When asked it, I roll my eyes, scoff, and use all my favourite synonyms for the word 'disaster'. "Yes, well, we never thought it would happen either," my European friends assure me. Nope, none of us did. Otherwise the many thousands of UK citizens here in Brussels would not have put so much time and effort into their European careers. All of that will now require a rethink.
Instead of sitting back, crossing our fingers and hoping for an end to the Syrian civil war, the EU should be uniting to heap pressure on those regional powers blocking the path to peace. Never before has a continent with so much invested in the stability of its surrounding regions, been so reluctant to project its power and defend its interests.
If we allow the radical right to maintain their poisonous grasp on this story, the experiences of these women - their violent fight, their fears and their scars - will be left lying amongst the placards and the banners, dropped and forgotten whenever 'the mob' inevitably find something new to shout about. It's time to start writing headlines about real victims, rather than those who simply shout the loudest.
The bottom line here is this: the only way we can control immigration into the UK is to take back control of our borders. This means we have to stop our open-ended EU free movement of people obligations to potentially hundreds of millions of EU migrants. The only way we can do this is to leave the EU.
In January 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron delivered his now infamous Bloomberg speech, promising to renegotiate the UK's relationship with the EU. Following renegotiation, he said he would present the British public with the "simple choice" of staying in or choosing to leave, based on the terms secured by the end of 2017.
Now is not the time to say 'Yes' or 'No' to TTIP - it hasn't been negotiated yet. We have a responsibility to fight for a progressive deal for Europe, with the necessary safeguards. But for the sake of our continent and the future of the European Union we have built together, we must give TTIP a chance.
As the new Government works on its first Queen's Speech, it will need to address a range of fundamental constitutional issues. Among them should be the question of how we can increase turnout and improve the integrity of our voting system itself. It's time to ask whether the UK's voting system of polling stations, ballot boxes, postal and proxy votes - is fit for purpose. This election has raised a series of important questions about the way in which people vote in the UK. And the reasons why people choose not to.
If there's anything to be learned from recent years, it is that, in fact, and contrary to what is bandied about, Europe is moving ahead much faster than we think. Six years of economic crisis has turned things around, often in irreversible ways, and we can expect even more progress in the coming months. Let me give three examples.
If Europe can deliver an ambitious and effective Energy Union, we will deliver a range of crucial goals; more independence, a secure supply of energy, a more sustainable economy, with Europe once again leading the development of green technologies. Putin and many of the other energy exporters outside the EU, who have grown wealthy on our addiction to fossil fuels, will be willing us to fail; but this is a fight we cannot afford to lose.
The European Union was founded as a political project to bring peace and prosperity for citizens as well as opportunities to companies and businesses. Without the correct balance between economic and social issues the EU will always be at risk of failing to connect with people. This lack of the social dimension is something needs to addressed, and fast.
If Europe wishes to find a solution for the problems of the Middle East, it needs to correct a number of misconceptions about Syria. Most importantly, it needs to realise that the key threat is not ISIS but the Assad regime, both of which are engaged with a fight to the death with Europe's only possible ally: the rebels.
Okay, I'll admit it. As a UKIP MEP I've believed for a while now that the European Parliament lacks many of the true features of a proper Parliamentary democracy. I didn't think that I could be any more shocked than I have been already at the breathtaking lack of respect for the rules, but I was wrong...
One of the many joys of being a trainee in the European Commission is being able to socialise in the international melting pot of the European bubble, to gluttonously gorge on a feast of cultures and languages, to take the notion of 'nationality' and throw it off like a duvet on a sweaty summer night such as we have rarely experienced in the UK...
There is an appetite for change shared not only by EU member states, but also by many people in EU institutions, who are able to identify challenges faced by Europe nowadays. Poland believes in strong EU institutions and deeper political integration, as well as aims, like the UK, at the completion of the single market.
Bastardising the English language seems to be Europe's way of punishing Britain for its sins... "Whilst everyone else is making a large and valiant effort to communicate in their second or third language, the lazy, arrogant 'Anglo-Saxons' [sic] never bother to learn other languages and are linguistically inept in any case"
With a few public sector exceptions, Brussels is where meritocracy comes to die. And it takes its last breath in the naïve hopes of trainees. No one wastes any time letting us know that we are here to network. Such importance is placed on this I suspect there may be a strategic memo somewhere entitled 'Combatting Youth Unemployment in the EU: the Art of Networking'.