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Aug 10, 2023

EUVP - A Journey to the Heart of European Union

pictureIn June 2023, I was given a valuable opportunity to participate in the European Union Visitors Programme - EUVP. For a week, I was immersed in a generous, well-designed learning experience in Brussels and Paris where I learned about the EU history, institutions, and policies that pertain to my professional interest, namely to promote forest protection and community rights within the framework of sustainable development and addressing climate change.

A deep-dive into relevant EU policies

The EUVP did not only provide me with a deeper understanding of how the main EU bodies work - which is quite complex and can be hard to gauge sometimes - but also of influential EU policies that have a worldwide impact on people, the environment, and trade with developing countries such as the EU Deforestation Regulation, EU Critical Raw Minerals Act, and EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive Proposal.

Thanks to my dedicated Programme Organizer, my trip included invaluable meetings with prominent people driving the policies, including the Commissioners’ cabinet members. What was truly a luxury for me was the opportunity to have a frank discussion with these policy actors, where I could also present my viewpoints.

A glimpse into EU law-making process

In addition to learning about specific policies, I also learned about the EU law-making process itself. A very interesting introduction to the EU institutions, a guided trip to the European Parliament, and a visit to the House of European History really helped my comprehension. I was especially struck by the transparency of the law-making process in the EU where public participation was encouraged and even sought for, although issue complexity is sometimes a real challenge.

The European Parliament premises itself were open and accessible - not to mention beautiful. I enjoyed the opportunity to attend the pre-session briefing of the plenary session and was impressed by the level of details imparted to the public. I was also inspired by how differing opinions, positions, and interests are welcomed in the legislative debate. Such transparency and respect for dissent, in my opinion, is a marker of a truly democratic society.

Apart from the fruitful week in Brussels, I was also granted the chance to visit the Jean Monnet house in Bazoches-sur-Guyonne, France. Apart from the beautiful landscape, the visit imbibed me with knowledge of Jean Monnet’s life, a preeminent figure that was the unifying force behind the EU. The unwavering determination of the man to bring peace in Europe is inspiring, as well as the principle of unity in diversity itself, which my country - Indonesia - also stands for.

Last but not least, the Programme allows me to connect with wonderful fellow EUVP participants from Bhutan, Brazil, Lebanon, and Moldova, coming from various government sectors as well as non-governmental organizations. I learned as much from them as from the Programme interlocutors. The balance and diversity of the participants is also excellent.

While reflecting upon my trip, I am again reminded of the importance of democratic values and meaningful public participation in the strive to make our world more just and sustainable. I am also reminded of how important people-to-people connections are in diplomacy. I therefore hope that the EUVP will broaden its Programme to include exchanges with the EU civil society. Finally, I hope that the EU will continue to be steadfast in realizing its aims, not only the sustainable development of the Earth, but also eradication of poverty, the protection of human rights, and mutual respect among peoples.

Anggalia Putri PERMATASARI
Yayasan Madani Berkelanjutan
Jakarta, Indonesia