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'Elections are in the air here in Brussels, the energy is surreal'

German-American Mia Müller (26) has been working at the European Parliament for three years now as Press Officer at The Greens/EFA Group. She was still studying at Leiden University last year, where she completed a master's degree in Public Administration (International and European Governance). She is a bit nervous about her 'first' elections.

On 6 June, the time will come and the polling stations will be opened. Before that happens, Mia has a clear mission: to get as many people as possible to vote.

How will you make that happen?

'There are different ways to do that. It depends on the age group, social class, gender, interest, culture. What happens at EU level is important, we want to make people aware of that. We see a rise of the far-right across the continent, which affects in a negative way many of the rights and freedoms we have long fought for at EU level.'

So people should vote, but for The Greens?

'Not necessarily. In the European Parliament, we want people to use their vote and to base their vote on information, rather than fake news, disinformation or populist views. You shouldn't vote based just on emotion. Information matters, especially on important laws. I myself am not a member of any party, I work for The Greens/EFA Group, which involves green parties from across Europe, in addition to parties such as the Pirates and the European Free Alliance. I have the freedom to choose the party and person with whom I feel good at every election.'

What is an example of a project you have worked on?

'I have been working on an information platform for some time, which is used by Green EU parliamentary candidates across EU Member States. One initiative is a mythbuster. For example, the myth that The Greens want to ban balloons is very well known in Germany. Tabloids claimed that the Greens want to take a balloon away from your child, how terrible. Of course, that is not true. There are stories on far-right posters that are totally untrue, also about more serious topics like child pornography. We have to make people aware that there is a lot of disinformation out there.'

'Now here I am five years later at the heart of it all'

How do people in Brussels talk about The Netherlands after Wilders' win?

'With a mix of frustration and perhaps fear. Could it be a reflection of how the population feels? How can the tactics of the far-right be so effective? So we - on the rest of the political spectrum - need to think about new strategies and strengthening current ones. After all, voters are very convinced by people like Wilders, which means we are doing something wrong.'

Mia is part of the Brussels Bubble.

What is it like working in Brussels?

'It really is a bubble. It is a huge chess game with many interesting players and a lot of strategical moves, in every day work. My press work for the German-language media is great, as we highlight the most interesting and important elements of each law and make it tangible and accessible for the public. Seeing quotes I've helped to write, printed in the newspapers, is a very cool feeling.'

How are you going into the elections?

'With a lot of curiosity. It is my first time experiencing the EU elections while also working here in the Brussels Bubble. Last time, 2019, I filled out the voter ballot at the University of Amsterdam in the library. Now here I am five years later at the heart of it all. It's surreal to see all the energy here. Elections are in the air, everyone is full of excitement. I'm a bit nervous, but if we don't choose optimism, we will lose motivation.'

In the run-up to the European elections, we interview alumni of the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs working in Brussels. How are they experiencing this period?

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