A visit to Brussels and to the institutions of the European Union offers a fresh perspective into core European values and the identity of the Union. Students of the Faculty of Political Science in Banja Luka, Branko Ivanišević, Duško Vasić and Marko Lončar, won the debate competition “Its About Europe. Its About You” and were awarded with a study trip to the EU capital and an opportunity to gain an insight into how the European Union works.
“This visit to Brussels is for me another important aspect on my road to success. As student of the Faculty of Political Science, I have seen and learned a lot about the European Union and its domestic and foreign policies,” said Branko, adding that Brussels, as the unofficial capital of the European Union, is definitely a must-visit place.
The five-day study visit included meetings with institutions who are directly in charge of shaping the policies of the European Union and monitoring the European integration process of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the wider Western Balkans region. The students gained a unique opportunity to discuss the youth perspective of the process, but also to share their knowledge and ideas on actual youth engagement and involvement in the further stages of the accession process.“To meet with the extremely wide ideological spectrum present in the European Parliament, talk to officials who maintain the biggest administration in the world, and get a sense of the daily work of European institutions is a crucial experience for us as future political scientists,” noted Marko about his experience in Brussels.
Illustrating that young people have plenty of ideas and visions on how to present and support the accession process, the group also met with Young European Ambassadors, an initiative of the European Union that aims to communicate the integration process to the youth of the region and provide them with engaging and entertaining activities but also a highly valuable opportunity to network and exchange ideas with their peers across the region and the European Union.“Brussels as a centre of the European Union presents a vault of diversity, with dozens of different cultures you meet on the streets daily. Getting to know how EU institutions work, networking with young ambitious people and sharing experience is invaluable to further progress,” remarked Duško.
In addition to their meetings with officials, the group visited the House of European History and the Parlamentarium, while in Bruges they met with students of the College d’Europe and the informal group “Friends of the Balkans” that promotes the diversity and opportunities the region offers within the European Union. The students agreed that the visit offered them a new perspective and a valuable opportunity to exchange their views and attitudes with their European peers and to use the gained knowledge to start similar initiatives in their local communities as well as to be more engaged in the European integration process of their country.