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Seminar about the EU, Brussels

I and other selected students took part in the Immersion Seminar at the European Institutions from January 13th to January 15th, 2019 in Brussels, Belgium under the supervision of Professor Dr. Hadjila Krifa-Schneider. Joining me are the students of the Master of Management of European Affairs, who would finish their trip by writing a required report of their observations.

I started my first day by the Name Forthcoming role play game at the Parlamentarium at 1:40 PM. In this game, we acted as MEPs – Members of the European Parliament, whose decisions affect the fate of the 512.6 million people of the European Union (EU). The game, which lasted 2 hours, helped us get a better understanding of how a proposal is made, explained, debated, and voted into legislation.

The MEPs are divided into 4 principal political parties, with various numbers of seats, representing various beliefs in the political spectrum. The 2 propositions being discussed are (1) a new project aimed at delivering cleaner water to people, which could only better their lives, but would require huge investments from the public funding, and (2) the chip plantation for all Europeans, which is very controversial but could prove useful for security and protection against terrorism.

January 14th, 2019 was marked by 2 different visits. In the morning, we united at the European Commission to listen to invited speakers on various global issues: Climate Change by Mr. Paul Hutchison, Directorate-General Climate Action; Fiscal Competition and Fiscal Evasion by Mr. Philippe Demougin, Economist and General Director of Fiscality and Customs Union; Regional Policy by Ms. Julie Thiran, Program Manager of EU Policies and General Director of Regional and Urban Policy; and Research and Innovation by Mr. Philippe Martin, Acting Head of Unit and General Director of Research and Innovation.

In the afternoon, we had the honor to visit the European Parliament, especially the European Parliament Hemicycle. The historic location, which can seat all 751 MEPs, is a place where various chapters of history were written. Or as our tour guide said, “You the participants now have one thing in common with Bill Gates, Dalai Lama, and Arnold Schwarzenegger – having visited this place.”

On the final day, at the Council of the European Union, we had a short yet meaningful meeting with Ms. Simonetta COOK, General, and Institutional Policy Directorate and General Secretary of the Council of the European Union. The topic was “The European Council and the Council of the European Union”. The European Council is where leaders of the EU member states and the President of the Commission meet to define the EU’s political direction and priorities. This venue constitutes the highest level of political cooperation among EU member states but does not pass EU laws.

I am so happy and proud to have a chance to visit one of the most historic venues in Europe.

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