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European Parliament visit - 24 April 2012

by Claire DEJAEGER

After our Bronte walk we headed for the European Parliament area where we had lunch on the corner of Luxemburgplein, at Exki, a Belgian chain set up in 2000 serving meals under the logo natural, fresh & ready.

We were lucky with the weather again, the threatening clouds just kept at bay so as to allow us to have our lunch outside. As in the morning for the Bronte visit we were joined by Elisabeth Croimans, Elke Abbeloos and Riet Vanhauwaert, from the Leuven City Archives.

Our Leuven EU MP Said El Kadhraoui and his aid Karen Scheelen bid us welcome at the European Parliament.

Said sits on the EP's committee on Transport and Tourism and is the coordinator for the EU Socialists in these matters, he is a substitute for the Committee on International Trade, a member of the Delegation to the EU-Armenia, EU-Azerbaijan and EU-Georgia Parliamentary Cooperation Committees and a substitute for the Delegation for relations with the United States.

He explained how the EU Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the EU Commission interact with each other.

We were grateful that he could take out some time for us as it was a busy Commision day for him. He left us in the hands of his aid Karen Scheelen for a visit through the building.

Karen took us to Place, m'as-tu vu? (if you want to be seen that's where you want to be), we peeped into a commission meeting room, we took place in the public area of the plenary, admired the building and its art works and finished with a drink at one of the cafes.

Before boarding the train to Leuven we did a quick and brief visit to the Parlementarium, the European visitor's centre where dynamic interactive multimedia displays guide the visitor through the journey of European integration.

We arrived at Leuven station under a friendly sun and walked back to the Irish College /our homes for dinner and an easy evening after a busy day.