October 18, 2017
Guest post by Dan Luca, Senior Director of EURACTIV and lecturer on communication techniques and the European Union at VUB, ULB Brussels and SNSPA Bucharest.
Why do I work in Brussels? The “blue city” has gradually become the political pole with the largest multicultural community. Apart from the European Parliament or the famous European Commission, there are powerful embassies here too. Any economic development of the European Union passes through the legislative network of Brussels, and thousands of industry associative structures are presented in the capital of Europe. There is no trade union movement that does not have its cordon at their Brussels headquarters. Every respectable region or city has its people at the centre.
Explorers … that is what we are in Brussels. Every day we explore the unknown to create a better life for the roughly half a billion EU citizens, but also for a few more billion by indirect actions (see Neighbourhood Policy, Development and Cooperation, or even international relations now included in the matrix The European External Action Service – which will surely turn after Brexit into a true European Foreign Ministry).
We look for “blue gold” every day, and believe that the investment made is immense … The shareholders (the European citizens) care, but they want deliverables. It is not a blank check, and during every crisis, the patience of those who have invested in the EU is being tested.
Brussels’ work is hard to quantify, permutations between conference rooms and “European territory” are always challenged by a fundamental question: will this “laboratory analysis”, often sectoral and marginal, help us to discover easier the European vein?
However, we must not forget the human resources allocated to the European mechanism, and the academic environment is crucial in this area. For 10 years now, I have the honour of lecturing in prestigious European faculties, but the pleasure of teaching in Brussels’ universities is special. Exceptionally, last week, I had an interaction both at the Institut d’études européennes (ULB) and at the Institute for European Studies (VUB) with students about “Non-institutional actors in the making of EU law”. Even if most of the master students work from morning to evening, they find an exciting energy in discussing the future of the EU from 18:00 to 21:00. Certainly, the EU has its “fans”!Dan Luca