FIR students visited Brussels as part of the Innovation Week

Students of the major and minor specializations of European Economic Integration went to Brussels as part of the Innovation Week at the Prague University of Economics and Business. From 10 to 12 April, together with dr. Jarolím Antal and dr. Josef Bič, they had the opportunity to discuss with representatives of EU and NATO institutions current topics that are currently moving politics or the economy in the EU or the Member States. This study trip took place for the second time thanks to FIR.

As part of a challenging three-day programme, they had the opportunity to visit the European Quarter, home to the European Commission, the Council, the European Parliament and other important institutions. They also had the opportunity to see the NATO headquarters in the north of Brussels.

The first day started with a visit to the European Commission, where the group was hosted by the Directorate-General (DG) for Trade. The delegation of the Faculty of International Relations of the University of Economics and Business was welcomed by Lenka Fořtová, a graduate of the Faculty of International Relations, who works in the Commission as a seconded national expert and is in charge of the agenda of relations between the EU and the USA. The next speaker was Francesco Floris, who spoke about the sustainability agenda and its role in negotiating free trade agreements between the EU and third countries. A specific example of negotiating a trade agreement with India was then discussed by Dominika Svozilová. The first block of lectures was concluded by Ivana Taskarova, also a graduate of FIR, who currently works as a seconded expert at the DG for Health and Food Safety. She discussed with students the topic of food labelling in relation to international trade.

After lunch in the canteen of the European Commission, the programme continued with a presentation by Linda Messias from DG HR, who presented the possibilities of internships and the selection procedure for the EU institutions, including tips on what to look out for. The programme was rounded off with a presentation by Allen Monks from DG ECFIN, who presented the recently approved reform of the EU’s economic governance regarding compliance with the Stability and Growth Pact. The busy day was concluded with a visit to DG HR, where the students had the opportunity to see Brussels from the tallest building in the vicinity of the European institutions.

The second day began with a discussion with the Vice-President of the European Parliament and another graduate of the Faculty of International Relations, Dita Charanzová. The subsequent discussion with representatives of the Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the EU, Martin Bednar and Veronika Chvála Vinklárkova, who is also a graduate of FIR, focused on the persisting obstacles to the internal market and the development of the digital agenda in the EU. The students also briefly talked with an Ambassador Edita Hrdá.

In the afternoon, they moved to NATO premises. After the guided tour, the students had the opportunity to discuss the current security situation with representatives of the Czech delegation, Matti Tetřev and Štěpán Denk, especially regarding the development of the war in Ukraine, the prospects of NATO and the current US approach to these topics. The day ended with a visit to the European Economic and Social Committee, where the students were welcomed by Alena Mastantuono (EESC member for the Czech Chamber of Commerce).

The programme then continued with an informal dinner with FIR alumni based in Brussels until late in the evening.

On the third day, there was a visit to the Council building and a discussion with Radovan Schida, who works at the General Secretariat. At noon, they moved to the European Parliament, where the delegation was accompanied by Jan Randáček, who works in the EP as a senior national expert. At the end, the students visited the Parlamentarium.

FIR students visited Brussels as part of the Innovation Week
  • Author: PR FMV
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