The air was ten degrees colder but charged with anticipation for the experience ahead.
Twenty two students, having followed the EU in Focus dialogues, traveled to Brussels for a hands on experience instead.
Just like real Members of the European Parliament there was no time to rest.
At the Parliament’s Visitors’ Center we took on their roles, or at least tried our best.
Divided by parties, to agree on EU policies was a big ask. Yet, through negotiation and compromise we completed the task.
The next morning, our MEP experience was filled in with context. At the Parlamentarium, we learned the EU’s history and wondered what would come of it next.
The EU is a difficult entity to understand but art can also be.
The exhibition, Time in Motion, by Pol Bury asked us to stop and really see.
Back to business in business wear at The Council of the EU.
We were met by Ms. Susanne Nielsen (General Secretariat of the Council), where we were briefed on the migration issue.
Then Amy Wilson from the US Mission to the EU welcomed us despite her flu.
We heard of the differences and common challenges facing the US and EU.
She shared her insight and experiences of the limitations to migration.
“In Europe, there is no clear path to citizenship. That’s a barrier to integration.”
Last but not least we visited the European Commission.
As the technocrats who propose policies, they have no simple mission.
Mr. Martin Hetherington, was our expert on Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations.
He explained the EU’s relationship with its neighbours, and then answered all of our questions.
The finale of our trip was Ms. Esther Pozo Vera’s talk on migration.
Uncovering the day to day processes of policy making, it was a splendid presentation.
Off on spring break, the twenty two students flew.
Thankful for the opportunity to have learned something new.