Coming to the end of my term as the President of the European Region of the AAPG I feel obliged to summarize the main achievements and challenges the Region encountered in the period 1st July 2007 and 30th June 2009. First of all, the oil price story. Exactly one year ago I wrote in my message:
“The spring has brought the petroleum industry again on the front pages of the media thanks to the sky rocketing energy prices in general and oil prices in particular. Pretending to be innocent in the high the prices and reluctant to confess that the high prices provide unexpected extra income through the (over) taxation of the energy and fuel for the state budgets, governments in Europe join the media’s approach to blame the oil companies to profit excessively from the situation….. When the profit was low at the turn of the Millennium with oil prices around 10 USD/b, no assistance for the companies can be expected since it was not market conform. We agree, but to take away the financial basis of the security and sustainability is not market - conform either. Moreover it is even worse indicates lack of strategic visions….and (improvised) actions without visions lead to the chaos….”
Despite this “business-as-usual” volatility in the markets and industry, the Region has maintained her position as the flagship of the regions both in the number of the members and activity. We have managed to keep on attracting professionals throughout Europe and this is the result of :
- small, inexpensive regional conferences focusing on specific issues (“40 Years After”: North Sea Conference, Oslo, October 2008);
- the revitalization of the Students’ and Young Professionals’ Committee as well as the Student Chapters;
- the growing popularity of the Imperial Barrel Award Student Competition of university teams;
- the relocation and reinforcement of the London Office;
- the development of smaller events lunches and (courses) around the Regional Office and Aberdeen.
As in our own lives, organizations should pay more attention to challenges rather than to celebrate achievements. We may say that there are challenges enough to entertain the new leadership. We have to be able to:
- offer attractive and inexpensive regional events;
- maintain a permanent group of sponsors, who are satisfied with the services of the AAPG;
- to clarify the working relationship between the regions and headquarters;
- activate the ‘active’ members to increase the choice of professionals willing to stand for voluntary positions
We have to pay special attention to activating the membership to stand for elected positions and exercising their natural rights in a democratic association. This is why I called the membership in April to VOTE.
“The democracy has been a difficult exercise because it has to base on a balance of rights and responsibilities. You will accept this statement if you look at the political history of the Old Continent from the struggles for the universal suffrage in the late 19th century to the election rates in the modern democracies in the early 21st century. Very low election rates are not only shameful but undermine the legitimacy of the elected bodies, since with a simple mathematic calculation everybody can prove that even an absolute majority represents the minority of the electorate.
The AAPG is a democratic association and recently have been suffering from this phenomenon. (An about 10% election rate in the last European Elections in 2008). This is why I encourage you to dedicate 60 seconds to exercise your right to vote to elect new officials to lead the Association in 2010-2012. By doing so by 15th May, you may feel satisfaction that you have balanced your rights and responsibilities.”
At a regional level the current elections (with a better, but far from satisfactory turn out of 18%) partially renewed the composition the Executive Council of the European Region, which will start its new term on 1st July and comprises as follows:
- President: David COOK (UK)
- President Elect: Vlastimila DVORAKOVA (Czech Rep.)
- Vice President: Marek HOFFMANN (Poland)
- Secretary: Johann ‘Bert’ CLEVER (Nederland)
- Treasurer: Knut-Henrik JACOBSSON (Norway)
- AC Delegate: Jean GERARD (Spain)
- Immediate Past President: István BÉRCZI (Hungary)
As can be seen, 7 members from 7 countries is a clear message of the growing internationalization of the AAPG, spearheaded by the regions. I am convinced that it is beneficial for the whole Association.
Good luck, and I wish you a successful term from 1st July 2009 to 30th June 2011.
AAPG European Region