Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Clubby EU Slights New Members

In a Monday interview with the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, noted that of 158 European embassies only one is headed by a diplomat from a new member state (the EU's Norway delegation headed by Hungarian Herman Janos). "But there are others," said Ilves, "who also do not chew with their mouths open, who hold the fork in the correct hand, who know that napkins are to be put in the lap, and who wear neither ridiculous designer bling nor the boxy, flammable commie-era suits." Asked whether Eastern Europeans' choice of unshined, pointy-toed shoes and sometimes bizarre brand of English might be barriers to reaching top EU positions, he remarked that Indrek Tarand, one of Estonia's representatives to the EU, had just last week purchased a new pair of black suede shoes.
Contacted by the Livonian Chronicle, EU President Herman Van Rompuy called Ilves' claims "baseless." "Mr. Ilves should know," said Van Rompuy, "that over ninety percent of the cleaning staff working EU buildings is eastern European. I don't know what the president of Estonia is complaining about. Next he'll want to get them all golf memberships at Augusta Country Club."

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