Omnes viae Romam ducunt says the ancient Roman proverb. In my case, it should be Omnes viae Broucsela ducunt.
Looking back to my past it seems it was all planned. My BA thesis was entitled “The Belgian federal system: the implications of European political engineering”, my Erasmus was in Antwerp (where I got a good grasp of Flemish) and after a year in Maastricht studying European policy making it seems that my destiny was already written for me to move to the Eurobubble.
I remember my first class of European economic integration, over 6 years ago. I had blurry pictures in my mind of these “European institutions” as something very far, very distant from my daily life as a student in a small city in North of Italy. I could imagine these venues where European leaders gather to discuss the fate of the Union and of the 500 million people living in it. Now, I pass by the Council almost every day to go training with my rugby mates from The Brussels Barbarians, a couple of days ago I was at the Committe of the Regions for EuroPCom and every now and then I sneak out for lunch in the Commission where my girlfriend works.
Although the focus of my academic background was on politics, international relations and conflicts, I’m very grateful to Bruegel, to the scholars and the RAs for teaching me so much about economic policy making. I still keep a keen interest on political analysis by contributing to the online platforms of Lo Spazio dello Politica, AgoraVox and most recently Cafébabel for which I will be covering the big rugby game Saracens vs Racing Metro tomorrow at the Roi Baudoin stadium.
The thing that Brussels taught me the most is that the EU is actually close to the citizens. The regulations, directives, agreements and even sanctions that are issued on a daily basis affect all our lives in different aspects. Even though the food and the weather in Belgium make me miss my lovely Emilia-Romagna, the idea of living at the heart of European integration makes up for the climatic and culinary downside.