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Personal insights: Lena Wagner

Because of my great interest in European politics and the desire to gain a deeper, more direct insight into it, I decided to apply for an internship in the European Parliament and I was therefore very happy about the acceptance from the office of Dr. Ehler. When I arrived in Brussels, I still had no clear idea of what to expect in the next three months.

The parliament itself is impressive due to its size, the various parts of the building and facilities that make it appear like a “city within the city” and many people who work here every day. It’s amazing how quickly you get used to walking in and out, day in and day out. But this happened all by itself because I was received in a very friendly and warm manner and was involved in the workflow from the very first week in the office with the great view from the 15th floor, which is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in Parliament.

In the following weeks, I was entrusted with a variety of tasks. I researched a wide variety of topics, created briefings and prepared appointments, attended committees´ and political groups´ meetings and other events inside and outside the Parliament. Thanks to Dr. Ehlers remarkably diversified and interesting work areas, the daily work in the office includes an equally broad spectrum of topics and questions, ranging from research and innovation policy and energy policy to the cultural and creative industries and digitization to security and defense policy.

Besides, my internship could hardly have taken place in a more exciting period: The final trialogues for the Horizon Europe (research framework program) took place in these three months as well as the final phase of the debate and the vote on copyright reform as well as explosive developments in the context of the Brexit negotiations. The work in parliament also brought interns into direct contact with these topics and events as well as directly with citizens who were interested in Dr. Ehler’s work. During my internship, I was able to experience very intense weeks with a full schedule, in which Dr. Ehler kept numerous, tightly timed appointments and obligations every day, and everyone in the office had a lot to do with it.

It was of course particularly interesting to see Dr. Ehler being “in action” not only with great professional competence but also with clear words, such as at conferences as part of the “Creative Week”, where we were also enabled to contribute. In addition, we had an opportunity in the “Voxbox” for an interview with Dr. Ehler on issues related to Brexit. Another highlight for me was my internship day, on which I spoke to Dr. Ehler on all his appointments, even to a meeting with Commissioner Mariya Gabriel in the Berlaymont building, and was allowed to attend very interesting, diverse conversations.

The day-to-day work as an intern in the Dr. Ehler office was greatly varied due to the abundance of topics and appointments. The whole team in the office mastered constructively and confidently every situation and every problem that araised, contributed through humor and openness to a very positive atmosphere and enjoyment at work. It was a special experience for me, as a little gear, so to speak, in the clockwork of Parliament on the work of Dr. Ehler and the European Parliament in a broader sense.

During the internship, I was able to learn a lot from the numerous different tasks and challenges, about individual more specific topics, but above all about the processes of the Parliament´s political work. Being able to get to know the functioning and processes of Parliament and the EU as a whole in such a direct and active way, I gained a new perspective on European politics and a better idea of what the individual MEPs and committees actually move forward, what is my understanding for the importance of their work and the weight of the European Parliament.

These insights have reinforced my belief and my enthusiasm for the European idea and made me aware of the importance of promoting the European project and the trust in it. And that it is very desirable to generate a broader understanding among the population of what the EU is doing for each individual and Europe as a whole.

In any case, my interest in what is happening in the EU and its institutions has been increased. I am grateful that I have already completed the internship in this phase of my life, broadening my horizons and opening new perspectives. My big thanks therefore goes to Dr. Ehler for making this unique experience possible for me, and especially to all of the employees for making my internship as an instructive, exciting and formative time that I will remember very positively.

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