Monday, April 25, 2005

How much steam do you want Peter?

Some days the documents that drip from the swollen body institutionate that is the European Commission make me laugh out loud. Today was such a day. This particular internal note came from an obscure organisation that is in charge logistics and so on.
However on the 21st of April a note went out to,
“Mr. David O'Sullivan Secretary-General
Mr. Panayotis Carvounis Acting Director-General of the DG PRESS
Mr. Claude Chê Director-General of the DG ADMIN
Mr. Walter Defaa Director-General of the IAS
Mr. Michel Petite Director-General of the Legal Service
Heads of Cabinets”

So we are talking pretty high powered, but that list is telling. They think it might be a news story, thus DG Press, it is an admin matter, then Internal Audit Service and Legal Service. What could it be? Mr Barroso’s request for annual leave?

No much more serious than that.
“Rules for use of saunas in Berlaymont”

Now we’re talking.And yes I do have a copy of the rules here in front of me.
“The Berlaymont is equipped (besides the library of the legal services) of 2 suanas, waiting room, cloakroom showers and of an entry hall with modern and functional equipment.”
That explains why they told Michel Petite, he would have freaked if he went down to check some obscure ECJ judgement only to be startled by a vision of Margot in her altogether.
“The sauna No.1 will be reserved for the Commissioners, Heads of Cabinet, Directors-General and their guests.”

MeanwhileSauna No.2 is for all other officials and its use is restricted, Men only Tuesday and Thursday. Women only Monday and Wednesday, and for all your viewing pleasure Friday is a free for all.
Now I must be fair to them the opening hours are weekdays 7.30-9.30 in the morning and 17.30-21.30 in the evening – so not much work time is taken up. Interestingly though they are closed over the weekend “(except exceptional cases and in the request for the sauna No.1)”. I
magine it now, you are a Commission bureaurocrat, please think of exceptional circumstances when you can justify fioring up the EU Sauna. Unless you can say, “I’m from Estonia and it is a religious observance,” I just don’t get it. Interesting that the posh types don’t have to justify Sunday sweating.

However that is not all, oh no “It is appropriate to comply with the rules of conduct”.
“Leave your clothes in the dressing room…Nakedness is natural. Sweating makes swimsuits uncomfortable”.
“After warming up you can use the whisk if you please”.
Yes there is a taxpayer funded whisk.
“You can also lie down and even close your eyes for a while if you feel like it.” Ahh, bless.
And this one just send me into fits of giggles,

“have a refreshing drink and a salty snack to your personal taste”.
Are you thinking what they’re drinking?

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