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The Brussels Trip–June 2014

Here I am in sunny Brussels again, this time for two different bodies, I came here at the start of the week to continue the work on ESCO with colleagues from around Europe – and I end the week at Microsoft HQ here in Brussels.

I’ve been staying at a very weird hotel called the Mozart near Grande Place – and I mean 2 minutes near. The rooms are a tad small but as you can see below they make up for it in sheer elegance – the whole place is done out like this…

Mozart

I arrived Monday evening in time to meet my friend Kenneth from Sweden at the local bar, before heading into 2 days of intense meetings which finished last night. I headed back to my hotel and had a drink outside with another colleague George and we talked about data security which is his field – it really didn’t occur to me before but all this friend “tagging” we do on photos is giving the security forces tools they never before dreamed possible! The evening ended on a fine note as I met up with a friend who long ago was the FSB’s Policy Chairman, Brendan Burns (and now a member of the EESC) and he introduced me to a fine Thai restaurant a short walk down from the square – he has a flat here and spends a lot of time in Brussels so I always learn a lot of local info when we meet up.

Today I’d planned a trip to the Atomium and thereabouts but I simply didn’t manage to get out ofGrande Placebed early enough and so decided to do the up-hill walk to Avenue Des Arts to attend a meeting put together by ESBA and SEAP to discuss the Transatlantic Trade Agreement – met some interesting characters there including one who gave me a whole new way to think about open source and who’s views on the future of 3D printing are similar to mine.

American AmbassadorWe had the American Ambassador to the EU there as well as a host of other relevant people and there was a very lively debate on the subject, including an amazing attack by an MEP who came over initially as quiet and announced he had no idea why he was here – then promptly launched a vicious and somewhat effective attack AGAINST the TTIP.

Great afternoon and many of the guys are meeting up tonight for a meal.

Tomorrow an AGM (I’m merely an observer in this case) then back home to see my wife and her broken foot.

Ok, Brussels is a big, noisy city – but given that, this is a nice place to be….back here in a month for another round of ESCO meetings.

Behind the Grande Place

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