Thursday, 3 October 2013

Visit to European Parliament

Today is our last day in Europe.  We spent the morning at the European Parliament.  

In any national parliament, there is typically one chamber that an MP sits in.  For example, an Australian Member of the House of Representatives sits in the one chamber in Canberra.  Or, a British MP sits in fhe House of Commons within the Palace of Westminster and in no second chamber anywhere else.  But with the European Parliament, although there is considered to be 'one parliament', there are actually two locations where there is a chamber in which the MEPs may sit.  One is here in Brussels and the other is at Strasbourg.  There is also Luxembourg, but no chamber there.  We learned to our disappointment that refurbishment is taking place of the chamber here, so we couldn't get to see it.  We were invited instead to visit the Parlamentarium, a museum to the European Parliament.

We toured the exhibits, and it was all very interesting.  You went through the history of the EU from its humble beginnings as the pooling of German and French coal and steel industries in the 50s to the sophisticated institution that it is today.  I like the EU.  I think it is a logical and practical answer to so many centuries of war and conflict.  They might have their disputes, and they might have some problems with the euro, but they'll work it all out in the end.

The European Parliament at Brussels

A billboard picture of the European Parliament
This display shows the three locations of the European Parliament: Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg.
A large interactive map of Europe lay on the floor.  This pic shows the top half of the Italian Peninsula to the right, Spain to the left, and the UK to the top left.
This pic shows Greece to the right.
Jean and I walked across Europe, retracing our footsteps of the last 15 weeks.  Jean looks to the Continent from Britain.
The euro

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