Universiteit Leiden

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Students learn about the EU from the inside out

Some fifty students started their study of Europe in Practice on 4 April. This minor includes lectures by professionals who work closely with the European Union.

Leiden students are used to studying the European Union at an academic level, for example in the Public Administration, Political Science or Law programmes. But how often do you talk to someone who actually works at the EU, and who knows the European Parliament, the European Commission or the Council of Europe from close by? In the Europe in Practice minor, bachelor's students have the opportunity to get to know some of these professionals.  

Speech writer for Van Rompuy

Luuk van Middelaar kicked the programme off on 4 April. Not only is he professor of the Foundations and Practice of the European Union and its Institutions at Leiden University, he was also for many years speech writer and adviser to Herman Van Rompuy, President of the Council of Europe. Van Middelaar talked about the working of the Council of Europe, a body made up of heads of government of the member states who come together to discuss the most pressing European matters. 

Decisive approach

These meetings are becoming increasingly important, Van Middelaar explained. 'The European Union has for a long time been a highly technocratic regulatory machine, but urgent questions are now demanding a more decisive approach: just think of the influx of migrants, for example, the eurocrisis and the war in Ukraine. The Council of Europe is a good place to shape this new "politics of events". ’

Ambassadors and officials

In the coming weeks, many more practitioners will talk about their experiences at and with the EU.  These include officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the former Netherlands ambassador in Turkey and a member of the Council of State. To pass the minor, students have to write a paper.

Want to take part next year?

Europe in Practice will be offered again in April and May 2019. The programme is  open for second- and third-year bachelor's students from all programmes. No prior knowledge is required, but enthusiasm and an interest in the EU are important criteria. More information is available in the prospectus, and you can apply now via this link.

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