Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Off to Brussels!

European Parliament
The interns are off to Brussels tomorrow to learn about the EU parliament, COMECE and see where our fellow Brussels intern has been living.

On Wednesday (22 June) we'll meet Michael Kuhn,Deputy General Secretary, Advisor for Education and Culture at COMECE along with Johanna Touzel, Press Officer for an introduction to the programme, religious organisations in Brussels and how COMECE interfaces with the EU.

After lunch at the COMECE Secretariat we grab a coffee with Wendelin Gravenreuth, Project Manager, Confederation of European Forest Owners. Then we meet Tim Foley (2md Secretary, Press and Information)

Then it's off to European Parliament where we're meeting a former intern - Rhiannon Price, who is currently working for Kay Swinburn MEP. 

Afterwards we'll meet with  Jacek Sariusz-Wolski, EPP followed by a tour of Parliament with a visit to a mini Plenary session.

To give us a flavour of a typical EU parliamentary meeting we'll attend a hearing "Connecting Europe's transport and energy infrastructures". 

Lastly we'll meet Andrew Hollingsworth, Public Affairs Manager, Novartis.

On Thursday we're off to meet Fr Frank Turner, at the Jesuit European Office followed by Iris Reinmidl, World Youth Alliance (WYA).

In the afternoon we'll off to the European Commission to discuss Dialogue with Religions, Churches and Communities of conviction, with Mr Jorge C├ęsar das Neves, Adviser, Bureau of European Political Advisers (BEPA). 

The day ends with the Council of the European Union where we'll meet Mr Guy Milton who is responsible for relations between the Council and the European Parliament.

Mass ends our intern trip to Brussels, and a busy few days!
I've been to Brussels once before - as have the others - but none of us has seen the EU parliament. For the parlimentary interns this should be particularly illuminating - comparing the EU to our own parliament. Having worked so closely to our system I wonder what they will think of the EU? We'll let you know how it goes when we get back next week!

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