Our visit to the Robert Schuman building, home to the Secretariat of the Parliament and a brother to JMO as far as beauty and modernity are concerned, was highly educational, just like every other thing we do:
- The Commission represents the interests of the EU. The Council represents the interests of the Member States. The Parliament represents the citizens of the EU. Now we have no excuse to mix them up.
- The retro hemicycle from the 1970s we visited at Robert Schuman would only fit 16% of today’s MEPs.
- The MEPs have red weeks, pink weeks and blue weeks. Don’t we all?
- The DGT of the Parliament was originally in the Tower of Babel, but it was moved to Kirchberg after a very hard round of negotiation with God.
- Every institution in the EU needs clever lawyers: we got asked twice in a single day if there were any lawyers among us. No pressure, Bernadett, but I think they want you!
- The Parliament tends to seriously overuse some words: the competent authorities do nothing but implement measures in the framework of the third countries to, inter alia, improve synergies, create added value and a level playing field.
- Buildings full of translators tend to have mistranslated notices on their walls, such as ‘Fire exit – Not to block’.
- One thing we didn’t learn: why MEPs, Commissioners and legislators don’t write and make speeches in their mother tongue. The resulting texts in English are so poorly written that a special editing unit had to be created.
- Transcribing speeches made late at night at the Parliament involves patience, resilience, imagination and a considerable amount of swearing.
- Italians love applying for traineeships at the European institutions. Out of 2,352 applications for the April 2015 traineeship at the EP, 1,596 were from Italian candidates!! The same goes for our stage at the Commission: 4,651 out of 15,863 applications came from Italy.
A big thank you to all the EP trainees who welcomed us: come and visit us soon!