NICS Study Visit to Brussels

From the 19-22 February, a delegation of Northern Ireland Civil Servants from across the departments, travelled to Brussels for an intensive study visit learning about how Northern Ireland engages in Brussels. The Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels, supports the Northern Ireland Executive in Europe by building networks and using public diplomacy to engage with policy-making in Europe. That is especially important within the context of the evolving EU-UK relationship post Windsor Framework, which was a focus point for the delegation of the NICS study visit to Brussels.

This is the first study visit to Brussels since 2020 and the aim of the programme was to provide the group of civil servants from all departments with an insight into the working of the EU institutions, and how EU Member States and third countries work in this multi-lateral environment. Participants had an opportunity to hear from EU and non-EU countries about their roles and priorities here in Brussels.

The visitors received insight into the EU legislative process, the power balance between the institutions and interaction between the EU and its trading partners through a visit to the European Council and a tour of the European Parliament.

The civil servants participated in a networking lunch with key contacts from the Northern Ireland diaspora who work in immediately relevant positions in Brussels. They also organised their own bilateral meetings with contacts from their respective policy areas, which will enabled them to continue their engagement in Europe when back home.