Jane Morrice: Proud of the EU’s Nobel Peace Prize

Birthplace: Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
Family: Mother of one son
Likes: Photography and music
Profession: Deputy Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission and Vice-President of the Economic and Social Committee, in charge of communication

Deutsche Zusammenfassung
Sommaire en français

You are Vice-President of the European Social and Economic Committee (EESC) – one of the EU consultative bodies in Brussels – and you have a daytime job back home in Belfast? How do you manage this and get things done?Belgium, Brussels, April 08, 2013 - Portrait of the vice-president Jane Morrice European Economic and Social Committee - EESC -  ©EU2013 2013_04_08_portrait_Morrice
Indeed, I am in Brussels two or three days a week. The EESC is the consultative EU body representing the civil society in Europe. Its members are representatives of organisations of employers, workers and various interests like farmers, the professions, consumers, and so on. My job at the Committee is mostly to deal with its communications. I also have a job in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I am part of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission. That job is about challenging discrimination and prejudice. It is not easy commuting between Belfast and Brussels, but luckily we have iPads and mobile phones, so the office comes with me most of the time.

And your family still lives in Belfast or did they move to Brussels?
My son studies International Relations and French in Scotland, a bit like I did. But the rest of the family still lives in Northern Ireland.

2013_05_23_490th_PLENARY_SESSION_116When you think about your work in Brussels, which European values do you cherish most?
If I had to pick three values that, for me, are symbolic of what the EU stands for, they would be peace, fairness and equality.

Northern Ireland has a complex history. Were you somehow involved in the peace process?
Just before I got involved in politics, I was the European Commission’s representative to Northern Ireland based in Belfast. That was in the early 1990s – a very difficult time in Northern Ireland. I had just started as head of office when Jacques Delors, the President of the European Commission at that time, came to visit. He saw the terrible things that were happening in Northern Ireland. People asked him: “What is Europe doing about all this?” And he said: “We will do something as soon as we are asked.” And when the paramilitaries announced their ceasefire in 1994, the British and Irish governments asked. Shortly afterwards, the European Commission came up with a very important peace programme. I am happy to say that, as head of office, I was able to be a tiny, tiny part of that.

I am thrilled to be a Nobel Peace Prize winner along with 500 million other Europeans – Europe is the peace programme à l’extrordinaire.

In this process you also did a lot for women’s rights and equality. These issues have been at the heart of your political career?
Well, I witnessed how women across the country were out there making sure things did not deteriorate back to a war situation. The European Commission recognised and supported the role of those women. As a consequence, me and my colleagues set up a women’s political party and got involved in the peace negotiations. Moreover, we got elected to the new assembly. So, as far as I am concerned, Europe has had a part to play in that evolution as well.

Are you proud to be part of the European project?2013_04_19_YOUR_EUROPE_YOUR_SAY_135
I am thrilled to be a Nobel Peace Prize winner along with 500 million other Europeans – Europe is the peace programme à l’extrordinaire. Europe is about old enemies being able to sit together, about building dialogue and understanding. It is about things that matter. For me, there has never been a question to which Europe hasn’t got the answers in terms of getting people together.

Can you think of something that Europe could do better?
I do wish that Europe would shout louder about its successes. Without doubt, that is something that frustrates me. I am working in communications and I think it’s important for Europe to talk to people. Citizens’ dialogues are chats with your taxi driver, your hairdresser or your granny… It is talking to people about what they want from Europe. But it is also about listening. Because if you ask the question, you have to listen to the answer. And if you hear the answer and it makes sense, put it into the process and try to do something about it.

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


Jane Morrice: Dass die Europäische Union den Friedensnobelpreis erhalten hat, macht mich stolz.

Die Belfasterin arbeitet für die Gleichstellungskommission in Nordirland, eine Organisation, die sich für die Anti-Diskriminierung und die Bekämpfung von Vorurteilen einsetzt. Jede Woche bringt sie ihr Job als Vizepräsidentin (für zuständig Kommunikation) des Europäischen Wirtschafts- und Sozialausschusses nach Brüssel.
Ganz begeistert ist sie, dass sie eine von 500 Millionen NobelpreisträgerInnen ist.
In den 90-er-Jahren war die Mutter eines studierenden Sohnes, in ihrer Funktion als Leiterin der Kommissionsvertretung in Belfast im Friedensprozess in Nordirland involviert, was sie besonders stolz macht. Während dieser Zeit setzte sie sich auch speziell für Frauenrechte ein.
Sie ist überzeugt, dass Europa den Menschen mehr über die Erfolgsgeschichten Europas erzählen müsste, wobei den Menschen Zuhören ebenso wichtig ist; und dann heißt es die richtigen Schlüsse daraus ziehen und Aktionen setzen.
Privat widmet sich die Nordirin der Fotografie und der Musik.

Friede, Fairness, Gleichberechtigung: Europa ist unsere Zukunft. Es liegt an uns allen!


Jane Morrice: Fière du prix Nobel de la Paix attribué à l’Union européenne

J’aimerais que l’Europe fasse davantage la publicité de ses succès

Jane est née à Belfast, en Irlande du Nord, et travaille aujourd’hui pour la Commission pour l’égalité d’Irlande du Nord, un organisme qui lutte contre la discrimination et les préjugés. Mais elle vient toutes les semaines à Bruxelles, où elle suit les questions de communication pour le compte du Comité économique et social européen. Jane dit souvent qu’elle est ravie d’être, avec 500 millions d’autres Européens, une des lauréats du prix Nobel de la paix. Car elle a été témoin dans les années 90du processus de paix en Irlande du Nord, et elle sait que l”Europe reste un moyen de faire en sorte que les anciens ennemis puissent s’asseoir à la même table. Elle aimerait néanmoins que l’Europe soit davantage à l’écoute de ses citoyens et de ce qu’ils d’attendent d’elle. Elle estime que lorsqu’on pose une question, on se doit d’écouter la réponse – et cela s’applique aussi à l’Europe. Son temps libre, Jane le passe avec son fils, ou bien en profite pour faire de la photographie.

Paix, Equité et Egalité. L’Europe est notre avenir. Cela ne tient qu’à nous!


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