Klom, the Commission and Cardiff.

Some days it’s hard not to love twitter, few other platforms would allow you to engage in a heated unmoderated exchanges with politicians and civil servants in quite the same way. This week provided an excellent example of just this, as top EU civil servant and general loiterer of Wales, Andy Klom took an exception of sorts to EyeOnWales musings. His attention had been drawn to this entry: http://eye-on-wales.com/2011/12/20/part-14-the-top-ten-worst-welsh-politicians-2011 where we proudly unveiled Klom as the 9th worst Welsh politician or political figure. Now, it’s hard to say whether Klom took exception to being listed, or that he was listed as a politician, and he went to some lengths to elaborate on the fact that he was indeed a civil servant, we assured him that despite his status, his contribution to Wales in 2011 was such a poor investment for Wales that he more than earned his place amongst the politicos. Enjoy the exchange for yourself below:

25 Jan

 AndyKlomEU Andy Klom

@EyeOnWales is trashing me on Twitter&website. I’m 9th in Top10 list of worst Welsh politicians. An honour a Dutchman&civil servant like me.

 AndyKlomEU Andy Klom

@EyeOnWales doesn’t know difference between civil servant and politician. I’m in same league as Andrew RT, Ieuan, Cheryl&Peter. Real honour.

 AndyKlomEU Andy Klom

@EyeOnWales doesn’t know what EU is doing in Wales. Why not check the internet, our website, or just give us a ring? Always welcome folks…

 AndyKlomEU Andy Klom

@EyeOnWales: thanks for replies. Good to know you attended all our recent events, speeches, briefings. Always happy to go the extra mile…

Now there was much to discuss following that exchange, but Klom’s assertion at the end of this exchange, that the EU is doing good work in Wales, and going the ‘extra mile’, required a little more consideration.

Here is the list of official engagements from the EU office in Cardiff in 2011…the location for the office alone should stand as a good indication for where we will be going with this one…:

7 December – “A Federal Europe in the Making? Europe 2020, the European Semester and the Euro Plus Pact”, Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay

5 December – Putting Wales on the Map, Cardiff City Hall.  A day celebrating the European Year of Volunteering 2011, organised by the Wales Council for Voluntary Action, with support from the EC Office in Wales.

21-22 November – The Graduate Event, Cardiff City Hall: EC staff on hand to give information on EU careers.

21 November – “What does it mean to be European?”, Aberystwyth Arts Centre.  A debate on identity arranged by the Welsh Centre for Intenational Affairs, in collaboration with the EC Office in Wales.

15 November – Wales Forum on Europe: “Towards Europe 2020: How to maximise the opportunities from and influence the new EU programmes in Wales for 2014-2020”.  A conference arranged as part of the EU Committee of the Regions Open Days events by the Welsh Government, with support from the EC Office in Wales. In Cardiff.

10 November – Gwilym Jones, Member of European Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Cioloş’ Cabinet, visits Wales to speak at the Hybu Cig Cymru Annual Conference and to discuss the CAP reform proposals. Hotel near Cardiff.

22 October – The Language Show Live, London: Staff from the EC Office in Wales will be on hand to answer questions from students and teachers, and to provide publications in Welsh.

20 October – Europe 2020 and the Digital Agenda: “Going local in Wales”.  A conference held at the Wales Millennium Centre (Cardiff), based on the European Union’s Digital Agenda, including keynote speeches from the Welsh Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology & Science, Edwina Hart, and DG INFSO’s Director for Converged Networks and Services, Megan Richards.  

28 September – ‘Sounds of Europe’: European Day of Languages event at Cardiff University.  An evening celebrating the diverse languages of Europe and beyond.

24 September – EC Office in Wales presence at CILT Cymru’s European Day of Languages celebrations at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff.

14 September – Fourth Mock EU Council, organised by the Welsh Government in collaboration with the EC Office in Wales, involving schools from across the country.  Held in Ty Hywel at the National Assembly in Cardiff.

30 July – 6 August – Information stand at the National Eisteddfod in Wrexham, in conjunction with the Europe Direct Offices in Wrexham and Llangollen and supported by CILT Cymru.

18 – 21 July – EC Office in Wales information stand at the Royal Welsh Show.

13 July – Andy Klom, Head of EC Office in Wales, opened the final of the Routes into Languages Cymru Spelling Bee Competition 2011, organised by Routes into Languages – CILT Cymru. 

4 – 8 July – Information stand at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, in conjunction with the Europe Direct Centres in Wrexham and Llangollen.

30 May – 4 June – Information stand at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Swansea, in conjunction with British Council Wales.

12 May – Aberystwyth University EuroFun Day, supported by the EC Office in Wales.

9 May – Europe Day!: Cardiff Library hosted day long celebrations including story telling, speeches and workshops.  Later on Cardiff University’s European Documentation Centre hosted its annual EuroQuiz.  Both events were supported by the EC Office in Wales.

17 February – Andy Klom, Head of EC Office in Wales, speaks at opening of new Centre for European Studies at Aberyswyth University.

8 February – Wales, Europe & the World event at Cardiff City Hall.  A schools’ event organised in conjunction with CILT Cymru and Cardiff City Council, involving a series of workshops encouraging young people to engage in Europe.

A list of 20 official engagements, supporting this and that, with some face showing here and there.

11 events hosted in Cardiff,

3 events in Aberystwyth,

1 event in London,

1 non specific speaking role,

4 information stands at major Welsh cultural events.

Now, having been to every Eisteddfod and Royal Welsh Show for some time, there is little to be said for the promotional merits of the EU’s information stands: presentable, quiet, generally empty, as ‘events’ these hold no weight, and can with some ease be dismissed. That leaves a grand total of 16 ‘events’, though those outside of Cardiff largely boil down to Klom and company speaking at openings – and what an impact I’m sure they made on those delegates in attendance. That leaves 11 events in Cardiff, conferences, lectures, and general public engagement of some meaningful level of commitment that went beyond turning up, saying ‘congratulations’ and sipping the free champagne. Frankly, little that the EU office in Wales does outside of Cardiff is worth the train fair to follow their message. If you want to actually engage with the EU in Wales, come to Cardiff. They won’t be going the ‘extra mile’ as Klom likes to put it, but you sure will have to if you don’t live in the capital.

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