LONG-SUFFERING EU STAFF FACE BORE-OUT: Life is tough in the European Commission, just ask the Save Europe trade union, which represents many EU staffers. In an email to members it warned of a new syndrome requiring urgent action: “bore-out.”
According to the union, “bore-out” is a “psychological disorder caused by the absence of job satisfaction, the absence of rewarding tasks or even the lack of work which leads to boredom.” The union blames incompetent management for the problem. Playbook is surprised that any EU official could be bored in this time of rising Euroskepticism and Brexit — not to mention dealing with the long holidays, high salaries, low taxes, bonus expat allowances, paid schooling, and other advantages of working for the EU.
If your manager does not respond to your warnings about “bore-out” the union recommends you take advantage of your job for life inside the EU and look for a new position that could “rekindle your flame and make you want to surpass yourself.” Those of us paying 50 percent or more in Belgian tax promise to support you on your journey of discovery.
BELGIAN KING VS. BURGER KING: U.S. fast food chain Burger King has drawn the ire of Belgium’s King Philippe after running a commercial suggesting that it should be crowned the King of the Belgians (that’s his official title) ahead of its launch in Belgium next month. After a royal complaint, a Burger King spokeswoman said the company was considering changing its campaign. Luckily for American burger bosses, treason is not a crime in Belgium.
CASHLESS SOCIETY, BELGIUM STYLE: Organizers of the 2017 Digital Festival — which takes place on June 1 in Brussels — sent out an emailed warning to attendees: They will have to buy their own food. No problem there, except that the food vendors won’t accept credit or debit cards and there will be no cash machines at any of the festival’s three venues. As is common in Belgium, you’ll also need to exchange cash for tokens in order to buy anything. Given the organizers managed to arrange vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free food options, Playbook is pretty sure they could have arranged for a card machine.
**A message from ETNO: The European Parliament and member states are discussing crucial digital reform. As they review the first Electronic Communications Code in Europe’s history, find out more about how companies are contributing to a connected and digitised future for Europeans.**
DESPERATELY SEEKING MACRON: The most coveted phone number in the world is that of Emmanuel Macron. Even Donald Trump asked for the number, and got it, at the G7 summit. But it wasn’t always that easy. According to a senior aide of Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader was preparing her concession speech after losing the presidential election when someone pointed out that she would have to call Macron to congratulate him on his win. The National Front party chief immediately agreed and told aides: “OK, give me his number.” According to POLITICO’s source, “We looked at each other. No one had Macron’s number.” One aide who was scheduled to appear on a popular talk show called its host and asked him for the number. “He gave them to me, both mobile phone numbers,” said the aide. “But there was a quid pro quo — I had to give up Marine’s number.”
MEPs KEEP QUIET ON OFFICE EXPENSES: MEPs receive €4,342 every month to spend on an office in their home country as well as the likes of laptops and internet subscription fees, but don’t have to provide receipts to show how they’re spending the cash. To find out more, journalists from across the EU asked all 748 MEPs (there are three vacant seats) to ask for information about how they spend the so-called general expenditure allowance. The findings are startling: 174 MEPs don’t appear to have an office, while only 130 MEPs disclosed how much they paid in rent. “The fact that it’s a lump sum means that MEPs do not need to hand in any invoices or other bills,” said Parliament spokeswoman Marjory van den Broeke. The office allowances comes on top of a monthly salary of €8,484 and a daily subsistence allowance of €307.
FEUD OF THE WEEK
Emmanuel Macron vs. Russian media. The French president is making a habit of acting tough with fellow world leaders. First there was that Trump handshake, below, and while he didn’t repeat a grip that made “knuckles turn white” when he hosted the Russian president, Macron did have a surprise in store. Asked why he had banned reporters from Kremlin-backed RT and Sputnik from his campaign, Macron said they were “agents of influence” spreading falsehoods. Putin, standing next to the French president, didn’t say a word.
BY THE NUMBERS:
3 — Number of EU-funded movies that won awards at the Cannes Film Festival
265 — Number of German-owned car plants in the United States
110,000 — Number of Americans employed in those car plants
Click Here: essendon bombers guernsey 2019
MACRON-O-METER: We’re measuring, on a scale of one to Justin Trudeau, how big Emmanuel Macron’s ego is based on the love and attention showered on him. He’s bigger than ever this week, after his macho handshake with Donald Trump had everyone asking for his phone number.
GAFFES AND LAUGHS
Café owners guilty of crimes against coffee: This is Playbook’s special contribution to World Milk Day on June 1. Too many cafés and restaurants in Brussels continue to serve UHT milk and creams with coffee. The proper practice — indeed the only acceptable practice when charging people for coffee — is to use fresh milk, preferably steamed or frothed.
Spotted: Eva Kaili MEP, in row 16 of a Ryanair flight from Brussels to Berlin Wednesday, with a big smile on her face. Not always the case on the budget airline.
This is not toilet paper: Melania Trump’s team visited the Magritte Museum nine times before the first lady’s visit and asked for the toilet paper to be changed, BFMTV reported.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Very early on I decided not to meet with lobbyists, because I need to meet with people that take decisions … That is not a lobbyist” — Margrethe Vestager, the European commissioner for competition.
Angela Merkel: The German chancellor’s view that the U.K. and U.S. are no longer reliable partners for the European Union has given her a boost in Brussels and at home.
Joseph Muscat: Malta’s prime minister remains several points ahead of his main rival, Nationalist leader Simon Busuttil, despite weeks of corruption allegations in the press.
Charles Michel: The Belgian prime minister had his hearing damaged by the starting pistol at the Brussels 20km race Sunday.
Marine Le Pen: The National Front is polling third behind En Marche and Les Républicains ahead of France’s parliamentary election in June.
**A message from ETNO: Major political, technological and societal events are reshaping our world. As technology and mobility bring about unprecedented opportunities and challenges, political turmoil is reaching geographies that have traditionally been stable. Come discuss about our digital future with tech leaders. Find out more about the FT-ETNO conference.**
SUBSCRIBE to the POLITICO newsletter family: Morgen Europa | Brexit Files | Sunday Crunch | Brussels Influence | D.C. Playbook | All our POLITICO Pro policy morning newsletters