Comments, ideas and provocations
Visit to UDINE in the northeast of Italy

This week I has a fantastic visit to Udine in Friuli-Venezia-Giulia to discuss how to improve the democratic rights for 80 million European expats around the world.

And the region is very, very interesting.

Meeting with the president of Friuli nel Mondo, Mr. Pietro Pittaro
English expressions and proverbs

Have a look in this new e-book of mine:

Help selecting the PERSON OF 2012
Take part in the selection of the PERSON OF 2012  on the Facebook site of EURONEWS.

You find the vore site here:

A forwardlooking policy on Europe!
It's upon time that European politicians now give full speed to a visionary and forward-looking European policy.  Not just jump from stone to stone to avoid getting "wet feet".

We are many who will help them get the necessary courage !
Learning from other countries
People are often unaware about what is discussed and proposed in other countries.

This should be improved!

Inspiration from others is very often very motivating! Also about Europe!
The silent majority
We have to find ways to mobilise the big silent, positive majority in Europe.  They have to become much more active. Better informed. More self confident.

They are too abscent in the debate on Europe. New, credible way have to be used.
Strong need for more information on the EU
Jacques Delors underligned yesterday that today there is more need than ever for a very systematic and reliable information about the EU.  About what the origins are - as shown around the Nobel Peace Prize. But also on what EU means in peoples' daily life, what it brings, what it can be used to.

I very much agree to that!

This is the only way to stand up to the worrying populism and disinformation, which circulates. And which many people, including many politicians believe in.

The European Year of Citizens, which starts in a month, is a unique opportunity to get it right.

Who will take up this challenge??
Your headline
I'm proud to be a European! These were the last words of Herman van Rompuy, the president of the European Council , when he today on behalf of the European Union received Nobel's Peace Prize 2012!

I am very proud to be a European too. Especially on a day like this one.  We have in Europe in just 60 years managed to do away with all wars. Once and for ever. And not just on EU's own soil with its more than 500 million people. But also in the areas close to EU. War is today unthinkable.  Unthinkable!

The daily troubles with crisis, negotiations, compromises. etc. make us often forget what the REALraison-d'être for the EU is:  the creation of permanent peace among old enemies.  It took a Norwegian Nobel committee to make us celebrate it.

We made it!

I am SO proud!
My 16 main Activities

Niels Jørgen Thøgersen

My 16 activities

1.      EU expert: My 32 years in leading posts in the EU and continued active networks gives me easy access to all EU institutions. And also easy and personal access to all 27 member states and beyond.  I hold the title as honorary director-general in the European Commission


2.      My strength in Communication:   My specific field is communication, especially interactive communication via the internet, social media, TV and digital radio networks. Engaging and involving citizens. And empowering them by giving them a real and hands-on say in what happens.


On communications: 


              Some of my previous communication activities in the EU:    



3.     Developing Green Communication:  Make your communication green. Save resources. Reduce your use of energy. Ensure that your CO-2 foot print is reduced. Let new media tools take over where possible. Don’t print. Reduce travelling. Use Skype or other VOIP tools – also for conferences. Monitor how much you save and can save. Make an analysis of your green status in communication. And let it be widely known


4.     My new approach in Networking:  Today’s most efficient work is through networking. Knowing and liaising with the best contacts and partners wherever they are. Get advice on how best to profit from the new Networking 2.0 approach.


5.     My work on internet broadband for all – for free: Help me getting broadband to everybody – everywhere. Giving a boost to the economy, to politics, to services, to education, to democracy. Subscribe to my overviews and maps of where you already get it. And help me completing the Guide to where access exists. In all European countries


6.     My work for the Club of Venice:   I’m the vice-president of the informal Club of all directors of communication in the governments of the 27 EU countries, in the EU candidate countries and in the EU institutions.  My special fields in the Club are web communication, social media, audiovisual activities, on-line media monitoring through LIVING EUROPE  ( ) and soon also assistance in communication to the new democratic Arab countries


7.     My role as Goodwill Ambassador for Copenhagen:  Helping Copenhagen in its contacts in the EU and the EU countries. And having direct access to leaders, institutions, authorities and companies in the Danish capital. My special fields in this role are cleantech activities, high-tech developments and following EU developments of interest to the city.  


8.     My work for free and independent media:  With media under pressure from authorizes in most parts ofv the world it is very important to fight for their freedom and independence.  They should also play a key role in nation-building, conflict prevention and peace keeping. Through the BONN NETWORK ( ) I am actively involved in helping the media in the new democratic Arab countries


9.     Owner of CON AMORE:  a consulting company in communication, EU affairs, etc. Registrered in Denmark and active all over Europe with concrete tasks in my areas of expertise.  


10.                        Active consultant for the pan European TOUR 2012 EUROPE project:    Engaging cleantech companies, major European cities, media and EU institutions in a campaign I 2012 to inspire citizens all over Europe to save energy and thereby money and help the climate. Will be repeated in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020


11.                        Musqueteer in DABGO ( ):  a world wide network of more than 6.000 Danes with about 80 members in Belgium. It means “Danes Abroad Business Group On-Line” )


12.                        Fighting for a stronger Europe:   An active militant fighter for a more forward-looking and dynamic European cooperation to ensure Europe’s continued relevance in the world – our values, our interests, our way of life, our innovation. Active supporter of the Spinelli Group  ( ), the European Movement  (  ), The New Europe ( ), and of Delors’ Think Tank Notre Europe  ( )


13.                        Also active supporter of the new European initiative DEBATING EUROPE:   - especially by engaging citizens via an intelligent mix of social media, TV, sms messages and townhall meetings.


14.                        An active traveler :  across my neighbourhoods  across Europe and across the world. Writing operational and up-to-date advice to others going to the same places (  “ Enjoy….. “ ) (  )


15.                        Author of My Own History:   from my childhood in the Danish countryside to my life and activities in today’s Europe. With my personal and special experiences and lessons over the years. Including my personal account of great persons I have been lucky to meet and work with.


16.                        Active genealogist:   Working on my own family’s history since 1962. With the oldest traces going back to 1573 in rural Jutland. Personal life stories,  photos, dates and events. All based on my personal research and not least active help from my large family across Denmark, the US and beyond.  Just a bit of my writings here:    




Niels Jørgen Thøgersen   ( Danish )   ( English )


May 29, 2011  -  1st ed. 


Name :                    Why   SOCIAL MEDIA


Date :                      February 8, 2011 


Main points:

Social media are media for social interaction , using highly accessible and scalable communication techniques. Social media is the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue. Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein also define social media as "a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0 , which allows the creation and exchange of user-generated content ." Businesses also refer to social media as consumer-generated media (CGM). A common thread running through all definitions of social media is a blending of technology and social interaction for the co-creation of value.

This is what Wikipedia says about social media. And I agree to that definition.

Why should I as a public communicator be interested in social media ? Isn’t it just a sort of non-serious entertainment, which steals a lot of time for everybody?

The simple answer is: NO – NO – NO !

If you want to be sure that you are present where people are today, then you have to use social media. It’s as simple as that.

But isn’t a good and perhaps even interactive website enough ? Shouldn’t we first and foremost concentrate on developing and looking after that?

No, this is not enough today. It is important to have a good and up-to-date website. Of course. But it has to be backed up by different social media. Or the other way around.  And even if you for whatever reason have  a bad website you still have to use an intelligent mix of social media.





So – in practical terms – what can you use Social Media for ?


  1. To Engage – To Involve citizens     And not only one way ( like Obama’s Be the first to know ) But in particular two ways.  Get people on their toes to get actively involved. Make them feel ownership to the topic you are dealing with. Don’t be afraid to loose some control.  Show people that you are really interested in their views and actions. Be active yourself. At all times.


  1. To Mobilise citizens. Mobilise them for a clear purpose – for actions which are easy to understand. The role of social media in the on-going  Arab revolutions is evident. Before that we saw similar cases of mobilizing people in Iran, Moldova and Belarus.  You can also use social media to mobilize people in a local area.


  1. To Inspire citizens. Not least in political campaigns. Like Obama’s YES WE CAN. Known worldwide.


  1. To Seek Advice.    Politicians do that – even directly from plenary sessions in the middle of a debate. Organisations do that. And why shouldn’t public institutions do it. There is so much expertise and so much commitment out there – why not profit from that. Personally I use LinkedIn and often also Facebook and Twitter for that purpose. With great success.


  1. To Give Information.   Though this easily becomes one-way web 1.0 operations it can still be used.


  1. Most important of all:  Always use an intelligent MIX of social media. Use one social media to back up other social media. Concrete example: Make Breaking News on YouTube. And inform all your contacts and friends on Facebook, Twitter, etc. 5 minutes before that they should look at YouTube, if they “want to be the first to know”.  And people love to know first.   In this way you also bypass the filter of the media. Instead of you running after the media the media will run after you. If your Breaking News and other initiatives are worth running after J


  1. Make sure that all your social media are also available on mobile devices ( such as smartphones, normal mobile phones, PDAs, etc. )    The number of mobile devices have in many countries bypassed the number of normal computers – a trend which most certainly will continue.


  1. Very important point too:  Be active on the blogs and social media of others too. Select the most visited ones ( from media, from politicians, from organizations ) and take active part in the discussions and networking there too.


  1. Online training in social media :  We should in my view give priority to efficient training, not least online training in the use of social media in public communication. I will at the workshop give information on a number of existing possibilities and make suggestions to the next steps


  1. Websites and other literature on social media in public communication :  I will make an overview for the workshop.


Another aspect of great importance for the efficient use of social media is to be able to know in REAL time what others ( media, blogs, etc. ) are saying and writing.


The Club of Venice has already created a special online monitor called LIVING EUROPE for this purpose. It monitors every ten minutes more than 4.000 online media in 28 European countries. And by a simple click you can yourself machine translate any article into 20 different languages. The translation into English is still the best one. It is all free and available to everybody on the web.




The next step is that we will also launch in the very near future a new free, online monitor, which will constantly follows as many websites and blogs of European politicians and national politicians in the 27 member states of the EU.  The purpose is to make it easy for everybody to follow the debate in all countries – and again with a built-in machine translation from all languages. And in this way contribute to creating a more lively European public space.


A pilot project is being tested at the moment.


Niels Jørgen Thøgersen  
Follow the dramatic Arab events


1.    The best TV stations for the events in the Arab world:

( all stations with own correspondants in the area )


·        EURONEWS

·        BBC World Service

·        Al Jazzeera  ( English service )

·        CNN International


2.     The best Web sites for these events:


·        EMM News Service:  


Monitoring also the Arab media here:   


( click on translate / oversæt to the right and get the articles in English )


·        EURONEWS:




·        Al Jazzeera:   


·        France 24  ( English ):    


NJT – 30 01 11    
Monday, 17 January 2011
Real trouble in our neighbour country Tunesia. A lot of people from the old dictator still around. Incl. 150.000 securuty people. Imams with extremist views from different countries travel uregently to the country to exploit the situation.  But there is certainly also a very solid democratic opposition there.

What can WE do to help them? What do they need from us here and now?

If we show that we are there really to help the real democrats it will also have a very important effect in the other Arab countries.

No time to waste.
Sunday, 16 January 2011
Tunesia in turmoil. Belarus going from bad to worse. Kazachstan braking all rules of modern democracy.

WHERE IS EUROPE ?  Why are we not out there in force with our soft power, our values, our joint fores behind a common strong position of how we can and should help??

I thought we now had a common foreign and security politcy!



1.       because it’s a great way to travel and to see a lot of the world – also from a different angle


2.       because it is wonderful to bring the hotel along everywhere – just do the unpacking once – and the rest is just Enjoy J


3.       because it is fantastic to have full board – no cooking, not chasing unknown restaurants – just have the pleasure of being served delicious food and drinks


4.       because the world – land and sea – always look differently and often more lovely from the seaside than when you come by car. And you will come to places you never would see from land


5.       because it is a wonderful feeling to enjoy the ship floating on the blue sea or up and down rivers and in and out of harbours


6.       because cruise ships – big and small – are all new and modern with all possible facilities and temptations


7.       because   you are free to do almost anything you like during the cruise – relax, do sun bathing, enjoy great views, read a good book, enjoy your own company or that of others, listen to lectures about the countries and places you are going to visit,  be entertained in the ship’s theatre or bar, dance, take part in competitions ( and perhaps even win J ), enjoy the great food and wine, be active in the fitness centre ( on the big ships ), swim in the ship’s outdoor swimming pool or jacuzzi ( if weather permits ),  find lots of places where you are completely alone. And much more.  Only your own imagination sets the limits


8.       because a lot of very interesting excursions with a local guide are offered in each location the ship arrives at. You can decide to join. Or you can make your own tour. As long as you remember the time of departure of the ship ! Or you can, of course, stay on board


9.       because a medical doctor and health staff is on board to assist if needed ( on the bigger ships )


10.   because the staff on cruise ships are fantastic and very, very helpful – often from the Philippines or from Eastern Europe, but they could come from anywhere in the world. And they are many.


11.   because the price for a cruise is normally low compared to what you get for your money and compared to what an on-land holiday with full board will cost you


12.   because cruises in OUR view ( based on until now six great experiences in many parts of the world and with many companies ) simply is the very best way of enjoying holidays


                  Frequent questions from many people who never tried a cruise before:


a)       Do you have to like to sail ( at sea or on rivers ) ?


Yes, of course. But you don’t have to do any of the sailing

yourself J  


b)      Isn’t it boring ?


Yes, if you are a person who is easily bored ( or boring ) L   Otherwise not at all. You simply have SO many different things you can do that days, evenings and nights are more than filled up with lovely activities


c)       Won’t you get fat and lazy from all the lovely food, wine and drinks ?


Yes, if you want to. But there is no forced spoon feeding ! You eat what and when you want. And it is not forbidden to do some exercise – on board or during the excursions.


                        In other words:  THERE ARE LOTS OF GOOD REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD

                                                     TRY A CRUISE.


                                                     But be careful:  You might become addicted!


                        Now, you will ask:  Where can I read about all the fantastic cruises ? 












                        Liselotte and Niels Jørgen Thøgersen


                        December 2010 





New season for Europe
It's been a very difficult time for Europe over the last few months. No real political leadership. No active participation from the citizens. No great convincing ideas on the table on how we together in Europe should address  the new situation and the new challenges ahead.

Isn't it the time now to form a new sort of Jean Monnet's ACTION COMMITTEE FOR EUROPE ? A group of key and influencial people from around Europe, which can inspire and stimulate our democratically elected political leaders to move forward - also beyond the next national elections?  That's what Jean Monnet and his committee managed to do from 1955 - and in a situation much more difficult than today.

What do you think??
Here is the key father of Europe. JEAN MONNET.
My CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR letter 2009




Christmas / New Year 2009 / 2010


Dear Friends – where ever you are


Another lovely year is soon behind us. It’s time to greet you all and wish you a GREAT CHRISTMAS and a very SUCCESSFUL & HAPPY NEW YEAR !


On thepolitical front it was very interesting to follow, how Obama is settling in – with his many election promises, with the American electorate and with the developments in the world. I fully support the Nobel Peace Prize for him.  It’s correct that he still has a lot to deliver. Including peace. But in 11 months he has managed to introduce a totally new US approach in the world and at home.  No more the old macho style ( “I’ll get at you, if you don’t…” ). Now with his hand put forward – offering cooperation and friendship. And still clear about his ( and our ) core values and readiness to fight for them if necessary.  I think his speech in Oslo was a masterpiece, which will have a long-term effect.  And the Nobel Prize: it was first and foremost given to support his new approach. This will make it easier – and also more necessary – for him to deliver.


Personally I continue to follow Obama’s very successful on-line communication very closely. He continues to “break new communication ice”.  I am working on “translating” these methods for use in Europe.  If you are interested in more, please let me know J


What Europe is concerned we have equally good reasons to be happy. With the new Lisbon Treaty in place we are now ready for the future. No more frustrating discussions only on procedures, treaties and institutions. Now we can concentrate on what really matters – our common policies towards our common challenges such as climate change, financial crisis, jobs, globalisation, research and development, etc.  And the new leaders we selected are like Obama of the non-macho style. People ready and able to use what is most efficient: the quiet, soft and smart diplomacy – backed up by our common significant economic and political weight.


It is also encouraging to follow president Medvedev in Russia. His policies and declared attitudes towards modern democracy are strongly needed in contrast to Putin’s  hard-hitting approach.  It is in particular important to follow what he can and will do for the freedom of the media, for the work of the NGOs, and for openness about the enormous crimes of Stalin and his gang.  Medvedev deserves all the support he can get from us.


The fight against Climate Change is on the top of our agenda these days.  And very much necessary. It’s incredible that you still can find people who ( probably ) believe and certainly declare publicly that it’s all nonsense.  There are many ways to try to become known and famous in our very tolerant and open democracies J     Whatever the final results of COP15 in Copenhagen will be in a few days it will be the basis for a lot of further work. Not only by our politicians, but in particular by all of us.  We all have to think climate in our future life.  Not in a narrow and unintelligent way. But on things which really matter. And where we in my view can continue to have a great life also with the necessary constraints. Let’s call it Climate Behaviour 2.0.  Let’s make it a good and positive competition with ourselves. What can I do to improve the situation ?   Human imagination knows no borders. Let’s start profiting from that also in this very important fight !



On the personal front the year 2009 has been very rich and exciting. Life in Belgium continues to be a great pleasure with all the possibilities it offers. And we have also this year been travelling a lot. Just to mention our most important trips:  France ( Sommes and Versailles + Maison de Jean Monnet ), Berlin, the 3 Baltic countries, Bremerhaven, Ireland ( 3 times ), Spain ( twice ), Sicily, Venice, Croatia and now the Weihnachtsmarkt in Cologne this past weekend. 


For me it has also been the year of CURE.  Self imposed and self controlled.  On January 1 I decided without telling anybody that I would let alcohol look after itself for a while.  It lasted 267 days J   Without any exceptions!  It sent many kilos on the run ( as desired ) – and gave extra energy for new initiatives on many fronts.  But when this approach by mid September no longer had any effect on the weight on the morning scales I decided – again quietly – to start supporting the suffering wine producers again J    So now I am warming up to a new approach for 2010.  I call it CURE 3.0     You want the recipe ?  Available after New Year upon well motivated requests only J  


The new year 2010 will hopefully be another great tango with life at its best !  What I already know is that I in January will enjoy being 65 and thereby start my real adult life J   And here in Belgium this is particularly enjoyable.  From then on I can travel free of charge with all metros and all buses all over the country. As often as I want to. And should I instead prefer to take the train I have to pay 5 €. To wherever in Belgium I want to go.  And this “high price” is for a return ticket J    In other words:  If you hear less from me after January 22 it’s because I will be travelling all over Belgium all the time – to earn all the money I save J  


What is also certain is that we will again go seeing the world.  It lies there waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. And we volunteer to take up the “tough” challenge.  In March we will go two weeks to Madeira – never been there before. And later we will definitely again be hit by the “cruise germ”.  Where is still up for discussions.  This is the real holiday style for the future. And certainly for us.


Christmas is now very near. We will celebrate it here in Rixensart. With our family from all over Europe. On Christmas eve we will be 14 ( six nationalities ). And later in the week we will ourselves go to the south of France to celebrate New Year at a 5 day cruise on the river Rhone ( Lyon – Arles – Avignon – Vienne – Lyon ), while our young people will stay in our house and enjoy New Year here. We hope that we will not come back home to a smoking burnt-out house after their great time here.


By the way, you might want to know how Christmas is celebrated in many countries of Europe. You can see that on my English home page on this address:   


If you want to know more about our good life and joyful activities you can see more on my English website:   



I hope that we will be in frequent contact also in the new year – be it by mail, phone, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or by meeting again.  Life is there to be lived.



We hope that you have a great time and also a lovely Christmas.


Best greetings from the Ardennes Brabanconnes,


Liselotte and Niels



PS: You get enclosed a special Christmas gift from Liselotte in the form of a special Danish recipe called RIZ À l’AMANDES.   Enjoy J




35, Avenue de l’Europe, B-1330 Rixensart, Belgium


Tel. 00322 652 0812  Mobile:  0032 474 747 040

E-mail:     Skype: kimbrer

A FINN as the first president of the EU



A FINN as President of Europe


Europe is moving ahead. Before long the new and modernised Lisbon Treaty will in all likelihood come into force. Making the European Union more efficient, faster in taking decisions and a stronger voice in world affairs. All good stuff J  


The new Treaty also means that Europe for the first time will have a President. A President elected by all 27 member states and who will serve for up to five years. He or she will lead the summits, the meetings of the European Council and their preparations. And also represent the EU to the outside world ( often together with the Commission’s president and the new foreign minister ).


Who should be the first president?  I think it should be a FINN.  Why ? 


My first answer is:  Why not ?


My second and more substantial reply is that we need at president, who has Europe-wide support. And who comes from a member state, which is a full and active partner of all EU policies. An able and experienced FINN will fulfill all these conditions.  Finland is well regarded by everybody in the EU and beyond.  Its politicians have a long experience in dealing with complex domestic and especially foreign policy questions.  The country is a relatively new member state, but still with many years of active EU membership.  And its hands-on experience in dealing with EU’s great neighbour Russia is definitely also a positive asset for Europe, which gives strong priority to working with its Eastern partners.


And my third argument for at FINN is that it would represent a fine balance in the EU with a president from the north and a president of the Commission, Mr. Barroso, from the south.



So LET’S MOBILISE ALL OF EUROPE to select a strong and experienced FINN as our first European president !!       and a special FACEBOOK GROUP

Friends of the CZECHS

POINTS OF VIEW  &  SUGGESTIONS:   Stimulating a forward-looking debate



Here is what I just have written in my Home Page:





We are right now celebrating that it is 20 years ago that the Berlin Wall finally disappeared. So did the totalitarian communist regimes all over Central and Eastern Europe. Really, one of the most important and decisive events in Europe and in the world.  We had again a fully democratic and soon unified Europe. To the benefit and joy of all of us.


Our Czech friends are an important part of our new and democratic Europe. It’s a pleasure to work actively with them and to develop Europe further together with them. Making Europe stronger, better, more efficient and more active in preserving and cultivating our common European values further.


We, true friends of the Czech people, from all over Europe want:


·        more cooperation with the Czechs, not less


·        more Czech involvement in Europe, not less


Therefore, we Welcome a soon and final Czech signature to the Lisbon Treaty modernising the European Union. The Treaty already agreed by the 26 other EU member states.


Join us. Be a full and active part also of the new and dynamic Europe.


N A M E S   





If you want to join the discussion – and I hope you will – then do it right here:       




Good sense about Ireland's EU referendum

Good sense about the Irish EU Referendum


Europe waits for Ireland. On October 2 our Irish friends will vote again. This time about the Lisbon Treaty AND the clarifications and agreements, which the country’s government has negotiated with the rest of the EU since the last Irish referendum on topics such as abortion and security questions. And also the new general agreement that each EU member state, Ireland included, also in the future will see a member of the European Commission of its own nationality.  A point, which was very important to the Irish at the last referendum.  In other words:  It is NOT the same texts and agreements the Irish voters will vote on this time as last time. It is something more and something more precise – addressing the worries of many voters last time.


Let me be very clear and precise:   This referendum is the vote of the Irish  - and of them alone. Nobody else can vote on October 2. And nobody else should interfere actively into their decisions.


Let’s hope that the Irish will succeed in having a well informed and well argued election campaign. And not a referendum, which instead just will be the result of “the mood of the day”. Such as making it a protest vote against the present government. Unfortunately, we have over the years seen many cases of referenda, which turned into “ultra short term mood monitoring”. Actually, most referenda over the years in many countries were de facto never decided by the issue of the referendum.  Often the winner managed at the very last minute to pull an unexpected and irrelevant rabbit out of their hat. And influence a lot of voters in this irrational way.   Ireland as well as Europe deserves something much better.


Having said all that it is also very important to make clear that the vote of the Irish, of course, is of immense importance to the rest of Europe and the EU.


One example is that the presidents of as well Poland as of the Czech Republic – who have not yet signed the Lisbon Treaty on behalf of their countries, though the two parliaments have already voted yes – have both said in public that they will sign, if the Irish vote yes.


Another example is that much in the EU and its way to function depends directly of the fact that the Lisbon Treaty will come into force as soon as possible.  So if you want a European Union, which is able to handle major challenges like the climate change issue, the financial crisis and its follow-up, the energy questions and also relations with its neighbours, including possible new member states, then it is absolutely necessary to have a YES to Lisbon also from the Irish. You cannot reject the Treaty and at the same time expect to have an EU, which is efficient in handling these overwhelming challenges in the coming years. You have to choose.


It is in MY opinion VERY important that the Irish voters in a very honest and reliable way are informed about these simple facts and understand the immense importance of their vote. If they do not have this clear information they do not have an honest basis for their vote.


In the European Union we have chosen to do many things together.  This also includes making sure that we all try to take our important decisions on a solid and well-informed basis.


This is, of course, also valid for the coming Irish referendum. The voters have the right to expect a very honest and solid information about the REAL choices  before they vote. The Irish authorities are doing a lot in this field. Many others too. And more is to come.  An additional bonus is that very solid and honest information is also the best shield against influence from political charlatans and unserious ghost inventors, who always try to have a great time at such occasions.
ICELAND IN THE EU ? Yes, if fully and completely

ICELAND IN THE EU -  Yes, if it fully accepts what the EU is


Iceland will be most welcome as a member of the European Union. Like all other democratic countries in Europe. It is stated directly in the Treaty of Rome. The condition is that it accepts all aspects of the EU.  The EU treaties as well as everything which has been agreed during the existence of the EU.  Perhaps the Icelanders can in the negotiations on membership get some transitional arrangements. But they will under all circumstances be limited in time.


Now Iceland has applied for full membership of the EU. The direct reason certainly is the economic disaster, which the country has experienced in the present world crisis. And membership of the European Union will beyond any doubt be a great help for the country, not least its link to the common European currency, the EURO.


But it is very, very important that Iceland and the Icelandic population are perfectly aware what full membership implies. It is not just a safe economic harbour. It is politics. About how to form the future of Europe. About wanting common policies and common actions on a European level.  About being an active and constructive part in all the on-going decisions – big and small – which makes the European Union.   Europe does not need more countries who are only partly members.  And Iceland has a lot of experience and policies which can be a great asset for Europe as a whole.


When Iceland is ready to be a member of the EU fully and completely they will be most welcome.


OPERATION 10 - 10 - 10 - 10   

How to mobilize people in today's hectic world

We know it all. It happens a lot around us all the time. We are bombarded with information and temptations endlessly. Often it is difficult, indeed almost impossible, to distinguish important from irrelevant. Interesting from boring. Serious from non-serious.

What should you do, if you'd like to have your friends, contacts and other networks to know something specific? And to do something concrete?

Obama showed us with impressive skills how to do it in practice:

Use the
Internet . Not with large mailing lists, where people all receive a common, impersonal message at the same time. But with individual, personal messages sent directly to specific individuals. This will mobilise people.

His message was simple:

2. Get 10 of your friends and contacts to do the same
3. Get each of these 10 to find 10 other people who do the same….
4. Etc., etc.

In a way, it is a modern version of chain letters.

But now by e-mail. Personal. Fast. Direct.

June 4, 5, 6 or 7, European elections will take place in your country. Altogether 736 politicians will be elected to serve for the next five years.

It is important to vote. Very important. The European Parliament gets more power in more and more areas. All are areas which directly affect your and my everyday life. Consumer organisations have, for example, calculated that approx. 85% of all consumer legislation today originates from the European Parliament.

Then, why let others decide who should be elected?

YOU should of course VOTE.

And get 10 more people to do the same. And each of them to get 10 others ...




How to know more ....

You and your friends might ask: How can we get more information before we vote?

It's easy. At this link you will find five credible websites with information, you certainly can use:   



1) VOTE  ( and if you are not able to come, then vote by letter in advance )

2) Send an e-mail to 10 OF YOUR BEST CONTACTS to ask them to:

b) each  to find 10 others who promise to vote
c) - and each of them to find 10 people that also promise to vote –

d) and so on …..
e) and to suggest that they have a look at the abovementioned information page before they


Niels Jørgen Thøgersen

May 2009

PS: Suggestions and ideas are welcome at:    

The European consumers' organisation BEUC has just launched a very creative campaign to encourage people to vote in the European elections in a few weeks.

As they say: About 85 % of all European legislation on consumer politics comes from the European Parliament. So if you care about consumers - meaning the daily life of us all - then GO AND VOTE.

See their website:

This is the way to do it.

Why not do the same in other policy areas??

Who takes the initiative?
My Speech in ALICANTE on April 28
I have promised to speak to the staff in the EU Agency in Alicante, Spain about my 32 years in the front line in the Commission.

Here is the flyer on what I intend to talk and discuss:

Inside Europe's Sausage Factory

Join a ride through 32 years of Commission life. From the nail-biting beginnings in the cold north ( Denmark incl. Greenland ) to the hot waters of Brussels, Spain, Berlin, Romania and the Baltic countries.

Hear what life is for a determined and undaunted EU front fighter out there in the real world. Among people who might be friendly. But who often are the opposite. And also how the fight for a communicator can develop inside the Commission.

All this gives the human salt to the "European Sausage"

Spring Day :) March 14
We are definately heading for SPRING now. More than 10 degrees all day and almost also at night. Flowers in all colours all over the garden. And birds which are very active in settling in the new houses, we have installed for them 🤩

This also means that my many daily walks here and elsewhere in our area will be accelerated and even more enjoyed!!

How do YOU enjoy the coming spring where you are??
Course in today's modern economy :)




It is not easy to handle finances nowadays. It is not easy to be a shareholder either. During a large part of 2008 it has been very difficult to know who had money and who just gave the impression to have it.


With this small training course you will be better equipped to know what is up and what is down in the economy in the months and years to come.  The course is an updated version of the old political –isms. It’s done by the help of cows J




You have two cows. You give one of them to your neighbour




You have two cows. The state takes them both and gives you some milk.




You have two cows. The state takes them both and sells you a bit of milk.




You have two cows. The state takes them both and shoots you.




You have two giraffes. The state recommends you therefore to learn how to play a mouth organ.




You have two cows. The state takes them both, shoots one, milks the other one and throws away the milk.


Traditional capitalism:


You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd is enlarged and your economy improves. You sell the cattle and live for the rest of your life from the surplus.



Modern capitalism:


You have two cows. You sell one and press the other one to produce as much milk as four cows. Later you hire an expensive consultant to analyse, why your cow suddenly fell dead.


Madoff and IT Factory capitalism:


You have two cows. You sell three of them to your company noted on the stock exchange, because a bank guarantee convinces the investors that you in reality have four cows. Then you deduct fodder for five cows from your tax bill. The right to milk six cows is transferred to a bank in Polynesia, owned by a shell company. This bank sells the right to milk seven cows back to your original company. The certified accounts for this company states that it owns eight cows with the option to buy more. You claim that you have a bull, which got the 1st prize at the cattle show. You then sell the bull – and disappear.


  A French company:


You have two cows. You go on strike and block the roads, because you want to have three cows.


An Italian company:


You have two cows. But you don’t know where they are. You decide to go for lunch.


A Russian company:


You have two cows. You count them and you think you have five. You count them again and now think you have 42 cows. You count them one more time and understand that you have two cows. You open a bottle of vodka.


A Chinese company:


You have two cows. You have 300 employees to milk them. You claim that you have full employment and high productivity. You close the newspaper which writes the opposite.


An Indian company:


You have two cows. You worship them.


An Australian company:


You have two cows. Business is good. You close the office and celebrate it all with a couple of larges Fosters.



A Japanese company:


You have two cows. You re-design them, so that they only have one tenth of their original size and produce twenty times as much milk. Then you create a mango figure and increase your income by launching it as a toy all over the world under the name Kokimon.



An Iraqi company:


Everybody believes you have two cows. You tell them that you don’t have any. Nobody believes you, so they bomb you extensively and invade your country. You still have no cows. But at least you now live in a democracy.
MY Christmas Letter 2008/09



35, Avenue de l’Europe, B-1330 Rixensart, Belgium


Tel. 00322 652 0812  Mobile:  0032 474 747 040

E-mail:     Skype: kimbrer






Dear everybody out there – friends, family, colleagues, etc.


In a way I had this year decided NOT to write my traditional end of year greetings. Is anybody reading it ? Maybe not ?  But then I said to myself that this should not be allowed to steal the pleasure of writing it from me. Therefore, you have to forgive me for being once more “hit” by my friendly fire J  


I want right away to tell you that we continue to enjoy a healthy and happy life J   Very active on all fronts – mentally as well as physically. I have, though, had some “quarrels” with my left foot. The tendon was not always totally cooperative. But now the combined efforts of our local doctor, an energetic physiotherapist and my Cimbrian sisu seem to have got it under control. So I intend to continue all my many long walks in Rixensart and in many other places.


This year – 2008 – has in many ways been a special year for me:  40 years since I found myself in the middle of the Russian invasion of Prague.  30 years since I together with my friend Poul “did” the Transiberian railway from Moscow to Beijing.  20 years since we moved from Copenhagen to Brussels. And 10 years since we moved from the centre of Brussels here to Rixensart in the green Brabanconian Ardennes.    It was all celebrated with a 2.060 km river cruise on the DANUBE in October. From the Black Sea to Linz in Austria.  A great way to see the world come your way – without packing our bags every day, without the hassle in airports, and without having to drive yourself all the time. This was our 4th cruise. And we intend to let it be only the beginning.  Next year we believe that the Adriatic Sea and the Croatian, Montenegrin and Greek coasts have to live with our cruising presence J


And our new home land BELGIUM ?  It’s great – for us, anyhow. We really feel at home here. And the fact that it often can be very difficult to follow Belgian politics is another part of the charm.  As a clever man said some time ago: If you think you understand Belgian politics it’s because you have had a bad explanation L   


The ongoing financial crisis and Ireland’s no to Europe ( the Lisbon Treaty ) would perhaps be sufficient to spoil the good mood ?  No way. The first one is a dramatic lesson about the fact that we in today’s world are strongly dependant of one another, and that you definitely cannot leave it to the so-called free market forces to handle things. They have to be intelligently managed. And this must happen inside a close and binding community.  And the Irish ?  I am sure they will rethink their first decision. After a number of declarations and clarifications. Altogether 25 EU member states have by now said YES to the modernised EU Treaty. The Czechs have said they will do so after an Irish yes.  And at the end of the day I don’t believe that a single country can and will stop the 26 others. I am personally very optimistic.   The ongoing crisis has more than anything shown the need for a determined and energetic Europe to look after our interests.


Barack Obama’s victory in the US was in my view one of the highlights of this year. Not only because he won. But IN THE WAY he did it. His way of communicating with the citizens was something very new. New and very dynamic ways of using the Internet, TV and the mobile phone.  Communication has come up at a higher and more modern level. I call it: COMMUNICATIONS 2.0   And I am personally working on developing the approach of his campaign and make it usable also in Europe.  I am already in contact with many colleagues and communicators around Europe about it. It’s very exciting J  


My volunteer job as Goodwill Ambassador for Copenhagen  ( no pay, no fixed obligations ) brings me close to the preparations of the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen next autumn. We MUST do something about the climate. And if I can make some small practical and organisational contributions I will be very happy to do so.


My three “offsprings” are all fine. Claus as IT archivist in Odense. Lasse as archivist in the Danish Embassy / Representation here in Brussels. And Cecilie as researcher at the University of Birmingham.  She has, by the way, just received a big grant of 83.000 £ to a big project, so she is extra happy these days J   We are in our whole family going to celebrate Christmas with Cecilie and Nikos in Bournville in Birmingham.  It will be great to see our small delightful “princess” Anna Maria again. She will soon be three years and is a very active, energetic and talking young lady.  Most of what she says is, of course, in English ( with a Brommie accent ). But she understands everything in Danish and also quite a lot in Greek.   You can see pictures of her on my Home Page J


In July I took Claus and Lasse along on a men’s trip to London for four days. It was good fun.


And apart from that we concentrate on really enjoying life.  It has to be fun J And so it is.  On our many travels, in my genealogy work, when writing my personal and my family’s history, and when we are seeing family and friends.  I believe it’s important to challenge yourself every day. To Try and to Learn new things. No day without acquiring new knowledge and new abilities.  It is good fun and very stimulating.


One of my special projects at the moment is to write a book called DEAR GREAT GRAND CHILDREN…   I cannot be sure to meet them personally. But I don’t want them to escape the knowledge about their old Great Grandfather and what sort of creature he was… J    Good revealing fun for me too, by the way.


With this small report about the life of Seniors in Brussels & surroundings I want to wish you and your loved ones:




I very much look forward to seeing you again some time and somewhere next year !


By the way, if you want to know more about us and our life you are most welcome to have a look here:


And if you have a special interest for communication then click on my other home page:    




Warm greetings from Rixensart,



LISELOTTE's Christmas Letter 2008/09



Avenue de l’Europe 35,  B-1330 Rixensart, Belgium

Tel. 00322 652 08 12  E-mail:



Dear friends,


Another great year is almost over. What is left of it will be some more highlights. First of all spending Christmas with the entire Thogersen-clan in Birmingham with Anna Maria as the star of the festivities, next celebrating New Year’s Eve with a few terribly nice friends here in Rixensart. A great end to a year which has been full of wonderful experiences on tours around Europe - it is definitely our favourite destination! So many hidden gems all over.


In chronological order the destinations were: Berlin – York – Birmingham – Tuscany – Skagen – Veddinge Bakker (the summer house) – the island of Als (Denmark!) – Flensburg – Dublin – 2066 kilometres cruising the Danube from The Black Sea to Linz in Austria – Venezia and finally Paris. I also spend a week at The European Film College in Ebeltoft following a course named “Film and temptation”! Imagine a whole week of high quality films from 9 in the morning until 11 at night in the company of Danish top professional film people introducing their own work as well as their favourite films. Instructors, photographers, screen writers, actors – you name them – they are there!  This was my 6th time – and I will be there in 2009 as well.


Reading is another favourite of mine. The daily papers – trying to follow Belgian Politics (which is in itself time consuming and very complicated to say the least) – but the books are the most important. The Turkish Nobel Price winner Ohran Pamuk is a new favourite of mine. I have not yet read any of his novels, but his wonderful book on Istanbul convinced me of his qualities. Another one is “Other Colours” also very interesting and a good book to get to know the author himself. It is a collection of essays, lectures, notes on life and short stories. I can highly recommend it.


All this and many other projects seem to fill out the time. Looking after the house, the garden and (not least) my dear husband also adds to the pleasures of every day life, which after all is the most important. We have spent a lot of good times with  friends and family, and we have even made new friends – yes it is never too late! Niels is still working on my family tree not least on my German connection, and new and exciting stories are emerging thanks to his enormous energy and curiosity. I am very grateful for that!




Thanks for e-mails, great meetings and interesting talk – I hope there will be more of the same in 2009!


Warm Christmas greetings from


Thursday, 4 December 2008
It is GREAT that the European Commission yesterday made very constructive and forward-looking proposals for what they call a new EASTERN PARTNERSHIP.  This is a special and re-inforced cooperation with all the non-member neighbours on its Eastern border: Moldova, Georgia, Azherbajan,Armenia, Ukraine and Belarus.  Free trade, easier access for people and much more. All leading to much closer relationship than today.

This is definately the way ahaed - and in everybody's interest. It enlarges the European project of peace, democracy and properity.  Exactly what is needed - not least in economic crisis times.

And it's very good that Belarus is also part of the plan. I am the first to be very critical to the present regime there. But in the long run it is better to work with the country than blocking it. History has shown that this is the best way to promote democracy!

Now it's up to the member states and the European Parliament to have the proposal adopted as quickly as possible. Better today than tomorrow😉
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
It is 11 o'clock.  On November 11.  Exactly 90 years after the Armestice in World War I.

After 1.564 days of terrible war the guns finally were silent. But 8,6 million soldiers had died. And also millions of civilian victims. The participating countries were destroyed - their economies in ruins.

Today we REALLY have to salute all those who lost their lives in a war, which many hoped would be the final war of all.

In many countries, Denmark included, people hardly know about this war. Or have forgotten all about it. This is very regrettable.

We can always learn from the past. In this case we can see, how terrible developments and events can happen, if countries are plying on their own and not de facto, politically and economically bound to each other sharing sovereignty to combat common problems instead of fighting each other.

Unfortunately, there was no European Union back then.

After all, we European HAVE become more clever over the years. It is just very bad, that we need two terrible wars to come to our senses.
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
US, please come back to the world!  After 8 years of going it alone ( " if you are not with us, you are against us"  mentality ) it is really upon time that you change to a much more intelligent, a much more active and much more soft approach to the world.

Join the rest of us in the free and democratic world again. Join the Internatioanl War Crimes Tribunal. Close the incredible Guantanamo prison immediately and give these people a normal and democratic treatment in your legal system. Come positive and dynamic into our efforts to solve the climateproblem.  Work with us with an open and new mind on finding new ways of managing the globalised finances and the international trade. Puthumanrightseverywhere and press freedom everywhere up front in a soft and intelligent approach. And be much more suffisticated and use many more softpolicy meansto fight terrorand other threats in the world.  And tell yourself, that you cannot go it alone. Together makes everybody stronger. Not least in today's world of a global village.

Mr. Obama, you have a new and full agenda. Show the world and your fellow Americans that the way described above is the very best for everybody - also for the US.

Well back from RIVER CRUISE
Now we are back home again. Back from a lovely river cruise on the Danube. All the way from the Black Sea to Linz in Austria. Altogether 2.200 km with a superb ship "L'EUROPE" from the company CroisiEurope.

A report from our trip will soon appear here on my Home Page. And Photos too.

We ended this holiday by visiting the source of the Danube in Furtwangen in Schwarzwald ( the Black Forest ). And after that by enjoying lovely Alsace wines in Riquewihr.

And next year's Cruise is already in our drawing board 🤩
Bloody lesson to the NATIONALISTS

NATIONALISM is on its rise in many, many places. "We want to mind our own affairs. Nobody from outside should have any influence. This is what we hear in more and more places. In the recent Irish referendum, in the French and especially Dutch referenda before that - and again in elections in Austria and Bavaria yesterday. And in several other countries too.

To meit is simply inconceivablethat this old ghost from last centuries - this old Alone and Strong sentiment - again is seducing so many people. People who live in our world of today: peaceful, affluent, interdependent. It is really, really sad. Nationalism is the cause of milions and million of peoples' death and misery all over the earth. Never the cause of anything lasting good.

The only advice to us all is to fight this nationalism with all guns blowing - to use an unappropriate expression. Fight it - and fight it head on. Not with the stupid and violent instruments of nationalism. But with peaceful and forceful arguments. And when people have heard them 2-3 million times they might start understanding them. And even more important: The fight against this monster nationalism has to be permanent and around the clock. Don't ever leave the scene to the negatives. Set the agenda. And do it all the time.

The present financial crisis is a story in itself. Perhaps it has at least one good effect:  That it in its own brutal way will show the nationalists, that going it alone leads nowhere. And certainly not to a lasting and peaceful solution.

Only a dynamic and mutual committing European and international cooperation can give the answer. Like the European Union.

Explain that again and again!!

August 21: Prague + 40 = Georgia
Today is a very special day. It is exactly 40 years ago that the Soviets and their communist bandit allies invaded Dubcek's Czechoslovakia 😠. Exactly 40 years. I remember it as it were yesterday. Also because I was there. In the middle of Prague when it happened. This was an incredible crime. Not unexpected. But still incredible.

The Russian invasion of Georgia last week can easily be seen as a very well orchestrated repetition of Prague 40 years ago. Less troops, of course. But politically and mentally the very same attitude to neighbours, when they don't do and behave as the Soviet and Russian power elite expects.

When will Russia some day leave the terrible mentality of the 19th century? And replace it by intelligent, suffisticated and human ways of defending what they consider to be their interests ?

I hope the events and reactions to the last days' event will be their final lesson to them to move up into a much more civilised gear! I believe that not least the Russian population deserves that!
The Russian behaviour in Georgia is absolutely discusting. Many days ago they sign an agreeement on a cease-fire. Still TODAY they are very active over most of Georgia - and not in South Ossetia - to distroy the country's infrastructure - military installations, railways, roads, etc. etc. Completely unacceptable.😠

What can you say ?!!  And this is a country which says it wants to be a full member of the civilised international society, incl. WTO.

A VERY clear response MUST be given to the Russians. The Swedes have as almost the only ones cut cooperation with Russia because of that. What about the rest of the free world?

And even more important: We now ALL have to help free Georgia in allpossible ways. Not only in words, but in actions. In concrete help. No more - no less.


If you want to follow events on a reliable source in English from Georgis, please follow this site very closely:

Monday, 18 August 2008
At the TOP OF DENMARK.  This is exactly where I am at the moment. Just started a two weeks holiday here at SKAGEN. The very top of - not only Denmark. But of the continent. The North Sea to the left and Kattegat to the right. A wonderful place, where I now have owned a time share appartment for 27 years. 🤩

As we are surrounded by water on three sides it's like an island. With sunshine almost all the time. Clear skies. Wide horizons. White dunes as far as you can see. Therefore, this place has always been a paradise also for painters. One of the most famous local ones, ANNA ANCHER, has her 149 years birthday today.

In such a place and with such a weather it is really difficult to keep thepessimism - as they say up here 🙂

This is a fine nice mess you have got us into now!  This is what Hardy often says to Stanley when things go really wrong.

This is a very good description of  Danish EU policy at the moment. A ruling by the highest court in the EU, the European Court of Justice, last week made it clear that persons benefitting from the free movement of workers inside the EU can also bring their family with them. This is one of the fundamental rights in the EU from the very beginning. And it seems incredible that Danish authorities believe that they can organse Danish legislation in a way which goes against this fundamental principle 😠

The background, of course, is that the government is politically dependent on the right wing party, which is dead against the EU and everything it stands for.

It will be very interesting to watch how the prime minister will get out of this political can of worms, which he and the government has placed itself in.

In the meantime Danish public opinion get more and more hostile to Europe. And the migrant workers continue to have difficulties benefitting from their fundamental rights.

What a nice fine mess !

The IRISH NO - and the permanent NO people


Yes, of course. And it is a waste of readers' time and serious violation of the serious debate to claim that it will not be the case. In a democracy democratic decisions must, of course, be respected.

But what does it mean that the Irish No on June 12 must be respected? It is clear that the people who have spent their whole lifetime to fight the EU and everything it stands for, choose to understand the No in such a way that the Lisbon Treaty and all that is involved must be declared dead, finished, gone . These people's automatic No reactions can and should not be taken as a serious contribution to the current debate.

The only sensible meaning is that the Irish government - which called for the referendum – now should be allowed to be in the process of finding out what it actually was that a majority of those who voted said NO to. And it is exactly what the new Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen has said that he has started doing. It obviously will take some time. Things must be done carefully and properly. That’s how it is. And Mr. Cowen and his government have no need for undue interference from either Hansen, Pedersen or Bonde. And when the Irish later draw their conclusions from their analysis, all EU countries jointly will have to find out what we can do about it.

At the same time, we must not forget that a total of 19 out of the 27 EU countries have already ratified the Lisbon Treaty. Including Denmark. In addition, five more countries in reality have done it too. They represent a combined total of over 97% of the EU population. They are, of course, also entitled to our full respect. They did not say YES for fun. Each of them have through their own democratic decisions said YES, because they all hold the view that this treaty serves the EU cooperation well. Making it more efficient, so that we together can really start preparing and presenting Europe's positions much stronger  in vital areas such as climate change, energy, globalization, peace building, and much more.

This is what the case is really about. It is not about the automatic wishful thinking, that the Irish "NO" should mean that the whole of Europe should fall powerless on its back and say: I surrender and give in to all the common challenges and problems.  And this is certainly not what the Irish want either.

A shrewed move made June 5 Danish Constitution Day
Today the Danes are celebrating their annual Constitution Day. It goes all the way back to June 5, 1849, when their king, Frederik the 7th, signed the country's first democratic constitution. All nice and good 🤩

But WHY JUNE 5?  It's a interesting piece of history - not known by many.

The King was at that time about to marry his mistress - his third marriage. She had a son. The father was not the King, but the King's best friend - who was also the lover of the young woman. Everybody was happy about it. The mother was, though, a bit sad that her son was not considered part of the royal family and therefore never celebrated publicly. Then she made a very shrewed move: She convinced the King to select June 5 to sign the new Constitution. Which would mean that all Danes in the future would put up the flag on that day.

Why was that important to her? Because June 5 was her son's birthday. In this way she was certain that flags would always be shown all over the country on the very day, when her son celebrated his birthday.

Very smart😉
Tuesday, 6 May 2008
Three very worrying events are taking place at this time.😥

The first one is that Mr. Medvedev tomorrow will take over as President of Russia from Mr. Putin. Or will he ??!!  The still rather new Russian democracy is in deep trouble. The media are under the government's control. So are the NGOs. And so is the political opposition.  Old Russian / Soviet habits that "the leaders decide" are very difficult to get rid of.  It will be very interesting to see, if the new President is his own and not a Putin poodle. And how he will be different.

The other worrying development for all democrats is that Mr. Berlusconi is about to take over in Italy again. Yes, he is democratically elected. This is not the problem. But his approach to media ( full control almost as in Russia ) and his obscure ways to treat political opponents, the judicial system, etc. is very, very worrying.

The third example is the enormous disaster in Myanmar ( Burma ). Hundreds of thousands killed or without home after the natural disaster the other day. The very closed and very anti-human dictators in the country have prepared nothing to foresee such a situation. And are very reluctant to let foreign emergency aid in. This is a crime.

Why do I mention these three different worries in the same go?  Because they all remind us that we should NEVER, NEVER give up speaking against such very negative developments and attittudes.

Globalisation is also about caring for each other. The socalled "internal affairs" are dead and sent to the museum. Any human being in the world has the right to be protected on all the fundamental rights, which are listed in the UN Declaration for human rights. We have to speak up. We have to critisize. We have to help. Only that will eventually help. Either because the leaders will change. Or because people will oppose and make resistance.

Democrats all over the world - UNITE!
Tuesday, 22 April 2008
Well back from lovely Italy ( Umbria and Toscana )  we now enjoy a full-blown springtime here in Rixensart. Our garden is really at its best. And when our gardener has finished his latest creations tonight it is really time to get out there - and stay there 🙂

Italy was - as always - a fantastic experience. A medieval town on each hilltop. Vineyards and olive trees all over between them. A blue sky above us. And thousands of wonderful restaurants and bars everywhere. It is today very difficult to see that Toscana 150 years ago was one of thecontinent's poorest regions. It was SO poor that a frequent dish at the time was "Cooked Water"😥  This period still has the impact that people from Toscana still today use every bit of the food. Nothing is thrown out. But it's a great kitchen. And only our 15.000-23.000 steps daily walk prevented that we felt our clothes were shrinking!
Saturday, 12 April 2008
BELLA ITALIA 🙂  It's almost part of everybody's human right to visit that country at least once a year. We will do it for some days as of tomorrow. Perugia, Tuscany - as much as possible. Checking the wine, the olives, some culture, the lovely landscapes. And not least the parliamentary elections the coming days! If we could vote, we would use the Irish habits for elections: "Come early and vote often". Why? To try to get Berlusconi away from the halls of power 😠 Seen from ur point of view he never was and never will be good news! And his allies aren't either. But that's democracy. If the Italians vote him in, that's it. The world will not go under. But politics - also in EU - will be a little bit more bumpy!

Anyhow, Italy is Italy - and will remain Italy.  There will certainly be new and better times again later on 😎
Saturday, 29 March 2008
Do you know a small charming energetic and always happy girl of 2 years and 1 day ??🤩

If not, see one here🙂

We are here in Birmingham to celebrate our great grand daughter ANNA MARIA.  Yesterday.  Today. And  tomorrow 😉
Enjoying a Saturday drink in Cafe Rouge
Wednesday, 26 March 2008
Greetings from London🙂  As always a fantastic, friendl, exciting and entertaining city. Had a good walk through the heart of town last night. Today president Sarkozy and his new wife will follow in our footsteps, while we are off to York - the ciy of our friends, the Vikings 😉

The superb experience last night wa the musical "The Sound of Music" at the London Palladium. Fantastic. The best of all the musicals I've seen - and that's many. The actors, the music, the presentation, the theatre. You should really, really go and see it. 

It also helped us a lot that we on purpose saw the film at home a few days ago.

The musical is about a rea life event: the life and escape of the Austrian family von Trapp from their country, when the Nazis had invaded it in 1938.
Thursday, 20 March 2008
I want to wish you all a VERY HAPPY EASTER🤩   Some days off from the daily rush. Seeing family and friends. Enjoying a good time.

Of course, I know that Easter is not the same everywhere. In Denmark the holidays start today - Thursday. And Friday, Sunday and Monday are also holidays. A good mini holiday.

Here in Belgium the only holidays are Sunday and Monday.  Meaning that the only extra day off in Monday. Still the schools are closed all of next week. So in that sense Easter is something special.

In Greece - the home country of our son-in-law - Easter will this year only be at the end of April. But Easter in the Greek-Orthodox church is on the other hand the most important event - clearly more important than Christmas. So I am sure that our Greek friends think that it's worth waiting for.

For all of you: Have a great time! And enjoy also the upcoming spring 🙂 Tomorrow will be the day when day and night are equally long. And in nine days we will all change to summer time!
Thursday, 13 March 2008
"Ich hab' noch einen Koffer in Berlin!"  Do you remember that famous song by Marlene Dietrich? It was later done in English by Hildegard Knef: "I still have a suitcase in Berlin".

I feel the same way today. Last night we returned from 3 1/2 lovely days in the new German capital. Fantastic.  Let me say it rightaway: If you haven't been there the last couple of years, you should go NOW.  So much to see.SO much to do.SO much to enjoy.  And it is a very relaxed and friendly city. Very nice people who like to tell you about all the things - the past, the present and the future.  We saw a lot: The new Norman Foster Parliament building. The Gestapo torture chambers. The Stasi headquarters. The new Jewish Museum. The new Holocaust Memorial. A lovetrip trip by boat on the Spree through old and new Berlin. And also the ABBA musical "Mamma Mia". And, and, and.🙂

I intend to write my diary from the trip in English in some days and put it on my Home Page. And also give you suggestions for good restaurantsand hotels.

Get there - as fast as possible  🤩
What has the EU done for ME ??
You often meet the question: EU - Has it done anything for ME at all ?

Either people don't know - or they are confused because of all the false information which is circulating.

The other day I saw for the first time a very interesting and stimulating smallvideo addressing exactly that question.

Have a look:

What do you think? 🤩

I suggest that you spread it to as many people in your networks as possible.

PS: And as you will see at the top of the site this video exists in all 23languages of the EU.  Use it.

Well done 🤩
Tuesday, 4 March 2008
"Ich bin ein Berliner" !  These are the very famous words which president Kennedy used in a speech in West Berlin in 1963 - only a few months before he was assassinated.  He used them to show solidarity with the local population, which was surrounded by the communist dictatorship. Fortunately, this is all over. But it is still important to remember. Also because similar words of solidarity are more than necessary in many parts of the world today.

We will in particular think about in in a few days time, when we will visitthe German capital. I have been there many times. My first visit was in 1964 - also in the coldest part of the Cold war. Disgusting ways to treat people were evident everywhere. To warm up to our coming visit we will tonight see the new famous movie "Das Leben der anderen" about Stasi and all their crimes. Some time ago we saw "Der Untergang" about Hitler's last days in Berlin.  Berlin is really a centre place for anybody with an interest for history. And for politics today.

Kennedy and his policies and words also come easy to me on this very day, when the democratic voters in Ohio and Texas will decide who will probably be the next American president. It will hopefully be an equally refreshing US leader as we had at the time.🙂
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
Welcome, Kosovo 🙂  After all the massacres of Milosovic and his gangs I cannot take the present Serbians seriously, when they are yelling and shouting against the independence. They arranged themselveslong time ago that Kosovo will go its own way.  And the independence, by the way, follows the good old principle since the Woodrow Wilson days after WW I that people must have the right to decide for themselves, where they want to belong.

It's perhaps understandable that the Serbs - with the propaganda they have faced all these years cannot swallow the development in one go. But they have to. They have no alternatives.  And their election recently of  a moderate President was a very encouraging sign. They will move forward - even if it will take some time.

The Russians - or rather the "Putinites" - are the really naughty ones! They push life to the possible fire in the Balkans. On the one side it is not surprising. They have an upcoming Presidential election on March 2. And Putin et Co. want to be seen as tough as possible before that. On the other hand it is very illogical that the Russians oppose Kosovo's independence. They are themselves the de facto protectors - also ofter with military presence - in breakaway parts of Moldova and of Georgia. Who can tell me the logics of the Russian policy ???

Let's now all in the democratic world do our utmost to help the new, poorcountry to get on its feet. The EU police force of 2000 people, who soon will be there, is a very good beginning.😀
Monday, 28 January 2008
Today is CHARLEMAGNE's DAY.  The day when the great Roman-German Emperor Charlemagne ( Charles the Great ) died in his home city of Aachen in 814.

He is by many people seen as the father of Europe, as he was the one who got Europe together again after the collapse of the old Roman empire. The fact that it all split up again after his death - split between his sons - is another matter. But he managed to rule most of Europe.

For that reason a socalled Charlemagne Prize has been created after WWII. It is every year since 1950 given to a leading  personality, normally a politician, at a ceremony in Aachen. The criteria is that that person has done something special for Europe. Chancellor Angela Merkel got the prize for 2008. Last year it was given to Mr. Solana from the EU. And in the year 2000 Bill Clinton received it 🙂

So the old emperor still has his traces here today 🤩
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
A new year has started. And started relatively well. Politics around the world is in full swing. Primaries in the US. Coming elections in Pakistan. Presidential campaign in Russia (though not much left to campaign about     :(   ).  The ratification of the new Lisbon Treaty is well under way in all countries - to finish before the end of the year. 🙂

The Olympics in China in August are also politically very important. Certainly for the Chinese. But also for the rest of us. As th Chinese should like to have perfect Games where everybody participates and where the media will give a positive of their country they are VERY keen to avoid any problems, which can spoil that goal. This will, therefore, also give the rest of the world the possibility to put pressure on the Chinese, not least in questions like press freedom,  But are we - the free world - prepared to do that? Do you really stand up and fight for a free Chinese press? There are lots of examples of the opposite. Alas :)   There is still time to move. Will that possibility still be there after the Olympics??🤔
Monday, 31 December 2007
On this very last day of the year I want to wish you and your loved ones a VERY HAPPY AND EXCITING NEW YEAR 2008🙂

A new year filled with joy, happiness, great health, new discoveries and lots of success in whatever you do!

The start of a new and unspoilt year is always very fascinating. What will it bring? What's in it for me? Etc.

My view is that life is beautiful. It offers SO many possibilies and joys that it is un-measurable. On one condition: that you yourself are active. That you take the opportunities offered to you. That you are pro-active, creative, positive, helpful. And that you go out of your way also to be interesting and useful to other people. Pleasure and success always has at least two sides. YOUR own active contribution is a very important part of it. "No fried chickens will authomatically fly into your mouth", as a Danish saying goes.

If you have this positive and pro-active approach to life you will have a GREAT TIME. Also in 2008!

I look forward to meeting you again during the new year - in cyberspace, by phone/Skype or in person. Also to exchange our very positive experiences!

SKAAL🤩  And have a GREAT YEAR🙂
Thursday, 20 December 2007
Coming closer... 🤩  Very much closer. Yes, Christmas, holidays, NewYear festivities are almost with us. Also a great way to celebrate that the days tomorrow will start getting longer step by step. Our ancestors long time before our time always celebrated that. In almost all civilisations and cultures. And in Australia and similar places they are celebrating the start of their summer holidays - perhaps with Christmas eve on the beach🙂

By the way, tomorrow we also celebrate that most of our new EU countries in Middle and Eastern Europe will be part of our border-freeEurope from midnight! The Baltics, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia. What a dramatic and super positive change since the recent days with the iron curtain and all what that implied. A Europe free for travel for everybody. This is what we all deserve. It was, by the way, already like that before World War I. But that's another story.

And as we are in the celebrating mood we can also put up the European flag to mark that two more countries, Cyprus and Malta, will introduce theEURO from January 1.  This brings the number of European countries with the common currence € to 15.  From the most northern tip of Finland in the North to the southern tip of Cyprus, Italy, Malta and Spain in the South. To great advantage for business and turists alike. And not least for the stability of the European currencies, incl. the Danish Krone.  And the coin collectors now have two more sorts of € coins to get hold of.

A good Danish tradition is to send greetings to family and friends just before Christmas. We did that the other day.

If you haven't received it and should like to read it you can easily see it here:

I want to wish you and your loved ones a:
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
We are rapidly coming closer. Closer to Christmas. Closer to the new exciting year 2008! But it's still a bit too early to send you all the good wishes! They will follow in a couple of days.

But it is NOT too early to try to stimulate your feeling of the upcoming holidays 🤩 

I have tried to collect - from good friends - small interesting descriptions of Christmas traditions in almost each and every European country.

You can find these descriptions on this home page - on this address:

The latest story - arrived today - is about Christmas traditions in Belarus. Very interesting.

Have a good look. I hope you will feel inspired 🙂

If you have points to add or to correct, please do not hesitate to contact me 😉
Friday, 14 December 2007
"Never threaten to stay away - threaten to stay!"  This is an old and clever rule which is sometimes forgotten. Also in politics.

The most recent example happened last week, when the British prime minister, Gordon Brown, decided to boycott the summit between Europe and Africa, because Robert Mugabe from Zimbabwe would be there.  Now, Mr. Brown has sort of a tradition of staying away from EU meetings 😥  But in this case he explicitly gave the reason that he would not be there together with the Zimbabwan dictator.

My view is that it is MUCH better to confront these awful dictators with your views. Loud and clear. And in public. Confront them with their awful politicies and action. Never miss an opportunity to do that! Never let them off the hook.

That's why meetings with leaders like Putin, and other autocratic leaders in the former Soviet republics are VERY important. Never let them in peace. Let them feel and see for themselves, what an open democracy with many different views, free media, protection of minorities, etc. really means.

Never give up
. Find new ways all the time. But never boycott seeing and meeting with them. Only by constantly being pro-active they and their supporters will finally some day understand that there are better ways to behave in this world!
Thursday, 13 December 2007
The new LISBON TREATY will be signed today in the Portuguese capital. All heads of states and governments of the 27 EU member states will be there to sign. A long and difficult process has almost come to its end.🙂

The Treaty is an important modernisation of the European Union. It will function much better. And the Treaty also contains a number ofimprovement on the substance. The big national Belgian newspaper LA LIBRE is today reserving its front page and three more pages inside to explain what the new Treaty means. It would be desirable that national media in other countries also gave this event a similar priority :)

The next and final step is the ratification in each member state and in the European Parliament. It will take place in the coming months - in France already in early February. The plan is that the Treaty will come into force on January 1, 2009.

You can read much more about the Treaty here:  

The ratification will take place in the national parliaments - except in Ireland, where a referendum is foreseen. The other countries, incl. Denmark, which hold referenda now and then on EU matters, have decided that as there is no transfer of sovereignty it is not necessary legally to call a referendum. This is in my view a very good decision. Referenda often simplify mattersfar too much - make them one-issue discussions. The normal representative democracy is much better in discussing all the many aspects of a Treaty. 

In general I strongly believe it is fundamentally wrongto think that a referendum is the "highest and finest form of democracy". Basically it's the opposite. It has a long range of negative effects - short-term and also long-term. It splits the voters in white/black attitudes. It simplifies matters. It is the failure of representative democracy. And it does not involve citizens more in the daily work of EU and of other important matters. There are much better ways of doing that.

It is upon time that we get a serious debate about all this. Far too much "unserious happy-go-lucky debate" on this topic has been allowed to happen without any substantial discussion.
The 27 heads of state and government in the EU assembled in Lisbon on December 13 to sign the new Treaty
Monday, 10 December 2007
We are all coming close to Christmas🙂  Or YULETIDE - as you often say in English.

By the way, do you know where the word YULETID comes from? It comes from Scandinavia. Its origin is the still Scandinavian word for Christmas:  JUL.  It came over with our good ancestors the VIKINGS.

And where does that word come from?  It comes from the word HJUL ( meaning Wheel ). Årets Hjul.  The Wheel of the Year. Celebrated at this particular time of the year, when the days start getting longer again.  And its origins go much further back than Christianity.

So much about the origins.

And what about the many national and regional traditions for Christmas?  I am sure that they can inspire you in the coming couple of weeks, when you are preparing YOUR celebrations.

Have a look at my Home Page here:

More countries will be added.

And if YOU have traditions you want to tell others about, please, let me know. And I will put them on my site 🤩
Wednesday, 5 December 2007
Finally, Europe is again on the political agenda in Denmark 🙂 As usual it was hardly discussed by anybody during the recent general election campaign. But with the government's declaration that it wants to organise a referendum to get rid of the Danish opt-outs in the EU  Danish politics has got a new dynamic. This is combined with the fact that the same government will most likely decide to ratify the new Lisbon Treaty in theParliament - and NOT by referendum. Why? Because its legal experts yesterday declared that the Treaty does not transfer any new sovereignty from Denmark to the EU. Therefore, it is not legally necessary to organise a referendum.

The next important moment will, therefore, be the referendum on the opt-outs sometime in 2008. Either end of spring or beginning of the autumn. And certainly before the new Lisbon Treaty comes into force from January 1, 2009. How will such a referendum go? Hopefully be positive - removing the four opt-outs. There are lots of examples on how they harm Danish interests more and more. And this will be even worse, when the new Treaty starts.

The result of the referendum will first and foremost depend on a serious, honest and efficient communication to the Danish public well in advance of the vote. A communication which explains what is at stake and why the opt-outs are completely out of date and harming.  There will no doubt be a lot of "belly-dancing" from the anti-side. Claiming that this is the end of the country and of democracy itself.  A serious and well planned communication will be the best vaccination against the effects of such unfounded activities :)

So: All Danish friends of Europe: Unite !
Wednesday, 28 November 2008
The coming Sunday will be a very sad day for all true democrats! President PUTIN and his "putinism" will in all likelihood make a farce out of the general elections in Russia! 😠  Political parties who dare criticise him and his party are threatened in all sorts of ways. Media are armtwisted into obedience. Demonstrations in the streets are immediately attacked by riot police and their leaders put into jail until after the elections on Sunday. International monitors of the election do not get their visa. And Putin himself is shouting at everybody outside Russia claiming that they try to interfere into "his elections".

This cannot go on. This is NOT democracy. To use the words of Kasparov the other day: This is a soft version of the Soviet Union😥

If these fears are confirmed the free democratic world has to react. And react firmly and strongly. Non-democratic countries cannot be treated as democratic. Such countries have no place in the club of G-8. Or in the Council of Europe.  Russia should be suspended as a member. And economically the democracies have to do much more to work systematically on not becoming more and more dependent on a non-democratic / authocratic regime. This is the responsibility of all of us. Not to start a new cold war. On the contrary. To protect and assist alldemocratic forces in Russia. To make it absolutely clear to Putin - who needs the outside world very much - what a modern democracy is andwhat it implies.  Even former KGB-officers should hopefully be able to learn about democracy !
Thursday, 22 November 2007
Today is a GREAT DAY:  The Danish government has declared that it ( finally ) will bring Denmark back as a full member of the EU.  After 14 years with four important exemptions from EU-rules ( security, justice, EURO, citizenship ) the government will now - at a time still to be decided - organise a referendum about abolishing these opt-outs!  Congratulations 🙂

It is good for Denmark. More influence. More credibility. More involvement. And getting away from the embarrassing role of wanting all the advantages from the EU, but not all the commitments.

It's also good for the EU. In this globalised world we need to be stronger and better equipped to make things go OUR way  and to promote our European values with all instruments at our disposal. The coming Lisbon Treaty is a great step in that direction. And getting member states - in this case Denmark - fully on board again - is another good step.

We do not know when the new referendum will happen. It is just announced by the prime minister today to take place within his new government's mandate - meaning within the next four years.

Therefore, a well informed and solid debate has to start in Denmark now. Hopefully with new participants - not only the "usual suspects" - and with new arguments and methods. We are entering a very interesting period 🤩
Wednesday, 21 November 2007
A month on the road. Or rather: most of the time at sea. From October 24 until November 11 we enjoy a GREAT cruise in the South Chinese Sea. Altogether 7.200 km by ship - with visits in Hong Kong, Manila, Borneo, Brunei, Singapore, Saigon, Da Nang and Sanya in China. Fantastic. Especially Brunei and Vietnam. Fascinating.

I have written a 19 page diary from the trip in Danish. It is available on my Danish Home Page  ( ). I have promised myself ( and now you ) to make a short version of the diary in English. Coming soon 😉

Since our return to Europe we have been four days in Rome. I took active part in a very interesting meeting on communication in the "Club ofVenice". It is an informal Club of the communication directors of the governments of all 27 EU member states and of the EU institutions. I was myself involved in creating it more than 20 years ago. And now I am vice-president of the Club. A great place to learn a lot, to discuss and tonetwork.  I will soon tell you more about it here on my Home Page.

In addition we, of course, took the opportunity to "do bella Roma". We know it well, and we stayed in a hotel in the very centre. Great to go to all the historic places - and also to some new ones. Later this week I will write a small practical guide "Enjoy ROME" to this eternal city. And you will find it also here on my Home Page.
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
I have always been strongly in favour of Turkey as a member of the EU. Not now, but as soon as the country is ready. It has to fulfill the EU conditions fully - like any other country which has joined - before they come in.

Giving the Turks the prospect of full membership of the European Union is the ONLY way to support the democratic forces in Turkey, and to ensure that this vast country neighbouring the Middle East and Russia will adopt all important European, democratic values like human rights, protection of minorities, democratic institutions, independent courts, etc., etc. Any other policy will easily drive Turkey in a direction, which is certainly not in our interest.

With my very positive attitude to Turkey I get so much more angry when I hear that they might at their own initiative and against everybody else invade the north of Iraq. This is simply not acceptable. Whatever their arguments. They haven't done it yet. But they should be very much aware that they might loose their best friends in the West, if they do it.

I am also very puzzled by their reaction to the talk about the genocideagainst the Armenians in 1915. It's a fact that 1 1/2 million Armenians were systematically killed. It's a  fact that it was done by the Ottoman-Turkish empire. Why not recognise that? It was BEFORE the birth of modern Turkey. Blame the Ottomans, also because it was their regime, which committed the crimes.

Accepting bad, cruel behaviour in the past can, of course, be psychologically difficult. But is HAS to happen. Accept history. And use instead all your efforts to avoid that it ever happens again.

But creating new conflictsand wars like an invasion of Iraq - this is beyond acceptance. Whatever the strong Turkish military says. Despite what large parts of the populations says and shouts. Political leadership hasto go beyond that. To take the necessary couragious and sensible solutions. Not to invade, but to cooperate with Iraq against the terrorists. And accept crimes committed almost a hundred years ago.

Both steps will significantly contribute to more peace and more harmony and cooperation in the whole region. And also make Turkey even more fit for a later membership of the EU.
Monday, 15 October 2007
Today the foreign ministers of the EU decided to strengthen thesanctionsagainst the military dictatorship in Burma / Myanmar.

This is very good.

And it is in particular good that EU will go an extra mile to get the ASEAN countries more active for democracy in Burma. They are the closest neighbours of Burma and will most likely have more influence than us.

Still I believe that we - the citizens of democratic Europe - should do much more to keep and strengthen our contacts with the Burmese people. To encourage them, inspire them, help them, tell them about what happens in the outside world. With the Internet and satellite communications even the harshest dictatorship cannot keep contacts to the outside world out. This must be the nightmare for any dictator around the world.

I just checked in my own case how many contacts my network onLinkedIn can produce on Burma. It is 50. A good beginning. And I write Myanmar in the Search Box the result is 52 contacts.   So it IS possible to get inside the country.

Let's be active. Let's be constructive. Let's be innovative.

Burma monks protesting in the streets of Rangoon
Sunday, 14 October 2007

Belarus is again in the media. Or at least it SHOULD be in the media.

This afternoon the pro-democracy forces in the country are organising a "European March". Its purpose is to underline that Belarus belongs to the democratic Europe and wants to be part of it.

More here:   ( unless the authorities block it )

For once the intiative was agreed by the authorities. But publicity for it was not allowed. People who distributed information pamphlets in the last few days were arrested. The state-controlled media said absolutely nothing about it. And today all roads into Minsk were blocked by the police, so that nobody from outside Minsk could take part.  Only a small blue sticker giving the time and place were put up in many places in the capital.

Still thousands of people turned up this afternoon. And the demonstration is still going on. The opposition leader Milinkevich spoke at the beginning. Everything happens very peacefully - at least until now.  But the police is ready in large numbers. We hope for the best.


How do we proceed? What can we - in democratic Europe - do to be of help to our friends - the democrats of Belarus?

I think the way ahead is contact, contact, contact. And engagement, engagement, engagement. Also with the authorities and the media - even if we certainly don't and shouldn't agree with them in their policies and their actions.

By involving them - forcing them out of isolation - engaging them - discussing with them we have a chance to make progress. And at the same time we must make sure that the world media pay attention to Belarus - not only in crisis times - but ALL the time.  The second task may be more difficult than the first one.

And about today: I CERTAINLY hope and expect taht EURONEWS will make a good and full report about the events.  This is so much more important, as its channel in Russian is also seen by many people in Belarus.

Watch out - be attentive - and be creative and operational in your help to a free and democratic Belarus!

The sticker which the democrats managed to put up in different places to announce the European March
Saturday, 13 October 2007
Europe is again on the agenda 🙂  At least for many of us. At the end of next week a very important EU Summit (European Council) will take place in Lisbon. The most important point on the agenda is the new REFORM TREATY, which in all likelihood will be adopted. The best possible result for Europe at the moment. And very much needed, as its new mechanisms will give EU the necessary strength and flexibility to act and react in today's world.

Those wo want to do something good for Europe will support this Treaty. And those who want to damage Europe and our possibilities to run our own affairs - they will of course do all sorts of "belly dancing" to stop the process. That's politics.  I have a nice feeling, though, that the pros willhave the upper hand. Fortunately 🤩

But we have to be very much ready for a profound and serious debate - engaging as many citizens as possible. Everywhere. Referendum or no referendum. People HAVE to be informed and involved!

In this context it is very interesting to see, when the result of this weekend's big conference in Brussels will be. It is called "Tomorrow's Europe". About 400 citizens from all 27 member states will over two days discuss very important European issues with each other and with specialists and politicians of many different views. Polls before and after the discussions will then show, how the information given and the debates influenced the particupants. It's called a "deliberative poll". The results will be published on Wednesday - the day before the Summit.

See more here: 

Europe deserves our active involvement. All of us.  How do we best organise this?

What's YOUR view on that?

Europe seen from the sky
Sunday, 26 August 2007

A week is passing VERY quickly when you are in a nice place with nice people! This is what has happened to me here in Skagen since last Sunday! 🤩 Wonderful time. Sunshine. Storms. A wild North Sea. Lovely old Irish friends as guests. First-timers in Skagen. And you see much more of your own place, when you show it to others.  You know the feeling ?

Friday I was invited to present the EU as I see it to a group of business leaders up here. Good fun. At least for me. Provoking them somewhat by saying that the more money EU Funds invest up here, the more negative people become about the EU 😠  I explained it by what I call the "remote-factor". The further away you are from Europe, the more sceptical you are. At least in the northern part of Europe.  True? If yes, why?

Still life is great up here! Also because we have a magnificant three star French chef of haute cuisine in the restaurant next door 😉   A very nice place to come - especially on invitation.  As we were on Friday - as thank you  for my EU speech 😀

Sunday, 19 August 2007
We are now in SKAGEN.  The most northern point of Denmark ! Lovely place 🙂The sea on three sides. Dunes and a blue sky for the rest! The paradise for painters.  Have been coming here every year in August since 1981 to my time-share appartment. Running until 2080 - with the possibility for renewal 😎

You can read much more about this place here on my home page:

How about coming here some day??

Read much more in the coming days 🤩
Here you see our lovely Time-Share place called Jeckels. Good for everything!
Thursday, 26 July 2007
"De-Tour de France".  This must be a reasonable name for the present "non-show" in France. 😠

I have never personally been very interested in the sport of cycling and perhaps even seen the very professional part of it as somewhat "dirty". Easy to say today, of course. But still...

Perhaps one could say: OK, let them use doping. And the guy who is best at that will probably win. But this is, of course, very irresponsible. What an awful example to give to young people, which that sort of sport should like to attrack also in the future.

Therefore, any cheating by using any drugs of any sort should continue to be totally and completely forbidden. No more - no less. And medical doctors who still will give it should be banned from medical jobs for ever. And the cyclists who still use it should not only be excluded for some time. They should also go to prison - like anybody else, who use serious forbidden drugs.😠

I believe that the organisers of De-Tour de France need a really longperiod of reflection. They have to re-invent the Tour in a completely different form. A form which will be the world champion in people's minds for a modern and very responsible sport, which only attracts people (and sponsors), who want the REAL thing: Clean sport, clean sportspeople, clean competition.  Perhaps such a reflection will last a few years. And so what...

Until then I hope that all TV station will do like to two national German TV stations ARD and ZDF the other day:  BOYCOT the De-Tour.

This will make the organisers and in particular the sponsors focus theirminds on what is really needed for the future!

We have an expression in Danish which says: Nothing is so bad that it is not good for something.

The last days developments in France is an excellent example of that :) 

Thursday, 19 July 2007
Today we arrived in Birmingham. My daughter Cecilie, her husband Nikos and their/our little Princess Anna Maria have to live with yet another visit here 🙂

Everything is great here. All illnesses have disappeared. Unfortunately, the very rainy weather hasn't 😥  But no problem. Real Vikings don't worry about the weather - do they !

Again, today arriving at Birmingham airport I continue to wonder why the Brits are so keen on their passport control. Why are they not modern like most of the rest of Europe and introduce free circulation with no passport control!  The Schengen system in Europe has given no problems whatsoever. And for us - the normal citizens - it's a real pleasure each time to pass any frontier with no obstacles whatsoever. Ok - the British control today was efficient, friendly and fast. But still... Wouldn't it be better use of resources to send the many police officers at the control out to catch some realcriminals!  They hardly ever find anybody at the border controls. The real criminals are somewhere else. And the enormous problems they have in this country with   bombings etc. has nothing to do with the free borders or not.

Ok - the UK continues to be a nice and friendly country. I just wished for them that they someday with join the rest of us with full free movements. And perhaps even with the EURO 😀

Ok - I have to run. I have to go to the long waiting line to have my real money (read EUROs) changed to Pounds 😠
Birmingham City Centre with Victoria Square, etc.
Thursday, 19 July 2007
Danes are not always welcome in Denmark!  Especially if they have lived for some years abroad. A very strange tradition.

We just received the regular magazine publisked by the organisation "DANES WORLDWIDE".  In each issue it presents concrete cases. Young people who come back with exams from other countries and are often not accepted at Danish Universities. We even know a case where a young Danish lady student after rejection at the University in Copenhagen was immediately accepted at the University of Cambridge 🙂

But we haven't only to read about it. Most Danes living abroad can tell many personal stories about it.

People who come back from working abroad, also for ministries, are very often looked at with great suspicion by their new colleagues. And normally they have to start working at a lower level than their experience would entitle them to.

When Danes from abroad visit friends and family in Denmark it is very rare that anybody (apart from the very closest relatives) asks questions about life abroad. You can go to parties after parties - without having a single question about how you are "out there".

This is not a personal complaint. But a serious question about what's behind all this!  We "Danish foreigners" have often discussed it. But without finding a solution.

Perhaps Danes living in Denmark is SO much an inward-looking TRIBE that the surrounding world by definition is without much interest. Perhaps.

I wonder, if other people living outside their home country sometimes feel the same?? 
Denmark with Danewerk in 1539 - protecting a TRIBE ?
Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

No day without news from Russia. But most often bad news. Bad news on how Putin and his lads try to stop all criticism of their policies and behaviour. Bad news on how Britain cannot be allowed to have a Russian presumed murder sent to London for criminal charges. Bad news on how the gigantic gas and oil company Gazprom tries to dominate also the market in more and more places in Europe.😠

Russia wants to be seen as a modern democracy. And it also wants to become a full member of the WTO - the World Trade Organisation.

Both require a lot of the Russians. Like of us all. Full freedom for the media. No intemidation of people and NGOs, who disagree with the authorities. No cover-ups for criminals. No breaches of international rules for trade and economic activities.

The Brits have the right to expect full backing from the EU and its other 26 members in its present quarrels with the Kremlin.

And the EU competition authorities hopefully keep a very active eye on the behaviour of Russia, not least of Gazprom. They have earlier had succesful arm-twisting with companies like Microsoft.  Gazprom is no exception, if they don't play according to the agreed rules.

In other words: If the EU did not exist already, we had to hurry up inventing it. Also to keep Mr. Putin and his merrymen on track when a real democracy and a real good behavious in international trade is concerned.

Do much better to get it right, Mr. President !
A place called VEDDINGE
VEDDINGE - or rather VEDDINGE BAKKER - is where we spend all our summers. 🙂

The village Veddinge goes back to medieval days - perhaps even to the Viking period. The Vikings were very active in this area. They had a big harbour only a few km from here in Skippinge.

Veddinge Bakker means Veddinge Hills.  Huge "ups and downs" just at the sea front. Our house is placed at the top of one of these hills with a magnificant view on the sea and on the surrounding landscapes.

If you look at a map of Denmark you should first find Copenhagen. Then you go to the north-west. Until you reach the sea just south of a long, narrow peninsula called Sjællands Odde.  Veddinge Bakker is right there. Altogether 92 km from Copenhagen.  Lovely place. Lovely beach with hardly anybody there.

In front of us - in the bay at the sea - a dramatic battle took place betweenthe Danish and the British navies. It was during the Napoleonic wars - on September 22, 1808. The Danes lost. But as we have a tradition in Denmark also to celebrate our defeats (perhaps because we don't have many victories to celebrate 😥 ) a huge event for celebrating the 200 years next spring is under preparation. Again with a "fight" between Danish and British battle ships.  Living history!  Will be good fun.  Unlike 200 years ago!
My Flower Power in full nature :)
Monday, July 16, 2007
Summer is finally here. At least here at the Danish coast. Really nice and enjoyable. Even if it perhaps only lasts 2-3 days 🤔

My DIARY is also back. But it will last more than 2-3 days 🙂

Since my last entry I have - among many other things - worked hard to develop my DANISH home page.  You can have an impression of it by clicking here:  

I intend to add new entries and new information on this English site in the coming days.

Please, let me know what you think ? And what you suggest.

My GUEST BOOK is open 🤩
Saturday, 12 May 2007

May 12, 2007:


Are you off-line??  Then you are a modern trend setter !  This was the message on TV last night. And the journalist had rounded a number of persons up, who had very strange arguments for that point of view.


Rubbish L


I totally agree that it is bad – even very bad – to let your mobile phone disturb you everywhere and at any time. I also agree that sitting in front of your computer screen (portable or not) most of the day is bad management of your own time too.


But modern technology has a long time ago solved all that. Answering machines can take your messages – also those coming via SKYPE (most people, by the way, don’t know that you can transfer your incoming SKYPE calls to any other phone, incl. an answering machine). And you listen to your machine when and where you want to. The same for SMS messages. You can put your phone on silent – or turn it off. And the messages will be there for you, when you open it again. The same for e-mails, of course.


And why is all that much better than just closing it all down, disappear – and let people call or sms you in vain?  Because it is more polite to other people. And it gives YOU the chance to decide exactly when and where you want to have the messages.


Simple ! But apparently not understood by everybody L   Yet.  Let’s call it polite and human Contact Etiquette J   This is all it takes.
Hundreds of smart and multi-functional answering machines are available on the market
Friday, 11 May 2007

May 11, 2007:


Very interesting times indeed!  New President in France. New Prime Minister in Britain very soon. And new developments to bring Europe forward again. The declared Break for Reflection now seems to leave the stage of BREAK to the stage of REFLECTION and not least ACTION.


The coming months will be very decisive. And hopefully it will also be possible to have a serious and forward-looking public debate on where Europe should go. Which tasks it should concentrate on – and how.  And it would be VERY interesting, if it would be possible to ensure that people in one country were much more aware of what the debate on Europe is dealing with in other countries. So far each member state  has more or less only had an “internal debate” – closed from input from systematic input from outside.

What about the media?  They could much more systematically reflect the debate in other countries. And NOT only when there is a crisis.


What about debates on TV – with important participants from other countries? And not only politicians.


What about creating a network of local radios in the member states – helping them to exchange programmes?


What about making it easier and more attractive for journalists to work in media in other member states? Perhaps as part of their training. Or their post-graduate training.


What about starting a European programme inviting good, young speakers from one country to make a speaking and debate tour in other countries?


What about re-directing the great efforts which are already dome on European level in town-twinning?  Can be done by concentrating the financial support to creative events, where Europe and its future is discussed actively.


What about working with travel agencies to stimulate them to make tours with contents to other European countries? Contents about daily life in other countries. With meetings and discussions with local people. With participation in local political, social and cultural events.  Today’s tourists are demanding much more from their holidays than years back,


What about stimulating the creation of many more interactive Games and Competions on TV? Andon the Internet? With contents related to other European countries. Infotainment in action.


And much more. Only the imigination sets the limit.


What is dead sure in my view is that we all have to go NEW WAYS to get people interested and active on Europe. Not for or against. But on what we want to use it for . This is what counts J
Involving people actively is the key to any success in communication :)
Tuesday, 17 April 2007:

Tuesday, 17 April 2007:


You all know it. Time is like sand. It disappears through your fingers. You enjoy it. But you don’t notice that it passes so quickly.


This is what happened to me since my latest Diary. Sorry about that. A number of important birthdays have been celebrated in the meantime. Lot least the 1 year birthday of my little princess Anna Maria JShe came to Denmark with her parents and charmed everybody around her as usual. Next week we will all meet again in the south of France. By then she has most certainly learned new tricks J


Coming home to Rixensart was a bit of a wake-up call. Not because the weather was bad or the house broken down. On the contrary. No, the problem was that our Internet for the first time ever had decided to take vacation L What a mess. Now I really understand what “cyber abstinence  I think it’s much worse than alco abstinence L  You are completely locked out from everything and everybody.  We took the opportunity to visit a couple of Internet HOTSPOTS.  They were fortunately located in nice bistros, so nothing is so bad that it is not good for something J  Now we seem to be home and dry again after we found a nice technician and bought a newer ADSL modem with built-in router.


So here I am. Back in cyberspace again J


In a couple of days we will go to the south of France. Lovely country. Lovely lots of things. But the French society does not seem to be in the best of shape. TIME Magazine this week has a very interesting article about 2,2 million young French people, who have left the country recently, because they don’t see any future there. If I were a French leader I would be very worried about that. What will they do about it?


It will be very, very interesting to follow the last phase of the presidential elections. And also to see what the new President will do.


What do YOU think?


In the 1950’ies it was France which took the lead in Europe. “La France Devant l’Europe”, as my professor Erling Bjøl’s dissertation in political science was called.  Today we hardly see this leadership. On the contrary. The French NO at the referendum is only one sign. Where will the new leader take the country?


Let’s hope for the best J  The country has SO many resources, human and others, that it is really sad to see them un-used or even wasted.


Keep an active eye on France !

Monday, 19 March 2007

Monday, 19 March 2007:


Today we had a lovely drive through a large part of Schleswig-Holstein. The old parts of the DanishKingdom until 1864. When I am there I always try to imagine how life was in these areas at that time. The southern part, Holstein, was always speaking German and very influenced by German culture. So were the Danish kings for centuries. Some of them came from that region. And many spent a large part of their time there. In Kiel, at GottorpCastle and not least in GlücksburgCastle in Schleswig. The northern part, Schleswig, was and is much more influenced by Danish language and culture. A political party favouring close relations with Denmark and with Danish culture still plays a very important role. It gets about 25 % of the votes at elections.


Furthermore, it is very interesting to think about the eastern part of Schleswig – the region of Angel. It was from this area that lots of people moved to what is now England in the years 400-500 a.C. That is why we still talk about the Anglo-Saxons and the Anglo-Saxon culture.


Tonight we visited the city of Flensburg – just south of the German-Danish border. A very interesting city with a long history. It was from here that most of the ships to and from the DanishWest-IndianIslands in the Carribean had their base. The well-known German Hansen-Rhum comes from Flensburg – and was started on the basis of rhum from these islands.

The lovely and peaceful Flensburg Fjord
Sunday, 18 March 2007
The WINTER is still around. Here in Lübeck did it arrive today in the form of a very serious storm with lots of horisontal rain :(  It must be the last efforts from its side. On Sunday we will change to summer time. Let's hope that this will give also the winter man a clear signal.

Today we continued our discovery of the this very interesting Hanse City LÜBECK.  The historial museum in the HOLSTENTOR tells about all the time since the very beginning almost a thousand years ago. Some Danes believe that Lübeck some time ago a Danish city was. Not true. It was Danish for 20 years way back in the years 1200. This does not leave many Danish traces.  But its place at the sea gives it a fantastic trade history. And therefore very international. You cannot totally depend on trade and at the same time be inward looking.  Some Danes should sometimes think about that.

Next time we come to this area we will also go east and visit the Hanse City WISMAR. Only about 65 km from here. And my real dream is some day to visit Königsberg - now Kaliningrad. And the whole area of former Eastern Prussia. This could be VERY interesting to see, how this old European area looks like and lives today.
The old Medieval HOLSTENTOR in Lübeck. One of four entries to the city in the old days
Saturday, 17 March 2007
Lübeck is a very nice and "gemütliche" city. We have today made a boat tour around the city and afterwards walked almost in all parts of it. Including seen it from above - from the tower of the Petri church. Distances are not very big in the old town. The city is also know as the "City of the 7 towers".

Way back in the Middle Ages Lübeck was the second largest city in Germany - after Cologne. It was a very important Hanse City trading with all parts of Europe and the world to some extent. The authors Thomas andHeinrich Mann came from here. So did Willy Brandt.

The city was - like most German cities - very much destroyed during World War II. The most devastating bombings took place already in April 1942.

After the reunification of Germany in 1990 Lübeck has again got access to its old "Hinterland" the the east. The border to the DDR was at the time only a few km from the city.

When you visit Lübeck you MUST go to the very old "SchifferGesellschaft" - a fantastic old restaurant from around 1500. Still the old atmosphere inside. And at the same time excellent food. The old "Ratskeller" underneath the old Town Hall is equally interesting and good. So also a visit of several days in the city can give you new experiences every day :)
This is the old Town Hall in Lübeck
Friday, 16 March 2007
NEW MEDIA are really important for everybody. Not least if you want to get your news and information out in an efficient and speedy way. Or if you want to be really well informed without being flooded with unimportant information.

I am trying to build a special website, which will make it easy for everybody to follow all developments in the area of NEW MEDIA.

I have been working on it quite a lot yesterday and today.

Have a look: 

The site will, of course, never be complete. Due to the very fast development this will never be possible. But I want it to be as up to date as possible and cover as many aspects of NEW MEDIA as possible.

Please, let me have your comments and suggestions in my GUEST BOOK.

Or in an e-mail to me: 
A shop with many of the new communication means on offer
Thursday, 15 March 2007

Thursday, 15 March 2007:


One of the many exciting things you enjoy when living in Belgium is all the cultural and linguistic differences . Flanders with Flemish in the north. Brussels with Flemish and French in the middle. And Wallonia with French in the south. It all happened due to historical reasons. Among others that the Romans and Julius Caesar conquered Europe more or less up to the present border between Wallonia and Flanders.


There is at the moment a very interesting debate going on here in Belgium. It got a kick-start some weeks ago, when the French speaking television RTBF in prime time one evening broadcast a “news programme” called “Bye Bye Belgium”.  The presenters were the very well known persons, who read the News every day. And the contents were that Flanders has just declared its independence and blocked the borders between the two regions. Pictures also showed “the Belgian King fleeing the country”. Etc. Only half an hour into the programme a subtitle on the screen said  This programme is a fiction”.


But before that happened hell broke loose. Hundreds if not thousands of Belgians assembled in front of the Royal Palace to protest. A number of politicians sent out declarations of different contents. And when it became known that it was all made up one politician after the other condemned the initiative and demanded the dismissal of those responsible.


After some days things became calmer. But the programme started a serious debate on the future of Belgium. In newspapers, in meetings, on TV,  between people.  RTBF started a series of programmes to really present each region. The first one about Flanders was broadcast from the Flemish city of Ghent a couple of weeks ago. Programmes on Wallonia and Brussels will follow. It is evident that the citizens in each region do not know a lot about culture, people and events in the other parts of the country. Often they don’t know the other language either. To my astonishment it is not compulsory in all schools to learn Flemish as well as French.


It will be VERY interesting to follow the debate. Also to see, if it will influence the parliamentary elections, which will take place on June 10.


Personally, I do not believe that Belgium will split up. And opinion polls also show that it is only a minority, who wants that. But their society and the way they organise it is very interesting.


Politicians from other parts of Europe, i.e. from ex-Yugoslavia, often come here to try to learn .
The normal sign between Flanders and Wallonia - hier near La Hulpe
NETWORKING is some of the most interesting work which exist. With friends. With family, With colleagues in areas of common interest. In my case especially