Membership benefits


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21 -23 June, 2010

Several Pandora’s boxes were opened up to members of the CIoJ who went on an information visit to Brussels in mid-June. Members went on a three-day visit to NATO, SHAPE and some of the European Union institutions. They had useful meetings with senior officials and informed specialists at each institution visited.

The visit concentrated on the defence of Europe and on how the different institutions co-operate to ensure Europe’s security.

Organised by CIoJ Brussels representative John Szemerey, the visit was made possible by specially low prices offered by Eurostar and by the Adagio aparthotel in central Brussels, and by the generosity of the European Parliament and NATO which gave grants to members of the visiting group to help them with costs.

At or after the visit most of the institutions to which the group went offered to put CIoJ members on their mailing lists relating to different policy areas so they could follow developments in the EU and at NATO and SHAPE in fields that interested them and on which they normally write or report.

The CIoJ visit included a whole day at NATO, meeting senior officials and also having a discussion session with a panel of three top members of the UK mission to NATO. This was followed by a half day visit to SHAPE at Mons, in South Belgium. SHAPE is the military organisation that in fact executes most NATO decisions.

In the EU institutions the visiting group had meetings with spokesmen for the new President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, and of the new EU Foreign Minister, Catherine Ashton, officially known as the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The visit finished with half a day at the European Parliament thanks to Sarah Ludford MEP, who officially sponsored the CIoJ’s visit and to our affiliate member, Mary Honeyball, MEP, who helped arrange a session with representatives of five of the EP’s political groups.

“Three days in Brussels is too short to see and hear everything,” says the outgoing chairman of the CIoJ’s international division, John Szemerey, “but it showed us some key changes in the EU, following the Lisbon Treaty. And we saw how NATO and SHAPE have altered their policies and activities following the end of the Cold War to continue protecting Europe from external attacks, either by force or via the Internet.”

Outline Programme – NATO, SHAPE and the European Parliament

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Sunday, 20th June

London St. Pancras International Station 14.34 Eurostar train to Brussels

Arrive 17.33 at Brussels Midi

Take Metro to De Brouckere,

Go to adjacent Aparthotel Adagio, Boulevard Anspach 20

Evening free

Monday, 21st June

08.00 Bus leaves hotel; go to NATO headquarters

08.45 Arrive NATO security/passport control

9.15 – 12.30 Briefings and discussion by and with representatives of NATO international staff

12.30-14.00 Lunch at NATO restaurant

14.00-17.30 Briefings (and discussion) by representatives of NATO international staff and of UK Delegation to NATO

17.45 Depart by bus for hotel.

Evening free

Tuesday, 22nd June

a.m. Meetings with EU Council of Ministers.

These meetings will need to be confirmed nearer the date.

13.30 Lunch at self-service restaurant of European Parliament (at members’ own cost)

15.00 Briefing on current tasks and activities of the European Parliament.

15.45-16.30 Briefing by Lady Sarah Ludford MEP, the group’s sponsor and host at the European Parliament

17.00 Meeting with MEPs from different political groups

18.00 Return to hotel

Evening free

Wednesday, 23rd June

08.00 Bus leaves hotel; go to SHAPE headquarters in Mons

09.00 Arrive SHAPE; security/passport control

09.30-12.30 Briefings at SHAPE

12.30-14.15 Lunch in self-service restaurant (at members own cost)

14.30 Bus leaves SHAPE, takes group to Brussels Midi Station

17.59 Eurostar train leaves Brussels Midi for London

19.03 Arrive St. Pancras International Station, London

Members’ visit to NATO, SHAPE and the European Parliament in June

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A lively, informative visit has been prepared for CIoJ members to Brussels, for meetings at NATO, SHAPE, the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers.

Members will spend three days in Brussels, going over on Sunday, 20th June for an early morning departure to NATO the following morning. After NATO the group will have meetings at the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, followed by a half day at SHAPE’s headquarters in Mons on Wednesday, 23rd June. From there members will be taken straight to Brussels’ Midi Station where they will catch the Eurostar back to London.

Costs have been kept down to a minimum, and they will fall even lower if there are 20 persons in the group, as the European Parliament has offered a grant of about €135 (£116.50) per head if the group consists of at least 20.

Members will stay in a very new aparthotel in the very centre of Brussels. It is the Adagio, Brussels Centre Monnaie, on the Boulevard Anspach – just next door to the metro line that takes one straight to the European institutions. It is also only a few steps to the famous Grand’ Place and the excellent restaurants in the Rue des Bouchers. Further, it is right next door to the Brussels casino to which entrance is free, and where one can get modestly-priced meals and drinks. The Adagio, which is on the site of a former department store, opened on 1st December, 2009.

The programme will include a whole day visit to NATO, to hear about NATO’s tasks and activities in post Cold War Europe, and half a day at SHAPE.(Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe), the military wing of NATO. Last but not least there will be a half day visit to the European Parliament to hear about the parliament’s increased responsibilities and activities following the coming into effect of the Lisbon Treaty, and to meet members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from different political groups.