On 25 April 2017 a group of 20 professors and students from Loyola University Andalucía, a Jesuit university in Spain visited JESC. The group was in Brussels to get a practical understanding of the European Union and the European institutions. As part of their programme, they met with JESC, where they were introduced to the work of the Jesuits in Brussels.
Fr. Martin Maier SJ, acting director of JESC, presented an overall picture of the various activities of the Society of Jesus in Brussels, including its work with refugees, forming networks, and pastoral and spiritual accompaniment, and work in education. He then explained the role of JESC and how it connects to other organisations. As a practical example of the work carried out by JESC, Emmanuelle Devuyst and Henry Longbottom SJ talked about the Conflict Minerals Regulation, a topic that JESC has followed closely as part of its Natural Resources advocacy.
Following this meeting, Afonso Espregueira, JESC’s newest team member, accompanied students to a meeting with Cristina Lobillo Borrero, Head of Cabinet of Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action & Energy. Ms. Lobillo Borrero spoke about the mission of the European Commission and the importance of the European Union nowadays, with a special emphasis on the work developed by the Commissioner Arias Cañete. She highlighted that energy policy and climate change cannot be separated and how the Commission is focused on promoting alternative sources of energy, which could also be a source of jobs and growth.
Afonso commented that the meeting at the Commission was very useful, because as part of its involvement with the ecology branch of the Global Ignatian Advocacy Network (GIAN), JESC will be closely monitoring developments at the COP 23 climate talks taking place in Bonn in November 2017.