The future of the EU is all but certain. Brexit, the rise of far-right nationalism, and an influx of asylum-seekers into European countries has many questioning what’s in store for Europe in the coming years.

To bring some clarity on the state of the EU, the ministers of foreign affairs of both France and the Netherlands, Jean-Marc Ayrault and Bert Koenders, paid a visit to the Erasmus Pavilion on Monday to address a packed house of students eager for a bit of insider information on Europe’s most pressing issues. What they received was nothing more than a lesson in lackluster diplomacy.

The EU Entourage

Far beyond what can be deemed fashionably late, ministers Jean-Marc Aryault and Bert Koenders arrived a half hour after the scheduled start time. But what they lacked in time they made up in high-profile diplomatic style, pulling up to the Pavilion in a long line of black cars with tinted windows guided by police escorts. The EU entourage had arrived, and the two ministers wasted no time by foregoing their welcome speeches to take direct questions from the audience. Their tardiness, however, would leave little time for deep insight into the state of European affairs.

“If the ministers aimed at making broad statements that sketch different dilemmas that the E.U is currently facing, then they did a good job,” said Saskia Cluistra, a history student who attended the discussion. “If they wanted to present a clear vision for the future, they did poorly. General statements about change don’t signal change, they show politicians being politicians in the negative connotation of the word.”

The Trump Effect

In the wake of Donald Trump’s remarkable run to the White House, much of the discussion focused on the reinvigorated right-wing populist movements spreading across Europe and their calls to close the European borders. For the youthful crowd on hand, Dutch minister Koenders had a message of reassurance.

“People are realizing that opening the gates for migration world-wide is not going to solve our problems,” Koenders said. “But closing our national borders and being xenophobic is also not an answer for the modern world that your generation will live in. We are living in a time of transition, and the one thing I ask everyone here not to do is panic.”

French minister Ayrault, who formerly served as the prime minister of France, closed the discussion with similar thoughts.

“The populists have solutions on the national level, but their solutions do not reflect the international world we live in,” Ayrault explained in his native tongue, his words being translated into English by a live translator. “Our visions of the world will differ, so we must teach the young people to work together to create the world we want to live in.”