POLSIS MA student wins place on prestigious EU Committee of the Regions Study Trip

POLSIS MA students were invited to participate in a competition held across Europe by the European People Party (EPP) within the Committee of the Regions (CoR). Given the high caliber of our graduate cohort for the 2009-10 academic year, it was no surprise that one of our bright students, Daniel Debono, a Maltese national, was selected from the high caliber applicants to take part in the study trip, held in December 2009.

 The study visit was an opportunity for students to meet with high EU representatives, enhancing their knowledge and allowing debate on topical European issues. Furthermore, the students gained access to quality information about the European integration process and above all about the activities and objectives of the CoR.

The Committee of the Regions is a young institution setup by the Maastricht Treaty; sometimes also referred to as ‘the guardian of the principle of Subsidiarity’. It is composed of regional and local politicians who do not hold any legislative powers, but are instead consulted by the Council of Ministers, European Commission and European Parliament prior to formulating strategies and policies in order to affect them in the best interest of European citizens.

During his time at the CoR, Daniel also had the pleasure of catching up with Ms. Agnieszka Bidzinska, a Birmingham University Alumni who finished her Masters at POLSIS in September 2009, and is now working within the EPP at the CoR.

Daniel said "We were allowed to attend an EPP formal internal debate where the Party formulated a common position for all points on the agenda that were to be addressed at the Plenary Session. We later also attended the Plenary Session with the main debate among all four factions being about the future of the CoR in light of the new ‘Lisbon Treaty'".

"We had ongoing contact and discussions with politicians and bureaucrats addressing subjects varying from inter-cultural negotiations within the European Parliament to the future enlargement of the European Union. An interesting meeting was an open debate about the new ‘EU Policy for Youth’ when we met its rapporteurs who gave a presentation on the strategy and later consulted us about the matter".

"Finally, and most importantly, it was a great experience because of the networks made and new friendships built with students studying politics in universities all over Europe. I encourage fellow students to take on such opportunities should they come across.