Summer School Diary - Day Ten
Written by Filip Batselé
The 10th day of the summer school started off early, as the group needed to be transferred from tranquil Bruges to the vibrant Belgian and EU capital Brussels. Once arrived, a visit to one of UNU-CRIS’ partners, the Free University of Brussels’ (VUB) Institute for European Studies was on the agenda.
After an introduction to the Institute’s work by IES Academic Director Alexander Mattelaer, Professor Sebastian Oberthür took the floor. His presentation on EU Climate and Energy Policy tied in perfectly with some of the presentations on global climate policy from the previous week, by supplementing them with the EU’s regional perspective and policies. To wrap up the morning session, we had the chance to ask questions on EU trade and politics to former European Commissioner for Trade Karel de Gucht. A short bus ride then brought us to the heart of Brussels’ European neighbourhood, where the United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe is located.
The afternoon was packed with three more speakers. Barbara Pesce-Monteiro, Director (UN/UNDP Brussels Representation Office) focused on EU-UN cooperation more generally, bringing in her extensive practical experience. Secondly, Megan Richards (Director, DG Energy at the European Commission) gave a brief presentation on EU Energy Policy (reminding us very clearly that the EU had not banned palm oil!). Finally, Stefan Maier (UNHCR Regional Representation for EU Affairs) gave UNHCR’s perspective on child protection in emergencies. A little before 6 PM and after some intense discussions, we could head out to the hostel and do a bit of urban exploring in Brussels.