It was 1979 when the European Parliament gathered in Brussels for the first time. Since then the EU Parliament - the legislative and supervisory authority of the EU member states - has become the symbol of reference and representation of all European citizens. Therefore, there is a reason why the Belgian capital has been also chosen as the central seat of Erasmus Student Network. This no-profit, student organization is based on the principle Students Helping Students and aims at promoting mobility throughout the EU States, preventing xenophobia and every form of discrimination and spreading feelings of aggregation, integration and respect, in accordance with its motto Unity in Diversity.

For this reason, Erasmus Student Network Italy decided to organize a trip to Brussels to bring the famous Erasmus Generation in a direct in contact with the nevralgic centre and throbbing heart of the European Union. The underlying purpose is to educate ESN Italy’s members on such themes, matters and issues that they discuss and live daily at the local level.

The association, whose media coverage increases every day thanks to partners and institutional and commercial stakeholders (just think about the partnership with the giant of low cost flights, Ryanair) gave to 34 of its members the possibility to live a unique experience. This had the objective of improving the network, which is active and present all around Europe and of making their voice audible in view of the renovation of Erasmus+ program which will be discussed exactly among the seats of of the European Parliament in 2019, with the hope it will be decided to invest more in the sector.

The event “ESN Italy goes to Brussels”, promoted by the national Directive of the association and supported by the International Board, with the contribution of two MEP - Brando Benifei and Fabio Massimo Castaldo - took place from the 23rd to the 25th of May. “We, ESN Italy’s Directive, are happy and proud for having realized this event which we greatly believed in. - claims Vittorio Gattari, President of the association - Our volunteers organise activities concerning the European Union and the Erasmus+ program everyday, but “taking a closer look” is a completely different thing. I truly thank the MEP, who made the trip illuminative under many aspects with their sustain and participation: being acquainted with the European institutions will allow us to better spread to Italy those citizenship values we believe in and we need and we think we played our role with this project.”

The dense program of ESN volunteers brought them into the heart of European institutions, into direct contact with their foundational values and their functioning. Among the many planned activities, the most outstanding are: visit to the European Parliament, meeting concerning the functioning of European institutions, visit to the Parlamentarium, meetings dedicated to European tenders and an ad-hoc meeting on the Erasmus+ program, conference on active citizenship during the Erasmus period made by the MEP Brando Benifei.

He said to be extremely happy to having received ESN Italy’s delegation at the European Parliament. “I thought it was fundamental - uttered the MEP - for the young ESN Italy’s volunteers to get «directly» acquainted with the protagonists of EU decisional processes and to deepen the analysis of employment mechanisms. This is why I wanted to organise and support the visit of their delegation to Brussels for two-days thematic confrontations and institutional meetings. I hope that the collaboration with ESN continues as profitable as it has started: we have to give value, and I’m especially saying this as the President of the Intergroup Youth Policy, to the example of «active citizenship» that ESN embodies and realizes”.