Kyllä matkustamisessakin on hyvät puolensa. Saa viettää 2,5 tuntia rauhassa papereita lueskellen. Pääsee ikäänkuin takaisin kärryille.

Tämä päivä meni pitkälti huomista valmistellessa. Huomenna olen nimittäin heti aamusta Ylen aamun aikaisessa yhdessä Erkki Tuomiojan kanssa (alkaa kello 8.15.).

Sen jälkeen on vuorossa lehtihaastattelu lobbaamisesta ja heti perään A-studion haastattelu samaisesta aiheesta.

Haastattelujen jälkeen osallistun Henrik Laxin ja Erkki Tuomiojan kanssa Euroopan parlamentin tiedotustoimiston järjestemälle HVK-teemakahville, jossa siis pohdiskellaan EU:n perussopimuksen tulevaisuutta.

Sieltä riennän Eduskunnan ulkoasiainvalikuntaan puhumaan Itämeri-strategiasta. Päivän kruunaa kahden tunnin sessio uudessa elinkeinoministeriössä, eli oikeastaan vanhassa KTM:ssä, jossa käymme läpi sisämarkkinavaliokunnan asioita.

Edessä siis jännä päivä.

Tänään meillä oli täällä Lehdesniityntiellä kiva pieni ylläri. Alakerran naapurimme Pekka Calonius täytti 70 vuotta. Naapurit kutsuttiin yllätyskekkereille. Oli mahtavaa nähdä vanhoja tuttuja pitkstä aikaa. Onnea Pekka!

Since 2001 I have had the pleasure to give a talk to incoming stagiers (interns). I do it twice a year. The groups consist of 500-800 professionals who have come to do a 5 month work stint at the Commission or another EU institutions.

These lectures are a definite highlight for me. Every one of the 12 groups that I have talked to have been great.

For the past three years I have given a lecture on ”The State of the Union”. I like the title because the same title is often used in grand speeches of US Presidents. The title is supposed to be taken with a pinch of salt, but it does describe what I end up talking about.

This year I divided my talk into three parts. God bless Descartes…

First, I laid out my pendelum thesis (which I have borrowed from Helen Wallace). I argued that the EU pendulum is swinging back and that there are three reasons to be optimistic: the EU has found its raison d’etre (or at least a new project) in climate change and energy; the political trio of Merkel-Sarkozy-Brown is a hell of a lot more dynamic that Schröder-Chirac-Blair; and that the EU is currently focusing on essential legislation.

Secondly, I highlighted three key challenges on the EU agenda: the dual challenge of deepening (the Reform treaty) and widening (enlargement); the economy (competitiveness); and foreign policy. I tried to be as provocative and politically incorrect as possible. I think I succeeded…

Thirdly, I developed three visions for the future of the EU: the pessimist thinks that it will end in tears; the optimist believes in EU salvation; and the realist just faces up to the facts that the EU moves from one crises to another and manages to survive.

We had a good half an hour for questions and answers. The audience was brilliant. The questions were to the point and I tried to deal with them as thoroughly as possible.

Every time I come out of that lecture I feel reinvigorated. For me it is simply a great event. I hope the audience felt at least half as good as I did.

It would be great to get some some feedback from those present. All comments, observations and questions are welcomed.

If yesterday was tough, today was big…well at least it felt big for me. 

In the morning we voted in the Constitutional Committee on the composition of the European Parliament. This so called Lamassoure-Severin report sets out the allocation of EP seats for the 2009-2014 mandate.

We worked on some of the compromises late into last night. Emotions run high when MEPs negotiate about relative power. Yesterday was no exception.

I think my colleagues Alain Lamassoure and Adrian Severin did a great job. It was no easy feat to get a clear majority of MEPs behind the proposal, but they did it.

Everyone has a tendency to get into serious navalgazing when talking about the distribution of seats in the Parliament. I am no exception.

Finland got to keep its 13 seats which were agreed already in Nice in 2000. In that sense there was no loss. Some might try to sell it as a loss because we have 14 seats at the moment. I suppose we all have our own way of looking at things. I try to look at the bright side.

After the votes we worked on my report on lobbying. We had a good brainstorming session with my assistant Henrik Ruso and two fantastic civil servants who work for the Constitutional Committee. I am really getting into the whole lobbying thing. It is a fascinating subject.

I had lunch with Foreign Minister Ilkka Kanerva and most of my Finnish MEP colleagues. Its good to get together and exchange ideas. This time we spent a lot of time on agricultural questions.

Ater lunch I met Commissioner Gunther Verheugen. We discussed the so called Goods Package, which deals with the free movement of goods. To be more specific: it deals with mutual recognition of goods, market surveillance and the CE-marking.

I like Verheugen. We had a good chat about the state of play of the package. I briefed him on what is going on in the Parliament and he briefed me on how he saw things in the Commission.

The Goods Package got a lot more ”sexier” after the toy-scare caused by Mattel. Our package does not really have anything to do with the safety of toys, but one thing has a tendency to lead to another.

I devoted the rest of the afternoon to the Internal Market Committee. And have a guess what was on the agenda? Well, the Goods Package.

I am working on the package together with two colleagues, Christell Schaldemose and André Brie. Both of them are great and we have had a blast trying to work through the two regulations and one directive which make up the package.

The debate in the Committee was very useful indeed. A majority of colleagues have been working hard on the dossier. You could really sense that in the debate today.

We talked a lot about national safety marks and the directive on general product safety. Both issues are indirectly linked to the Goods Package.

Things are moving forward. The deadline for amendments is 11 October. After that we will take stock and start hammering out compromises.

In this job you can’t always get what you want. It is all about compromises. Any which way, today was a big day.

Visitors group from the Women’s League of the Coalition Party

Tällaisen päivän jälkeen en ole aina varma olenko kone vai ihminen.

Tiedän, että kalenteri on täynnä aamusta iltaan.

1. Viikkopalaveri. Ei epäselvyyksiä. Nyt mennään eikä meinata. Pitäisi olla kone.

2. Palaveri tavaroiden vapaasta liikkumisesta. Viilamme artikloja. Juristin hommaa. Tunnen itseni koneeksi.

3. Palaveri lobbaamisesta. Tuntuu jo siltä, että toimistossani on pyörivä ovi. Olen takuulla kone.

4. Lounas parhaan kaverini kanssa, joka on työmatkalla Brysselissä. Hengähdystauko ja ravinto tekee hyvää. Tunnen itseni taas ihmiseksi.

5. Tapaaminen komission vastuuvapaudesta peruuntuu. Saan aikaa käydä läpi konetta, joskin vain hetken.

6. Die Zeit-lehden toimittaja tulee haastattelemaan protektionismista. Saan reflektoida rauhassa.

7. Taistellaan taas tavaroiden vapaan liikkumisen puolesta. Viilaminen jatkuu.

8. Luen erään puheluonnoksen, jota pitäisi kommentoida. En ehdi kommentoimaan. En ole mikään kone.

9. Siirryn perustustuslakivaliokuntaan. Kiivas keskustelu Euroopan parlamentin paikkajaosta. Tunteet nousevat pintaan.

10. Poliittisen ryhmämme keskustelu samaisesta aiheesta. Käymme läpi 200 muutosehdotusta. Tunteella.

Kello on jo paljon. Pelkään pahinta, eli että lapset ovat jo nukkumassa. Kiiruhdan kotiin. Valot ovat vielä päällä. Käperryn lukemaan satua. Tunnen itse taas ihmiseksi. En halua olla kone.