Authors of the blog were Gabriella, Adrienne Ey, Scott.
Day 4 marked our last day of structured learning in Germany, and the the early start was made more manageable with the promise of free time in the evening. Once again we caught the train to Wiesbaden to enjoy a lecture given by Professor von Kielmansegg on the European Union and its connection with domestic European laws. We discovered how different the Europaeische Union is from any other international or domestic legal systems, as it borrows principles from both federalist and international organisations to create a new national suprastructure. In our pre-departure sessions we had already learnt about how economic integration was a fundamental objective of the Europaeische Union, but Professor von Kielmansegg explained that the economic purpose gives the Union a broad power over other issues such as health, labour and social policy if they sufficiently relate to to the economic purpose. The lecture was useful as it focused on the underlying principles of the union, including the importance of Europe’s history in shaping the relationships between the member states and the German approach to the union. Many people focused on the political issues surrounding the future of the union when asking questions. The lunch provided by the EBS Law School was again a highlight; a variety of very German sandwiches, filled with different types of meat, vegetables, and salads.
Two trains, two buses, and a short walk later we attended a presentation from Joerg Benardy at the German Central Bank Museum on the banking system of the Euro zone and Germany. Our experience of good German hospitality continued as we we were inordinately excited to receive juice and mineral water to sustain us through the afternoon. Our lecturer, Joerg Bernady, taught us that the life of a European Central Banker is dedicated to the constant pursuit of price stability. Interestingly, only three countries currently meet the economic and transparency requirements for Euro membership, although the ability of the member states to decide the punishments for non-compliant members means that no consequences have been imposed. Some students took the opportunity to question the European approach to the global financial crisis in comparison to Australia and the possible disadvantages that low inflation can have for countries in the Eurozone. Following the lecture we were able to put our fruit juice sugar highs to good use by exploring the displays in the Museum.
After finishing at the banking museum in the late afternoon we caught the train back to Mannheim, looking forward to free time for the night. For most groups the evening began with dinner amongst the well-priced culinary delights that the student town had to offer. Turkish, Italian, Mexican and German were enjoyed by the various dining parties. One group enjoyed dinner at a restaurant in the local park on the edge of the Rhein before becoming lost on the way to their next haunt and only made it home thanks to being escorted by some friendly local students. Others ended their night on a quiet note in a nearby billiards club, while another group reportedly embraced the multiculturalism of the town and the tour by partaking in a sing-along with an American singer in an Irish pub.
Lecture of European law
Photo of the group at Das Geldmuseum