Thanks for checking back in! Our first two full days in Brussels were incredibly action-packed and here is a quick little recap! This core course is on the EU, so we visited a few EU institutions on Monday and Tuesday, with many more to come after.
The first building that we visited was the European Commission or the “Executive” branch of the European Union. The Commission is made up of a President and 27 Commissioners, who represent each of the member states. Each Commissioner is assigned a portfolio, such as trade, finance, etc.
At the European Commission, we first met with a representative of the Brexit Preparedness Group, who gave us a clearer idea of what the Brexit process is like and what the current negotiations are discussing. We then met with a Communications Advisor for Commissioner of Competition Margrethe Vestager, who is from Denmark. Finally, we met with the Head of the Communication Unit for EU Finances, who spoke to us about the EU Budget after 2020. It was an incredible opportunity to see and hear firsthand about what everyone does, especially because it can be hard to visualize from the United States, and sometimes even from Denmark! Attached below are a couple photos from the Commission.
Another highlight of the trip to Brussels was that we were actually able to conduct political actor interviews. In groups of 3-5, we were assigned two people who we met for an hour each, talking about how their organization is related to the EU and what kind of work they do in Brussels. For our first interview, we talked to a Counsellor from the Permanent Delegation of Turkey to the EU. It was a fascinating conversation about the interests of Turkey, their views towards the EU, and his opinions of the world. It was an incredible opportunity and really helped with professional experience.
On Tuesday, we took a trip to the Parliamentarium, which essentially is an interactive museum dedicated towards showcasing the history of the European Union, from its inception to the present. It was an incredible building and I was able to snap lots of pictures!
The picture above (the last one), shows Jeppe Kofod, who is a member of the European Parliament. He is a member of the Social Democratic Party in Denmark and is a member of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament. After the Parliamentarium, we went to the actual European Parliament, where we met with Jeppe’s advisor, who talked to us about many things, including what it was like to work in the EP, what his day to day role was, and what paths he took to get to where he was.
Finally, I was able to spot this bus (see below) which warmed my heart 🙂
Thanks for reading friends!! Check back in on Sunday to hear about the rest of the trip! And, as always, feel free to reach out with any questions/comments! Vi ses!