E-spousing the cause

Series Title
Series Details 12/04/01, Volume 7, Number 15
Publication Date 12/04/2001
Content Type

Date: 12/04/01

Forget about the Stockholm Summit. What a bore. Far meatier issues were on the table a couple days later at the 17th annual conference of the European Union Foreign Affairs Spouses' Association - a group of diplomats' partners from across the EU.

Alcohol abuse among diplomatic families was seen as a problem, the cocktail-party circuit partly to blame. Other items included pension rights and special needs education.

In Scandinavia, where pensions are quite generous, going abroad with a partner can mean a big drop in their retirement income.

“If we don't support the families there will be a backlash for internationalisation - people won't move abroad,” said Marie-Louise Kärrlander, of Sweden's foreign affairs ministry.

Just when we had all got used to being able to freely travel across EU borders the process has suddenly because a lot more painful thanks to foot-and-mouth disease.

It's no fun having your boots sprayed with disinfectant and your ham sandwich confiscated (although it's better than the other way round). But it doesn't seem to bother Dutch Liberal MEP Jan Mulder, who must miss the pre-Schengen-pact days because he said in a recent Parliamentary debate that the controls should become permanent.

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