Thoughts from an outside eye (by Emily)
*Last week the fantastic Emily Hobbs joined #TeamTG for a week of work experience. Here are her thoughts on the European Parliament, Brexit and more.
When I arrived in Brussels on Monday for a week’s work experience with my MEP Theresa Griffin I had no idea what to expect; in a foreign country and faced with a seemingly foreign political system. However, as soon as I met Theresa and her team I realised the European Parliament is a home away from home for all the nations it represents.
Naturally, Brexit was the issue at the forefront of my mind so I was thrilled to be able to attend the Socialists and Democrats meeting on the current state of play. It was fascinating to get some insight into the European perspective on what is such a controversial issue at home. Although it’s evident that Brexit is a problematic issue for both sides, it was really encouraging to see members from all delegations working together to carve out the best relationship going forward.
One of the most inspiring experiences was witnessing the time and effort MEPs devote to listening to the needs of the people they represent. Watching Theresa take the time out of her hectic schedule to actually step outside the parliament walls and meet with local firefighters really put her work on safety standards in building materials into perspective. Their concerns that the current toxicity levels of smoke could take seven years off their life expectancy impressed upon me the power of EU legislation (which might at times appear complex and disconnected) to effect real change in the lives of everyday people.
My week in Brussels has given me a truly unique insight into and appreciation of the invaluable work of MEPs. Watching Theresa work with her North West team, the rest of the European Socialists and Democrats, and often across party lines to achieve the best deal for both her constituents as well as people all over Europe has really opened my mind to a more “European” perspective. The work of the EU proves that the best way to tackle the concerns of Europeans – whether you’re a family faced with rising energy costs in Liverpool or struggling with disabled access in Prague – is through engaging in dialogue as a union.