Alumni from our two week course ‘Economic and Political Reporting from Southeast Europe’ in London went to Brussels for two days to meet with various officials are now writing about their experiences.
Session with Olli Rehn, Vice-President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro
When our group learned that during our trip to Brussels we would meet Olli Rehn, the European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro, we were more than excited.
There was some scepticism that Mr. Rehn would not show up during such a time of crisis, and that instead only his PR crew would be available.
A 15-minute delay certainly did not give us hope that he would take his time for us. However, when he and his spokesperson walked through the door some of us were left speechless.
We met at the European Commission in a room called Aquarium No. 4. But it was nothing like the name – the walls were boring yellow, showing that we were in a serious (bureaucratic) institution.
There were some pictures on the wall, trying to break the monotony, which was nice, but not enough to remove the feeling that this was a serious, powerful and respectful building.
Mr. Rehn was also very serious. Well, it is understandable, since he is The Man for the euro crisis; who would not be serious in his position?!
The topic we talked about was strategies for joint fiscal policies in the EU. He explained the case with Greece and Spain very thoroughly and even took time to answer other questions we had regarding our own countries.
He even pleased us all by agreeing to a group photo with us at the end. Very soon, during the daily news conference of the European Commission, the pictures of the meeting were already posted on Facebook and Twitter, with our brags about meeting Mr. Rehn in person.