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Back to School in Germany: Annette Orth visits the Gymnasium am Römerkastell

On 9 March 2009, Annette Orth, an EU official working at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in Brussels, visited the Gymnasium am Römerkastell, Heidenmauer, in Bad Kreuznach, Germany. The visit took place under the Back to School programme, as part of the Spring Day for Europe 2009 campaign.

Annette Orth and a group of students and their teacher

The visit was an opportunity to talk to students about cultural diversity, free movement of goods and citizens, and the common currency, as well as about the role of the European institutions and how the European decision-making process works in Brussels.

Annette also introduced the EESC, which is a consultative body that gives representatives of Europe's socio-occupational interest groups, and others, a formal platform to express their points of views on EU issues. Its opinions are forwarded to the larger institutions - the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament. It thus has a key role to play in the Union's decision-making process. In other words, the EESC connects Europe and organised civil society.

As a former student at the Gymnasium am Römerkastell, the guest was delighted to share how she has become an EU Official and which steps she has followed. Working with European colleagues from 27 countries in a second and even a third language is a rewarding experience.

Annette tells us that "in the context of the forthcoming European Parliament elections, I also wanted to encourage older students to go and vote and thus exercise their democratic right to make a choice for the future of Europe".

This is the third year in which school visits involving EU staff have taken place in Germany. The annual event, called "EU-Project days at German Schools", was initiated by Chancellor Angela Merkel during the German presidency in 2007.

This year about 140 schools in Germany are expected to welcome EU guests and invite them to answer students' questions focusing on similar subjects and events: the European elections, intercultural dialogue, the European Year of Creativity and Innovation and others. Some of these visits are supported by the European Commission representations in Germany.

Further information

Photo-reportage: Annette Orth visits the Gymnasium am Römerkastell

A related article about this visit, published by Allgemeine Zeitung (available in German)

EESC website

07/04/2009 by: Petru Dumitru