This morning our group had an appointment with the European Parliament in Brussels. For this meeting though we were accompanied by a group of diplomats from the Caribbean Islands who had just arrived from Austria. The parliament is basically the democratic part of the EU that if I had to explain it to someone, I would compare it to the US House of Representatives except the parliament has 754 members. None of them sit with the other representatives from their country. They actually sit in the semicircle room according to political party.
While the tour of the parliament room was nice, I wish the European Council, the Parliament and the EU Commission would have more originality in their presentations. Each of them assumes that you know nothing about the EU or how the institutions work, so they start at square one every time. I'm sure that's good for those who haven't studied the EU, but I personally like the originality of the Eurojust presentation so far.
Today has been mostly cloudy and rainy at times, so I'm glad I packed my umbrella. The streets of stone are hard enough to manage without the added difficulty of trying to dodge puddles and trying to avoid slipping and falling on the sidewalk. Apparently the parade that happened on the 3rd of July was happening again this evening, so, in addition to walking on wet sidewalks we also had to reroute because of the barriers that had been set up while we were eating dinner. It was a long walk back to the hotel, but we finally made it.
Tomorrow we leave Brussels to head for an appointment with the Court of Auditors in Luxembourg. Then we head on to Strasbourg, France, another meeting place for EU institutions. Check out is at 7:30 am, so I should probably get some much needed sleep.