We were taken to Luxembourg in a coach of the Belgian football team Club Brugge, which was rented for the occasion. The trip was a moment of camaraderie to share with my fellow Commissioners. Club Brugge’s motto “No sweat, no glory” was written all over the coach. While this was source of a lot of amusement for those of our staff who were sending us off and for us as we rode it, I liked it, and so did many of my colleagues.
And I liked it even more after I learned that anyone wishing to join the club not only had to sign their normal contract but also a commitment to the club and its values of hard work and team play (http://clubbrugge.be/nl/de-club/onze-waarden/charter-voor-spelers). These are values we also embrace in this new College.
The ceremony was an emotional moment, where each Member of the new Juncker College took the oath in his or her national language. It was also a moment to remind us that our job is an honour and a huge responsibility – serving the EU and its citizens relentlessly.
In my case, as Vice President of the Commission in charge of budget and human resources, this also means carrying for the best asset of the institution – our staff. This is why I was particularly glad to stay after the ceremony and meet with our people there as well as with local staff representatives. Luxembourg has the second largest presence of the European Commission after Brussels, including some of the services I directly oversee. I spoke with colleagues about their daily work in the interests of Europe, but also about some important issues specific to the Commission staff in Luxembourg that need to be addressed very urgently.
I will be back in Luxembourg often and I hope charged with the same spirit. Incidentally, I just learned that Club Brugge are currently topping the Belgian Pro League, so may this be a good sign for this new Commission.