I’m just back from holidays, back to work… I like pretty much to have a big break during the summer, even if it’s at the expense of others possible holidays during the year. I find it good to do something totally different – I personally like leaving computers and all kinds of screens for a while -, like sailing, trekking…
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I totally forget that in “normal” life I’m an official for the European Parliament. Questions from friends and family are here to remind me my “duties”. This summer, I also read a very interesting book: Jean Monnet’s memoirs.
You’re going to think I’m a Euro geek… Well, maybe a bit, even if the reason for this reading was simply that I got this book as a gift from our Secretary General, and I hate getting a book without reading it.
Now that I’ve read it, it would be a shame not to share this experience. I doubt a lot of people will enjoy these 800 pages written in French… Here are a few quotes that I found particularly interesting, and which can be the starting point of more extensive reflexions.
- “I was convinced that we can’t go forward without a certain disorder“: It’s good to be organized, as I am… but a certain disorder is probably necessary to be creative. I’ll try to make use of this in the next months!
- “Sovereign states are not any more the framework where today’s problems can be solved“; “The aim of the Council of the EU is to find a common view and not to look for compromises between national interests“: interesting enough in today’s context, where every country is trying to get the best possible deal for itself in Brussels… Don’t we forget our common interest while doing that? And how to make people interested in what Europe does if the focus stays purely national?
- “People only accept change when it’s absolutely necessary, and they see this necessity only in crises“: Well, that’s just a bit of hope in the crisis Europe is facing (I mean the question of the sense and aim of the EU, not the economic crisis)”The difficulties were not in the things but in the spirits”: Hey, that’s why communication is so important!
- “Institutions, once created, have their own force which goes beyond people’s will. But only the people can change and enrich the things the institutions then transmit to future generations“: Nothing to add, that defines the limits and potentialities of our role as civil servants.
- “Nothing can be really finished, and it’s a talent to know where to stop before too much care destroys the balance achieved“: This quote made me think about perfectionism and helped me to become aware of certain problems in the way I deal with my daily work. I discussed it with my colleague Anete, who explained me the Pareto principle. That made me think about efficiency at work…