From Brussels to Lubeck, Germany

Brussels was a whirlwind. We listened to presentations from Senior Policy Advisors to NATO on Monday — very interesting.

One of the things we’ve been hearing over and over is that the European Union has “enlargement fatigue” from growing to 27 member nations so rapidly. One nation can stymie legislation, and each takes rotating turns as head of the EU. Layer upon layer of bureaucracy and slow government. It’s brought great changes and consistency to the continent, but its expansion is a challenge.

I asked the NATO representative if he found the same to be true for NATO, which has now expanded to 26 countries (!). He said actually the opposite is true — the more countries the better. More countries means more funding for NATO and also expanded military security.

We also met with the head of Danish Industries, a lobbying group representing 11,000 Danish companies before various levels of government. Interestingly, she argued that immigration is absolutely essential for the future of Europe, due to the declining birthrate and aging population.

Four of us Fellows flew to Lubeck, Germany today where we’ll be until Monday. We flew from Brussels to Hamburg, then our host, Meggie, picked us up and drove us to Lubeck, an hour’s drive. The scenery en route was beautiful — rolling green hills with tall trees girding the road, with lots of farms and small villages.

Today, I’m visiting Lubeck’s state-of-the-art waste treatment facility. In addition to cleaning waste, they also create refuse-derived fuel, which is used to generate electricity.

Advertisements