European Commission’s Advice To Staffers Visiting Greece: ‘Invent A Fake Life Story’

European Commission’s Advice To Staffers Visiting Greece: “Invent A Fake Life Story” (ZeroHedge, March 4, 2013):

The European Commission is a little embarrassed over a leaked email that warns EC staffers of the threats of traveling in Europe (and most specifically Greece). As The WSJ reports, the note, among other things; encourages staffers to invent a fake life story; warns them not to stand near windows during a protest so as not to provoke “an aggressive reaction” from demonstrators: admonishes officials to avoid bringing sensitive documents to bars or restaurants; and observes that “even the mildest reaction can be misinterpreted by protestors.” The email, published on the To Vima website, has led to an uproar, with some in the Greek press accusing the Commission of scare-mongering and insulting Greek citizens. Seemingly taking a page out of a James Bond novel, the rage against the Troika appears very real as officials warn: people you meet “don’t have to know that you work for the [troika], when asked, talk about your previous profession or the one of your best friend.” Troika, shaken but not stirred.

Via WSJ:

The leak of a European Commission email providing security tips for staffers visiting Athens highlights just how much of a threat some European officials see from angry citizens, especially in Greece.

Even on calm days, citizens rage against the so-called “troika,” blaming the European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Fund for their country’s seemingly bottomless recession. A 27% unemployment rate and a loss of 20% of economic output in six years can make tempers flare.

The leaked email, among other things, encourages staffers to invent a fake life story; warns them not to stand near windows during a protest so as not to provoke “an aggressive reaction” from demonstrators: admonishes officials to avoid bringing sensitive documents to bars or restaurants; and observes that “even the mildest reaction can be misinterpreted by protestors.”

He confirmed the authenticity of the advisory note itself, though he was unable to immediately say whether the Commission issues such advisory notes for staff working in other countries. In an email Saturday, the spokesman said that “the European Commission has a duty of care towards its employees. The document is common-sense travel advice, nothing more, nothing less. It is quite normal that that the Commission such safety advice is provided to officials. The recommendations were discussed with the Greek Police.”

“The taxi driver driving you to your hotel, or the grocery store owner down the street, do not have to know that you work for the European institutions,” the note explains. “When asked, talk about your previous profession or the one of your best friend.”

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