Portrait of Simon Goss, a representative of the European Commission, when he was in Alsace for the LIFE Alister Project, on 15 and 16 September, 2016
What role do you play in the European Commission as well as in the LIFE Alister Project?
I am a part of the LIFE unit in the European Commission’s Environmental Department, and monitor the technical aspects of approximately sixty LIFE Nature projects in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Bulgaria and Malta.
I took part in the 2012/2013 LIFE Alister selection, and since that time, assisted by Quirin Renard of our external monitoring team and Paivi Rauma, my colleague who takes care of the financial side of this, I’ve been following this project.
I read the annual reports of the beneficiary who coordinates the project as well as the annual visit reports that Quirin draws up. On the one hand I have to make sure that project partners roll out the various actions as planned, and on the other hand, help them in case of difficulties or if they would like to adapt or change the implementation of some of the actions.
On 15 and 16 September, you met up with LIFE Alister Project partners. What do you think about this project?
That the challenge of having hamsters and modern agriculture live together is a huge one! But we already knew that back in 2012. There’s no shortage of difficulties, unforeseen weather conditions and other problems, but the partners do everything possible to find solutions that suit the needs of farmers, towns (the urban periphery), as well as the European Hamster.
Is there something specific in this project that you really appreciate?
The desire to work together in pursuit of the same shared goal, in spite of the difficulties and constraints, where each partner generously contributes both time and resources, and each person involved does much more than required or expected.
What would you like to wish for the project’s team?
To succeed, of course! And to keep on working together with the same enthusiasm, as hamsters will need them all for a long time.