Walking up and down endless stairways in search of your own office, confusing the cafeteria with the exit, having in-depth heart-to-hearts with IT help desk people… This feels like a new job! At the first station of my Mercator year, I’m going to get to know the ins and outs of European food policy with a traineeship at the DG (Directorate-General) Agriculture and Rural Development!
I am particularly excited about being in Brussels at such an interesting time… Tomorrow, for example, the European Parliament will examine the new Commissioner-designate for Agriculture, Phil Hogan from Ireland. As of November 1, the new Commission is supposed to start its job, and furthermore, this is the first year of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) coming into force, with many crucial questions still to be settled. Then, there is the plethora of interest groups that all coalesce in the heart of Europe – from the WWF to industry and other interest groups, this is the closest I have ever come to lobbying and to seeing how policy is really set, especially in such a complex international environment. It promises to be an exciting time, and I will be sure to report back from my forays into the world of food policy in Brussels, although much of my job will need to be kept under wraps for confidentiality reasons – but I’ll gladly take the chance of talking about the European ag policy agenda in much more depth and laying out how it all works in the future, so I hope you are on board!
And of course, the practical part of foodie Brussels won’t be left behind – this weekend, for example, I will be going on a couple of Slow Food Walks organized by Slow Food Brussels. Plus, I foresee quite some chocolate and frites in my future… Let the fun begin!