The last day of the training programs of Debate changing Europe started with a relaxing boat trip on the Meuse/Maas river for which Maastricht is named. The participants discussed the things they had learned on their visit to Brussels, took in the lovely environments or just soaked up the sun. They then moved on to Chateau Bethlehem, a training location for the local hotel school and the perfect place to close off the training event. The focus was on a more theoretical discussion of EU institutions and on the future of the project.
The participants will give trainings on the things they have learned once they get back home. This will take place in the next academic year and the participants discussed the format for the trainings, the materials needed for them and the ways in which they can be promoted. The discussion then moved towards the question how youth could be engaged with this project and be motivated to become more active in European politics through the project. The overall mood was positive, and lots of good ideas were put out to make this project a blueprint for future events.
The EU came back into focus in the next bit of the program. Aaron Vinnik and Bart Runneboom from Maastricht University provided the students with theoretical insights into the workings of the European Union. They discussed the ways a policy idea becomes a proposal and turns into law. The students learned these complicated procedures through interactive exercises. They then designed lobbying attempts for a number of important stages in the legislative process.
The trainings and the event were concluded with a lovely dinner and a brief evaluation of the event. IDEA will now look into the ideas brought forward by the participants and try to make use of as many of their inputs as is feasible to make the positive impact that Debate changing Europe has had on the participants last as long as possible and will spread to as many other people as we possibly can.
Debate changing Europe
The debate series Debate changing Europe aims to let students debate about themes of European-wide importance in tournaments and public debates. It is a cooperation project between IDEA NL and university debating organisations in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden. The winners of the local tournaments were offered a chance to participate in a Common European Event from June 2-6, where they learned how European policy is made and how they can influence it. Debate changing Europe is made possible with funding from Youth in Action.