Brussels Trip 2016

From June 19 till June 23 EUS students had an excellent opportunity to explore European Union not only in theory, but also in practice. For three days students visited different institutions and committees in Brussels, as well as had a chance to examine this vibrant city.

On June 20, after the night trip in the bus, 30 EUS students, headed by Dr. Laura Asarite and Kathrin Thomsen, went to the lecture by Committee of the Regions, which was followed by European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). During these meetings students learned a lot of information about the structure of the committees as well as their tasks and procedures.

The next meeting was at the Council of the European Union, which gave students not only an excellent opportunity to learn first hand about the functions and aims of the institute, but also the chance to speak to the person dealing with Turkey, who kindly agreed to answer numerous questions. Of course the main topic of discussion was the possibility of accession of Turkey to the European Union. Among the main questions were the situation with human rights and freedom of speech, the consequences of refugees crisis and the role of religion and population in the process of EU enlargement.

Next day EUS students went to European Commission, after the short excursion students learned great deal from the comprehensive lecture on the main duties and goals of the Commission and the plans for the future. During the Q&A students actively participated in the discussion on the main challenges that the EU facing today, the Brexit referendum and the necessity of further integration of the Union. After the meeting, students visited Parlamentarium, a visitors' centre of the European Parliament, which has an excellent interactive exhibition on the past, present and future of the European Union.

The last meeting on June 21 was at European Network of Equality Bodies, the agency that monitors equality centres and institutions in EU countries as well as candidate countries. Students learned about the core sectors for equality and what are the main obstacles in equality process in different Member States.

On June 22 EUS students were very excited to visit European Parliament. Due to the fact that the main sessions of the EP take place in Strasbourg, the trip was adjusted to the monthly plenary session that takes place in Brussels. Students were lucky to watch Martin Schultz’ speech on future of the Union and the speech by president of Israel Reuven Rivlin on the historical relations between Europe and Israel and the necessity of peace. Federica Mogherini also attended the preliminary session.

On Wednesday evening it was time to go back to Flensburg, symbolically just one day before the crucial for the EU Brexit referendum.