November 03, 2008
Today, I spent the day in Brussels visiting some of the main EU institutions.
A very long day, arriving in Brussels at 10am, leaving at 6pm, listening to presentations and asking questions non-stop in the meantime.
I've always been a supporter of the European project. When the referendum on the European constitution (a horrible name for the Lisbon treaty) in 2005 was voted down in the Netherlands I was in Japan (and voted from there) surrounded by a fairly pro-constitution crowd of Dutchies. I was shocked to find out what had actually happened in the Netherlands in the run-up to the referendum.
This also means that I was quite curious to finally go and see the institutions where it happens, hear more about how it works, and talk to the people working as part of this circus. During the day, we spoke to lobbyists, government staff, EU staff, journalists, politicians - so it gave a fairly varied image of what goes on. But of course, all of these people broadly support what happens in Brussels; they wouldn't be doing their particular jobs if they didn't I guess.
Nevertheless, an interesting but exhausting day. Back to semi-regular work tomorrow!
The above picture is taken from the main entrance of the building of the European Council: a huge balloon with all the European flags going around it.