IAPSS Brussels Study trip “The EU under threat?”

Five weeks (and a bit) ago I decided that I’d do something I wouldn’t normally do. I applied to go on a study trip to Brussels with the IAPSS. Throughout the whole process, I had in my head that it wouldn’t be offered to me. However, it was worth a shot anyway, to gain experience applying for programmes and jobs. So, I submitted my application before the deadline on January 30th.

The form required a few personal details. As well as my academic background, and why I would like to go on the study trip. I explained my eagerness to learn about EU institutions and the threats the EU faces from multiple angles. As well as including my interest in environmental/climate policy and the dangers a state leaving the EU would have on the potential for cooperation at National/European/International level. My Economics project that I worked on in my last module was submitted for their viewing..

Along came the 6th February and the email I totally wasn’t expecting.

Study trip acceptance email
Study trip acceptance email

I got on the programme! The European Union is of deep interest to me.

The IAPSS itself is a great international network for students of political science and international relations. It’s student led and works with key institutions. I can’t believe I missed out on being a member of this network for so long, then finding out about it just as I’m finishing my degree.

The range of talks next week take place in the European Commission, Council and the Parliament (if I’m on TV, I’ll give a wave).

I have an idea of a few issues that I’d like to get more clarification on as I participate.

A couple of questions, I’ve had pointed to me by others:

    1.) Is there a democratic deficit in the EU or is it a scare tactic touted by those who don’t know the difference between direct and indirect democracy?
    2.) Is there a potential for member states not to stick to free movement of people over the refugee crisis (although I think it’s a more schengen issue)

If anyone can think of more questions they would like me to answer or clarify please comment below or navigate to the contact area.

Apart from waiting with much anticipation for this study trip. I’ve been busy writing TMA 4 towards my module (DD313 – International Relations). Concerned with governance in the international system and whether it is a bottom-up or top-down process in a chose case study. I chose to specialise in international environment and climate governance, specifically the EU emissions trading scheme (yes, again! πŸ˜‰ ).

In conclusion, Through analysis it was shown that there is more prospect of bottom-up governance in the international system in liberal societies then in illiberal societies. As the 28 states in the EU are liberal (more or less) they all allow for bottom-up governance in regards to ETS governance. However, using states like Belarus as an example itself a signatory to the Kyoto protocol, would allow for less or no bottom-up governance in the name of networks. Belarus is a dictatorship and is more absolute in terms of international legal sovereignty and is more centrally controlled meaning governance is generally top-down.

I tried to (shorten) summarise my essay in 4 lines, in a readable format. Didn’t really think that was possible.

Below you’ll find some images I’ve taken over the past month. As I’ve been so incredibly busy and broke, I’ve not been able to go anywhere. Oh and don’t judge regarding the wine, every student needs a vice to pull through right? πŸ˜›

Images from the past month

Right now, I’m listening to Light It Up (feat. Nyla & Fuse ODG) – Remix on Spotify.
Have a peaceful end of the week readers.

I’ll try and blog post before I leave for Brussels on Tuesday.
If I don’t, you can follow my progress on Twitter (displayed on the top right) –>

What I’ve been up to..

Studying French to C2 level.
Studying French to C2 level.

I’ve enrolled onto my French course for the summer. The aim is to learn French right up to C2 (Fluency). I’m excited, and start on the 8th June. So, next week! I’ll also be in Brussels in two weeks, so, a lot to look forward to.

Today, I also officially completed my project for DD309 with the Open University. I will be driving up to Milton Keynes to hand it in on Tuesday morning (tomorrow). It’s all been printed and bound, after a lot of blood, sweat and tears.. well not entirely true but almost! πŸ˜‰

I’ve enjoyed this module immensely my tutor has been great. Assisting me through Skype/Email and face to face at our session at the London School of Economics. The project involved huge amounts of research regarding Environmental Economics and Carbon Trading. I’ll never look at the European Emissions trading scheme in the same light again.

On the way, I learnt so many things about how the EU operates. From using their direct line service (for help on EU matters) and Email. All of which delivered exactly what I needed. I feel that like most things regarding governance most of the information and is there if you ask for it.

I’ve also become more aware of how deeply important the environment is to us as a public good. Not just due to climate change, but the air we breathe, the views we enjoy. The things we can’t make excludable and struggle to protect. In conclusion, I found the EU ETS did assist with reducing emissions but only by a marginal amount and it maybe a little too early to say we collected any meaningful data. As the ETS has only been running 10 years. Environmental policies tend to take many years and not show improvements in short or even the medium-run. Many weaknesses within the EU carbon trading system can be solved by EU policymakers (which I will reveal in another blog post when I have my results back πŸ˜‰ ).

It’s been incredible this module and I want to thank friends (some who are no longer with me), close family for the support. It’s been tricky at times to self-motivate myself. Many times I’d have a beer and watch question time doing little else. My degree is not over but it’s been an amazing journey so far and I feel everyone in my life is part of it. I’m so lucky to have you all. So, thank you!

My Pictures of the Month are below

Few notes: EMA stands for end of module assignment it’s basically my project for my Economics module. The intimate relations thing is an economic valuation I guess! How much time we spend and the net effect of those things, Got a few vanity shots… I don’t often go vain but I thought I’d go against the grain a little. And protect the NHS, our human rights might be disappearing but can we at least protect that? Too bad the tories got in.

My blog may be down at various points over the next month. It really needs an overhaul a nice new theme, it needs to be mobile/tablet friendly (hint, hint can anyone help in any way? πŸ™‚ ).

Also, I’m taking action to address why the blog is slow loading. The database has pretty big over the years. I know the comment feature is not working properly for all readers. I’m trying to fix that too.

Whilst reading I was listening to:

Danke, Merci, Thank you

University, What? Again? Haha

In contrast to my post here (and after several months of thought) I believe it was the university that just wasn’t the correct one for me. I’m planning for entry in 2011. This time I will be living at home I think. To keep costs down. I’m still going to continue with my engineering path.

There’s a lot I got to do and work out myself. A lot of things to do still. Anyone returned to university? Anyone at university and think it’s right to return or wrong to? Please comment if you can give some advice. Will be keeping you all updated πŸ™‚

Life since February

Another long time since I last posted here but here is another post to keep the very few who read entertained πŸ™‚

A lot has changed since February I guess. I’ve finished college and am ready (well nearly) for University. I’ve seen what Oxford Brookes is like and I love it. I really am looking forward to it. It’s been a very different month. I’ve got even more tired of working in a pub and I am thinking about leaving earlier then intended. Some people really irritate me at work and the whole job just isn’t me.

I’ve got fed up of girls too. Having been led on and played around in the months in between. Then they wonder why they get mucked around! However I definitely will not be joining the gay club at any point in my life πŸ˜›

More about University!! I actually didn’t know what Oxford Brookes and the surrounding area was like until I visited about 2 weeks ago!! I already had it down as my firm choice. However I was confident I would like the place. I wasn’t wrong. Overall the place had a better feel then Hertfordshire University. There are only a few universities that I considered. They were all highly regarded in the Motorsport world which is what I hope to make my profession. After visiting Oxford Brookes and in comparison to Hertfordshire I found Brookes the most suitable. Here are some piccies of the tour!

Headington Halls
Headington Campus. I will be staying in wheatley halls which are about 30mins away from Headington and a bit older. With no en-suite, but catered halls.

Headington Campus
Headington Campus again.

Williams F1 Car
Williams F1 Racing car from 2001 in the workshop. Williams are based close to the university in Grove, Oxfordshire. Oxford Brookes is in the heart of “Motorsport Valley”!

Trains at Oxford Station
Train at Oxford Station.

Another Train at Oxford
What it says! Oxford πŸ™‚

Oxford Brookes Formula Student Car
The Oxford Brookes Formula Student Car.

Students working on the Formula Student Car
Students working on the Formula Student Car.

It was a cool day out. Seeing where I would spend my next few years. It’s good to know they have a Costa coffee on campus too πŸ™‚

Web wise Ferrari fans is doing well with the new design. We have some new staff aboard and have been steadily improving..

I’ve got months off now.. So I will be here to update this often from now on.

Happy holidays!