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Όλοι οι άντρες του (Κύπριου) Προέδρου – All the (Cyprus) President’s men

ENGLISH STORY FOLLOWS BELOW

Όλοι οι άντρες του (Κύπριου) Προέδρου – Νίκο, μας θύμωσες

Nicos at the affirmation ceremony today - photo PIO

Ο Νίκος στην σημερινή τελετή – Nicos at the affirmation ceremony today   – photo PIO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Είμαι απογοητευμένη Νίκο.

Κατ’ ακρίβεια, Νίκο, είμαι απογοητευμένη και θυμωμένη.

Απογοητευμένη και θυμωμένη επειδή σε αντίθεση με εσένα και το κόμμα σου όταν καμιά φορά σκέφτομαι τα χάλια αυτού του τόπου και ποιος θα μπορούσε να φέρει μια αλλαγή πλείστα άτομα που μου έρχονται στο νου είναι γυναίκες! Αλλά, Νίκο, προφανώς εσύ δεν τις βλέπεις αφού μόλις πρόσφατα ανακάλυψες ότι έχουν τη δυνατότητα να σκέφτονται…ή πως ακριβώς ήταν που μας το είπες;

Κρίμα, Νίκο, επειδή ο ΔΗΣΥ πάντα φαινόταν πιο προοδευτικό κόμμα σε κάποια κοινωνικά ζητήματα, και σε θέματα ισότητας των γυναικών.

Άκουσα πως χθες στη Βουλή μας ζήτησες συγνώμη, αλλά… too little too late όπως λέμε εμείς οι αγγλομαθείς.

All the President's Men  photo PIO

All the President’s Men
photo PIO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Εμάς τις γυναίκες μας απογοήτευσες, Νίκο. Μας απογοήτευσες και μας θύμωσες πολύ, επειδή προφανώς στο μοίρασμα των υπουργείων δεν έβαλες κριτήρια. Γιατί εάν έβαζες θα είχαμε γυναίκες στην θέση κάποιων αμφιβόλου… (δεν θα χαρακτηρίσω..) αντρών που διόρισες!

Αλλά, Νίκο, επειδή εμείς οι γυναίκες είμαστε πιο δίκαιες, πιο σκεπτόμενες, πιο μεγαλόψυχες και τελικά πιο ολοκληρωμένα άτομα…αφήνω το θυμό μου και σου εύχομαι τα άλλα καυτά ζητήματα που αντιμετωπίζει η Κύπρος σήμερα να τα χειριστείς καλύτερα!

Θα σε παρακολουθούμε… Και έχουμε ξυπνήσει!

ΣΗΜ: συνήθως είμαι πολύ τυπική στις προσφωνήσεις μου, αλλά ο ίδιος ο νέος Πρόεδρος της Δημοκρατίας μας είπε, ούτε λίγο ούτε πολύ… «λέγε με Νίκο»!

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All the (Cyprus) President’s men – Nico, we women are angry

Men in meeting - Photo PIO

Men in meeting – Photo PIO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nico, I am disappointed.

Actually, Nico, I’m also angry.

Disappointed and angry because when I think of this country and who could help it come out of the mess it’s in, it’s mainly women that spring to mind.

Οbviously something you and your political party did not see.

Nico, you obviously didn’t see these women because you’ve only recently discovered they can actually think, as you had said…How exactly had you said that?

It’s a shame Nico because your party DISY always appeared to be more progressive on social issues, including gender.

You’ve disappointed and angered us women, Nico. Clearly when you were dividing the ministries you didn’t set down criteria so we’ve ended up with quite a few…dodgy (I won’t characterize further) men, instead of women.

I heard that yesterday in your speech before Parliament, you apologised. Too little, too late.

However, Nico, because we women are more fair, think more, are more generous and at the end of the day more rounded people…I leave my anger aside and express the hope that at least you will handle other crucial issues this country is facing in a better way!

We will be watching you…and we have woken up!

Note: I am usually very proper in how I address people. However, in no uncertain terms the new President elect of Cyprus has told us…«just call me Nico»!

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Myria’s photos’ photostream

KalavasosAvdimou baySorry, sorry, we didn't want to get inyour way!In blossom!Dramatic sky...Near Polis
A church not really used, near Polis, PaphosSindi monastery in PaphosSindi monastery in Paphos areaA nun looking out of the windowAlona villageAnother gorgeous church
Church in Alona villageThe style is in the detail...Larnaca Salt Lake - The flamingoes are hereRoses in my gardenSo much wind...Governors beach
An old bridge in PaphosA typical old pathway in villagesIcon in a Paphos churchExpressiveA church in Akamas, PaphosVisiting cat resting in my garden

A little bit of Cyprus…

Και τώρα που συνήθισαν οι ανταποκριτές των Βρυξελλών…τί θα γίνει? – Now CY2012EU is over what will we do with a spokesperson in Brussels?

ENGLISH STORY FOLLOWS BELOW

Και τώρα που συνήθισαν οι ανταποκριτές των Βρυξελλών…τί θα γίνει?

Spokesman at a press conference with Europe Dep. Minister - Copyright EU Council

Spokesman at a press conference with Europe Dep. Minister – Copyright EU Council

Στη διάρκεια της πρώτης κυπριακής προεδρίας της ΕΕ εισήχθηκε στην Μόνιμη Αντιπροσωπεία στις Βρυξέλλες ένας νέος για τα δικά μας δεδομένα θεσμός, εξ’ ανάγκης δηλαδή: Είχαμε εκπροσώπους τύπου που ήταν σε θέση να απαντούν σε ερωτήσεις, να εκφράζουν γνώμη και να κτίζουν ποιοτικές σχέσεις με τους δημοσιογράφους.

Αυτοί οι άνθρωποι έφτιαχναν εντυπώσεις και κατάφεραν να κτίσουν την εικόνα των αξιόπιστων «πηγών» των δημοσιογράφων. Πιστέψτε με δεν έχει τίποτα πιο σημαντικό όχι μόνο για τους δημοσιογράφους αλλά και για ένα κράτος αφού κτίζοντας σχέσεις με τα ΜΜΕ περνάς και τα δικά σου μηνύματα!

Και το ερώτημά μου είναι: Τι θα γίνει τώρα; Θα πάμε πίσω στο πρωτύτερο μας σύστημα που πόρο απέχει από μια πραγματική εκπροσώπηση τύπου;

Κακά τα ψέματα, γνωρίζουμε το σύστημα. Η πολιτεία μας δεν είναι οργανωμένη ώστε να δίνονται κατευθυντήριες γραμμές. Είμαστε πολύ εσωστρεφείς. Εδώ με τα όσα γίνονται τελευταίως ακούω πως υπάρχουν περιπτώσεις που ούτε οι πρεσβείες μας δεν έχουν γραμμή …

Στη διάρκεια της Προεδρίας η κατάσταση στις Βρυξέλλες, τουλάχιστον, ήταν διαφορετική επειδή θέλοντας και μη η Αντιπροσωπεία έπρεπε να έχει θέσεις.

Ταυτόχρονα είχε ένα εξαιρετικό εκπρόσωπο τύπου, τον διπλωμάτη Νίκο Χριστοδουλίδη, ο οποίος κατάφερε να κτίσει σχέσεις και να κερδίσει την εμπιστοσύνη των ανταποκριτών, απ’ ότι μου λένε. Τον είδα όμως κι εγώ στην πράξη στη διάρκεια πολλών επισκέψεων μου στην έδρα της ΕΕ, πέρυσι. Και δεν είναι μόνο αυτό, ένας καλός εκπρόσωπος είναι το δεξί χέρι των πρέσβεων, των υπουργών κλπ.

Τις προάλλες, όταν ο Υπουργός Οικονομικών κάλεσε τους πρέσβεις της ΕΕ για να απαντήσει στις κατηγορίες του γερμανικού τύπου περί μαύρου ρωσικού χρήματος κλπ. πρόσεξα πως ο Νίκος έκανε τουίτ τις θέσεις του υπουργείου. Από προσωπική πια διεύθυνση στο τουίτερ (@Christodoulides), και όχι το #CY2012EU.

Και διερωτώμαι…σκέφτηκαν οι αρμόδιοι τι θα γίνει τώρα;

Εγώ λέω να αφήσουν τον Νίκο ως εκπρόσωπο τύπου, να ετοιμάσουν μια λίστα  με τι προσόντα πρέπει να έχει κάποιος για να είναι εκπρόσωπος τύπου, και όταν θα τον μεταθέσουν να βρουν αντικαταστάτη … ένα διπλωμάτη ή δημοσιογράφο ή άλλο άτομο το οποίο, όμως, να κάνει «τικ» σε όλα τα κουτιά στη λίστα και όχι να είναι κανένα βόλεμα! ΟΚ, ΟΚ, στην Κύπρο ζούμε, ας βολέψουν, αλλά κάποιον που έχει τα προσόντα ή θα είναι σε θέση να αντιληφθεί γρήγορα τι παίζει…

ΥΓ. Τον άλλο μήνα θα βρεθώ και πάλι Βρυξέλλες οπόταν σίγουρα θα έχω κι άλλα να πω!

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Now CY2012EU is over what will we do with a spokesperson in Brussels?

CY2012EU banner outside Council press room - Copyright EU Council

CY2012EU banner outside Council press room – Copyright EU Council

During the first Cyprus EU Presidency a new institution was set up at the Perm Rep in Brussels: Spokespeople able to reply to questions, express opinions and build quality relations with the press corps were appointed. It wasn’t a matter of choice, mind you …

These people created impressions and they managed to build the image of a “reliable source” for the media. Believe me there is nothing more important not only for a journalist but also for a state as it manages to convey its own messages through these relations.

So what happens now? Will we go back to our old system that is by no means a real press office?

I know how things work here. We do not have an organised state that gives the “line to take”. We are also too introverted. I’ve been hearing that with all the problems that have come up in the past few months in some instances not even our embassies had a line to take!

During the EU Presidency things were different in Brussels at least. The Perm Rep needed to have positions.

On top of that an excellent spokesman, diplomat Nikos Christodoulides, was appointed and he managed to build relations and from what I hear was a trusted source. I also saw him on my many visits there last year, so I can corroborate.

The other day, when the Finance Minister invited the EU ambassadors to reply to the German media claims over Russian money etc. I noticed Nicos tweeted the ministry positions. From a personal twitter account (@Christodoulides), not the #CY2012EU one.

I can’t help but wonder…have the people in charge thought of what they’ll do now?

I have a proposal: they leave Nikos and prepare a list with the qualities one needs to become a spokesperson. Then before Nikos is transferred they start looking for his replacement…a diplomat or a journalist or another person who “ticks all the boxes”! OK, ok, I know we live in the land of nepotism, but at least they can make sure this person knows the rules of the game or is bright enough to pick them up early!

PS. Next month I’ll be in Brussels again, so I’m sure I’ll return with more to say!

Σε τί μπορείς να ελπίζεις το 2013? What can you wish for in 2013?

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Σε τί μπορείς να ελπίζεις το 2013?

Let love drive us...

Let love drive…ride with an old bus in Kato Drys! The heart was one of the highlights!

Εδώ και μέρες σκεφτόμουν τί ευχές θα μπορούσα να γράψω σ’ αυτό το μπλογκ. Μου ήταν δύσκολο.

Τι να ευχηθώ όταν 2013 δεν μου φαίνεται και πολύ καλή χρονιά.

Ίσως τα άτομα του άμεσου κοινωνικού περίγυρου μου να μην επηρεάζονται ιδιαίτερα από την οικονομική κρίση. Αλλά πώς μπορείς να μην επηρεάζεσαι με το τι γίνεται γύρω σου, στην κοινωνία σου;

Μέχρι πριν λίγα χρόνια εμείς οι Κύπριοι ήμασταν περήφανοι για τη δυνατή οικονομία μας και το ψηλό επίπεδο ζωής, όμως σήμερα…

Σήμερα συγκεντρώνουμε φαγητά και άλλα ήδη πρώτης ανάγκης όπως ρουχισμό για άτομα που ζουν κάτω από το όριο της φτώχειας  Βλέπουμε άτομα να ψάχνουν στα σκουπίδια και να μαζεύουν ό,τι αφήσεις έξω από το σπίτι σου. Παιδιά να πηγαίνουν στο σχολείο χωρίς να έχουν φαί και χωρίς λεφτά να αγοράσουν κάτι. Βγαίνουν συνάνθρωποι μας προς τα έξω και ζητούν βοήθεια. Βλέπουμε τους Κύπριους πού ήταν κάποτε πολύ περήφανοι να βγαίνουν στις τηλεοράσεις, να κλαίνε και να ζητούν βοήθεια. Και, πολύ φοβάμαι, αυτή είναι μόνο η αρχή.

Οπόταν σε τί μπορείς να ελπίζεις?

Προσπαθώ να συγκεντρώσω όλες μου τις θετικές δυνάμεις, και σκέφτομαι. Ειλικρινά ελπίζω αυτά που γίνονται, και αυτά που έπονται, να φέρουν μια πραγματική αλλαγή. Να πάμε πίσω στις βασικές μας αξίες όπως το να γνωρίζουμε και να νοιαζόμαστε για το γείτονά μας, να είμαστε εκεί, να προσφέρουμε βοήθεια όταν χρειάζεται. Ήδη, αυτό ξεκίνησε.

Η μεγάλη αλλαγή, ελπίζω, θα είναι ότι θα καταρρεύσει το «κυπριακό όνειρο». Ότι θα αναγκαστούμε να συμπεριφερόμαστε και να ζούμε μέσα στο πλαίσιο των δυνατοτήτων μας και θα εγκαταλείψουμε το «κυπριακό όνειρο» για μια μερσεντές, ένα τεράστιο σπίτι με πισίνα και μια απ’ αυτές τις κακόγουστες τσάντες του Louis Vuitton. Ότι θα αντιληφθούμε πως η αξία μας δεν βρίσκεται στα αντικείμενα που κατέχουμε, αλλά ούτε και στις πιστωτικές κάρτες και τα δάνεια που απλόχερα μας έδιναν οι τράπεζες!

Οπόταν ευχή  μου για το 2013 είναι ότι θα προσγειωθούμε. Ότι θα ζούμε ευτυχισμένα και θα εκτιμούμε αυτά που έχουμε και θα αναθεωρήσουμε τις προτεραιότητες μας!

Σίγουρα αυτό δεν μπορεί να είναι τόσο δύσκολο. Θα έπρεπε να μας βγαίνει εντελώς φυσικά!

Με αυτές τις σκέψεις σας εύχομαι ένα υπέροχο 2013, γεμάτο αγάπη και έγνοια!

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What can you wish for in 2013?

Let life look and smell like these roses...but beware, they also have thorns!

Let life look and smell like these roses…but beware, they also have thorns!

For days now I’ve been considering what New Year wishes I could write about on this blog.

It’s proved difficult. 2013 is not looking good.

Maybe the people in my immediate social circle are not as affected by the economic crisis. But then can you not be affected by what’s going on around you, in your society at large?

Until a few years ago we Cypriots were proud of our strong economy and high standard of living, but today…

Today we see food and other basic items like clothing being collected for people living below the poverty line. People are rummaging through bins and picking up whatever you leave outside your home. Children go to school without having eaten and no money to buy something. We see people coming out into the open asking for help. Cypriots who used to be proud crying on TV, pleading for help. And this is only just the beginning, I’m afraid.

So, what can you wish for in 2013?

I am calling upon all my positive strengths and thinking… I really hope this will be a change for us all. We will go back to basic values like caring for our neighbour, being there for them, offering help where it’s needed. We’ve already seen this happening.

But the real major change, I hope, will be that we will start acting and living within our means and we will abandon the “Cypriot dream” of owning a Mercedes, having a huge house with a swimming pool and carrying one of those ugly Louis Vuitton bags. That we will realise our worth is not in our belongings or in the credit cards and loans the banks gave us in abundance.

So my wish for 2013 is that we will come down to earth. Live, appreciate and be happy with what we have…and get our priorities right!

That can’t be so hard, surely. It should come naturally!

With these thoughts, I wish you a wonderful 2013…full of love and care!

So, how is the first Cyprus EU Presidency doing?

The bird that became a ship, or the ship that became a bird...I returned to Nicosia some two weeks ago after spending 9 days in Brussels. Actually, it’s the second time I’ve been to Brussels in these past two months, meeting people and chit chatting. I don’t have major news to share with you, however as people are always asking me “how is our Presidency doing”, I thought I would put in the extra effort this time and get a feel and some impressions!

Here it goes:

+ So far so good! This is the feeling I got. Till today Nicosia has managed to pull off a decent first Presidency, nothing major to remember it by, but at the same time nothing major happened that Cyprus would have to deal with and possibly not manage. Therefore so far so good. People in Brussels are keeping their fingers crossed that no major crisis happens and we manage the remaining few months just as peacefully… Well, this was actually before the challenges with the EU budget surfaced, but still, I don’t think Nicosia is being apportioned any blame for this situation.

+ On a Brussels level the Presidency is played out by two people, both diplomats:

  • Our very able Deputy Minister of European Affairs Andreas Mavroyiannis who continues to be cloned (as they rightly say) and is a one-man show. Mavroyiannis is proving a good communicator, can speak to any audience, gives answers, keeps a smile on his face. Actually what I was told was that “he knows the various dossiers even better than the ministers in charge”. I suppose it boils down to what I always say: if you know your subject and read and you’re comfortable with yourself then communication becomes much easier.
  • The second person is our equally able spokesman Nicos Christodoulides, who is spending many sleepless hours trying to keep the difficult Brussels press corps happy. As one person aptly put it “40% percent of Cyprus’ good image in Brussels is due to Nicos”. I won’t say more though because I had written a whole blog post about him and then people who don’t know me or haven’t realised what makes me tick may say I’m sucking up…

+ Of course I have heard some stories that are not as positive.

  • The most embarrassing incident I heard goes like this… the chairperson of an important working group sent out the document / proposal the Commission had prepared for the Presidency as a Commission document, which is a faut pas. Normal practice is that the Commission prepares documents for the Presidency which are “touched upon” and sent out as Presidency documents. Now this person, well known and disliked in the Brussels circles dealing with his particular issue, should have known better as he is experienced, or at least always presents himself as highly experienced and actually… indispensible, thus managing a big fat salary (plus pensions – note the plural) and other benefits for him and his family. I will not give away more as then I may as well write the name.
  • I’ve also heard that whereas in general the Cypriots are well prepared, there have been instances where they appeared at what are called the Trilogues (Commission, Council, European Parliament meetings) unprepared. This is something you really can’t hide in these meetings, as the others know their subjects extremely well. And this I’ve heard from different sources. Hey Cypriots,  don’t kick yourselves in the foot… at the end of the day you have been given extra people in Brussels therefore no excuse!
  • As for how we’re doing in other working groups, a well placed source told me: “from some 155 working groups definitely there are chairpersons who are neither here nor there and heavily rely on the people in their team…but you know, it’s Cyprus we’re talking about. 155 groups so imagine the room for mediocrity!!” So true!
  • There is one person about whom I haven’t managed to create an opinion. That’s none other than our Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou Markoulli. The last time I was in Brussels I heard that at least in European Parliament external relations meetings she is always prepared, knows her dossiers, is communicative and people listen to her. As I was told: “despite the fact that she is not the most political of animals she leaves a good impression”. When I shared this with another friend and good source of this blog, the reply I got was: of course she is well prepared, the European External Action Service does the work for her…did you think it was the Ministry!?!
  • What I had heard some time ago, and reconfirmed with various sources, is that our Foreign Minister had turned down an invite to appear on BBC’s Hard Talk…you know, the programme where real journalists ask real questions! I assume she was afraid she was going to be put on the spot with questions about our/her government’s policy, for example mother Russia and our/her/her President’s friend, Assad of Syria.
  • Recently, though, Mavroyiannis dared. And he was extremely good. He came up with answers and came across as honest, with an opinion and positions he was not scared of supporting. For those who haven’t seen the programme and are interested, watch it here.

And something positive: One source actually mentioned the very good way Nicosia handled the thorny issue of Turkey and NATO at a meeting organised by the Parliament in Cyprus. It goes to show that even “thorny issues” can be handled well, when we want, and when we have able people around!!

Sun, sea and good food helps!

As far as meetings in Cyprus go, what people have been telling me is that they have been very well organised, the press facilities are excellent (good job PIO) and everyone is really being “filoxenos” (hospitable), to borrow an expression Mavroyiannis often uses (well, actually, I think it’s his idea, so I must credit him). One thing this Presidency has proved (even though I must admit I had my doubts…) is that yes, we are a good holiday destination…and many people coming for meetings try to add on a few days to go around, enjoy the sun, sea and good food! Of course good working conditions and preparation help create good impressions.  I’m sure you will get the odd meeting where things didn’t go well, but, hey… isn’t that to be expected?!?

I was telling a friend of mine about this holiday destination image and his spontaneous reply that made me laugh was: well, get serious, what else can we offer apart from sun and sea…

Dear readers in “western” Europe..it is November here and 24C!!!

When discussing this question of Cyprus’ first EU Presidency and our image, some friends say: “maybe expectations were low, so now everyone is ‘pleasantly surprised’”.

Yes, there is a valid point there. But, whatever the case, I hold on to the fact that we’re pulling through, people are dedicated and doing a great job!  Let’s hope some of the “must do’s” because of the Presidency rub off and there are some positive changes, especially within the civil service!

Government bureaucracy…counted in words

Morning dear friends! Yes, I still haven’t managed to find the time to write a blog post, even though I have quite a few issues I wanted to comment on and my radars have picked up  interesting info on the CY EU Presidency

But till then, I thought I’d share with you an interesting “word count” on government bureaucracy, with especially interesting figures on the EU, that a friend had sent me. Of course, we don’t know where this came from and how true it is. But to be honest, dealing with the EU makes me think there must be some truth in these numbers!

Have a great month and enjoy!

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All you Need to Know about Government Bureaucracy:

Pythagorean theorem: …………………………………….24 words.

Lord’s prayer:………………………………………………. 66 words.

Archimedes’ Principle: ……………………………………. 67 words.

10 Commandments: ……………………………………..  179 words.

Gettysburg address: ……………………………………..   286 words.

US Declaration of Independence : ………………..       1,300 words.

US Constitution with all 27 Amendments: ……….      7,818 words.

EU regulations on the sale of cabbage:…….              26,911 words.