Sunday, March 19, 2006

Moscow, Istanbul and Tallinn

Another week soon starting, and I'm rushing in order to get to the Sunday afternoon flight from Stockholm to Moscow.

From one snowy place to one that promises to be even more snowy.

It's a seminar - very much in honour of Yegor Gaidar - on the challenges of economic transformation that takes me to there during the next few days. It will be a fairly big international gathering of persons with some sort of experience of these situations.

You could perhaps call it a seminar on the experience of building capitalism.

How it will be received in the present political setting of Russia will be most interesting to see. But irrespectively of that it will be a great gathering of great people with great possibilities of interesting meetings and talks.

And I will of course take the opportunity of visiting the Kremlin to get the mood of the powers of the day.

From this the Third Rome I'm heading straight to the Second Rome - to Istanbul on the Bosphorous.

Another conference where I will speak about the relationship between Turkey and Europe, as well as some more informal discussions on what can be done in order to handle the crisis in the European accession negotiations that now look almost inevitable towards the second half of the year.

And I certainly don't expect any snow there. It should be spring by now.

From there I go to Tallinn in Estonia to attend the funeral next Sunday of late President Lennart Meri.

Otherwise this will be the week dominated by the meeting of the European Council in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

Economic reforms and energy policy will be at the centre of the discussions there. It remains to be seen if there will be much progress.

I will certainly have a reason to come back to both subjects - now I have to make sure I don't miss the flight.

There is a good dinner with good friends waiting in Moscow.