Working under MEP Peter Stastny at the European Parliament, his office mainly focuses on International Trade; specifically, my work thus far has consisted of economic partnership agreements (EPA) with ACP (African, Caribbean, and Pacific) countries and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations. The constraints of the organization can be divided into two general categories: the parliamentary level and the MEP level. The latter level is a small office with four people trying to do everything which can lead to mild chaos at times; there are numerous conferences and events to keep track of and to ensure that the MEP must be prepared for that it is easy to get confused if one is disorganized.
On the European Parliament level, the main struggle is trying to convince everyone that the MEP’s views are valid enough that the majority will vote according to those views. Mr. Stastny is a member of the Christian Democrats and so far has been in agreement with the majority of the Parliament on the matters of international trade. These past two weeks I have been working on speeches for the ACP conference that Mr. Stastny will be attending and during my research I found with the EPA that it is particularly difficult for this policy to be implemented due to the instability in certain ACP countries that Mr. Stastny focuses on: Mali, Central African Republic, and Guinea. The EPA proposes that it will aid in development for these countries by opening the European market up to them but without domestic security in place the EPA will not work for these countries at the moment; the security issues are definitely a constraint on allowing this policy to see fruition. In this case, it is up to the Parliament and the Commission to decide if they are to involve themselves in the security matters of these countries. More discussions are occurring this week about security in these countries and hopefully I will be to see how this will impact future negotiations for an EPA in ACP countries.
There is an addition level to policy making in the European Parliament which is the state level but so far that has not had much of an impact in my office. However, after hearing a few speeches at different meetings I see that the state has an important role in policy making just as the institutions that make up the European Union.