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Discuss YOUR ideas with Europe’s leaders

Snapshot Report 2013


Foreword Citizens speak, politicians respond. It’s a simple concept, and it’s at the heart of what Debating Europe does. It has also proved to be a popular idea. Since its launch in September 2011, we have received over 10’000 comments on the platform and more than 500 policymakers – from European and national parliamentarians to Prime Ministers – have responded.

Debating Europe | Report 2013

With the rise of social media and the 24-hour news cycle, voters now expect their politicians to react in real-time to their concerns, fears and frustrations. Debating Europe offers a space for this debate to take place, facilitating genuine back-and-forth discussion between citizens and the politicians who represent them. Given


Giles Merritt, Secretary General, Friends of Europe

the staggering array of challenges currently facing the continent, this kind of dialogue is sorely needed. Our thanks go to the European Parliament, Microsoft, Gallup and Skype for supporting Debating Europe. We are especially pleased to have received the public backing of the leaders of the largest parties and groups in the European Parliament, as well as that of Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament. To their credit, it is the willingness of Member of the European Parliament and other politicians to listen and respond to the tough questions and comments from voters that has ensured Debating Europe is doing more than just broadcasting from the top-down, but is actually fostering a two-way debate.

Geert Cami, Co-Founder and Director, Friends of Europe

Table of content

Table of content Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Table of content . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Growth Europe

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global Europe

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Austerity or growth: Finding the balance . . . . . . . 8 A generation on the dole . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 The institutional fix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 The EU’s own budget battle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Ever larger? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Atlantic crossing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Development dynamics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

Green Europe

Can going green save Europe’s economy? . . . . 18 A nuclear future? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Should Europe buy into biotech? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

Where do we go from here? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Time for an institutional makeover? . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Should they stay or should they go? . . . . . . . . . . . 45 In search of an identity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

TECH Europe


Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

Funding the future . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Web control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Technology for health . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

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future Europe

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Infographics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Impact . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

Credits Author: Paul Ames Publisher: Geert Cami Editor: Joe Litobarski

Publication coordinators: Ilaria Dozio and Alessandra Baldissin Design & Layout: Year of publication: 2013

Disclaimer This report offers an independent analysis of the Debating Europe project for which only the authors and Debating Europe can take full responsibility. The views expressed in this report by individuals are personal opinions and not necessarily the views of the organisation they represent, nor of Debating Europe, its members or partners. Reproduction in whole or in part is permitted, providing that full attribution is made to Debating Europe and to the source(s) in question, and provided that any such reproduction, whether in full or in part, is not sold unless incorporated in other works.

Debating Europe | Report 2013

PARTNERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59



Preface Public trust in the European Union has never been lower than it is today. Fear and uncertainty over the future, coupled with record levels of unemployment and a feeling that politicians are out of touch with the concerns of ordinary people have created a dangerous mix. Rebuilding this trust cannot happen overnight, and the solution can only involve greater transparency, openness, and frank and honest dialogue between politicians and the citizens who elect them. In a digital age, we politicians must adapt to changing technologies and changing expectations, and therefore must be more reactive and accessible to citizens.

Debating Europe | Report 2013

If there is ever to be a truly European public sphere, then this dialogue will have to take place across national divides, between citizens


Martin Schulz President of the European Parliament

and politicians of all EU member states. In this regard, I welcome the successful Debating Europe initiative as a first step towards what I hope will be a common European political dialogue. The discussions that have taken place through Debating Europe so far, on youth unemployment, on growth and austerity, on energy, on banking union, on global trade, and on countless other issues vital to the future of Europe, have been a refreshingly direct exchange of questions, ideas and solutions. Therefore, as leader of the European Union’s only directly-elected institution, I cannot but support this project and the continued dialogue between politicians and citizens that it represents.



Since its launch in September 2011, over 500 policymakers have taken part in Debating Europe; over 115 MEPs (including Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, and the leaders of the largest political parties and groups), 28 national MPs, 38 national Ministers, 12 EU Commissioners (including JosĂŠ Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission), 5 Prime Ministers, and the current President of the European Council,

Adam Nyman Director, Debating Europe

Mr. Herman Van Rompuy, have all answered questions from our users. Any issue is up for debate, as long as it has a European dimension. Topics so far have ranged from youth unemployment, immigration and education policy, to energy security, online privacy, and EU enlargement. Debating Europe has been quoted in national and international media, including Bloomberg, CNBC, Reuters, the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, Ekathimerini, the Irish Times, El Pais, the Wall Street Journal, Ansa, Aftenposten and Taloussanomat. We are now preparing the next phase of Debating Europe, which will culminate in the European elections of 2014. From now until then, we intend to grow and strengthen our community and, in particular, to extend our reach to include a greater number of students and first-time voters. There was, unfortunately, much we were unable to fit into this report, and you can visit Debating Europe ( to see more and to take part in the debate yourself.

Joe Litobarski Editor, Debating Europe

Debating Europe | Report 2013

Debating Europe is a platform where ordinary citizens take their questions to the highest levels of European politics‌ and get a response. Since the first elections to the European Parliament in 1979, voter turn-out has been falling steadily and public participation in politics has been decreasing. Yet, at the same time, Europe finds itself confronted with its most serious political and economic crisis since the 1940s, with a desperate need to involve citizens in the EU political discourse. In the run-up to the 2014 European Parliament elections, Debating Europe offers an online space for citizens to meaningfully engage with their elected representatives, posing tough questions and getting real responses.


Debating Europe | Report 2013

Growth Europe


Growth Europe Green Tech global Future

Growth Europe Hardly a week has gone by over the past 12 months without some major twist in the eurozone crisis.

Although member states are still hesitant to agree to measures such as direct bank recapitalization or mutualisation of debt, a number of moves were agreed to calm panicky markets: the European Stability Mechanism was set in place and the European Central Bank announced its Outright Monetary Transaction plan to intervene in the bond market, backing ECB President Mario Draghi’s pledge to do “whatever it takes� to save the euro. Nevertheless, 26 million EU citizens remain unemployed. Of the eurozone countries

bordering the Mediterranean, only Malta will be likely to avoid recession this year. And the malaise is spreading - the IMF warned that the French economy will contract in 2013; the recession-bound Dutch economy is shedding 20,000 jobs a month; and a slowdown in Germany is dimming hopes that its economy can drag the eurozone out of the depths. Against this grim backdrop, exasperated voters are turning away from mainstream politics and into the waiting arms of new, populist parties offering easy solutions to the crisis. The 2014 European Parliament elections could be a bellwether for the strength of such extremist or maverick groups. Throughout the year, Debating Europe has tracked the course of the crisis. Citizens have contributed to passionate discussions ranging from ways to reform the labour market, to the rights and wrongs of the Cypriot bailout, to the value of a European banking union.

Debating Europe | Report 2013

Greece has undergone two elections and a second bailout. Spanish banks, closely followed by Cypriot banks, slipped into the limelight as the biggest threat to eurozone stability. France voted for change and Italians swung against the political mainstream. A string of EU summits produced a growth compact and, eventually, an agreement on the EU budget up to 2020, but there was no sign of recovery for the real economy.


Growth Europe Green Tech global Future Austerity or Growth: finding the balance Is the austerity medicine killing the eurozone patient? This debate, more than any other, has marked the politics of the crisis in 2013. Supporters of austerity say that the only way to get weaker members back on their feet is by cutting deficits and debt, lowering labour costs and knocking economies back into competitive shape – It’s been done before they say, pointing at the Baltic States and their still healthy post 2010 recoveries. Opponents are adamant that only stimulus can revive Southern economies sunk so deep in recession, and that prolonged austerity is making things worse, bringing with it the risk of social and political breakdown and another bond market assault. In September, regular Greek commenter Christos was able to take his complaints about austerity directly to European Commission President José Manuel Barroso through a live debate organized by Debating Europe and Euronews:

The austerity measures have brought my country to its knees, both socially and financially. Are we anywhere near the end of the tunnel?” President Barroso insisted the EU is helping Greece to stay in the euro and get the economy running again through the promotion of reforms that will help restore competitiveness.

“Greece came to this situation because of unsustainable debt and deficits accumulated over the years. And so, in fact, the European Union is giving an opportunity to Greece to avoid default ... I understand that some of these adjustments are extremely painful and, in fact, the Greek people have been making a huge effort. In an interview with Olli Rehn, the EU Economic Affairs Commissioner, Debating Europe passed on a comment sent by James from England:

The speed and ferocity of austerity is unnecessarily savage and we should be trying to find ways of reducing the burden and not force the kind of cuts we wouldn’t countenance in our own countries.”

Debating Europe | Report 2013

Commissioner Rehn’s reply made clear he saw no way of getting around the need for tight fiscal policies, but said that did not have to be incompatible with growth.


If we undertake the necessary structural reforms to create conditions for growth, this will help public finances as well. That’s why I believe structural reforms to boost growth and aid job creation are of paramount importance, but it does also require fiscal consolidation to be consistently pursued. However, when Joe from the United States asked László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, how countries such as Greece and France can keep spending money they don’t have, the reply showed that opinion on austerity is nuanced, even within the Commission:

Well, I think this is exactly the time to reconsider the fiscal consolidation policies as they have been implemented in the last two or three years … I believe if there is a new, fresh political debate about this, this will take into account the objectives of employment and social cohesion stronger than in the past period.”

Growth Europe Green Tech global Future Linked to the austerity debate was the question of solidarity between Europe’s richer and poor nations and the extent to which the EU should develop into a transfer union with a greater pooling of wealth and resources. Regular Debating Europe contributor Gerry from Greece stated:

There should be greater transfer of wealth – human resources, industrial resources, commercial resources, military resources and financial resources – from richer parts of the eurozone to poorer parts.” That triggered a response from Jo Leinen, German Social Democrat MEP and President of the European Movement International:

Gerry is right. Twenty years ago, when they founded the monetary union, Germany at least wanted a political union let’s say more elements of European integration - but it was not possible. And, it is an illusion that you can stand on one leg: only federating the money but not the fiscal and economic policies. The imbalances between rich and poor in society were another key issue for contributors. In a video debate run by Debating Europe in March, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy replied to a question from Kjell asking how to rebalance a society afflicted by growing inequality:

This is one of the most important issues we are dealing with in today’s Europe ... The most effective solution to inequality is to ensure more jobs. And that’s why we, in the European Union, will be investing even more in research, innovation and education over the coming years.

The Cypriot government just decided to steal 10 percent of all the savings held in the country’s banks in order to bail itself out of its euro mess … [The EU] is now having to loot from the saved wealth of its own citizens to stop itself from collapsing altogether.” Maria do Céu Patrão Neves, a Portuguese MEP from the European People’s Party, agreed.

Stealing is the right word. This idea was crossing the line. It’s very dangerous, and it will spread a lack of trust towards savings in other countries, and a lack of trust towards the eurozone. I’m very critical of the European governments for this measure, because it seems they don’t pay attention to the consequences of their actions.

Debating Europe | Report 2013

After months of relative calm on the markets, the flare-up of the euro crisis in Cyprus in March 2013 refocused debate on the integrity of the single currency. The decision to force all bank savers to contribute to the rescue of Cyprus was particularly controversial. Although the plan was eventually changed to spare savers with less than €100,000 in their accounts, it provoked an angry response. Chris from the UK was among several outraged by the solution:


Growth Europe Green Tech global Future A generation on the Dole The steady rise of youth unemployment has been one of the few constants of the euro crisis. A quarter of under-25s are currently out of work across the eurozone, but the figure is close to 60 percent in Greece, over half in Spain and nearly 40 percent in Portugal and Italy. EU leaders set aside €6 billion in February to boost job creation for the young, but disillusion is running deep. Talented young Greeks, Spaniards and Portuguese are increasingly moving overseas to look for jobs. Others are questioning the value of education and despair is fueling support for populist politicians. Given Debating Europe’s popularity amongst young people, this topic provoked some of the most impassioned discussion on the site. Tony from England set the tone:

Whereas unemployment is a dreadful experience, at whatever age, the long-term scarring effect makes it especially destructive for young adults. [What can we do] to ensure that those coming into the labour market have the best possible chance of competing for scarce jobs?” In November, Debating Europe put Tony’s question to Elsa Fornero, Italy’s thenMinister of Labor, Social Policies and Gender Equality:

“Tony is perfectly right in saying that unemployment, and particularly youth unemployment, is a trap for Europe and is a problem that should be addressed in terms of more resources … we should try to restrain the precariousness of jobs that have characterized youth employment. October’s complaint from Spanish commenter Javier also had an all-toocommon ring:

My personal experience is that I could not find a job so I continued to study. Now, I had a job interview two days ago and I was told that my CV is ‘intimidating’, and that I know ‘too much’. So with studies or without studies, we are screwed.”

Debating Europe | Report 2013

In a video response, Mady Delvaux-Stehres, Luxembourg’s Minister for National Education and Professional Training, urged Javier and other young people to stick with their studies:


“With an education you have much more choice than without an education. But, in this moment, of course, all European countries are going through a difficult period. But I would like to encourage young people not to give up hope. Anyway, we see at least that people with no qualifications and no diploma are really in a difficult shape, and the others have to be inventive and not to lose hope. Spanish MEP Santiago Fisas Ayxela, from EPP group, also commented on Javier’s plight:

Growth Europe Green Tech global Future “It’s always very frustrating for these young people to have studied for so long and to be so well prepared, and then not to have a job, or to have a job that doesn’t correspond to their expectations and the studies they have developed. But I would say to Javier to be confident ... I really believe that European governments and the EU Commission are taking the right decisions. The Debating Europe Schools initiative which gives students the chance to put their questions to policymakers and debate with fellow students from around Europe, naturally took up the theme of youth unemployment with vigour. In March, 2013, Peter from the Dr. Vasil Beron school in Bulgaria asked how the problem of youth unemployment can be solved in times of economic crisis. In reply, Anna Maria Darmanin, the then Vice-President of the European Economic and Social Committee, argued that to solve the underlying problems, Europe needs to take a wider pro-growth approach:

“Overall, the main issue we have to be dealing with is focusing our policies as a European Union, as institutions, on growth. It is not austerity which will get jobs. It is not austerity which will move the economy. It is the focus on growth. Danish student Dani had a similar question when his school, the Business Academy Aarhus in Denmark, took part in Debating Europe Schools in December. He asked simply: “How are we going to create more jobs in Europe?” Green MEP Satu Hassi from Finland acknowledged there was no silver bullet to unemployment, but she said switching to environment-friendly solutions could have a big impact:

Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš, a Latvian MEP from the EPP, took a different line in his answer to Dani:

“How can we create more jobs? By opening up the single market. We talk a lot about the single market, and we ostensibly have in Europe a free flow of goods, people, etc. But, in reality, we still have many restrictions even to the flow of goods, let alone services.

Debating Europe | Report 2013

“I think that there is a remarkable jobs potential in what we Greens would call a “Green New Deal”, which means transforming European economies and industry to a more environmentally-friendly and climate-friendly model.


Growth Europe Green Tech global Future The institutional fix Mario Draghi’s “whatever it takes” speech on the eve of the London Olympics seemed to calm talk of the break-up of the eurozone until the Cypriot crisis blew up in March 2013 and revived fears of the monetary union’s survival. For much of the time in between, the eurozone debate became institutional rather than existential. Should the ECB be given more powers? Or did it need greater democratic oversight? How could the economic side of “Economic and Monetary Union” be strengthened to prevent a repeat of the debt crisis? What could be done to improve regulation of banks and state budgets? Should Europe create a banking union? Debating Europe contributors were keen to find the answers. Jovan from Serbia was among those arguing for greater economic integration as an essential component of EMU:

Ask any economist and they will tell you that having a single monetary policy with 17 different fiscal policies is a recipe for disaster ... A single fiscal policy (or coordination of them) for eurozone members is the only thing that will prevent disaster.” Debating Europe put Jovan’s point to Commissioner Olli Rehn. He agreed that there were weaknesses in the past which allowed countries with insufficient fiscal rigour to develop high debts and deficit, but he said recent moves were going in the right direction to fix the deficiencies:

“We have recently reinforced economic governance and made the Stability and Growth Pact both smarter and more biting. By smarter, I mean that it focuses on the structural sustainability of public finances over the medium term. By more biting, I mean the possibility of preventive sanctions. This is very important in order to pave the way for the stability of public finances in Europe, which is a precondition for growth and jobs.

Debating Europe | Report 2013

Commissioner Rehn also took a question from Rémi in France, who asked why the European Central Bank cannot lend money directly to states and so break their dependence on the financial markets. The commissioner recalled that the ECB is forbidden by the EU treaty from monetary financing for price stability. However, he pointed out that the EU is taking action to better defend member states.


“Concerning the problems of dependence on financial markets, I agree with Rémi that market panic can be very damaging. That’s why we have created the financial firewalls, and now the permanent European Stability Mechanism. These financial firewalls increase stability and improve market confidence. Renata in Italy was also concerned about the powers of the ECB. She wondered how the central bank can continue to fund banks without having a say on the interest rates that private financial institutions then pass on to governments, businesses and private citizens. Portuguese Socialist MEP Ana Maria Gomes agreed the system needs changing:

Growth Europe Green Tech global Future “Isn’t it outrageous that we have this system that Renata describes? The ECB can finance banks at 1 percent and then the banks go and take that money and finance governments at 5 or 6 percent, and if the banks even go and finance SMEs at all then they do it at a much higher rate. And that same ECB is not allowed to finance governments that are trying to balance their budgets at a reasonable rate? This system is perverse. Joining a November debate on how best to restore trust in Europe’s banks, Andreea in Romania suggested the EU follow the Icelandic approach and let failing banks fail. Andrea Enria, Chairman of the European Banking Authority agreed:

“This is maybe the most important step to repairing the system: we need to let banks fail. We cannot live in a world where the gains are private but the losses are borne by the taxpayers. There has to be the possibility that banks can fail and exit the market in an orderly fashion. The role of ratings agencies continued to raise hackles as France and Britain lost their AAA status and other member states were downgraded toward junk levels. From Austria, Daniel said Europe should take a tougher line:

I always have to wonder why the politicians in Europe are not brave enough to just forbid ratings from private agencies and create a European Rating Agency (similar to the energy and telco regulators) that rates countries and big companies in Europe according to clear and transparent criteria and formulas.” Swedish MEP Gunnar Hökmark, Vice-Chair of the centre-right EPP group, disagreed.

Debating Europe | Report 2013

“I think there’s a very good reason for not doing that: because we’re living in a free society ... The only way to deal with credit rating in a good way is to have a plurality, then we all can make our choices, whether we are investors or members of the public, we can all make our choices on what to believe.


Growth Europe Green Tech global Future The EU’s own budget battle After months of haggling, European leaders finally agreed in February on the EU’s seven-year budget framework up to 2020. For the first time, the deal will represent a real-terms reduction in spending, with a total ceiling of €960 billion. Britain claimed a victory after threatening to veto increased spending, but other net contributing nations were also satisfied. In the other camp, many were dismayed at the lack of ambition. They fear the cuts will be deepest in areas such as research, innovation and infrastructure that could contribute most to injecting some much-needed competitiveness into the European economy. As the leaders negotiated ahead of their budget-setting summit, Debating Europe offered a platform for citizens to express their views. Via Facebook, Sunny from Croatia argued for a stronger EU budget, provided the money is spent wisely:

Smart and focused investment by the EU Government would be fine by me. We need new energy and growth. And we need the rich ones to stop thinking exclusively about having more and more billions in their pockets” Dean from Greece concurred:

Cutting the budget sends the wrong message ... the reduced budget looks more like a product of conspiracy among a certain block of members motivated by payment avoidance.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, there were many in Britain who took a different line. Regular Debating Europe contributor Davey had this to say:

The UK should simply cut its contributions unilaterally in line with the clear will of the taxpayer. This is OUR money, not the EU’s whose accounts are so corrupt they cannot be signed off. If they don’t like our reduction in our contribution then we leave!” British MEP Martin Callanan, who chairs the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, expressed understanding for Davey’s comment, but said the UK would do better to secure wider support for its efforts to reduce the budget:

Debating Europe | Report 2013

“We have to live by the rules of the organisation, the treaties that we signed up to. So, therefore, we cannot just cut it unilaterally. Effectively, that would be leaving the EU, and at the moment I don’t think that’s a sensible course of action.


Debating Europe | Report 2013

Green Europe


Growth Green Europe Tech global Future

Green Europe In 2012, it was hard to avoid the conclusion that climate change and the environment had dropped off the global agenda.

And it’s not just governments. The public’s attention also seems to have turned elsewhere - in the latest Eurobarometer poll, published in December, just 5 percent of EU citizens listed environment, climate and energy issues as primary concerns for their country. That compares to 37 percent who cited the economic situation and 48 percent who chose unemployment.

Nevertheless, discussions in the “Green Europe” channel on Debating Europe have been intense over the past year. In one camp are advocates of investment in green technologies as a key to revitalizing the economy and breaking Europe’s dependence on expensive imported energy. On the other, those who complain Europe is blunting its competitive edge with an idealistic overemphasis on renewable energy and burdensome environmentalist-inspired restrictions in areas such as nuclear power, fracking and biotechnology. Whichever camp you’re in, it is clear that environmental issues are inextricably tied up with Europe’s economic future.

Debating Europe | Report 2013

In a Europe preoccupied with the economic crisis, many governments appeared to have lost the sense of urgency over global warming - less than half of European Union member states sent their heads of state or government to the Rio+20 summit on sustainable development in June.


Growth Green Europe Tech global Future Can going green save Europe’s economy? Switching to a green global economy could create up to 60 million new jobs over the next 20 years and lift millions more out of poverty, according to forecasts from the International Labour Organization. Renewables already account for 16 percent of world energy consumption, according to a UN report released last July. Global investment in renewable energy reached a record US$257 billion in 2011, up 17 percent. China has surged to the front of the world’s renewable investors. Now there are stark warnings that Europe risks losing out in the race to develop lucrative green technologies if it allows the economic crisis to deflect it from its environmental ambitions. However there are plenty of alternative voices who stress the need to develop nuclear power, or pursue new carbon fuel opportunities such as shale gas, warning the costs of switching precipitously to expensive renewables will be too much for Europe’s fragile economies. Nikolay from Bulgaria was one of many who responded last October when Debating Europe asked: can greening the economy spur a European recovery?

Green energy is many, many times more expensive than nuclear energy for the poorest in the EU like Bulgarians, whose average income is only €300 euros monthly. And an electricity bill in winter could be €100 euros!” In the same debate, Eusébio from Portugal took an opposing line:

Europe has to bet on an environmental future. Renewable energies are showing the politicians how they can increase employment and national wealth. The European Union has to reduce the monopoly powers of the big electricity companies - which control the European market - and bet on green economies.” The debate was triggered by a question by Debating Europe commentator Darius from Lithuania, who asked whether the benefits of green growth could help the economy recover.

Debating Europe | Report 2013

In a video response to Darius, Rebecca Harms MEP, Co-Chair of the Group of European Greens-European Free Alliance, said a new focus on climate friendly, energy efficient production could partly solve Europe’s economic problems. The problem, she says is that Europe’s politicians cannot decide on how best to push ahead:


“On the level of words, everybody agrees already. In reality, the picture is different. Right now, the Commissioner for Industry, Mr. Tajani, and the Commissioner for Energy, Mr. Oettinger, both agree that energy-efficiency, resource efficiency and even ambitious climate targets are hindering economic development, and are reasons for the de-industrialisation of Europe. Next year’s European Parliament election could play a key role in deciding the direction Europe takes, she added. In November, Debating Europe took its contributors’ questions to policy makers from around Europe to ask: How can Europe avoid an energy crisis?

Growth Green Europe Tech global Future Regular Twitter correspondent Shaun from Scotland suggested most countries should probably reduce subsidy levels for renewable energy:

In the midst of a debt crisis and with suppressed living standards, this is probably the wrong time to subsidize mass-deployment of (still expensive) wind, wave and solar.” Melchior Wathelet, Belgium’s State Secretary for Environment, Energy and Mobility, disagreed:

“We have to support them: to create new jobs, to create new markets, and to create more green energy. And that’s why, it’s true at the beginning it needs a bit of subsidies, it needs a bit of support, but if we are not supporting it now we will pay much more in the future. In our June debate “How to secure clean energy for Europe,” Nikolai, a blogger from Ukraine raised the hidden costs of some renewable energy sources:

Every solar panel produced uses rare earths, silver, components etc., all of which are designed, gathered, manufactured, transported and assembled by those using traditional methods. Every solar panel has an energy legacy far greater than the life-span of the solar panel.” Speaking at the end of Denmark’s EU presidency, Thomas Egebo, Permanent Secretary of State at the Danish Ministry of Climate and Energy, countered that solar panels are relatively quick to pay back the energy used to make them:

“The energy pay-back time is – according to many international institutions, such as the International Energy Agency – rather low – below 2 years and still decreasing. That means that it takes less than two years for a PV system in operation to produce as much energy as used to produce the PV. And the lifetime is certainly much longer than 2 years.

What we need is a different attitude to the sourcing of raw materials. Too often, we’ve had a colonialist attitude of going out and digging it out of the other side of the world. Part of the solution is making sure these very precious minerals and metals used in modern electronics and equipment are being recovered, not just thrown into a landfill as scrap.” The extent to which biofuels can be used as an alternative to traditional petrol and diesel was another theme running through the year. The EU has a target of using biofuels for 10 percent of transport needs by 2020, but there is widespread disquiet over the sourcing of those fuels and their impact on food supply and the environment.

Debating Europe | Report 2013

Samo from Slovenia raised the same issue in our July debate on how Europe can ensure energy security. His question drew this response from Liberal Fiona Hall MEP, from the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE):


Growth Green Europe Tech global Future Proposals currently under discussion would limit crop-based biofuels to 5 percent of transport needs - close to the current usage level. Supporters say such limits will spur the development of advanced biofuels made from feedstocks like algae, wood or waste. Critics caution the restrictions threaten a growing industry that’s already worth €17 billion to the European economy. In our November energy debate, Social Democrat MEP Dan Jørgensen, ViceChair of the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) replied to a question posed by Peter from Belgium on the risks biofuels might pose to food supply:

“We need to enforce really strict sustainability criteria [for biofuels], incorporating both social and environmental criteria. We also need to encourage work on second generation biofuels that don’t use crops themselves, but rather use what would otherwise be considered waste products.

A nuclear future? The pros and cons of nuclear power divide Europe’s governments. After the Fukushima incident in March 2011, Germany announced it was dropping nuclear energy and 90 percent of Italians voted against relaunching the country’s nuclear programme in a referendum. France and Britain, however, have reconfirmed their commitment to nuclear power as a major component in their energy mixes.

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Concerns over safety were heightened by scares at French and Belgian reactors last year, while the results of the EU’s stress tests published in May found almost all European nuclear plants require safety improvements - at an estimated price tag of up to €25 billion.


However, the economic crisis and concerns over the costs of switching to renewables are leading more people to favour the nuclear option, at least during the transition to greater renewable use. Even in Germany, questions are being asked about whether wind and solar power can effectively fill the gap left by nuclear, particularly as fuel bills rise and the government plans more cuts in subsidies for renewables. In our November debate on how Europe can avoid an energy crisis, Dirk from the Netherlands questioned whether EU nations can afford to abandon nuclear power:

In order to completely rely on green energy, we have a long way to go – technologies to deal with the fluctuating nature of solar and wind are simply too expensive or impossible as of today. I think we will need nuclear energy while we make the transition from burning gas/coal to complete renewable energy. And this transition could take very long.”

Growth Green Europe Tech global Future Green MEP Claude Turmes was not convinced. Turmes argued the speed at which solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind energy are coming online in Germany shows that both are already mature energy sources:

“PV and wind are there, and we can massively rely on these investments. And nuclear, after Fukushima, is too dangerous a technology. We have the alternatives, and we have to go for these alternatives otherwise we risk another big nuclear accident with all the dramatic consequences. Malcolm Keay, Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, agreed with Dirk that nuclear power could be part of the transition, but in the longer term he too contended that other solutions are needed.

“It doesn’t solve the problem of the intermittency - the fact that renewables can produce in unpredictable ways - because nuclear is very inflexible, you can’t turn it on and off very quickly. At the moment, the cheapest way of providing flexibility is via fossil plants, particularly gas plants. But the most likely way of solving that problem is not through nuclear, it’s through things like energy storage in various ways - some energy could be stored for the time when there wasn’t enough wind power. Hasan commenting from Turkey via Facebook said Europe had no choice but to stick with nuclear:

Europe cannot avoid the energy crisis. Unfortunately, because they do not have fossil energy sources, the only option for the EU is nuclear energy. If they use the [most advanced] technology, perhaps they might save the environment too.” Writing from Romania, Bernard took a different tack:

Peter from Belgium backed nuclear power when he contributed to our July debate on how to ensure Europe’s energy security:

If we want Europe to be self-sufficient all studies prove that the only energy mix for us will be renewables with nuclear.” Regular commentator Rémi took issue with Peter’s claim that nuclear energy has made France close to self-sufficient for its energy supply:

False! Uranium is not produced in France; it comes from Niger for the most part.”

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Europe can avoid this crisis - and also ensure energy independence for future generations - by gradually [closing] its nuclear facilities, by investing in all-renewable energy solutions. From the French example, we now know that the concept of ‘cheap’ electricity generation by nuclear power is a myth. The cost of central upgrades and many extra costs of the EPR (European Pressurized Reactor) show us that.”


Growth Green Europe Tech global Future Should Europe buy into Biotech? The horse meat scandal has again thrown into focus concerns about what we eat. Consumer outrage has sparked demands for tougher controls on food production and concerns that remove weaknesses in the supply chain could put health at risk. On the other side of the argument are fears that farming and the food industry are already over-regulated in Europe, and that, in particular, restrictions on the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are an economic liability. Going into the 2014 election campaign, Europeans will have to decide whether uncertainty over the health and environmental implications justify continued EU restrictions on the use of biotech - as Greenpeace advocates, with its bid to secure 1.5 million signatures in support of a moratorium on GM crops - or whether GMOs represent a safe solution to feeding the world’s growing population (and an a evermore lucrative market that Europe’s farmers need to be a part of). Jonna from Sweden went to the heart of the issue in one of Debating Europe’s special student-led online debates. She asked whether farmers in her country can be competitive in international markets given Sweden’s strict policies on GMO products. Petri Sarvamaa, a European People’s Party MEP from neighbouring Finland, thought the Swedes are on the right track:

“Of course, we need to have bulk production to produce enough food for the market, but having a strategic emphasis on things like organic food, clean food and local produce will also earn good money for the producers. So, I think Sweden is going to compete just fine, and I hope some other countries will follow their lead. When we asked, back in May 2012, whether Europe should ban genetically modified foods, there was massive response - mostly in favour of tighter restrictions. Rebecca wrote in from Germany:

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GM crops are absolutely catastrophic in the long run for the environment. One needs only to learn a little bit about ecology and how ecosystems work to know that interference of such a size in the environment can have devastating consequences.”


Kurt from Germany disagreed:

Well, even Mother Nature modifies food genetically. It could be a chance for poor countries, if [crops] can grow without being eaten by insects…” However, commenter Linda insisted:

GM food is ruining agriculture and causing huge health problems in both people and animals.”

Growth Green Europe Tech global Future That drew a video response from Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder:

“I think we’re right to be cautious about genetically modified foods, but I don’t think the evidence there is that it’s making people unhealthy or poisoning people. I think the problem with genetically modified foods is that it’s all under one label, and every farm animal and every farm crop now is genetically modified from where it was a couple of hundred years ago. Green MEP Bas Eickhout also picked up on Linda’s comment:

“The direct link between GM food and health is still under investigation, so in that sense people who say ‘it is bad for health’ should maybe have a far more nuanced view. But what’s far more worrying is that it’s giving a monopoly position to the food industry as it takes over the whole market. From Portugal, Vicente was one of many who saw biotech crops as increasing an already unhealthy control over the food chain by big multinational companies:

Genetically modified food is only a problem because behind them are Dow Chemical and other big corporations that could tie-up farmers to them. If genetically modified foods did not have patents and were free for all, I would not have a problem at all.” Kali wrote in from the United States to insist that, whatever decision is taken on GMOs, such products must be clearly labelled so consumers can choose whether to eat them or not:

I’m old enough that I remember scientists telling us that there was no health risk from smoking cigarettes... Everything should be appropriately labelled so we can choose; until then, stick to organics, and fight to keep organic food standards tough.” Dutch Labour Party MEP Judith Merkies agreed:

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“As soon as we discover new health risks, we should immediately attend to it, and we should indeed try to label everything as truthfully as possible. We must be critical and not believe all the dreams that we are usually exposed to by all kinds of advertorials about nano or bio or everything new.


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TECH Europe


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TECH Europe If Europe wants to stay globally competitive, it needs to invest and innovate.

The steady decline of Europe’s share of global R&D spending is set to continue this year; dropping to just 23.4 percent according to annual forecasts by industry analysts Battelle and R&D Magazine, compared to a figure of 24.6 percent in 2011. The US share has also fallen, but at a slower rate, and it continues to top world spending with 33.8 percent of the global total in 2013. Meanwhile, China’s slice of global R&D investments has increased by a percentage point in each of the past three years, and stands at 14.7 percent in 2013. A decade ago, the EU set itself the target of spending 3 percent of GDP on R&D investment by 2010. It failed, and for the past three years the figure has been stuck at less than 1.9 percent. That 3 percent target is now back on the agenda, however, reset for the end of the current decade and boosted by the “Horizon

2020” programme, covering EU research spending over the next seven years. Unfortunately, those ambitions are already in doubt as economic hard times cut into national research spending. In addition, February’s summit decision to limit the EU’s budgetary framework will likely see a cut in Horizon 2020 funding from the €80 billion proposed by the European Commission (and the €100 billion sought by many within the European Parliament), down to roughly €70 billion. With public funding under pressure, there are mounting calls for Europe to do more to spur private investment in innovation. Many will be hoping the agreement on a single EU patent system in December will help, despite the decision by Italy and Spain to stay out. Debating Europe’s “Tech Europe” channel questioned why Europe remains an ICT laggard, and looked to the future to see where the EU can find new technological innovation. Debates also raised the vexed questions of Internet regulation and cyber security, examined the growing influence of social media on politics and looked at health technology and its implications for Europe’s healthcare systems.

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Few would disagree that developing an innovative technology sector in Europe is key both for economic recovery and for securing a competitive long-term future. There’s growing evidence, however, that Europe is being left behind in the global tech race.


Growth Green Tech Europe global Future Funding the Future Europe’s total research investment rose 50 percent in real terms between 1995 and 2008. Good news perhaps, were it not for the fact that, over the same period, the United States boosted research investment by 60 percent; Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan by 75 percent; Brazil, India, Russia and South Africa by 145 percent; and China by a staggering 855 percent. In the private sector, businesses in Japan or South Korea invest twice as much in R&D as their European competitors. Business R&D in China has been growing 30 times faster over the past decade. European businesses complain of lack of access to venture capital, too much red tape and high costs. According to European Commission figures a small business faces a legal bill of €168,000 to get patent protection in all 27 members of the EU single market. Equivalent costs in the US are about €4,000. Peter from Belgium summed up the feelings of many with this contribution to our February 2013 debate on why Europe isn’t a global ICT leader:

Europe urgently needs to be a truly open internal market and reduce the red tape for SMEs. Give the EU parliament the mandate and slim down the institutions. In doing so, austerity will be compensated by growth. If half the SMEs would employ one person, there would be no unemployed.” In a Facebook contribution, Ana from Portugal added:

Reducing the amount of bureaucracy that is required will definitely cause a huge impact. This will motivate young people to take the risks.” 10COMM, an independent initiative set up to empower and protect EU citizens in the digital world, sent in a comment via Twitter, asking why Europe lacked ICT presence and visibility. Debating Europe took this question to Craig Mundie, then Chief Research and Strategy Officer at Microsoft:

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“One of the challenges in Europe is to get to people who are prepared to take the risks on the economic investment side and the risks in terms of personal creativity to put together things that the world wants, that are big. For some reason, Europe seems to be hedging a little bit more than Americans have over the past decade.


Growth Green Tech Europe global Future Web control In July 2012, The European Parliament voted to reject the global Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, which was designed to fight intellectual property theft by cracking down on fake consumer goods and medicines, and pirated music and software. The debate focused on the digital battlefield between those seeking to regulate the Internet and those fearing the heavy hand of censorship and infringements of online freedoms. Debating Europe examined the various arguments over the course of the year, looking at issues ranging from how to protect children on the Internet, to safeguarding the rights of artists from online piracy, to the challenges posed by “hacktivism” and the limits of data protection. Writing from Romania, Limbidis was clear in his opposition to any hint of a Big Brother on the web:

No, no, no! The internet is a ‘no man’s land’. That’s its purpose. If we start imposing regulations even there, people won’t be able to express themselves freely… No ACTA, no control or regulations, nothing.” Jan Albrecht, a German Green MEP who works closely on digital rights and regulation and campaigned against ACTA, warned that this view was a bit too simplistic, but he agreed that care had to be taken to ensure that rules for the Internet are developed democratically:

“We don’t want to diminish freedom of expression and freedom of information; we don’t want to kill the spirit that came in with the digital age; that is the possibility of people all around the world to connect and to act ... this is of course a strong weapon against repression and against monopolies. After interviews with over 500 politicians, academics, journalists, civil servants and business leaders, Debating Europe put a rock star in the spotlight for the first time in July 2012, when Nick Mason, Pink Floyd drummer and co-chairman of the Featured Artists’ Coalition, joined our ACTA debate.

It looks like those days are now behind us thanks to even more advanced technology. No amount of legislation will change this – it is literally impossible to turn this tide unless you introduce constant surveillance.” Nick Mason agreed that the industry must adapt to a changing landscape, but said there has to be a way to protect musicians from piracy:

“I’m afraid that everyone thinks that if someone is in the newspapers and is in a rock band, they’re a multi-millionaire and they’ve got too much money already. Whereas, actually, there’s a big problem; for younger musicians in particular, it’s almost impossible to make a living ... there has to be a way of reminding people that the music they love is made by people that need to earn a living.

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Jesper from Sweden argued that the music industry had to recognize that the time was up for the business model that had sustained it over the past 70 years:


Growth Green Tech Europe global Future Ana-Maria writing from Brussels said the threat from cyber-crime, and in particular online identity theft, means that better policing of the web is required:

We should have a division in every government that deals with legal issues [arising] through the Internet.” In a video reply, Jason Healey, Director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative of the Atlantic Council, said Ana-Maria was on the right track. While most countries already have such an office, more needs to be done to boost international cooperation in the fight against cyber-crime:

“We really need some capacity development ... A lot of these countries just don’t have some of the basic things that they need to be able to prosecute cyber-crime.

On the other hand, Nikolai, a blogger from Ukraine, said regulators needed to let grown-up Internet users look after themselves:

I am an adult and do not need nannying by legislators who probably know far less than I do about the Internet.” The day after EU Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, signed a joint declaration on protecting children online with US Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, Debating Europe put Nikolai’s question to Stephen Collins, Microsoft’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Europe, the Middle East and Africa:

“We need to think about vulnerable people in society; people who don’t have emotional maturity, such as children; perhaps people with mental disabilities also need support; old people, infirm people, who haven’t grown up with the Internet, they also need to be protected in a certain way. As part of the Debating Europe Schools initiative, Nikolas, a student from the Arsakeio Lykeio in Thessaloniki, Greece, was able to send in a video question to Dutch Liberal MEP Marietje Schaake, who steered a motion on digital freedom through the European Parliament last year.

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Nikolas asked:


How is the European Union going to tackle the issue of increasing hacktivism, and to ensure cyber-security for its citizens?” Marietje Schaake pointed out that some hackers do positive work highlighting vulnerabilities in online systems and helping protect citizens from flaws.

“I think there are good hackers and I think there are also some criminal hackers, and we have to deal with them proportionally and within the law ...respecting the rule of law is key in our democracies in Europe and it should be the same when it comes to the online environment.

Growth Green Tech Europe global Future Technology for Health Healthcare in many countries is in crisis as shrinking budgets call into question the survival of Europe’s cherished models of universal care. Health spending in Greece has fallen 13 percent since 2009. In Italy, cuts of €8 billion are planned over the next two years and the OECD warns spending has ground to a halt across Europe. Against this grim backdrop, some are putting their hopes in technology, arguing that more money should be invested in developing advances in prevention, treatment and analysis that could cut costs while giving patients better care. In July 2012, we asked if Europe could still afford its healthcare model. David, writing from Belgium, argued a broad-based approach is needed:

Concentrating on that small part of the population with access to medical technology overlooks the real risk in the system that starts in the doctor’s office.” This comment brought a response from Paola Testori Coggi, Director General for Health and Consumers at the European Commission, who pointed out that member states with a health system based on family doctors, who advise and decide when patients should go for more specialised care, generally have lower costs.

“So, for sure, the first interface between patients and the health system should be the family doctor, and the specialised care should arrive in a second instance.

Eric from the United States also raised concerns about the risks of inequalities arising from over-dependence on high-tech medicine:

There is a natural tendency for companies to focus on those technologies that can be marketed to those who can best pay for them. Do we think that personalised medicine will really benefit everyone?”

“Where technology comes in is that we have to make clever investment choices. We have to invest in primary care and prevention, so we have to forget the traditional hospital-based model.

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Hungary’s Minister of State for Healthcare, Dr. Miklós Szócska, replied that technology can give health services more efficient options as they face the challenges of an ageing society:


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global Europe


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global Europe Despite high-profile blunders, Europe’s ‘soft power’ approach can be credited with some impressive achievements.

Yet there have been foreign policy successes. The European External Action Service (EEAS) has overcome many of its teething problems and is starting to work effectively. The EU has been at the forefront of efforts to support Burma’s transition from military dictatorship; the dialogue with China is yielding concrete results in areas such as urbanization and

environment; and EU soldiers did eventually deploy to West Africa to train Malian troops. The EU’s most impressive achievements, however, have come closer to home. In the Western Balkans, Croatia is now set to become the Union’s 28th member on July 1 and, after years of deadlock, an EU-negotiated agreement has set Serbia and Kosovo on the path to normalized relations and possible EU membership. There are also signs of progress in trade with the planned opening of talks towards a free trade zone with the United States and, despite the economic pressure on development budgets, the EU remains the world’s biggest aid donor.

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The eurozone crisis has weakened the European Union’s reputation on the global stage and left it open to accusations of being too preoccupied with its own internal problems. The EU has faced criticism over its inability to stop the violence in Syria, for failing to sufficiently engage with the emerging powers of Asia and, initially, for leaving France to go it alone in Mali.


Growth Green Tech global Europe Future Ever larger? Despite the EU’s problems, membership of the Union remains a powerful draw for the nations of the Western Balkans. The past year has seen Croatia overcome remaining issues surrounding its EU ambitions. April’s agreement between Serbia and Kosovo showed how the incentive of EU membership can promote regional stability. The issue of EU enlargement has been a hot topic on Debating Europe over the past 12 months, with hundreds of comments pouring in on issues ranging from the benefits and pitfalls of membership, to the wisdom of expanding the Union in a time of crisis and the vexed question of Macedonia’s name and status. In our video debate with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, Shan in Belgium wanted to know if “with the all issues the EU is facing right now - the concerns and doubts - is the EU still looking at enlargement in the near future?” President Van Rompuy had no doubts:

“Many countries in Europe still want to join us! So, the European Union is still ‘sexy’, if I can say so. We have pledged that those European states wishing to join could do so, providing, of course, they fulfil all the criteria for membership. So, yes, EU enlargement continues. Seen from the other side, however, does membership of a crisis-bound EU still hold the same attraction? Nikolai from Ukraine wondered if the candidates should be having second thoughts:

I would think that potential members will sit back and see what the EU is going to morph into before kicking down the door and formally requesting accession talks… What was attractive about the EU may no longer be attractive once the structural changes that are deemed necessary have occurred.” We put Nikolai’s question to Zoran Milanović, Prime Minister of Croatia:

“We have calculated our interests in joining the EU. As a matter of fact, if you ask me, it should have happened years ago, but it was not to be because we had a war and we had a long adjustment process. So, the EU is a good deal.

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Miroslav Lajčák, Slovakia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and former EU special representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina, also took issue with Nikolai:


“The European Union is still the most advanced grouping of countries, with the highest standards of democracy, of protection of human rights, of achieving economic and social standards, and this is not going to change.

Growth Green Tech global Europe Future Florian from Romania suggested the European Union needs time to get over the crisis and focus on strengthening integration among existing members before it considers taking on more countries:

The priority now is a deepening of the [European Union], not its enlargement… I am sure political leaders in the Western Balkans understand the EU’s current predicament and that they have the patience and determination to stay the integration course, even if that might entail a ten-year delay regarding their aspirations.” Not surprisingly, he found no agreement from Zoran Stavreski, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Stavreski argued that absorbing the nations of his region was well within the EU’s capacity:

“The Western Balkans is a very small area, and in terms of population it wouldn’t affect the reforms the EU needs to do. But, for the region, it is important to have a clear path towards Europe.

Approaching the question from a different angle, Ari in Finland wondered if the countries of the Western Balkans should be broadening their horizons beyond the narrow focus on EU integration:

[The Western Balkan countries] should not put all of their eggs in the same basket ... Economic cooperation with Russia and other BRIC countries can create real development on the ground, instead [of] slow development at the EU’s negotiation tables.” Bosnia’s Minister for Energy, Mining and Industry, Erdal Trhulj, said his country was certainly open to wider cooperation, but Europe had to be the priority:

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“Our first neighbour is Europe, and we have to cooperate ... cooperation should be the base to avoid any conflict in future, but, we must first cooperate with our neighbours and then we can cooperate with others.


Growth Green Tech global Europe Future Atlantic Crossing Early in 2012, commenters on Debating Europe were concerned about the possible consequences of President Barack Obama’s “pivot” to the Pacific. Many were worried the United States was turning its back on Europe, or that the EU risked being left behind as Washington developed its economic and political ties with the Far East. However, that didn’t stop most Europeans rooting for Obama in October’s presidential election. A poll carried out in seven European countries showed 90 percent backed him to stay in the White House. By the spring of 2013, talks were getting underway for an EU-US agreement to create the world’s biggest free trade zone. Supporters say a deal could inject $200 billion a year into economies on both sides of the Atlantic. There are serious hurdles however - from farming to culture and defence. The EU-US free trade talks also came up in Debating Europe’s head-to-head video debate between British MEP Sir Graham Watson, President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, and former Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev, President of the Party of European Socialists.

Agnes from Romania asked both men about the chances of concluding a Transatlantic FTA.

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Graham Watson acknowledged the complexities of striking such a deal, but was confident the benefits outweighed any risks:


“It is true that we have some disagreements in trade, over genetically-modified foods, for example, or over some growth hormones used in the raising of cattle. But the number of areas where we disagree is tiny compared to the number of areas where we could agree. Sergei Stanishev agreed that the FTA could bring major benefits for both sides, but insisted Europe would have to protect its interests in the negotiations:

“It’s a very delicate balance where definitely our interests should be defended. Otherwise, it’s a good thing, because every nation in Europe benefitted a lot from our common market, and if we could extend the trade to the United States, that would be something very positive for our economies.

Growth Green Tech global Europe Future Development dynamics The European Union is proud of its claim to be the world’s biggest donor of development aid. Combined annual development spending from the European Commission and EU member states tops €53 billion, which is more than half the world’s total. However, with many people now suffering hardship in crisis-hit European countries, citizens are starting to ask whether the EU can afford to spend so much overseas. There are also questions about who is getting the aid - in particular whether too much is going to middle income countries in Asia, Latin America or Eastern Europe, or even fast-growing African nations such as Angola or Ghana. Writing in from Austria, Joerg acknowledged that Europe had a historic responsibility to help developing countries, but he said there should be more discussion about which specific countries need European support. Andris Piebalgs, the European Commissioner for Development, answered Joerg through a video debate run by Debating Europe in June 2012. He replied that the EU was already reviewing where it sends aid, but he also insisted that development spending must be maintained:

“We should agree substantially to deliver what we have promised to the people of the developing countries. It would be roughly 1 percent of the EU budget to support the world’s poorest people. Sometimes people believe it’s a lot of money, [but] compared with [internal] European solidarity, it’s a really small part of it. Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation, Gunilla Carlsson, also took up Joerg’s point:

“The question is: where can European development assistance provide the most added value? ... We now need to target our development assistance much more clearly at conflict or postconflict situations where there is no state to support people.

Can you please explain why our European leaders feel they should be sending aid to countries outside Europe when those in Europe are already starving?” Gunilla Carlsson agreed that debt-stricken eurozone nations need solidarity to help them with much-needed reforms. However she said it was in Europe’s interests to help developing countries grow towards prosperity and stability:

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A question from Catherine in the UK went to the heart of the debate on the impact of the eurozone’s recession on aid:


Growth Green Tech global Europe Future “It’s also important for Europe and its citizens to understand that we cannot just isolate ourselves from problems happening in other parts of the world. Political oppression and resource scarcity, severe droughts, famine, war and conflict happen really in our own neighbourhood, in the Middle East and Africa, and this has an impact on Europe. During the European Development Days event in October, Debating Europe secured video responses from participants to dozens of questions posed by contributors on issues ranging from food security, to supporting small business and the impact of bio-fuel production. William from the US underscored the importance of helping people to help themselves:

Real food security must find credible ways to help people in danger to find ways to plant, grow and consume adequate kinds and amounts of foodstuffs to secure basic health and growth. Local solutions to local problems will achieve more in the long run.” Luis Brites Pereira, Portugal’s State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, agreed. He stressed the need for technology to empower local farmers and local communities so they can become more resilient in difficult times:

“The question hits it right on the nail. Only when you really bring in the local response - and here we’re talking about building in science, building in productivity in agriculture, training farmers, improved seeds, for example, more resistant to certain climate changes, more resistant to certain diseases, are you actually able to improve productivity. Ahead of the EDD, Prof. Evan Lieberman, a Princeton University specialist in African politics and governance, took questions on the effectiveness of aid.

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Josephine in Malta thought that tackling corruption and tax evasion should take priority over attempting to correct developing world inequalities. Prof. Lieberman countered that the two problems could be fought together:


I think building institutions to increase the transparency of government and to prevent corruption is important. But, to think that we can’t try to address the problems of inequality [until there is] a completely fully-functioning government in which all transactions are done honestly? I don’t think we can think about staggering policies and practices in this way.” Migration was another issue that sparked vigorous debate. There were calls for greater solidarity among EU nations in coping with migration flows, particularly since hard-pressed Southern nations are often the first point of entry, and concern that plans to expand managed migration would lead to a damaging brain-drain from developing nations.

Growth Green Tech global Europe Future As part of Debating Europe Schools, Christoffer from Sweden asked:

There are many thousands of illegal migrants residing in Europe. People whose illegal entry across the European border make it practically impossible for them to lead a decent life. What measures are being discussed to remedy this situation?” German Christian Democrat MEP Manfred Weber replied that Europe needs migration, but it must be managed.

“There is a need to have a more open Europe, because we need migration for the future of the European Union, economically, culturally and socially. So, I am asking on the European level for clear border controls; for these people who do not have access, then we must say: ‘Sorry, you have no access, you must stay outside.’ But, on the other hand, we must have open legislation where we are open for migrants. Juan from Switzerland warned there was a paradox as Europeans oppose immigration but risk fading away unless a greater effort is made to boost the population:

Europe’s solution to problems is called having more babies, since Europeans seem to oppose immigration almost unanimously and say immigrants are making problems bigger. On the contrary, they’ve helped made them less acute.” In response, William Lacy Swing, Director General of the International Organization for Migration said the negative demographic trend means Europe will become increasingly dependent on migration to fill its labour shortages:

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“Governments and political leaders need to face up to the trends of the time and encourage public education and programmes to prepare the population for large-scale immigration to their countries, which is probably inevitable given demographic trends. Immigration is necessary if the European economy is to thrive, but it’s also desirable: migrants bring a catalytic element to societies, encourage innovation, and they sometimes have a better work ethic than the native population.


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future Europe


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future Europe In early 2013, Europe’s future was looking decidedly shaky.

The decline was most marked among the French, whose backing for the EU fell by 19 percent to just 41 percent, a level below even the staunchly eurosceptic British. Among Greeks and Italians, barely one-in-ten believe European integration has strengthened their countries’ economies. Can a brighter future be rescued from this pessimistic turn? European leaders have made several high-profile attempts to rekindle enthusiasm for the EU project, but it will be an uphill struggle with such a crisis-weary public. British Prime Minister David Cameron says he has a vision for Europe. He wants a looser union, with power handed back to national

capitals - and in January 2013 he raised the prospect of a British exit if this doesn’t happen. In stark contrast, EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso has said his vision for the future of Europe is a “federation of nation states.” French President François Hollande has called for “economic government” in the eurozone. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s vision is a “political union” with stronger central institutions. Throughout the year, Debating Europe has been putting citizens’ questions about the future of Europe to policy-makers and opinionformers. Our debates have ranged from big picture questions on the shape of the European institutions, to the prospect of one or more countries leaving the EU and more focused discussions on the future of education, religion, media and gender relations.

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In just one crisis-ridden year, support for the European Union fell by 15 percent, according to the Pew Research Centre’s annual opinion survey.


Growth Green Tech global Future Europe Where do we go from here? Young people across Europe, surveyed by the European Parliament and the EU’s Economic and Social Committee over a year-and-a-half, came up with five clear ideas for a better Europe: 1) The creation of a true European political union with a directly elected EU president 2) A European public employment service. 3) Standardisation of human, social, civil, political and economic rights in all EU member states. 4) Greater European involvement in education, including a European degree course. 5) The creation of a European public sphere including an EU-wide public service broadcaster. Pedro in Portugal put it this way:

Europe can only survive with solidarity, subsidiarity, unanimity, community loyalty, parity between the parties - then [it will] become a real community.” Debating Europe’s contributors have their own ideas on the direction Europe needs to take, however. In October, we put citizens’ questions to Italy’s then-Prime Minister, Mario Monti. Lluís in Spain wanted to know how the premier saw the EU 10 years from now:

Do you think we will have a stronger, more united and more competitive European Union? Or, will we face the beginning of a European dis-union?” Prime Minister Monti was optimistic:

“I see the EU in 10 years in a better place than now … I think the EU will be more adult and hopefully it would have gone successfully through its adolescent crisis.

Writing from the Netherlands, Sakis asked Herman Van Rompuy how he saw Europe in 2023. In reply, the European Council president said he was working to ensure the EU comes out of the current crisis stronger and with more jobs and growth, but he warned there are long-term problems ahead:

Debating Europe | Report 2013

History tells us that nobody can predict what challenges the future will bring. Still, we know that Europeans will become older, and the rest of the world economically stronger.”


We also put Sakis’ question to the then Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas, who underscored the importance of keeping the EU’s doors open to new members, reaffirming its core values and fully exploiting the economic power that lies in being the world’s largest single market.

Growth Green Tech global Future Europe “We see the benefit of belonging to a community that treasures respect for fundamental freedoms, rule of law and shares common values.

Franziska from Germany was looking even further ahead. In a video question, she asked:

What should Europe look like in 2050? In what sort of Europe would you want to see your children and your grandchildren grow up?” Roger Helmer, a British MEP from the UK Independence Party (UKIP), saw little room for the EU in his future vision:

“The sort of Europe in which I would feel comfortable would be a Europe which was a free-trade area, in which independent, democratic nations cooperated together.

From Romania via Facebook, Alex wondered how the EU could possibly be expected to overcome the legacy of its troubled past to become a major player on the global scene in such a short space of time:

How could we expect to create a single European superpower after only 50 years, while the countries that compose it have been at odds [for] most of their history?” Belgian Green MEP Philippe Lamberts agreed that a feeling of common interest and common identity cannot be built overnight. He argued that, faced with the challenges of a globalized world, Europe needs to build a democracy that really empowers its citizens:

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“We need a multi-layered democracy - local, regional, national and European - and we need it because, as citizens, we want to regain sovereignty. We lost our sovereignty, to some extent, to the markets


Growth Green Tech global Future Europe Time for an institutional makeover? One thing that seems to unite Debating Europe contributors is the conviction that Europe’s institutions need reform. Some demand more democracy through increased powers to the European Parliament, a directly elected EU president or decision-making handed back to national capitals. Others seek clarification and simplification of the policy-setting process that many view as opaque and ill-adapted to handle today’s fast-moving economic events. But in a time of crisis, there are doubts as to whether the EU can allow itself the luxury of another bout of treaty tinkering - particularly given the divisions among governments (and citizens) over the shape of a new EU institutional overhaul. When we asked if it was time to reconsider a European Constitution, some were enthusiastic, like the Europe Europa Facebook page:

A good Europe is a Europe made by citizens who are aware that political union is the best insurance of their liberties.” Others, like Juan from Switzerland, were decidedly sceptical:

Spare us your United States of Europe. Enough damage has been done already, proving the European legislators had no idea about what they were doing when they drafted the first European Constitution.” A video question sent in by Francesco in Italy asked if the EU’s current institutional framework is good enough to cope with the crisis. The reply came from Mari Kiviniemi, former Finnish Prime Minister and current Member of the Finnish Parliament:

Debating Europe | Report 2013

“I don’t think that a new treaty is a solution, nor new institutions. I think that the Lisbon Treaty is a good treaty, and in this framework we are capable of making the decisions needed ... The key question is: are all the countries following the rules?


We also put Francesco’s question to Dominic Hannigan, a Labour Party member of the Irish Parliament and Chairman of its Joint Committee on EU Affairs. He pointed out that mechanisms are already being put in place to make the EU more responsive to the crisis. A new treaty will be inevitable over the long-term, he said, but until then:

“We can make any necessary changes within the existing rules. I think that would be a preferable way forward; but if we do need to make changes, we’ll go back to the people and ask them for their views.

Growth Green Tech global Future Europe Several contributors complained that the European Union had too many presidents and needs a single voice to speak for it, both when reaching out to EU citizens and when acting on the world stage. Brussels-based blogger Craig suggested uniting the presidencies of the Council and the Commission to finally answer Henry Kissinger’s question of who to call when you want to speak to Europe:

The jobs currently held by José Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy [should] be done by one person… it would give the EU a genuine ‘Mr Europe.’ Maroš Šefčovič, EU Commissioner for Inter-Institutional Relations, was sceptical that such a merger would be feasible, given the different natures of the two jobs and the workloads involved:

“I don’t think it could be humanly possible, especially over the last few years, for one person to do both jobs.

While several contributors where enthusiastic about the idea of an elected Commission president, Marco from Portugal had his doubts:

It seems to me that having an elected president would be no more than having a diplomatic representative of the EU.” Italian MEP Gianni Pittella, First Vice-President of the European Parliament, countered that a directly elected head of the Commission could be an important first step toward creating a stronger and more autonomous executive body for the EU:

“If he was elected by millions of citizens, he could really have great strength, and the Commission could really become the government of Europe.

Meanwhile, Ermanno from Italy argued that Europe’s real “democratic deficit” stems from the fact that the European Parliament does not have sufficient powers:

Former Secretary-General of the European Parliament, Julian Priestley, disagreed strongly. He argued that the EP already has broad powers that go beyond those of some national parliaments:

“I fear that, if you give the right of initiative away from the Commission, the body which will seize that initiative will first and foremost be the European Council, and we would unwittingly contribute to the idea that the Commission became more and more the secretariat of the Council.

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The very first step to build a real European democracy is to give to MEPs legislative initiative.”


Growth Green Tech global Future Europe Pietro from Brussels was also concerned that too much power has become concentrated in the hands of national governments, particularly those in the more powerful countries:

In the past few years, we’ve seen a shift toward a situation where a few member states have the strength to shape the decisions and policies implemented in other countries.” We took Pietro’s question to Emma Bonino in October, when she was Vice-President of the Italian Senate (she is now serving as Italy’s Foreign Minister). Faced with the need to build a union that can cope with the challenges raised by the emergence of new powers like India and China, she said member states need to stop playing the blame game in Europe:

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“I don’t think [the large EU member states] are dictating things. I mean, our unbelievable public debt was not dictated by anybody. It’s our fault. The thing is: if you ask money from others, then they want to know how you spend it.


Growth Green Tech global Future Europe Should they stay or should they go? Over the last twelve months, Europe has been preoccupied with the question of break-ups. No sooner had Mario Draghi calmed concerns over a possible Grexit than British Prime Minister David Cameron had raised the prospect of a Brexit, with a pledge to give British voters a referendum on continued EU membership by 2017. Cameron’s call reflects unhappiness over Britain’s relationship with the rest of Europe both within his own Conservative party and the wider electorate, who are voting for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in growing numbers. However a British departure may not be a done deal. Cameron says he’ll argue for the UK to stay in, if the rest of the EU agrees to repatriate some powers back to London. Polls show public opinion can be volatile on the issue, with the Pew Research Center survey in May suggesting the “ins” and “outs” were neck-and-neck. Complicating matters is the prospect that Scotland may secede from the UK before Britain (or what’s left of it) secedes from the EU. Scotland’s independence referendum is scheduled for September 2014 and will be watched with interest in Catalonia and Flanders whose separatist leanings have also been boosted by recent elections. Few issues have generated as much interest on Debating Europe that the prospect of broken unions and new nation states. Our October debate on whether Catalonia should be independent provoked over 500 comments from our readers - a record for the year. Emotions ran high on both sides, and not just in the Iberian peninsula. Kasia wrote in from Belgium:

I can understand the Catalans’ wish for independence… however I think this will cause yet more problems for Spain, Europe and the Eurozone. [Instead of full independence, Catalonia should] encourage a looser federal structure.”

“Our aspiration is to have the same tools and the same powers that other nations of our size have in Europe. For instance, the same tools as Denmark, or the same tools as Austria, or the same tools as Finland.

As for Scotland, Robert from the UK wondered if breaking the union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland would bring true independence:

If the Scots leave, they will have to surrender control of their economy to the Germans, so having even less influence than they do at the moment within the UK.”

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Artur Mas, President of the Government of Catalonia, responded that he didn’t exactly see things that way:


Growth Green Tech global Future Europe Scottish Nationalist Party MEP Alyn Smith was quick to reject that idea:

“That is just rubbish. An independent Scotland will be every bit as independent as Spain, Malta or the Czech Republic. Legal rights are completely distinct. Scotland’s choices are entirely a matter for the Scottish people.

Another contributor from the UK, Phoenix One, took issue with claims Britain would be isolated if it pulls out of the EU.

The UK possesses one of the largest economies in the world. It is in the G8, the OECD, the WTO, the World Bank and the UN Security Council. We are leading members of NATO and of the Commonwealth … The idea that without the EU the UK would be isolated is not just wrong. It is absurd.” For Petros Fassoulas, Chairman of the European Movement UK, that kind of thinking is outdated and Britain needs to realise that it can no longer stand alone in a world where major new powers are emerging:

“We need to stop thinking about where we used to be, and start thinking about where we will be 20 years from now. I can guarantee that the UK will not be a world power in 20 years, not because its importance will have decreased, but because the relative importance of so many other countries is increasing. UKIP leader Nigel Farage took questions from Debating Europe contributors in September. Lee from London wondered what sort of relationship with Europe he might be prepared to accept:

A federation is just as bad as a superstate, [but] a confederation is just about bearable.” Mr. Farage was not convinced:

Debating Europe | Report 2013

“We need national sovereignty – otherwise, we cannot have democracy; and we need transparent diplomacy, voluntary cooperation and free-trade agreements between nations in order to foster prosperity and peace.


Growth Green Tech global Future Europe In search of an identity It’s often said that one of the weakness of the European integration project is its failure to mould a common identity; a European demos where citizens from the Azores to Estonia feel part of the same whole, with a shared culture and shared interests. As it is, Europeans vote for different politicians usually based on national issues, they cheer for different sports teams (except in the Ryder Cup), and watch different movies and TV shows (though Hollywood’s output is enjoyed almost everywhere). Debating Europe has questioned the idea of European identity, asking if the continent is ready for more pan-European media, whether education can play a part in bringing peoples together, and how Europeans can do more to understand each other. In our Debating Europe Schools project, designed to give the young a chance to put policy makers on the spot, Thanasis from Thessaloniki came straight to the point:

What is the European Union doing in order for young students to come to fully realise their European identity?” Heinz K. Becker, a European People’s Party MEP from Austria, acknowledged not enough was being done to promote European citizenship.

“More than a little responsibility lies with the governments of member states. They do not support our European strategy strongly enough.

Another of our school contributors, Victoria from Aarhus, wondered if language wasn’t the problem:

How are you going to get Europeans to speak to each other better?” Finnish Green MEP Satu Hassi cautioned against any attempt to homogenise language. She emphasised the importance of preserving Europe’s diverse linguistic heritage:

The Erasmus Program, which has given over 3 million students the chance to study outside their homelands, has been hailed as a major contribution to fostering pan-European understanding. But Elena, from Italy, wondered if it couldn’t be expanded:

I think EU leaders and academics should discuss new ways of internationalizing universities not just through student mobility but also by teacher mobility.”

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“I haven’t seen any major problems in the way we are communicating now. Most of us are speaking bad English in the European Parliament, and that works quite well.


Growth Green Tech global Future Europe Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, was happy to answer Elena’s concerns:

“Elena is right and that is why in the new programme - ‘Erasmus for All’ - we are hoping to give the chance to almost 1 million teachers, trainers or youth workers to be trained or to offer their services abroad.

Paul from France left a video comment on Debating Europe, arguing that the lack of strong personalities is holding Europe back. Today’s politicians, he argued, just don’t live up to De Gasperi, Adenauer, Schuman, Monnet and others whose vision laid the foundations of the EU:

Why don’t we have politicians of the stature we had in the 1940s, who understand the gravity of the times?” Finnish Green MEP Tarja Cronberg was not convinced, however, that charismatic leaders were the right answer to Europe’s problems:

Debating Europe | Report 2013

“Times are different [and] democracy requires different kinds of leaders. I think we have to accept that everybody has responsibility and we are doing things together. And this means that maybe we don’t need the ‘strong men’ to lead us.



Debating Europe | Report 2013

debating europe Schools

Schools Young people are the future of our democracy, and so it is vitally important that they take an active interest in politics.

and learn more about the work of the EU, particularly in the run-up to the 2014 European Parliament elections.

With that in mind, Debating Europe worked closely with schools and colleges from across the EU to launch a series of student-led online debates under the banner “Debating Europe Schools�.

Educational institutions from Greece, Denmark, Bulgaria, Sweden, Spain, Belgium, Italy, the UK, Romania and Malta asked their students to submit questions in advance of the debate, either in writing, video or Skype. These were then put to relevant policymakers for their answers, which were posted online for participating students, as well as Debating Europe’s usual users, to further debate.

Debating Europe | Report 2013

We opened a new section on our platform, specifically designed to give students the chance to question policymakers, debate with fellow students from other European countries,



Events From November 2012 to June 2013, Debating Europe held a series of live debates, streamed online, drawing on the most innovative and interesting suggestions emerging from the online discussions.

1. European Commission’s Citizens’ Dialogues

June 30, 2013; June 7, 2013 & May 4, 2013 Debating Europe covered a series of townhall-style debates organised by the European Commission, as part of the European Year of Citizens 2013. The events, held in various towns and cities across Europe, gathered an audience of citizens together with EU Commissioners to discuss the future of Europe.

June 25, 2013 In June 2013, Debating Europe, along with our partner think tank Friends of Europe, held a high-level summit during which EU and African policy-makers reviewed ways in which the EU could encourage Africa’s sustainable development by crafting a new vision for future cooperation. Debating Europe collected video questions from young people from both Europe and Africa, displaying them at the summit itself and asking the speakers to respond.

Debating Europe | Report 2013

2. Africa’s economic transformation



3. Cleaner air for Europe’s youth

June 6, 2013 In June 2013 Debating Europe organised a student-led session as part of the official programme of the European Commission’s 2013 Green Week. The session involved pre-recorded video questions about air quality from students from across Europe, put to a high-level panel of experts. There were also live questions from an audience also comprised of European school children. The primary purpose of the session was to improve the confidence, knowledge and skills of Europe’s school children, helping them understand the importance of air quality, how it is affected, the role of the EU, and, ultimately, to empower them to change their behaviour.

Image courtesy: EEA

4. Saving Europe’s “Lost Generation”

May 15, 2013 In May 2013, Debating Europe, in partnership with our partner think tank Friends of Europe, held a high-level Policy Summit that brought together a varied panel of experts to discuss Europe’s high levels of youth unemployment. Speakers included Androulla Vassiliou, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism & Youth; Ruairí Quinn, Irish Minister for Education and Skills; and Mariana Câmpeanu, Romanian Minister for Labour, Family and Social Protection.

Debating Europe | Report 2013

5. Healthcare in times of austerity: Boosting cost-effective prevention


May 7, 2013 In May 2012, Debating Europe, along with our partner think tank Friends of Europe, held an event looking at whether, with public budgets under pressure, Europe’s healthcare spending model should be re-shaped to boost prevention and reduce the social and economic costs of diseases.


6. “Round Table with Round Cakes” special intern-only events

May 2, 2013 & December 12, 2012 Debating Europe partnered with the United Nations Environment Programme and the European Youth Press for the “Round Table with Round Cakes” series of events bringing together people-who-have-made-it with people-who-are-starting-out to discuss pressing global issues that will frame the career opportunities for young professionals. The two events held so far hosted Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, and Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Environment.

7. “5 Ideas for a Younger Europe” closing event

March 18, 2013 In March 2013, Debating Europe was the official debating partner for the final event of the “5 Ideas for a Younger Europe” joint-initiative of the First Vice-President of the European Parliament, Gianni Pittella, and the then Vice-President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Anna Maria Darmanin. The two senior representatives of EU institutions had been visiting universities across Europe to meet with young people and listen to their ideas for a younger and better Europe, and the top five ideas were selected and submitted to the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee.

March 14, 2013 In March 2013, Debating Europe organised a head-to-head debate in the European Parliament between Sergei Stanishev, former Prime Minister of Bulgaria and leader of the Party of European Socialists, and Sir Graham Watson, British Liberal Democrat MEP and President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party. The debate was organised into three rounds, looking at the economy, foreign policy and European issues generally. In each round, we took citizens’ questions and put them to both men, before publishing the video from the debate online.

Debating Europe | Report 2013

8. Head-to-Head



9. How is social media changing politics?

January 9, 2013 In January 2013, Debating Europe hosted a debate with Adam Conner, Public Policy Manager at Facebook and social media strategist for President Obama’s 2012 election campaign. The debate offered an opportunity to hear about his experience and to discuss the role of social media in politics.

10. Destination Europe: Catalonia’s EU Future November 7, 2012

Debating Europe | Report 2013

In November 2012, Debating Europe, along with our partner think tank Friends of Europe, held a Policy Spotlight discussion with Artur Mas, President of the Government of Catalonia. Having made headlines in Europe and beyond for his plans to hold a referendum on independence from Spain, President Mas spoke on Catalonia’s future in the European Union.




Debating Europe | Report 2013

Throughout the year, Debating Europe published a series of infographics designed to illustrate key facts related to the issues debated on the platform. These infographics were promoted online, including on popular image-sharing websites, and several were even picked up by national media sites.



Impact Debating Europe has received coverage from a range of media organisations: from international and European press, to national and specialist media. We have also received attention from the blogosphere and on social media (including from policymakers we have interviewed, who often promote their interviews to their followers). 17.05.13

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Taloussanomat 30.05.2013



Federal Ministry of Education and Research - Germany 22.05.13

Herman Van Rompuy - Facebook 19.03.13

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ANSA 17.05.13



Jan Philipp Albrecht MEP 30.01.13

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Joseph Daul - Facebook 16.04.13


Party of European Socialists (PES) 15.03.13





The project is co-financed by the European Union in the frame of the European Parliament’s grant programme in the field of communication. The European Parliament was not involved in its preparation and is, in no case, responsible for or bound by the information or opinions expressed in the context of this project. In accordance with applicable law, the authors, interviewed people, publishers or programme broadcasters are solely responsible. The European Parliament can also not be held liable for direct or indirect damage that may result from the implementation of the project.

Debating Europe | Report 2013



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Snapshot Report 2013  

Debating Europe

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