On Friday, 11th June 2021, the students from the Global Class Program, Department of International Relations at Binus University, had a virtual study visit to the Delegation of the European Union to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam. The students, led by The Deputy Head of Global Class Program, Dr. Paramitaningrum, were received by the EU ambassador to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam, H.E. Mr. Vincent Piket. This visit was also attended by Binus Global Director, Dr. Diah Wihardini, Global Class Manager, Ms. Greta Vidya Paramita, and all Global Class Staff.

In the opening speech, Ambassador Piket is welcomed with this virtual visit’ initiative. He also expressed his appreciation to BINUS University’s drive to educate internationally-minded Indonesian students which is essentially important for young people. Later, Dr. Diah Wihardini, Director of Binus Global explained how Global Class Program’s support in international activity to help student’s exposure and study visit is one of its programs that can help students in getting to know about the working life in an international organization and have a deeper understanding of institutional collaboration.

The opening session was followed by a photo session and Ambassador Piket began his lecture with the theme of “The EU-Indonesia Relations”. He started with the history of the EU-Indonesia relations as well as the economic cooperation with its bilateral partnership and agreement. Hence, he pointed out the year 2014, as a milestone of a comprehensive agreement with the EU-Indonesia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) came into force. Ambassador Piket also elaborated the EU’s priorities at the moment, such as the COVID pandemic green recovery, climate, and circular economy, digital Europe, and foreign policy. As the COVID pandemic hit, EU citizens had a serious GDP loss, which made the EU face debt with the ‘no traveling’ regulation. However, the EU still opens its borders to students and scholars because the parliaments know the impact for the academic or intellectual students to travel to Europe for education purposes, e-certificate vaccines are essential for traveling to the EU.

As the 4th largest trading partner in 2020, the EU contributes over 20.7 billion euros in 2020 and the EU is Indonesia’s top non-Asian investor with over 25.7 billion euros of FDI stocks. With the European ‘Green Deal’Policy, the EU is building back a better project implementation across borders. He also elaborated the EU’s investment for over 10 million euros for the ‘marine biodiversity in the coral triangle and coastal fisheries’ in North Maluku and North Sulawesi with the objectives to manage selected coastal fisheries and MPAs as well as enhancing capacity for marine ecosystem management throughout the Coral Triangle Initiative. Not to mention that the EU is also working with Indonesia through ASEAN to combat regional environmental issues through many programs. Piket also stated that the EU had provided support for a comprehensive and inclusive COVID-19 response in Indonesia by facilitating emergency response with over 1.1 million euros for supporting its economic recovery and household resilience in its ‘I am Safe Project’.

However, just like many countries suffer from the COVID-19 pandemic, he shared the struggle of the EU youth people to gain employment during the pandemic and, their well-being and mental health have also been detrimentally affected with high rates of depression, loneliness, tension, anxiety, even suicidal thoughts. In this lecture, BINUS’ participation in ERASMUS and International Credit Mobility, as well as Capacity Building in Higher Education (CBHE), and EU Support to Higher Education in ASEAN Region (SHARE) Program were also mentioned.

In the end, the virtual visit was closed by a question-and-answer session which led to discussions on some of Indonesia’s relationships with the EU, politically and economically. The students were very active in giving varieties of questions to the ambassador which was  an enlightening experience for all the participants. Overall, it was an informative virtual visit in learning the EU-Indonesia’s relations, specifically in the middle of the Pandemic COVID -19.