'Brussels School' on Institutions and Policies of the European Union 2020
The last edition of the traditional training initiative of the Representation of the European Region in Brussels for university students ended in February 2021, with the intervention of the European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni. Established 10 years ago and now renamed "Brussels School", this year's edition has achieved more than positive results. The training initiative, originally called 'Alpeuregio Summer School', was supposed to take place in Brussels during the summer for about ten days. However, the many uncertainties caused by the pandemic meant that an alternative way of carrying out the initiative had to be devised within a tight timeframe. Thanks to the collaboration between the Universities of Innsbruck, Bolzano and Trento and the Representation of the European Region of Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino in Brussels, the organising team succeeded in putting the School in place in just a few weeks and before the start of the 2020/21 winter semester. We are talking about an inclusive proposal, rich and articulated in themes, and completely virtual. Thus, the interdisciplinary course dedicated to "Leaders and Agenda-Setters in the European Union" was launched, for the benefit of university students from different educational backgrounds. More than 30 students from the European Region had the opportunity to get to know the central political processes at European level and various thematic areas, as well as to enter into direct contact with decision-makers from the most important EU institutions, but also with interest groups and the media.
In addition to European Commissioners Johannes Hahn and Paolo Gentiloni, the Common Representation also managed to attract other high-profile speakers. The weekly meeting allowed the participants to exchange views with various political personalities, including Members of the European Parliament Barbara Thaler and Herbert Dorfmann. In addition, they were able to learn more about particular aspects of the work 'behind the scenes' of the various sectors of the European Union. In addition to the many prominent representatives of the European Commission services, such as Director General for Agriculture and Rural Development Wolfgang Burtscher, Deputy Director General for the Environment Joanna Drake, Director for Land Transport Elisabeth Werner, or the Director for Smart and Sustainable Growth and Programme Implementation Nicola De Michelis, prominent lobbyists - Arianna Albanese, Manager at Johnson & Johnson and Luca Moretti, Director of CNR in Brussels - were also guests of the Alpeuregio Brussels School and were able to provide a different insight into the complex web of activities in Brussels.
To complete the look beyond institutional Brussels, the Chief Editors of RAI, Donato Bendicenti, and ORF, Peter Fritz, reported on the current challenges that are also significantly changing the work of the media. Similarly, the former Head of Cabinet of the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and current Head of the European Commission Representation in Austria, Martin Selmayr, provided interesting insights into the role of the European Union on the world stage and the complex decision-making mechanisms that affect the daily lives of all EU citizens. Finally, Christine Grau, Head of Division for Migration and Human Security of the European External Action Service, gave an insight into the issue of migration and Anne-Claire Gathoye, official of the European Commission's Personnel Office, provided information on professional access to the European institution.