Jean Monnet Study Trip to Brussels
In February 2019, Giacomo Benedetto, the Jean Monnet Chair at Royal Holloway, University of London, organised a three-day study trip to Brussels for students who had taken his course options on the European Union, its public policies, and its budget. He accompanied and guided the group on the visit with the help of Robert Evans, a former Member of the European Parliament. The group assembled very early on a Tuesday morning at St Pancras International Station in London to catch the Eurostar to Brussels. On arrival, the first stop in Europe’s capital was a visit to a Belgian brewery and tasting of carefully selected Belgian beers. Over the next two days, the students visited and heard talks about the role of think tanks in EU policy-making at two European think tanks, the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), and the social democratic Foundation for European Progressive Studies. The students visited and heard talks from three parliamentarians at the European Parliament, from two officials working on the EU’s budget at the European Commission, and from a trade policy advisor at the Council of the European Union. On the last day, a special visit was made to see the Federal Parliament of Belgium and to hear about its work. The Belgian Parliament is an impressive neo-classical building in the city centre of Brussels, where the students saw the two chambers of the Parliament, its committee rooms and its salons. On the last night, traditional Belgian cuisine was appreciated at a restaurant in the City Centre.