków half marathon is soon coming up…