10 Feb Report Day 6: Brussels Calling!
Day 6 was the day we had all been waiting for. It was time for our highly anticipated visit to the European Parliament in Brussels! To get there, we had to make some sacrifices though. We had to get out of bed around 6:00 in order to have breakfast at 6:30. Some people struggled with getting out of bed, so the last people had breakfast at 7:15. This was a close call, as the bus was scheduled to leave at 7:30. A lot of delegates regarded the one and a half hour bus ride as an excellent opportunity to sleep. Some other people, like the journalists, used this time to prepare themselves for the day, and wrote some pieces.
Upon arrival on location, everyone was escorted to the entrance of the building of the European Parliament. There split into 3 groups. 1 group went straight to the plenary meeting, 1 group went to a commission room while another group stayed outside to wait. This group later joined the plenary meeting, where they could actually sit inside of the room! To put it into context, normally you don’t even get to sit there when you do a tour, so it was amazingly special to sit there during a plenary meeting. A Polish delegate delivered a speech during the plenary meeting to elaborate on the amendment we had proposed. This amendment was later accepted with almost no votes against! This already was an amazing achievement for us, as it shows that the European Parliament has trust in its youth! After having this amazing experience, it was time for MEP meets MEP. All of the delegations met a real-life member of the European Parliament, which was from their own country! This was an amazing opportunity for all the delegations to meet their real-life counterparts and share some experiences. All the delegates thoroughly enjoyed it!
After lunch it was time for the real reason we were in Brussels. To present the New Youth Treaty to the European Parliament! After having gone through security for the 3rd time, we were guided to the building of the European Committee of the Regions. In this amazing venue there were several guest speakers. Theo Bovens, governor of Limburg, Markku Markkula, president of the European Committee of Regions and Tibor Navracsics, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, had their say. They stressed that they are very proud that we, as MEPNL17, were there and had set up and carried out such an amazing initiative. After that, there was a panel discussion about our points on the treaty. Three members of the European Parliament were present to comment on them. Eva Maydell and Jeroen Lenaers for the Christian Democrats and Brando Benifei for the S&D (Socialists and Democrats) agreed with almost all of our points and gave some constructive criticism, as well as motivating every delegate to remain standing strong for the points we raised in our treaty. Ms. Maydell, afterwards, made us realize something. She stated that what we had done was exceptional. From the way everything was formulated and discussed, to the way it was presented. (Special thanks to press team member Martijn for putting together some amazing introduction video’s!) She was really impressed with what we had done, and how we had done it. You could see the delegates were filled with pride, proud of everything we had achieved, and all that we have yet to achieve. Following the panel discussion, it was time for the most exciting moment of the day. Our European Youth Treaty was handed over to Brando Benifei, and with that, it was handed over to the European Parliament. Victory!
The buses came to pick us up around 16:00, and this was the time for the delegates to relax. Some buses were real party buses, with people singing and dancing, while other delegates took their time to get some extra sleep. Our hostel made sure we had dinner by the time we got back, so we got to enjoy some amazing food as our last official meal of the day. After dinner the delegates could choose whether they wanted to go out or stay in and enjoy ‘The Hangover’. This free time was well deserved for the delegates, as they had a long and rough day. Now there are two days of General Assembly left, which will drain a lot of energy. We wish them all the luck in their debates!