The 5-day EUAP Summer EU Top-up Programme is organized by the European Union Academic Programme Hong Kong (EUAP) with the support of the European Union (EU) and the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Brussels (HKETO). The aim of the programme is to enhance students’ knowledge on the EU and on its role in different global issues.
13 students from 3 local universities (Hong Kong Baptist University, the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong) with a diverse academic background have joined the programme this year. Throughout the trip they were offered chances to visit the EU institutions, engage in discussion with EU/HK officials on various topics. This year the trip also features a visit to Bruges, a World Heritage Site of UNESCO.
Prior to the programme, a briefing session was held to provide basic information of the programme, an introduction on the European Union as well as travel tips.
Day 1 (26th June 2017) Visit to Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO)
An introduction session of the HKETO was given by Mr. Jeffrey Chim (Assistant Representative) on the functions of the HKETO in Brussels, responsible for its relation with the European Union and covering also with Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Turkey .
Day 2 (27th June 2017) Visit to the European External Action Service
On the second day, participants went to the European External Action Service (EEAS) which is the diplomatic body of the EU. EU officials from different divisions shared their works and insights to our participants. This year the programme included 5 briefing sessions.
The Function of the EEAS + discussion
By Mr. David TUNNEY, Information and Communication Officer, Strategic Communications Division
EU-China Human Rights Policy
By Ms Deren DERYA, Policy Officer China – China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and Mongolia Division
By Ms Tatiana LEVCEVA, International Policy Coordinator, Migration and Human Security Division
White Paper On the Future of Europe
By Mr Henning KLAUS, Head of Unit Institutional Affairs, Secretariat-General, European Commission
by Ms Zuzanna BIENIUK, Policy Officer China, Hong Kong and Macao – China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and Mongolia Division
Day 3 (28th June 2017) Visit to Bruges
The group travelled to Bruges for a day trip. The 2-hour tour was led by a professional guide by first giving off some geographical information of the city. Students were brought around the heritage city through streets and alleys to learn about the history of different spots and buildings and their special stories behind. They also get to know the challenges citizens of Bruges are facing nowadays with millions of tourists every year to visit this Flemish City.
Day 4 (29th June 2017) – Visit to the European Parliament (EP)
A briefing session and guided tour of the Parliament was held for students. The Information officer first explained the functions and composition of the EU parliament, for example how many seats each member state hold and the different political parties. He explained the legitimacy of the EU parliament, as the EU citizens’ voice in the European Union. Then he introduced the work of parliamentarians and the daily operation of the parliament itself.
After the briefing, students went on a tour inside the plenary chamber. The officer explained how the simultaneous interpreters work with one another during the meetings.
Day 5 (30 th June 2017) – Ceremony of the dressing of Manneken-Pis for 20th anniversary of HKSAR
Manneken-Pis, an early 17th century fountain statue and an iconic figure of the City of Brussels, was dressed in his Hong Kong costume as part of the celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). The participants of the summer progrramme were invited to join this special occasion which marked the friendship between Hong Kong and Brussels.