Every month, the European Parliament packs up and moves everything from Brussels to Strasbourg in France. It's a controversial move that has received plenty of publicity. What is less talked about, however, is the 450-kilometre route between the two cities. Euronews' correspondent, Sandor Zsiros, cycled it to find out what people think of the European project. **This video diary is the first part of the trip, in Belgium and Luxembourg. **
The purpose of my trip, besides getting to know the region, was to leave behind the EU institutions for a while to be able to talk with ordinary people about Europe. During the five-day journey, I travelled to four countries and most of the people were happy to talk to me. I met a Belgian car mechanic, a pensioner in Luxembourg, a German anarchist and a French hairdresser.
The first stop of the first day was in Wavre, 30 kilometres from Brussels. I had a short visit at a car repair shop where they were working on an old Mercedes-Benz. The owner complained about difficulty with international billing and administration.
One day later I left Namur and got lost. Somewhere around Ciney, my navigation system took me into the woods. The day ended with a cold and a headache, so I took the train.
On the morning of the third day I enquired about life in the picturesque town of Rochefort.
“In Belgium, we are very afraid of Brexit. If we get back to customs, my friends who run small businesses will need a lot more manpower and money,” said a man.
On the fourth day of the trip, I arrived in Luxembourg. It is Europe's smallest sovereign country in terms of area and population. However, it is also the richest. An average household has a monthly income of more than €5,000. On Saturday morning I started at the food market of the capital, Luxembourg City.
"If you could give advice to EU bosses, what would it be?" I asked a man.
“I would recommend to try to avoid nationalism and populism, which is on the rise. We can see this in France in the case of Marine Le Pen, but even more so in Hungary with the government and politics of Viktor Orbán.”
Later, I bumped into a bike race at the city of Schengen, so I talked to one of the organisers.
“I think Europe is in serious trouble with the radical right, which has reappeared in many places. And they no longer want to go in the same direction everywhere, they do not insist on democracy and freedom everywhere. These things are in danger,” said the retired teacher.
The next part of the tour continues in Germany and France.