Never too ill for work

Series Title
Series Details 15/03/01, Volume 7, Number 11
Publication Date 15/03/2001
Content Type

Date: 15/03/01

The Swedes are well known for the noble cause of openness, but one begins to wonder if they are not taking their commitment a bit too seriously.

Journalists calling the presidency's diplomats in Brussels about run-of-the-mill of inquiries are used to being offered mobile contact numbers - even if the individual they want to speak to is on holiday.

One recent inquirer was even told that a sought-after official was “off ill” but could nonetheless be reached at home. A telephone number, for a direct link to the sick bed, was then readily provided.

Another principle the Swedes appear to be taking more literally then anyone else is that of presidential impartiality.

Case in point: one EU official was surprised to find that listed among the countries objecting to a plan from Stockholm to 'name and shame' member states slow on pension reform was - Sweden itself.

Must be a printing error, he thought. On the contrary he was cheerfully told by a Swedish official: “There's no mistake. We don't like our own proposal.”

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