By Michal Siewniak
I’m sure that sometimes, we all experience something really special and it is difficult to find a
way to describe it. This is how all of us felt these days.
On Thursday, 30 January, 9 EU nationals had an opportunity to visit the European
Parliament and meet our local MEP, Barbara Gibson, who invited us to spend a day with
her. It was a symbolic trip, 36 hours before UK was leaving the EU, which gave us an
opportunity to emphasize that the voice of Britain in Europe and more importantly on this
occasion, the voice of EU nationals in Europe must continue to be heard. 9 of us in total
represented Italy, Germany (both founding members of the EU), Bosnia and Hercegovina
(inspiring member) and Poland who joined the EU 16 years ago. 10 hours and 8 minutes in
Brussels flew by.
Entering the Chamber of the EU Parliament was quite a moment. Seeing our MEP and our
host, Barbara Gibson, in action felt special. Moreover, having an opportunity to talk to her
about her experience of being an elected MEP was fantastic. During our lunch and coffee
break, we have asked so many questions on Barbara’s highs and lows as an MEP,
advantages and disadvantages of being a ‘European parliamentarian’. We also, thank to
Barbara, had an opportunity to meet some other MEP’s. I also felt that the Parliament itself is
actually very well run. It really was full on and it was no easy to take it all in! It really was a
‘political and intellectual rollercoaster’!
For me, one of the other highlights was the ‘internationalism’ of the European Parliament
and its very diverse workforce. It also felt to me that Parliament and its ethos is based
around collaboration and opportunity to see partnership working not as a weakness but as
an advantage. And yes, sometimes decisions take longer to take. Yes, sometimes the
process is slow and frustrating. It also might feel that democracy is inefficient but is there a
perfect political system?
I was also impressed with a cross which was displayed in the Parliament. This simple but
stunning cross is a reminder that the EU is a ‘peace project’. Each tiny stone comes from a
member state. The recent Holocaust Memorial Day is only a reminder of a tragic history of
But that’s it. After almost 50 years of the membership in the EU, Britain is leaving the block. I
am sad, emotional but I also must remain optimistic. Why? Not because I support Brexit
(quite the opposite!) but because I believe that God has a plan for us, UK and Europe and
for the humanity.
Is there anything we can do, individually and collectively, to continue of this ‘mysterious
journey with Him in our Midst’? Yes! As someone, who attended the trip, texted me today to
say that this journey encouraged and inspired her to be more active in her community. Let’s
all continue making a difference, building a better world (even if we strongly disagree) and
helping one another so that the world is simply a better place. I know that I am committed to
this project with all my heart and soul (and with all my weaknesses and limitations!)