Wabash Blogs Visiting the European Union

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February 27, 2007

Exploring the functioning of European Union institutions in Brussels, Belgium and the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany

Professor Peter Mikek

The immersion trip to the EU is an integral part of the "twin" courses: Economics of the EU and Politics of the EU taught by Professors Dyson and Mikek. After intensive preparation focusing on economic structures and policies and on the political aspects of the EU, students are ready to start working on their research projects. They have focused their research idea, explored data sources and started to work on the literature review. Now they are ready to visit both centers of the EU during the spring break.

The purpose of the trip is to provide students with an opportunity to expand their knowledge of the functioning of the European Union institutional structure, monetary policy, and integration of new EU members. They will be working on a research paper focusing on a particular EU topic.Therefore this will be a way to look actively for information on their topic and interact with both EU decision makers and ordinary European citizens. This should allow them to gather information about the perceived future of the EU internally, and in the broader region and world from different perspectives.

The first part of the trip will include visits to both the political structures and institutional framework in Brussels, where we anticipate a visit to the European Commission (pictured here), meeting with English MEP Mr. Stephen Hughes and a program with the US mission to the EU. Additionally, we will meet with our alumni Mr. Mitchner that works as a lobbyist in Brussels.

The second part of the trip will focus on the monetary policy of the European Union, so we anticipate visiting the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany and the Money Museum at the German Bundesbank. We still hope to schedule a meeting with a senior research economist at the ECB. This should allow for comparison of both essential parts of policy making in the union.

We are extremely lucky to enjoy financial support by the Rogge Fund. The fund will cover almost all the cost of the trip for individual students (except individual expenses for food). Particular focus on the necessary adjustments, the level of success in integrating the new market economies into the union, and liberalization of economic and political life (labor market, capital markets, political life, etc.) without comparison in the history of Western civilization are very much in line with the philosophy of Benjamin Rogge.

THANKS to the Benjamin Rogge Fund for sponsoring this trip!!


Trip Itinerary

After leaving campus at 11:30 am Saturday, March 3rd and a long night of travel we arrive in Brussels, Belgium on Sunday. We will check into the Eurovillage Hotel and explore Brussels on our own that day. Professor Mikek suggests we visit the Grand Place and surrounding area.

Monday morning we visit the European Commission where we will listen to a presentation about how the European Union works. †Students will have the afternoon to explore the area. Some sites that are close by are Royal Palace and the Palace of Justice.

Tuesday morning is free to explore more of Brussels (check out the The Saint Michael and Saint Gudula Cathredral) before we meet Mr.Mitchner, a Wabash Alumni. †He will talk to us about his work in Brussels and we will visit†the US Mission to the European Union. Mr. Mitchner will join us for dinner where students will have a chance to engage Mr. Mitchner in informal conversation.

Wednesday we will visit with Mr. Stephen Hughes, a UK member of the European Parliament. After visiting with him we travel by train later in the day to Frankfurt, Germany.

In Frankfurt we will stay at the Steignberger Airport Hotel. Thursday starts early with a tour of the Money Museum of Deutsche Bundesbank. The afternoon will be free to discover Frankfurt on our own. Recommendations include the Zeil (commercial center of town) and Sachsenhausen.

Friday we continue to explore places like the Goethe House before we tour the European Central Bank and discover it's role and function.

Saturday we get up early and start our travels back to Crawfordsville. †We are due to arrive on campus between 6:30 and 7:30 pm Saturday March 10th.

Please follow along with us on our adventure!