JCI European Know-How Transfer, 11th edition
Brussels 27th of September to 1st of October 2015
The EU Know-How Transfer event is an amazing opportunity for those wishing to learn about the functioning of the top institutions in Europe. This could not have come at a better time given that here in the UK, we will be expected to vote whether to stay or leave the EU in 2017! Therefore, I registered for the event in the belief that few days in Brussels will be a time well spent if I am to make the right choice in the next two years. Also as a JCI member, It felt like a duty to be well informed on a topic that affects and will affect our grass root communities in London and the rest of the UK.
At the European Commission
We all gathered in Brussels, the heart of Europe, to learn about the mechanics of the EU and how this can truly benefit JCI as a local and national organisation. A unique experience across the world given the fact that we were surrounded by EU experts and we were working hand in hand with members of the European Parliament (MEPs). It was amazing to realise that the EU is one of the largest markets in the world with more than 500 million people and 28 countries since Croatia joined in 2014. The EU was created after the second world war mainly to act as a vector of peace and prosperity for European citizens and to avoid any potential clashes in the long term. The EU is the major economic power surpassing China, India and the US. The European Council has three main institutions: European Parliament, Council of Ministers and European Commission.
We learned that MEPs are elected for 5 years, having been elected in 2014 means that the next election process will take place in 2019. Each MEP has between one and four assistants who manage a workload of 500 emails on average and 60 to 80 calls per day. The advice given to those attending the event was as follows:
– Find which party your MEP is affiliated with
– Make sure that you remember your MEP office details/number as there are more than 8,000 employees in the EU headquarters.
– Know the names of other parties in the EU parliament
– Make sure your remember that the Christian Democrats (EPP) is the most popular party
JCI London delegates with EVP Steven Wilson
The general guidelines given during day one were to be concise when talking to the MEP. The general practice is to present one sheet of paper to the MEP regarding an issue of interest. Make sure you make up your mind, know what you want to say before talking to your MEP. Also remember that you are a JCI ambassador during the EUKHT event and therefore whatever good or bad you do will affect the organisation either way. It has been suggested to take pictures with your national delegation and to write an article about the visit and a picture with your MEP (which is what I did 🙂 They are as much interested as you to feel part of the community. Talk about your experience and spread the word around to what is one of the greatest JCI event in Europe. Also remember that what you hear from your MEP is confidential. Try to communicate as much as you can with your MEP assistant to whom you can even buy a symbolic gift.
There is a lot that happened in a five days event touring the EU institutions and which I wouldn’t be able to describe in word. An eye-opening experience is an understatement, a life change experience might sound a bit of an exaggeration for some but I can tell you for certain that you will leave Brussels with lot of knowledge, at least a dozen friend and some lifetime memories!
For more information about the JCI European Know-How Transfer, please visit:
EUKHT dinner in a chic restaurant in St Catherine, Central Brussels
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Rafael Tselikas