A very important part of the program was a training session at the College of Europe, dedicated to EU Fact Finding / Fact Checking. Alexander Izotov, Head of the EU-i center in St. Petersburg, said about his expectations from the training: “I am very much looking forward to the EU Fact Checking & EU Fact Finding training at the College of Europe - I had already participated in a similar educational program several years ago, but I’m very happy refresh my knowledge. How to search and verify information about the European Union is a very important and interesting topic.”
During several days the participants met in Brussels with representatives of the European External Action Service, European Parliament and Brussels based think tanks. Anastasia Turkina from Kaliningrad described her expectations from meetings and discussions as follows: “As a result of the trip, I want to have a better idea of the EU’s activities, make new and useful contacts, first of all, to better do my job and improve the center’s work - for students and teachers. I hope the trip will lead to new collaborations, such as study tours and academic visits.”
One of the main topics of discussions in the European External Action Service was the maintenance and development of people-to-people contacts. As one of the participants emphasized: “We all believe that people-to-people contacts are very important, and even if they don’t immediately spill into the hard politics sphere – we should keep doing what we do.” This topic was also discussed at the round table at CEPS, a leading think tank and forum for debate on EU affairs. The experts discussed the problems and prospects for the development of relations between the EU and Russia.
The discussion about the Erasmus + and Jean Monnet programs was extremely useful. Elena Parubochaya from Volgograd noted: “It was an amazing chance – to get to meet the people who work with the acceptance criteria, to ask them questions, and understand the future of the programmes."