So here it is. In the next few lines I will note down my feelings about the trip to Brussels in October 2017 with my teachers and fellow students including BNI15 and exchange students in general and my experience of the European Parliament in particular.
It was a 5-day-visit trip to Brussels with the main visit points of European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee, Parliamentarium, the House of European History and other Finnish institutions like the Permanent Representation of Finland to the European Union, Confederation of Finnish Industries and Council of Tampere Region.
Generally, as being a non-European, the trip enlightened me about Europe. There has been loads of information which I have not known about before. Hence, this trip has been very helpful for me in gaining knowledge of Europe and European Union. I like all of the visit points.
On Tuesday 31th October 2017, we had a chance to visit the European Parliament. Here is the picture of us in front of main backdrop at the welcoming hall of the European Parliament.
Firstly, before entering the European Parliament, there is a security check which is familiar as well in other institutions. After that, we were greeted warmly by the executives. There are brochures available for the visitors. The brochure was very helpful with a map of European counties attached and some space for our own notes, which I highly appreciate.
Later, we had a presentation from the host which I have fully enjoyed. The host was a Danish person with great English communication. The structure of the presentation was very clear and easy to follow. In his speech, the basic yet crucial information was presented, e.g. the locations of the European parliament, the political groups, the committees, the discussions which are happening at that moment at the parliament and how decisions are made among the European institutions.
We have come to know that there are three different locations of European Parliament: Brussels, Strasbourg, and Luxembourg. The office in Luxembourg is the smallest one which is mainly for translators. This keeps keep the jobs in Luxembourg. The office in Strasbourg is the second biggest one where the Plenary Chamber is held four days in a month. The one we visited in Brussels is the biggest one amongst the three. The day-to-day activities like committee meetings and political group meetings are carried out here.
We have also come to know that the topics which are currently discussed at the European Parliament include Brexit, Migration and the impact of presidency in other countries.
The highlight of the visit was the fact that we could see the Chamber where all the 751 MEPs have their debates and discussions. This allowed us to understand a bit about the atmosphere in the discussion. The seats below are where the members of the European Parliament sit during discussion. We can also see the upper seats which are for the interpreters for the MEPs.
After the visit to the Chamber, we were given the opportunity to write the postcard to our friends and families. Such a great idea to enhance the experience of the visitors. Evidence is that we were impressed. Here is the picture of the postcard.