Wednesday, June 12, 2013

U.S. Embassy in Brussels - June 10

In the morning we went to the U.S. Embassy in Brussels.  It was quite a bit different than the one we went to in Paris.  For one, it appeared to be in a random office building whereas the Paris embassy was grand in stature. Brussels is the only city in the world where the United States has more than one embassy.  In fact, they have three.  One is for the country of Belgium, one is for NATO, and one is for the European Union.  The facility that we went to focused on the U.S. Mission to the European Union.  

One other interesting graphic that they showed to us was the amount of exporting Belgium does compared to the United States.  For example, 13% of the U.S. GDP is because of exports.  In Belgium, it's 80%.  

Another particular item of note is the mutual power that the federal and regional (states) areas share.  In the United States, the federal government establishes the laws and regulations across the country and the states abide by those rules and creates their own sub-laws that may not be federal-wide.  In Belgium, the federal and regional powers equally share the law so there is a lot of conflict at times.  Due to this, the embassy deals with regional powers frequently.  

After the embassy visit, our professor took us out for lunch and gave us time to catch up on our studies.