The Trip Itinerary: Monday 4 – Friday 8 February 2013
NUI Galway students of European Union Law participated in the Annual Irish Universities’ Field Trip to the European Institutions in February 2013, along with their EU Law tutor, Rosemary Keogan, and lecturers and students from University College Dublin and University College Cork. After arriving in Brussels, the group embarked on its five day trip, fitting in three cities and three European institutions. The trip included a visit to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, the European Parliament in Strasbourg and the European Commission in Brussels. Students attended a Grand Chamber court hearing on a cartel cases, before meeting the Irish judges at the Court, Judge Aindrias O’Caoimh and Judge Kevin O’Higgins, and Judge Kieran Bradley along with their référendaires and stagiaires, who hosted lunch in their honour; they met with several Irish MEPs for a question and answer sessions at the European Parliament and attended a debate in the chamber at the Parliament’s plenary session; and they met with several Commission officials in Brussels. The trip brought to life the functions and workings of each of the institutions and allowed students to meet people working at the heart of the European Union, and forge new friendships, as well as take in some sight and taste some local delicacies (Belgian frites!) and beverages (Belgian beer!). Hopefully, the trip will remain the highlight of their student experience for years to come and inspire them to launch careers in the European Union and beyond! Who knows, one day we may be visiting them in the Court of Justice, European Parliament or European Commission!
The trip is very generously sponsored by the European Parliament. The European Parliament and its 766 directly elected members represent the interests of the EU citizen in decision and law-making in the Union. In addition to its legislative powers and budgetary powers (both exercised with the Council of the European Union), the European Parliament exercises powers over the Commission: it elects the Commission president, appoints the College of Commissioners and it can pass a motion of censure over the College of Commissioners, forcing it out of office.
MEPs Jim Higgins (front left), Phil Prendergast (front centre) and Seán Kelly (front right) with 2012-2013 participants on the Annual Irish Universities’ Trip to the European Institutions