EUVP - A hand-in-hand experience
In November 2022, I had the incredible opportunity to participate in the EUVP on a timely occasion. Brazil, my home country, had just had national elections, and the result represented a major ideological shift. As Brazil is, in itself, a strategic partner of the EU, and with the other Mercosur countries, a potential free trade agreement party, expectations around the ballot were overspread across the EU. It made my interactions with European officials very interactive as we combined my questions about the EU structure with their questions on the new Brazilian foreign policy.
I chose to tell this story because it symbolizes what the EUVP is about: exchange. It allows non-EU nationals to look from the inside at how the EU has managed to unite countries with very different backgrounds and still find commonalities. It also allows us to share perspectives on how we see the EU from the outside and in which areas we could stimulate further cooperation. I went to Brussels expecting to hear and learn, and I came home feeling that I was equally heard and that my voice was valued. EUVP gave me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to speak at the European Parliament and the European Council about my country, the EU-Mercosur Agreement, and international agendas such as climate change and deforestation.
I would like to conclude this brief statement by reinforcing how the EUVP team is essential in making us feel at home. Their charisma, professionalism, and openness are the primary example of how the EU is made of people, and how people make the EU.
Professor at the Institute of International Relations and Defense Federal University of Rio de Janeiro