I have worked with Estonian environmental organisations on a range of issues, including oil shale, woody biomass and fossil gas, to promote sustainable energy policies. Even though most emphasis has been on the national level, collaborating with the various EU institutions has not been uncommon. However, despite some experience, insufficient understanding of the broader context and EU processes has inhibited the effectiveness of the EU-level engagement.
Participating in the April-May 2021 online edition of the EUAcademy, themed “Bursting the Brussels bubble - Advocating for the public good: a Member State perspective”, made me much more aware of how I can strategically engage at the national level to contribute to more just policies across the EU.
The training addressed the shortcomings I experienced in my prior work and provided excellent insight into the dynamics of the three central EU institutions. I was fascinated to learn where national organisations can come in most effectively to push for changes during legislative processes. The discussions with EU insiders and teamwork to design an influencing strategy during a simulation based on a real-life case also greatly contributed to the learning experience.
The four intense days of the EUAcademy were interactive, full of well-thought-through content and format. The training brought together experts from Europe and beyond, all sharing the urge to protect the public good.
Within a week after the training, I had put into practice what I had learned already twice as I engaged with the Council and European Parliament on two different files. It was clear to me where the files were on the legislative tube map and what to focus on when interacting with the co-legislators.
The EU Academy greatly enhanced my skills to influence EU decision-making and shape policies in favour of the public interest. It has inspired me to carry on making a difference, and I am confident I will be using the foundations learned here for years to come.