I split my time between Brussels and London, and I’ve also lived in Canada and the USA. I write mostly about the EU but also about UK national and local politics, and sometimes other things. I studied Classics (Latin and Greek literature, ancient history, and philosophy) and so this is a recurrent theme.
What I write here is coloured by my 20+ years’ experience working in the EU and Whitehall; but it’s personal. Always personal. Nothing I write on this site is sanctioned by the EU, by the UK government, or by anyone except me.
The site’s name comes from my handle, “ottocrat”, which is what I call myself online. It combines my middle name with the ‘eurocrat’ label. Other places you might catch me are on Mastodon or on Twitter.
The image I use as my site header is the Tabula Peutingeriana. It’s the only surviving map of the Roman road network, a reproduction of a 13th century copy of a fifth century original. It covers the whole Roman Empire and beyond, stretching as far as India and China. An enormous copy is on display on the fifth floor of the Justus Lipsius building in Brussels. The section in my header image shows the far south-eastern corner of Britain and parts of modern-day Belgium and Northern France.