School trips can make anyone anxious. For the two weeks before departing for Brussels, I debated whether I should even go… The trip was during fall break, and it was educational, and after my first half semester of college, I needed a mental break.
My anxiety turned out to be completely unfounded. The NYU Brussels trip to visit the EU was one of the most enriching experiences that I have had. To start with, Brussels was an amazing city. In a fusion of old buildings and modern city planning, the city was easy to navigate, with public transportation meaning you were never further than 10 minutes away from your destination. Read more
In the LPD student space in Villa Sassetti students can find information that was brought back from Brussels by students who participated in the EU in Focus trip about the construction of the EU, it’s budgets, how the EU is handling prevalent issues in our world today, such as immigration, climate change, gender equality and the economy, and many other informational pamphlets to be used as resources for any student looking for more info about the EU.
EU US agreement on Fracking
10 Answers to explain the EU economic Crisis
Undocumented Migrants and ways to protect Migrant Workers
10 Brief looks at EU Rights
The EU and Immigration
The EU and Gender
The EU and Trade
The EU and the Environment
The founding fathers of the EU
The 2014 Budget for the EU
The toll of Europe’s resource consumption on other parts of the world
Last night NYU Florence Professor Davide Lombardo provided NYU Florence students an overview of the history of the European Union and challenged the progressive view of EU history as a linear process that has led to ever deeper unity and stability on the continent since World War II, emphasizing the shifting nature of borders and the conflicts and ruptures (the war in Yugoslavia in the early 1990s served as a prime example), that have characterized recent European history.
September 10th Professor Nicolò Conti gave the first talk in La Pietra Dialogues’ annual EU in Focus series: EU Institutions and Decision-Making Processes. Conti, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University Unitelma Sapienza of Rome and Professor of Comparative Politics at NYU Florence, focused much of the discussion on the structure of the European Union and how each body within the institution affects interactions among its member states and within the larger international community. Read more
The incredible economic destruction and emotional devastation engraved on Europe after World War Two was enough for the Inner Six countries (Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands) to come together to form what we today call the European Union. This Union, however, remains unprecedented as a system, as it cannot be defined as a federation nor a confederation because of it’s unique mix of supranational and intergovernmental elements.
It is precisely the European Union’s unusual nature that makes it so difficult, even for EU citizens, to understand. During the first half of Spring break, I joined a group of NYU Florence students in a trip to Brussels visiting EU institutions, to better understand the exact workings of the EU and why the upcoming European parliamentary elections will be determining the future of the EU.
Prior to our trip, students attended four La Pietra Dialogues on the EU (History of the EU, Institutional Framework and Decision Making, Economy of the EU, and Why Should the EU Be of Interest to Americans?) that carefully outlined key concepts and information on the EU, that then stimulated different discussions among students on the Union and EU member states.
One of the common sources of confusion about the EU is how power is distributed between the European Institutions and the member states themselves, which is why we visited the European Parliament, European Council, and the European Commission, speaking to experts of each respective institution.
It is also evident through our discussion with these experts, that the economic and financial pressures on the EU member states and organizations remain substantial. It is necessary that, in 2014, these countries make strides toward reaching a consensus on their agendas to determine a unified banking policy to stabilize the banking system and rebuild the confidence of EU citizens and external investors. Countries have been struggling for a solution as indicated by the changes in government in almost every EU country between 2009 and now (with the exception of Germany). And while the dramatic pressure faced by peripheral countries has decreased over the last 18 months, the absence of growth in most EU economies continues to be a big concern. This is precisely why the upcoming parliamentary elections are crucial. Additionally, for the first time, the election results will have to be taken into account in the nomination of the next president of the European Comission this upcoming fall, which means the EU is moving closer towards a direct democracy, with voters having control over who leads the EU government.
I would recommend to every NYU student studying in Europe to take advantage of their time there to learn about how the EU really works. As the largest exporter and economy in the world (when treated as one), the power and influence of the EU should not be overlooked or marginalized; by gaining awareness and insight of the Union, you’re increasing your comprehension of both individual European countries and of the world.
With the EU parliamentary elections taking place in May 2014, students are excited to witness this important moment in European politics. These particular elections have raised many critical questions: What is the status of the European democracy? Why have anti-European parties gained traction? Are Europe’s citizens still invested in the European project? Experts in the field of European politics will give a series of lectures over the coming months. This series will give students the opportunity to study the EU from within the EU.
Each lecture on the EU will cover a different topic: history, institutional framework, the economy, and U.S. & European relations. The sessions will prepare students to tackle current questions surrounding the “European Project”. The introductory series times and dates are listed below:
History of the EU – Ariane Landuyt – February 11, 6:00 p.m. Institutional Framework and Decision-Making – Nicolò Conti – February 13, 6:00 p.m. Economy of the EU – Pompeo Della Posta – February 19, 5:30 p.m. Why Should the EU Be of Interest to Americans? – Joseph Weiler, February 26, 6:00 p.m.
This series is intended to give students, with various levels of EU knowledge, the opportunity to get a fuller understanding of the overall functioning of the EU. Students who participate in the workshop series will be eligible to visit the EU Parliament, Council, and Commission in an exciting trip to Brussels on March 15-18.
In Late April, experts in European politics will come together as part of an international conference to discuss the main issues being debated in the lead up to the May European elections and to analyze current political dynamics.