'Model European Union': young people experience the EU decision making process

From 5th to 10th March over a hundred young people from all Europe met in the European Parliament (EP) for a simulation of the European decision-making process, 'Model European Union'. The objective of this event organised by AEGEE-Strasbourg was to make young Europeans familiar with the decision-making process of the European Union (EU) and to highlight the shortcomings of the current system. Each participant had a well determined role: to represent one of the 27 Member States to the European Council or a political fraction as a European deputy. Under the patronage of the President of the European Parliament, Prof. Dr. Hans-Gert Pöttering the youngsters learned the complexity of the co-decission procedure.

The first Directive being discussed in this framework concerned the financial assistance for the countries of the Western Balkans, in order to facilitate their accession to the EU. This is a topic of interest of AEGEE, since our organisation is present in more than 40 European countries, in the EU as well as in Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Macedonia, and Croatia.  

Another Directive being proposed concerned the recognition of Non Formal Education as Young people obtain skills and competences in many extracurricular activities. Due to the introduction of the Bologna Process, students active in civil society face that young active citizens are penalized for their engagement, since they didn't attend the University classes for one week. The debate concentrated on the question how the knowledge obtained via activities like 'Model European Union' can be measured. Can the students for example gain points ECTS credits for Non Formal Education activities?

MEP Catherine Trautmann closed the conference with the words: "I'm happy thats students can reflect for a week the European Union and it's work in the premisses of the European Parliament (...) We need to know what young people think about the future of Europe, and as students you have an interest in the reform of the European Union."

During the week students had the chance to practise their French and English language skills, and learned to work together with people from different cultures. As Thijs van Welij, President of AEGEE Europe stated "AEGEE was established to initiate innovative ways to promote the European idea and democracy, and 'Model EU' is an example how we as the European Students Forum succesfully achieve this aim".

Note to the journalist:
The European Students Forum AEGEE (
www.aegee.org) is one of the biggest interdisciplinary student associations in Europe; it is represented by 15.000 students, active in 235 academic cities, in 41 countries all around Europe, which presents amazing culture variety. AEGEE is a secular, non-profit organization, not linked to any political party. In order to really promote international co-operation and avoid creating any physical or mental borders AEGEE does not recognize any national level or national administration in its unique organizational structure. All projects and activities are based on voluntarily work of its members.

Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at:

Orsolya Balogh
Director for Public Relations
European Students' Forum - AEGEE

Rue Nestor de Tiere 15
1030 Bruxelles
Phone: +32 2 245 23 00
Fax: +32 2 245 62 60
Web: www.aegee.org

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