Anica Rant: Mastering Europe’s logistics!

Age: 56
Nationality: Slovene
Occupation: Deputy Director for Logistics
Family Status: Married with one grown-up son
Hobbies: reading, music, doing sports like trekking, cycling, swimming
Languages you speak: Slovenian, English, Croatian, French. I need to refresh my Spanish, German and Russian. Some Italian
Favorite dish: Slovenian hearty stews, fish and seafood with the so-called “Trieste sauce”

Another voice from Slovenia: Anica’s Sparring Partner!
Preberi v slovenščini
Deutsche Zusammenfassung
Sommaire en français

anica rant1You are Deputy Director for logistics at the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). How did you get there?
First I worked for 15 years at the Institut “Jožef Stefan” in Slovenia. My last position there was Head of the Purchasing/Sales Department. After that I continued in a private company as a business manager, where I introduced a new activity: translation. Among other things, one of the jobs I had was to translate EU laws, and this was my first involvement in Slovenia’s efforts to join the EU. I took part in the first EU competition for linguistic Heads of Unit for the soon-to-be 10 new member states. And in January 2005, I started as Head of the new Slovenian Translation Unit in the joint services, shared by the Committees. In July 2011, I was appointed Deputy Director for Logistics in the same joint services.

Why did you choose to work in Brussels?
It was a unique opportunity to see from the inside how the institutions function and to be part of the European project. Just imagine what an experience it is to be able to start a new unit in a completely new environment! It is true that while working in the Slovenian translation unit I was working with Slovenes and was still mostly using my mother tongue. Sometimes I felt like I was working in a little Slovenian village in the middle of Brussels. But with the last change of job I have added the real experience of working in an international environment.

What does it mean for a Slovenian to be part of the EU?
Working at the EU level has greatly changed my perspective of my own and other nations. And personally I became a real European. At some point I discovered that the problems in my own country are not that much different from the problems in any other. There are differences of course, but in each country there are things that work well and those that work less well. This wider perspective is important to me.

In reality the EU administration is extremely lean – comparable to that of an EU capital and costing less than 2% of the EU budget – with little direct decision-making power

So what is a typical day in the office like for you?
The EU is not only politicians shaking hands in front of a flag, officials preparing legislation or sitting in big meeting halls, behind long tables, looking serious. In the shadow of these bright lights there is a well-oiled system of support services that have to make all these things happen.

And that is where you step in?
Well, there are logistics, translation, interpretation, meeting services to think about. Each Committee, the CoR as well as the EESC, has several hundreds of political representatives coming to Brussels from all 28 Member States on a regular basis for meetings, plenary sessions and other events, as part of the European decision-making process.
My daily task, together with my team, is to make sure everything runs smoothly, from preparation of meeting rooms to IT, preparation and distribution of documents, security, catering, cleaning services and much more. It all has to be thought about before a meeting. And when everything is ready and the politicians start their work, some services, including medical staff, stay on stand-by in case further support is needed. This requires a huge planning and organisational effort but our high-level of professionalism makes us proud. It is our collective contribution to the European project.anica rant2

If you were to name one of the greatest successes of this European project, what would that be?
So far, I would say integration without force – the EU is expanding not by means of military force, but by negotiations and paperwork. The EU is expanding because states find it beneficial to join in, which in turn increases the relative weight of the EU in the world. Nevertheless, the EU should do better in tackling structural inequalities among its member states, and by doing so defend Europe’s welfare state traditions, the European Social Model.

What are your hopes for the EU’s future?
I hope the EU will become more of an independent worldwide player, with a common approach or position to different world crises, including finding a solution for political or economic immigrants knocking on Europe’s door. It should do more to prevent situations like the recent mass drowning of refugees in the Mediterranean Sea. And as regards the future of Europe, there is one clear issue that needs to be tackled: we have to overcome wide-spread EU negativism. We must not forget the power of a positive mind-set. From my own experience from Slovenia in early 90s I know what a driving force a positive mind-set can be.

What’s the biggest myth about the EU?
The myth about “Brussels” being a huge army of over-paid and privileged eurocrats, doing nothing but looking for new ways to impose further restrictions on Member States. In reality the EU administration is extremely lean – comparable to that of an EU capital and costing less than 2% of the EU budget – with little direct decision-making power. EU civil servants are there to prepare proposals that help the elected politicians from all 28 Member States to take democratic decisions on behalf of Europe’s citizens.

Slovenia, Lake Bled - © James Southorn, flickr, 2009

Slovenia, Lake Bled – © James Southorn, flickr, 2009

Do you see yourself as a European or a Slovene? Or both?
It depends. When I talk about quality of food I feel like a citizen of Ljubljana because of its green market, offering fresh fruit and vegetables every day. I feel like a Slovene when I talk about quality of life; the unbelievable variety of the countryside, the beauty of nature, the short distances between places is for me typically Slovenian. But if you mention the welfare state I feel like a European, because despite the differences, European states still ensure basic social rights for their citizens and I sincerely hope that the EU is a guarantee that Europe will stay like that.

Integration, Solidarity, Equality. Europe is our future. It’s up to all of us!

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Darja Erbič: The EU must focus on the worrying employment situation!

Anica’s sparring partner
Name: Darja Erbič
Age: 54
Nationality: Slovene
Occupation: civil servant and translator
Hobbies: reading, swimming, trekking
My link with Anica Rant: we are very good friends

Darja, Anica's friend

Darja, Anica’s friend

Anica Rant is not only a fellow-Slovene, she is also your friend. How long have you known each other?
I met Anica in 1997, when we cooperated on a translation project “Agenda 2000”. It was the European Commission’s opinion on Slovenia’s application for membership to the European Union. She was a translator and I worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Our cooperation was very successful and we discovered that we were like-minded people, so we have developed a close friendship over the years. In 2003, Anica was one of the two successful Slovene candidates for the post of the Head of a Translation Department in the EU institutions and she managed to set up a well-functioning Slovene Department in the Committee of the Regions from scratch. She is very thorough, methodical and also critical. She usually succeeds in turning conflict situations into win-win situations. I am glad that we are represented in one of the EU institutions by such a capable person.

Is there something that troubles people in your home country when it comes to the EU?
Our country is suffering from the consequences of the global economic downturn and 20 years of not always wise domestic politics. That’s why people in Slovenia are probably most worried that the solutions for exiting the current crisis will not be fair to citizens, but will mostly serve the interests of political and corporate elites.

If Anica were your contact inside the EU institutions, what issue would you like her to raise there?
I would ask her to communicate that more effort should be focused on the worrying employment situation which causes more and more unrest and dissatisfaction among EU citizens. When I graduated in 1985, I got a job offer within three days – and this was not an atypical situation at that time. I am definitely worried for the young generation, which has no such luck and is threatened not only existentially but also psychologically.

How do you see this changing? What is your biggest wish for Europe?
I hope the EU will make a new break-through and revive the spirit of earlier days when everything seemed so promising – the values, the feeling of equality, fairness etc. It is unacceptable that banks are saved in the name of citizens and that greed and mismanagement are not punished, but still rewarded with bonuses. Solidarity and awareness that everything is interrelated should come first.

Equality, Solidarity, Awareness. Europe is our future. It’s up to all of us!

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Anica Rant: Odlični v evropski logistiki!

Ste namestnica direktorja za logistiko v Odboru regij (OR) in Evropskem ekonomsko-socialnem odboru (EESO). Kako ste prišli na to delovno mesto?
Najprej sem 15 let delala na Institutu “Jožef Stefan” v Sloveniji. Moje zadnje delovno mesto na tem institutu je bilo vodja nabavne in prodajne službe. Svojo poklicno pot sem nadaljevala kot poslovna direktorica v zasebnem podjetju, v katerem sem uvedla novo dejavnost – prevajanje. Med drugim sem prevajala tudi pravni red EU in se s tem vključila v predpristopne aktivnosti Slovenije. Uspešno sem opravila prvi natečaj EU za vodje jezikovnih oddelkov desetih (takrat kmalu) novih držav članic. In tako sem januarja 2005 začela delati v Odboru regij kot vodja novega slovenskega prevajalskega oddelka v skupnih službah OR in EESO. Julija 2011 sem bila imenovana za namestnico direktorja za logistiko v taistih skupnih službah.

anica-rant3Zakaj ste se sploh odločili za delo v Bruslju?
Zame je bila to enkratna priložnost, kako od znotraj spoznati delovanje institucij in postati del evropskega projekta. Samo predstavljajte si, kakšna izkušnja je to, da lahko ustvariš nov oddelek v popolnoma novem okolju! Res pa je, da sem v času, ko sem delala v slovenskem prevajalskem oddelku, delala predvsem s Slovenci in sem še vedno večinoma uporabljala svoj materni jezik. Včasih sem se počutila, kot da delam v majhni slovenski vasici sredi Bruslja. Z zadnjo menjavo delovnega mesta pa sem zares izkusila delo v mednarodnem okolju.

Kaj pomeni biti del EU?
Delo na ravni EU zelo spremeni pogled na lastno in druge države – na nek način postaneš resnični Evropejec. V nekem trenutku se zaveš, da problemi v tvoji lastni državi niso tako zelo drugačni od problemov v kateri koli drugi državi. Seveda obstajajo razlike, vendar so v vsaki državi stvari, ki delujejo dobro, in stvari, ki delujejo manj dobro. Ta širši pogled je zame zelo pomemben.

Delo na ravni EU zelo spremeni pogled na lastno in druge države.

Če se povrneva k vašemu vsakodnevnemu delu, kako zgleda vaš delovni dan?
Treba je povedati, da EU niso samo politiki, ki si stiskajo roke pred zastavo, uradniki, ki pripravljajo zakonodajo ali ki z resnimi obrazi sedijo za dolgimi mizami v velikih sejnih sobah. V senci, za sojem žarometov, je dobro naoljen sistem podpornih služb, ki skrbi, da se vse to lahko zgodi.

In tukaj nastopite vi?
No, ne samo mi, tu so logistika, prevajanje, tolmačenje, služba za organizacijo sej. Vsak odbor, tako OR kot EESO, ima več sto članov, ki iz vseh 28 držav članic redno prihajajo v Bruselj na sestanke, plenarna zasedanja in druge dogodke, kot del evropskega procesa odločanja.
Moje vsakodnevna naloga je, da skupaj s sodelavci zagotovim, da vse teče gladko: od priprave sejnih sob do IT podpore, priprave in razpošiljanja dokumentov, varnostne službe, gostinskih storitev, čiščenja in vsega ostalega. Pred vsakim sestankom je vse treba do potankosti razdelati. Ko pa je vse pripravljeno in člani lahko začnejo z delom, nekatere službe, npr. zdravstvena služba, ostanejo v pripravljenosti, če bi bila potrebna kakršna koli pomoč. Vse to zahteva izjemno skrbno načrtovanje in organizacijo. Ponosni smo na visoko profesionalnost, s katero opravljamo svoje delo. To je naš kolektivni prispevek k evropskemu projektu.

Če bi vas prosila, da izberete, kateri je največji uspeh evropskega projekta, kaj bi rekli?
Za zdaj bi rekla, da povezovanje brez uporabe sile – EU se ne širi z vojaško silo, ampak s pogajanji in administriranjem, pisarniškim delom. EU se širi, ker se državam zdi, da imajo korist od vključitve, širitve pa po drugi strani povečujejo relativno težo EU v svetu. Mislim pa, da bi morala biti EU boljša pri zmanjševanju strukturnih neenakosti med državami članicami, kar bi ohranilo evropsko tradicijo države blaginje, evropskega socialnega modela.

Piran, Slovenia - © nagerw, flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0

Piran, Slovenia – © nagerw, flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0

Kakšne so vaše želje za prihodnost EU?
Upam, da se bo EU bolj utrdila kot neodvisni akter v mednarodni areni, s skupnim pristopom ali stališčem do različnih svetovnih kriz. To pomeni tudi iskanje rešitve za politično in ekonomsko imigracijo, ki trka na evropska vrata. Sprejeti bi morala ukrepe za preprečevanje situacij, kot je bila pred kratkim masovna utopitev v Sredozemskem morju. In glede prihodnosti Evrope: premagati moramo splošno razširjeni negativizem v EU. Ne smemo pozabiti na moč pozitivne naravnanosti. Iz lastnih izkušenj iz Slovenije v zgodnjih 90-ih letih vem, kakšna gonilna sila je pozitivna naravnanost.

Evropo poznate od znotraj in če želite popraviti kakšno negativno podobo o njej, imate zdaj priložnost…
Rada bi spremenila negativno podobo o “Bruslju” kot o armadi preplačanih in privilegiranih evrokratov, ki ne počnejo nič drugega, kot da si izmišljajo vedno nove načine omejevanja držav članic. V resnici je administracija EU izjemno vitka – primerljiva administraciji kašnega evropskega glavnega mesta in stane manj kot 2 % proračuna EU – poleg tega pa ima zelo malo pristojnosti neposrednega odločanja. Naloga uradnikov EU je, da pripravljajo predloge, ki pomagajo izvoljenim politikom iz 28 držav članic sprejemati demokratične odločitve v imenu državljanov Evrope.

Kako se vidite, ste Evropejka ali Slovenka? Ali oboje?
Odvisno. Če se pogovarjava o kakovosti hrane, se počutim kot Ljubljančanka, zaradi njene tržnice, kjer lahko vsak dan kupiš sveže sadje in zelenjavo. Kot Slovenka se počutim, kadar se pogovarjam o kakovosti življenja, o neverjetni raznolikosti pokrajine, lepoti narave, o kratkih razdaljah med kraji – vse to je zame tipično slovensko. Če pa omenite državo blaginje, se počutim kot Evropejka, kajti kljub razlikam evropske države svojim državljanom še vedno zagotavljajo osnovne socialne pravice in srčno upam, da je EU jamstvo, da bo Evropa taka tudi ostala.

Povezovanje, solidarnost, enakost. Od nas je odvisno, ali bo Evropa naša prihodnost!

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Anica Rant: Europas Logistik ist eine Aufgabe für Meister!

“Eines Tages stellte ich fest, dass die Probleme meines Landes sich nicht wesentlich von denen anderer Länder unterscheiden.”

Für die polyglotte und sportbegeisterte Mutter eines erwachsenen Sohnes, Anica Rant, bietet die Arbeit eine einzigartige Gelegenheit, Teil des europäischen Projektes zu sein, und zwar zunächst als Übersetzerin und seit 2011 als stellvertretende Direktorin, zuständig für die Logistik im Europäischen Wirtschafts- und Sozialausschuss und im Ausschuss der Regionen.
In den vergangenen Jahren wurde die Slowenin zur glühenden Europäerin, die schnell feststellte, dass die Probleme ihres Landes sich nicht wesentlich von denen anderer Länder unterscheiden. Für sie liegt der Erfolg Europas in dessen friedlicher Erweiterung; Mitgliedstaaten streben einen Beitritt zur EU an, weil sie von der europäischen Idee und dem Mehrwert für ihr Land überzeugt sind.
Die größten Herausforderungen für Europa? Die Etablierung der EU als unabhängiger Player in der Welt; die Lösung des Immigrationsproblems und die Bekämpfung der EU-Skepsis.

Integration, Solidarität, Gleichberechtigung: Europa ist unsere Zukunft. Es liegt an uns allen!

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Anica Rant: Maitriser la logistique européenne

«J’ai découvert que les problèmes qui existent dans mon propre pays ne sont pas tellement différents des problèmes qui existent ailleurs en Europe.”

Après une carrière dans le privé dans sa Slovénie natale, Anica a rejoint le Comite des Régions de l’Union européenne et le Comite économique et social européen, d’abord au sein de l’unité de traduction slovène, puis à la tête de la direction de la logistique que partagent ces deux organes consultatifs.
Pour elle, l’Europe peut s’enorgueillir d’avoir réussi à rapprocher des populations par la négociation plutôt que par la force. Néanmoins, Anica estime qu’il y a encore du travail à faire pour lutter contre les inégalités entre les Etats membres, et défendre ce faisant le modèle social européen. Et si Anica parle désormais huit langues, cela n’a jamais entamé son attachement à la cuisine slovène et en particulier à ses ragouts en sauce.

Intégration, Solidarité, Egalité. L’Europe est notre avenir. Cela ne tient qu’à nous !


 

Hearts and Minds for the EU – a project in collaboration withBST_Logo

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