I was on my way to the supermarket near Robert Schuman's Magic Roundabout when it struck me that Kosovo have declared independence, flippin' eck. There was rather a large crowd milling about, waving flags and beeping car horns. Didn't take them long to run up a flag did it? I wonder if they've got a song yet, they could have that Umberella-ella-ella song because they won't last five minutes without the EU, Nato, UN and George W's mob to protect them.
Apparently the Serbs are a bit put out. I don't blame them, this is the last thing you need on a Sunday afternoon. The Russians haven't taken it too well neither, their guy said "what next? Basque Country?" It was good of them to speak on behalf of Spanish soveriegnty, they are so nice these days. Expecially since their own country is so stable and happy.
But then there isn't much to do on a Sunday and if you've spent all morning drawing a flag you might as well use it.
I've been travelling for weeks now, including one week holiday so I could've just closed my eyes and snored until Monday morning. But life is rarely that simple or comfortable. Girlfriend suggested we go for a jaunt around the Abbey at Villers-la-Ville. I agreed because it gave me a chance to drag the new car out, it's just been sitting around in the car park for two weeks, it was a good idea in the end. It's only a half hour drive, lovely in the crisp sunny winter weather. The Abbey was beautifully lit, great for pictures with all the shadows and the stonework and what-not. We didn't stay though, straight home for a lovely pan fried cod fillet with buttered potatoes and salad, very nice.
I was hoping to watch the Snooker in the evening, the Welsh Open, but it isn't on BBC. Instead I've been jotting down this "vague-memoire" and sipping a nice Saint-Emillion while watching Ski Sunday and some fella teaching rat's to sniff out landmines in Africa. The rat's are as big as ferrets. Twice as viscious I'll warrant.
With all that going on it occurred to me that the EU could actually spawn it's own offspring instead of fishing around the outskirts for new members. If Scotland and Wales declare independence we'll have two new members for virtually no effort. I'm pretty sure Lapland would like to be a country and while we're in the area why not cut loose the 1842 islands of Finland? Then Malta, Gibraltar, Channel Isles and so on, with a bit of effort I'm sure we could stretch the EU to 2000 member countries! Imagine that! "Brussels" (the institution) would be bigger than Belgium!
But wait a minute, "Brussels" (the institution) already has a population greater than some countries of the world. We have all heard of San Marino, if only through their footballing "exploits". San Marino has a population of 29,000 people, not much but this is still a country. There are more people working for the combined institutions of the European Union than the entire population of San Marino.
Think about it, if the EU Administration put out a football team they could be better than San Marino, they might even grab a 1-1 draw against Germany. "How's that" for a measure of burocracy? Well here are some more countries which wouldn't fancy a game against EU Admin FC:
1. Nauru. 13,000 people
2. Tuvalu. 12,000
3. Liechtenstein. 34,000
4. St. Kitts and Nevis. 39,000
5. Marshall Islands. 54,000
Actually number five isn't confirmed yet. See page 6 of the DG Admin Statistical Bulletin for 2006; 42,548 permanent and temporary staff, 8,123 external staff. That's pre-Romanian-Bulgarian accession. If you include San Marino our administration is bigger than six countries and frankly that's all I have (or need) to say on the subject.
I'm going to sleep now. It's the first full day of Kosovan independance tomorrow, I'll need an early start to beat the traffic.
PS. Couldn't resist this one given the context; "How many people work for the EU?", "About half of them".