Summit Time, And The Living Is Easy

I’m not entirely sure what’s wrong with Slovenian ham. I’ve just put down two delicious wraps with that and some other stuff in it, and it was lovely. But for some reason, they were the ones that most people here hadn’t touched at all.

In other words: It’s EU Summit time again, and I’m back at the press centre munching free sandwiches, traditionally handed out by the current Presidency so as to avoid insane queues where everybody is trying to pay for their meals. There’s hundreds and hundreds of journalists here, and any attempt to charge money for the food would probably lead to queues the length of Belgium. Where the last in line might get his/her orders in time for the next summit.

The first and second time I visited this event, the catering consisted of incredibly dry baguette rolls with dry chees or ham. Puffs of dust came out as you put your teeth into them. And – they were the only choice.

But that, I understood later, was all due to the presidency of the day, which shall remain unnamed for their culinary crime. Later presidencies have improved the snacks, introduced more variations, and the Portuguese last time offered some quite decent rolls with camembert, which raised my spirits considerably.

The current Slovenian presidency has rightly taken the opportunity to boost interestin its national cuisine, I realised as I just snuck into the press centre to check things out (and, frankly, to get a free snack).  As I said, the Slovenian ham was delicious, and I do hope that my colleagues’ disinclination to try something new and daring doesn’t put this and future presidencies off their attempts to offer something more interesting than air-dried cotton posing as bread.

Let’s see, who’s next in line…. aha, France.  Hmmm. If they do not live up to and beat du pain, du vin, et du Boursin, I shall slam them at their national pride on this blog, eternally shaming them for betraying their proud cuisine. Or something like that.

But first’ I gotta get another one of them ham wraps.

It’s Time To Learn Slovenia’s Top Domain

In 28 days, Slovenia will take over the rotating presidency of the European Union for the firs six months of 2008 – and for the first time ever, since Slovenia has only been a member of the EU for 1,311 days as we speak. Time then to start learning some basic facts about this often forgotten country – such as what its Internet top level domain (TLD) is.

The presidencies usually set up web sites with information on current events, calendars of meetings, press accreditations, and of course a little marketing of their country, using the legend http://www.euYEAR.TLD That is, the current Portuguese presidency’s web site, for the last half of 2007, is found at http://www.eu2007.pt, where “pt” of course is the TLD for Portugal.

Today, I was going online looking for the Slovenian presidency site, which of course would be found at http://www.eu2008 something. But what on Earth is the TLD for Slovenia?

My deepest apologies to any Slovenians reading this, but you must bear with those of us whose school atlases did not contain your country or any reference to it when we last studied geography. And to make things more complicated, your doubtlessly fine nation became independent roughly around the same time as Slovakia did. Slovenia, Slovakia, sorry to say, fo those of us who have visited neither, confusions are bound to happen. (Especially those of us who seem to have a gerontological mental age, argghh.)

In fact, there is a probability that many Europeans – not to mention non-Europeans – will have little clue where Slovenia is. After all, can anybody name any Slovenian celebs? The name of the Prime Minister? Any cities?

I quite agree with The Economist, which pointed out in this blog post that the rotating EU Presidency after all does have some advantages for smaller countries to get some publicity they would otherwise not achieve. Let’s hope that Slovenia will be able to lure some interest over to itself during the next few months.

So, I finally found the Slovenian Presidency’s site; the TLD is .si, so you can take a sneak peek at what Slovenia will have to offer the EU at http://www.eu2008.si  They have, thankfully, refrained from placing music on their site,. as the Portuguese did, which is seriously irritating when you are surfing among other people and suddenly your computer goes off blasting sounds all over the place – and you can’t turn it off because the Portuguese had managed to hide the volume control at the far bottom of the page.

However, can anybody tell me what that amoeba for a logo is supposed to be??