Each year around the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration of 9 May 1950, the EU institutions in Brussels open their doors and welcome the public to explore the European quarter in Brussels. This year over 6.000 international visitors made their way inside the glass buildings of the European District to have a closer look at the work that takes place in the heart of the European Union.
In the Council building visitors were invited to see the meeting rooms where the ministers and leaders of the 27 EU member states decide on EU legislation and policies. People could also walk the corridors of the building, which presently is decorated with a Danish furniture exhibition.
The Danish Presidency’s stand featured information on sustainable solutions, the Presidency programme and biking policies. Many visitors took the opportunity to have a chat about wind- and bio energy, bicycle paths or lack thereof in major European cities, the trio-Presidency between Poland, Denmark and Cyprus or when to visit the capital of Copenhagen.
Just before noon the President of the European Council, Mr Herman van Rompuy, joined the crowd in the buzzing foyer and after a brief talk about offshore wind farms, Mr. van Rompuy saddled up and went for a ride on the Presidency’s “smoothie-bike”. The energy generated by the bike resulted in a refreshing banana-orange smoothie, and the President said his cheers to Pierre Vimont, Secretary-General of the European External Action Service (EEAS). Then he continued his Open Day-walkthrough in the Justus Lipsius-building alongside the many other visitors, who could also take a look inside the Commission-building and the European Parliament.
The idea behind the Open Day-event in the European District is to show the public how the EU works. In general the transparency of EU decision-making process has gradually increased and today there are a great many opportunities to follow a piece of legislation from proposal to adoption. For example both the Council and the European Parliament broadcast their meetings and assemblies live on the internet and likewise the Commission’s daily press conference can be followed live online.
Click here to get an overview of the different opportunities to follow the legislative process in the EU.