It’s the end of July, which means it’s nearly August, which means it’s time for the holidays!
And boy, does Brussels go on holiday! One minute you’re standing on Place Luxembourg marveling at the sheer weight of people apparently desperate to get into Ralph’s or Pullman, and then, in a puff of smoke, they disappear. All gone, except for some bemused tourists who wander around aimlessly and stare at the bus timetables (perhaps they can’t wait to get out of there), some hardcore summer workers regretting the fact they took their main holidays in May, and the occasional beggar trying his luck.
Last year I recall complaining how, although the popular view is that “everyone” is on holiday, they actually aren’t.
True, the EU institutions pretty much grind to a halt during August, but industry, by and large, keeps going. Consultants like to think of August as being a quiet month, but in truth it rarely is. Once you’ve covered for your colleagues out of the office, prepared for the dreaded rentrée, and began working on all those projects which tend to get earmarked for the quieter times, your day is pretty much full
So industry doesn’t stop during August, but then nor does the rest of the world.
September will see Herman Van Rompuy present his task force’s report on economic governance which looks set to alter the way the Eurozone governs itself forever more. No small matter. Meanwhile, just as everyone is packing their suitcases, the ICJ goes and announces that Kosovo was not breaking international law by declaring its independence from Serbia. How will Lady Ashton manage this delicate conundrum? And what are the repercussions for regions around the world demanding greater sovereignty?
Finally, in case you’d forgotten, we are still in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Second World War. They may be kings of the sporting world at the moment, but will Spain go the way of Greece? How does the EU prepare for this new and much-vaunted era of financial “austerity?”
So plenty to ponder as EU decision-makers head for the beach. Happy holidays to all our readers!