That EU avian flu exercise: lets hope its worth the cost

According to MSN, Exercise Common Ground will take place at the end of this week. But at an absurd cost!

MSN say the exercise will last two days, from from 6am until 9pm, and will involve “several officials in each country, including a number of senior politicians.”

The report claims that the contract to organise it, won by the UKs Health Protection Agency, was worth an amazing 900,000 Euros. If you assume that civil servants are charged out at 1000 Euros a day, thats 900 person-days work since the contract was awarded to the HPA, which announced the award on 19 October. Assuming the exercise happens on 25 November, thats 37 days since the award: implying that 24 civil servants have worked continuously, seven days a week, to organise it.

This is ludicrously high compared to the cost of similar exercises held in the commercial world. Its no wonder that EU Ministers cant agree on their budget.

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