Shock Horror: A European in the Helmer Office

The Helmer Office, Brux, Jan 2012: RFH, Francesca Salierno; Neelam Cartmell; Joe Bono

Over my twelve years in the European parliament I’ve had some great people working with me.  I take a particular pride that quite a number of them have gone on to great things.   Sally McNamara has been working in Washington for years, and has recently been hired away from her high-powered job at the Heritage Foundation by defence contractor Raytheon, where she’ll handle government affairs.  Former staffer Emma McClarkin has been elected as an MEP, and is doing a fine job.

Virtually all the staff I have hired over the years have been Brits, or Americans, plus a couple of Australians and a Nigerian.  Strong representation of the Anglosphere.  Neelam Cartmell was born in Germany and claims dual nationality, but she seems pretty British to me.

I well remember a dinner-debate years ago that I attended along with Tory Vidler, a young Australian staffer working with me at the time.  Some EU apparatchik on the table, finding that Tory was Australian, asked “How on earth can an MEP have a non-European working in his office?”.  “Easy”, I replied, “You see I’m a non-European myself.  I’m a Brit”.   Collapse of stout party.

But at my age, I guess I’m allowed to break the habit of a lifetime.  Given the current uncertainty about my resignation and the succession, I needed to ensure that we did not have a staffing gap arising, and I am delighted that Francesca Salierno, an Italian from Naples, has agreed to join us on a temporary contract.  (Salierno, I hear you ask?  Wasn’t that the guy that Mozart had such problems with?  No, on second thoughts, that was Salieri!).  Francesca is second from the left in the photo.

Francesca has a Law degree from the University of Naples and a second degree from the Autonomous University of Barcelona.  She has studied languages at Bath Academy, and interned with the UN in New York, as well as a six-month internship already completed in the European parliament with another MEP.  She is fluent in Italian (of course!); English; Spanish and French.  We are delighted to have her on board.

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2 Responses to Shock Horror: A European in the Helmer Office

  1. Simon says:

    …and a pair of glasses that says she means business 🙂 Wish her every success.

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