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#4 The Socio-cultural Issue

72nd International Session of the European Youth Parliament — Munich 2013


The Source #4

Editorial Gentle reader, In the last issue, we spoke about the dominant issue in European affairs. Since the crisis, europhiles and eurosceptics alike have used economics to defend or attack the EU. The devastating effects of the economic crisis have been a blow to public opinion towards the EU and European co-operation in general. Of course, these issues are as important as they are complex. But even here at this session they are just one of several dimensions. In this issue, we look at something predates the crisis, the monetary union and even the European Community. Europe is not just a group of geographically close states. For better or for worse, we share cultural and historical ties which have shaped our national societies. In the same way, we in EYP are more than just a group of youths from different countries. Again, for better and for worse we share other common features:

“Politik kann nie Kultur, Kultur aber Politik bestimmen” political interest is the most obvious. Enthusiasm and openness we hope for. But what else? The journalists of the Source took a survey of all 220 odd delegates at this session, in the hopes of learning what else we share or don’t. Tonight’s concert will be my 7th Euroconcert. Admittedly, the performances tend to grow similar with time, but I still look forward to each one as a real highlight of the overwhelming ten days of the session. Not because it’s a break from the politics. On the contrary. Watching 10 musicians perform is a reminder that we are not just politically interested. We’re not just EYPers. We are all people with other hobbies and interests and aspirations. Since I’ve been quoting an awful lot, I have another, this time, fittingly, in German. Theodor Heuss, first president of the Federal Republic of Germany said: “Politics can never determine culture, but culture can determine politics.” I agree. ■ Sophie

Editor: Sophie Hall (CH) Editorial assistants: Oona Kiiskinen (FI) Harm van Leeuwen (NL) Timm Brünjes (DE) Lara Lindlahr Lidiia Zhgyr Erasmus Häggblom Fredrik Hultman Daniels Grinevics Annmarie Kiiskinen Antonia Kerridge Stan van Wingerden

Journalists: (DE) Arriana Yiallourides (CY) (UA) Johanna Fürst (AT) (FI) Mike Whyard (UK) (SE) Amantia Muhedini (AL) (LV) David Meijers (NL) (FI) Christine-Bianca Hanganu (RO) (UK) Love Lyssarides (SE) (NL)

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Contents Socio-cultural issue Arts and humanities in higher education: Oh humanity!

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Don’t stay classy, Munich: Towards a socially diverse EYP

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Resourcing culture: Identity and opinions

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Some other results from the survey

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The resolutions in a nutshell

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Resolution reviews JURI______11 ITRE III__15 CULT______19 ECON______23

11–25

AFCO______12 ITRE I____13 TRAN______14 BUDG______16 AFET II___17 ­ LIBE II___18 LIBE I____20 ­ ITRE II___21 SEDE______22 AFET I____24 ENVI______25

Resource village

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The Source #4

Oh humanity! Funding cuts in higher education in arts and humanities appear to reflect the public opinion that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects are more useful for young Europeans. Is there a real threat to the intellectual heritage and diversity of Europe?

Arts and humanities in higher education

“S

o you’re English, and you study English?” A question I’ve often heard at EYP sessions. I normally make sure I say “literature” so that I don’t sound like too much of an idiot and laugh it off. EYP is a collection of some of the brightest and best young minds in Europe and yet few of the people you meet will be studying arts or humanities at university. It is almost always true that budget cuts which affect education hit arts and humanities firs. In 2010 the University of Arts in London suffered an astonishing 35% cut to their government research funding grant. These cuts, coupled with an increasing focus being placed on STEM subjects in education for all ages, shows that priorities within education have been very strongly influenced by the financial crisis. With member states attempting to lead people into careers that will directly help the global economy; education is clearly the place to start and humanities seem to be considered a more indirect route to financial prosperity. Our own delegates here in Munich were asked in our socio-cultural survey to rank a series of university subjects in by importance and value. The genuinely

What would our delegates like to study? 20

19 15

15

13

10 7

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Politics

Intl relations

life-saving medicine was ranked the most valuable, whilst literature placed dead last. The fact that delegates see literature as less important than subjects like Economics and Law is probably not a shock to anyone reading this, but it was not just last; it was a distant last. Even our delegates see education’s priority as providing their students with concrete use to society rather than a cultural, non-tangible one. Churchill was once asked whether he agreed with the proposal to cut arts funding in favour of the war effort. He replied: “Well then, what are we fighting for?” For young people today, further education appears to have become a conveyor belt into the private sector and cultural preservation is neglected. Of course, education is about increasing individuals’ worth in society; but does an individual’s value depend on their employability? Perhaps some consideration needs to be given to the ‘cultural currency’ that can be gained from studying a humanities subject. ■ MW

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0

Law

Economics

Medicine

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Don’t stay classy, Munich 300 teens in suits waving smartphones, taking notes on Macbooks and photographing each other with fancy SLR cameras. Whoever comes across EYP in the streets of Munich this week, will probably think we are a classy bunch.

Towards a socially diverse EYP

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he EYP prides itself on bringing together young people from all over Europe, creating a diverse session at which many different opinions can be heard. But there is another type of diversity too. On the socio-economic diversity scale, EYP doesn’t score as well. The Source talked to Katie (UK) from LIBE I. “We’re representing a marginal point of view. A huge portion of people with different socio-economic positions is not here. We’re all very intelligent, and we’ve been well prepared. But I don’t think I have better points of view than someone else.” Katie believes that people can learn how to speak more convincingly, and attributes a big part of her delegation’s success in getting selected to the preparation offered by their school. Schools are the level at which EYP starts, and they are crucial in giving delegates the skills to get selected at National Selection Conferences. Katie’s school participates every year, and has a track record of sending out successful delegations. Many schools have this kind of loyal relationship with EYP. The successful schools tend to be elite, rich enough to spend money and time on extracurricular activities. EYP selects participants using criteria that are atypical for debating competitions. ‘EYP spirit’, the ability to socialise and have constructive discussions resulting in consensus are just as important as academic quality. To succeed, a knowledge and understanding of EYP methodology help. These conditions favour experienced schools and make it tough for new, less privileged, schools to be successful.

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“We’re representing a marginal point of view”

We need to make EYP not just culturally, but also socially diverse. This is where you, dear delegates, have an important part to play. You are the perfect ambassadors to explain EYP to participants from new schools. When you get back home, tell your friends at other schools about EYP. Get involved in your national committee and reach out to more schools. Give them the inside knowledge they need so these new schools have a fairer chance of beating the established ones. With your help, we can make EYP truly diverse. ■ DM

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The Source #4

Resourcing culture

Identity and opinions

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ulture is something that is often considered intangible, hard to grasp. Yet it is also generally named a very important part of modern society – culture defines us. It is through culture that we find our identity and our place in the world. That is particularly important for us Europeans due to the heterogeneous cultural landscape that has been part of our lives for generations. While a variety of culture is enriching, it can also make strong national or regional identity difficult to achieve. It is in this balance that Europe finds its feet. In this niche, it is necessary to find a balance between two aspects, universal and specific culture. In a European context, European culture can be considered the universal aspect, while specific culture represents national differences. Crucially for this session, both can be considered a resource. Although universal culture provides unity in a splintered world, specific culture offers tradition and innovation. As a resource, many consider culture potentially crucial in today’s Europe. David Soled (BUDG): “Culture is a very important resource, since it allows you to get to know other people and cultures. EYP in particular allows an avenue for this, since we are able to discuss far more broadly here than I, at least, could back home.” Almost all delegates who filled out our socio-cultural survey said that they consider culture either a very important or fairly important resource in today’s

How important is culture as a resource? Very unimportant Fairly unimportant

Fairly important

How many languages should be taught at school? None More

Three

One

Two

Europe. On the other hand, only just over 50% considered a strong European identity as more important than a strong national identity. This demonstrates that both European and national identity are seen as important at this session. One area in which the concrete impact of culture as a resource can be seen – apart from abstract idealism – is language. The diverse linguistic landscape of Europe has resulted in multilingualism slowly becoming not so much a luxury as a given. In turn, even speaking two languages fluently has been shown to have a positive impact on literacy rates and educational performance. In this way, culture has a symbiotic relationship with education. Ewoud Nysingh (JURI): “These days, you cannot really manage without knowledge of English, so it should be mandatory in schools. However, it should be possible to study other languages in addition.” ■ EH

Very important

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Some other results 1st gen. other

2nd gen. 3rd gen.

Which languages do delegates think should be used in EYP? More English, German and French

born in home country

What is the migration history of our delegates?

English English and French

French

More asylum seekers

Should your home countries accept more or fewer asylum seekers than they do now?

Policy is good as it is

Less Asylum seekers

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The Source #4

Committee on Foreign affairs I The trilateral relationship between Europe, Africa and China should promote sharing of resources and increased respect for human rights. Considering China’s rise in terms of economic prowess and resource acquisition, develop a common European stance regarding China’s position in Africa. Support Africa in their drive to obtain economic growth while strengthening international relations and humanitarian standards.

Committee on Constitutional Affairs Rather than choosing between a United States of Europe and Europe à la carte, enact structural changes within the EU’s governance structure. To counter fundamental common problems, such as a democratic deficit and unstable economies, create an EU fiscal union and a bicameral European Parliament that carries all legislative power.

Committee on Economic and Budgetary Affairs Create a single supervisory mechanism (SSM) for the financial sector. Encourage further steps towards a European banking union (EBU) with central supervision of systemically important banks by the European Central Bank. Establish a common bank resolution mechanism (CBRM) to save failed banks that are of great systemic relevance.

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In a The resolutions in

Committee on Foreign affairs II Military conflicts and human rights abuses caused by unsafe extraction of resources in poor countries lead to many deaths and environmental damage. Guarantee sustainable and conflict-free imports of resources into the EU through compulsory certification of importing companies; increasing awareness on the topic; strengthening international legislation in trade and extraction; continuous knowledge exchange; and involving NGOs as active participants.

Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety To ensure that everyone across the EU has access to safe drinking water, create a well-coordinated system that to develop the Water Framework Directive and improve water management. Do not privatise water supply. Rather, ensure a basic quantity of drinking water to everyone at low a price. Prevent overuse by increasing price exponentially once this basic quantity is exceeded.

These three pages aren’t a resolution booklet. They don’t come over for the next two days. But a good resolution is not just conclear position. These summaries provide a brief overview of the these are the soul of your session.

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nutshell under sixty words

Committee on Industry, Research and Energy II Recent industrial downturns in Europe call for action to address its global competitiveness. Europe prides itself on high knowledge levels and high-quality output, but does dot use these strengths to the fullest. Focus on these assets to fulfil Europe’s potential in a globalised economy.

Committee on Industry, Research and Energy I Secure a sustainable energy supply for Europe by completely getting rid of non-renewable energy sources in the long run through: the installation of smart energy grids; a common internal energy market; improved infrastructure and efficiency standards for households. In the short run, focus on securing consistent energy supply and lowering carbon dioxide emissions by temporarily using nuclear power and hydraulic fracturing.

Committee on Security and Defence Appoint an EU High Commissioner for Human Rights to monitor global threats to peace. In response to identified violations, immediately carry out a joint EU military effort known as a mass atrocities response operation (MARO). The EU should take an active role in conflict mediation. Give trade benefits to countries complying with EU recommendations. Establish educational programmes in conflict zones with the aim of long-term peace building.

Committee on Industry, Research and Energy III Develop from the current linear economy to a circular economy. Local resource markets provide a shortterm solution. To ensure long-term economic growth, improve the existing European framework. Improve resource management within the EU through: business incentives for resource efficiency; public awareness campaigns; a tighter production cycle; and the encouragement of innovation and new technologies.

Committee on Legal Affairs To give citizens more influence on law-making, transfer power from indirectly elected bodies to directly elected ones. Give citizens more opportunities to directly and actively shape legislation through: improved citizens’ initiatives; referendums; measures for increased transparency; and citizens’ assemblies.

close to replacing the resolution booklets which you will pore crete, well-researched and creative: a good resolution takes a key decisions from each committee. If brevity is the soul of wit,

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The Source #4

Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs I Harmonise legislation on online privacy and security. Simplify online networking for citizens by streamlining the online consent procedure. Educate citizens on online security and reward companies for responsible practice. Establish a single legislative authority on online security.

Committee on Transport

Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs II

Create and encourage sustainable transport systems in Europe’s cities by enacting changes that work in the long run. Encourage the spread of innovations from cities that are already making great progress, such as congestion charges, cycling schemes, alternative fuels and e-vehicles. Preserve green areas alongside the development of an intelligent European transport system.

The Common Asylum System (CAS) has failed. Europe needs to take a clear stand for inclusion and solidarity. Establish a regulatory agency to translate academic qualifications for migrants in Europe, with the aim of increasing their inclusion on the labour market.

Committee on Culture and Education

Committee on Budgets Spend more on regional differences and increase budgetary flexibility. Decrease regional differences by investing in poor regions. Economically, countries should specialise in what they are best at, instead of every country producing everything. Budgetary flexibility is needed because we need to be able to spend more in the next crisis.

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Education as a means of preserving linguistic diversity while ensuring efficient communication in Brussels. Teach every European English and other non-native languages from a young age to ensure the co-existence of native tongues with English as the lingua franca in the long run. Relying on translations for communication, the EU’s 23 official languages remain working languages at the institutional level.

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RI

Beyond electoral participation

JU

Moving towards institutional changes

What is essential for solving the democratic deficit? There are numerous ways of defining the deficit. But to fully address it, it must be fully understood.

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he Committee on Legal Affairs unfortunately did not immediately see the connection between participation and lack of legitimacy. If the EU was more legitimate in the eyes of the public, electoral participation could be increased, but merely increasing electoral participation does not increase the legitimacy of the EU. However, they was able to move beyond the minor issues, and reach the core of the topic at hand. There are certain institutional flaws that create the democratic deficit. These are connected to the previously mentioned low electoral participation. Low turnout during EU elections can perhaps be addressed through different informational campaigns, while institutional deficits must be handled by changing the structure of the EU. In other words, there are some inherent differences in the two issues. The committee was also efficient by narrowing down its spectrum to legal affairs. Some problems that were discussed were found to be irrelevant from a legal perspective. Those were put aside and instead recommended for the Civil Liberties committee to address, so that the proposing committee could focus on their own area of expertise. This did not only save time, but gave the resolution a more coherent structure. In the last hours of committee work, the committee managed to move further and even dissected the

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The committee’s goal: to give the European Parliament more power compared to the Commission Lisbon Treaty. The committee’s goal was to give the European Parliament more power in relation to the European Commission. They chose very ambitiously to propose changes to the Lisbon Treaty itself. They reached the conclusion that amending clauses 2 and 3 of the treaty would allow the European Parliament to gain a larger role in initiating legislation. As the European Parliament is the only respresentative EU institution, the electorate would thereby have a greater say in the legislation process through that effort. This is innovative for EYP, in the sense that it has rarely happened before that specific amendments in treaties are proposed. Committee work might not have transpired as efficiently as one could have wished in the beginning. But, as soon as the main problem was clarified, the committee moved swiftly through Committee Work and paid great attention to detail, which will be shown in the very specific proposals to amend the Lisbon Treaty. ■FH

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The Source #4

AF

CO

Restructuring the union

Of nations and their citizens

The question the Committee on Constitutional Affairs was faced with can by no means be considered an easy one. Indeed, it is not only value-laden, but also calls for concise decisions. It can either lead in direction of a unified United States of Europe, or completely independent mutual friendship between a number of sovereign states. Considering the hours of heated discussion that preceded their decision, their consensus on the topic will without doubt lead to very opinionated objections during General Assembly.

O

ne of the main turning points within the committee’s debates was their discussion with replacement expert Kerstin Mathias (DE) during Resource Village. An undeniably experienced EYPer and a student of European Governance and Public Policy, she introduced them to the grey zone in between the two poles their question is centred upon and shared with them her opinions on the interdependency of monetary and fiscal unions. As a result, the basis for the committee’s claims was an agreement that the European Union is on a declining branch, and has to be thoroughly reformed in order to counter various problems that have begun to tear it apart. Probably the most controversial of the delegates’ altogether rather unconventional ideas is an entire transformation of the European Parliament towards a bicameral system. This implies having two separate chambers – one of directly elected Parliamentarians that in number represent their amount with-

in the Union – and one made up of one representative per country in order to give equal importance to every member’s national needs. When the committee had to reach their conclusion, they were forced to rapidly agree that this new body shall be the only one to hold legislative power within the constitutional triangle. By the time their resolution will be discussed in General Assembly, they will hopefully have expanded upon the exact consequences this change involves. The same goes for their proposal of a fiscal union for all Eurozone members, which especially the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs might want to have a closer look at. The Constitutional Affairs committee did a very good job in recognising which factors hold the EU back from full integration. Let us hope that they will further convince the European Youth Parliament of the motivations behind the measures they have decided to take, in the course of the upcoming debates. ■ JF

Probably the most controversial idea is a transformation of the European Parliament into a bicameral legislature

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RE

Ambitious energy

IT

A vision for the future of energy in Europe

T

he determination and sincerity of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy is admirable. To save Europe’s energy future they have chosen a path toward completely eliminating the use of non-renewable energy resources. Even if one believes that this should be the future of energy management in Europe, the question whether the proposed measures will achieve such results in the upcoming century, let alone by 2050 still remains. However, I personally would much rather aim for this solution than remain dependent on fossil fuels and Russian energy imports. Although such aims are somewhat idealistic, a certain amount of ambition – like the goal of the Roadmap 2050 to reduce Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions by 90% – could be exactly what Europe needs. The problem of Europe’s dependency on non-renewable energy sources and suppliers as well as its inefficient energy and underdeveloped energy management technology is hard to solve. Notwithstanding the ambitious aim, the committee members have managed to include proposals that could take us a step closer to a greener Europe. The committee members have succeeded in maintaining a balance between

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Sustainability, efficiency, independence – some of the words which instantly leap to mind when reading the resolution by the Committee on Industry I. In an attempt to save the future of energy in Europe they have made an ambitious plan.

long- and short-term aims with particular attention to the transition period in between. Some of the measures would require significantly more funding than currently available, but are intrinsically cohesive and sensible. The main issue is the technical incompatibility between the European countries, which has been addressed only by introducing the common smart energy grid. They have not forgotten to take into account the point raised by the expert Michael Loch at the Resource Village – one of the obstacles in using better energy management methods is the ‘not in my backyard’ syndrome. Though awareness-raising as a solution is overused in EYP, in this case it is fitting. The importance of reducing energy consumption urgently needs understood by society. Using nuclear energy and hydraulic fracking is a bold decision, but the members of the committee concluded that it is reasonable, even necessary. Though some may argue against it, I fully stand behind their resolution. It serves as an example for youthful idealism which is more than healthy in an organisation like EYP. ■ DG

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The Source #4

TR

AN

Restructuring the union

The long and winding road

The Committee on Transport and Tourism has been driving through Committee Work determined to write a resolution to deal with unsustainable cities in Europe. The biggest red light to their progress was the difficulty of coming up with solutions on a supranational level. Every European city has its own unique qualities and is closely controlled on a national level, so finding an overarching EU approach is complex. Although they may have not overtaken this issue completely, the committee suggests a veriety of ways in which to address urban mobility.

T

he committee took a significant time to bring together their knowledge for the introductory ideas and their detail in this section shows strongly in the resolution. It was a sensible approach for the group to start in the slower lane in order to establish many well researched facts before discussing solutions. However, this did mean that they had to accelerate faster through the solutions. Despite certain passengers dropping off to sleep along the way, the resolution came together successfully given the time pressures. The Committee on Transport’s approach focused around the problem of inadequate public transport which leads to independent travelling, high pollution levels and health problems. They identified a lack of public awareness and interest in sustainable planning. For me, what is lacking is a sense of radical change and a strong drive forward to reach that spot on the horizon. They have certainly suggested many great ideas but it seems to be a case of “more talk, less action.” Transit-orientated development is mentioned once but this idea – and the one of compact cities which is totally overlooked – would have been another approach to the resolution. Urban redesign is a far larger issue than merely transport and ideas about further development of high density areas would perhaps have brought the resolution into a more active position. If I had been behind the steering wheel, this

For me, what is lacking is a sense of radical change and a strong drive forward to reach that spot on the horizon 14

topic would have focused on changes from the top, rather than focusing on influencing the already information-overloaded public. Pooling resources on urban planning on a European and governmental level and taking advice, for example from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, would move this resolution progressively forward. The resolution is certainly no car crash; it reflects hard work and interest in a topic. With flexibility and an open approach for new, more developed ideas in GA, the Transport committee’s energy should carry them through GA in order to reach the desired destination. ■ AKr

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RE

Dirty money

IT

Resource efficiency

II

Europe has always been a socioeconomic pioneer. It is time that European countries take an active role in achieving resource efficiency and setting the new growth paradigm.

I

T

he committee on Industry, Research and Development used its intelligence resources to come up with measures against the problem of resource efficiency. Having considered the problems at hand, the Committee proposed major changes to existing EU framework on resource management and a diversion from the linear economic model. The resolution provides a combination of long and short term solutions. The resolution essentially has two main foci. The first focus is on the provision of incentives to business-

tic changes to the structure of the current economic model. However, it is a long shot proposal since its implementation will require mutual cooperation and willingness between industries and the EU. Additionally, an interesting idea is the suggestion of the carbon tax. This will essentially involve taxation of companies which harm the environment. The more the carbon emissions, the more tax the company pays. Such a proposal targets the problem bilaterally, as it discourages companies from being harmful to the environment but it also manages to ensure less use of re-

es to tighten their production cycle. Such a proposal, though ambitious, could potentially have a great impact on resourcy efficiency in the production cycle. It could also be beneficial for the businesses since the production costs would decrease through the reuse of materials. The second focus of the resolution is a fundamental alteration of the linear economy to a circular economy. This means taking calculated measures to make industries restructure to focus on the durability of their products and the reuse of the materials necessary for their creation. The proposal aims at dras-

sources. Resource inefficiency is highly costly after all. The Committee on Industry III attempts to tackle the current problem of resource efficiency with numerous solutions. Some clauses are quite idealistic, nonetheless they are comprehensive about the issue. Striking the balance between realistic and ambitious measures proved to be tricky. Even though youthful idealism has its place, perhaps proposing more concrete suggestions could be more relevant to real world politics. â– AY

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Moving beyond the crisis

DG

BU

Coke and wine

In the first issue of this newspaper, I wrote that EU had to brand itself like Coca-Cola do. Its main theme had to be relevant to our current situation and have universal appeal. The concept that the Committee on Budgets came up with can be summarised in one word: post-crisis. The most important points of the resolution fit this word in two ways: they want to learn from this crisis to prevent to next one, and they want to continue on the EU’s path out of the crisis.

T

Countries should specialise more and produce only the things they are good at, especially in agriculture

he main thing the committee wants to learn from this crisis is the need for flexibility in the EU budget. Where in the past the EU budget did not really change much throughout the years, in the future it should respond more quickly should a new crisis occur. The budget should increase immediately when the European economy slows down in order to keep it going. The EU can spend more in a crisis without risk, as its budget is supported by all members. The reaction time of the EU is also increased by speeding up the bureaucratic processes of the EU. Apart from that, they want to support the slow growth of EU economies by fixing the largest current problems of the EU. They hope to decrease the economic differences between members by increasing investments for regional development. By spending more on research, the EU’s competitiveness should be increased and they hope to promote synergy: it makes no sense to plant grapes in England, so England should not have any grape farms. Countries should

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specialise more and produce only the things they are good at, especially in agriculture. Note, however, that they do not want the EU to control everything: they just hope for more coordination. Critics might say that this specialisation of industries requires a large amount of trust between members, as in times of crisis countries might take protectionist measures. But the Budgets committee reasoned that such a betrayal is unlikely since protectionism would not be beneficial to any EU country. In short: with the EU budget, the Committee on Budgets mainly wants to prevent the next crisis and get out of the current one faster. They do this mainly by making the budget more flexible and making every country produce according to their strengths. ‘Post-crisis’ best summarises this resolution, and that is truly an overreaching, relevant theme. Coca-Cola would be satisfied. ■ SW

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ET

Three-layer cake without icing

AF

Responsible resource extraction

T

II

The Committee on Foreign Affairs II has dared to resolve the problem of unsustainable and conflict resources extraction and trade. The delegates’ main goal has been to end malpractice in the sphere of resource extraction for EU imports, and to focus on human rights violations and ecological damage.

The main goal is to end malpractice in resource extraction for EU import

he resolution has taken three levels: the global level, the national level and the micro-level. The committee has chosen to tackle the problem from different angles. At a company level, the committee encourages them to keep to the ecological policy of the EU and be environmentally friendly. On a national level, the committee suggests the creation of special platforms to provide of transparent information on the resources used in manufacturing. They have agreed to tariff and non-tariff means of protection: the importers of raw materials extracted are encouraged to trade sustainable and conflict-free resources by decreased import tariffs. Generally, the resolution focuses on strengthening WTO regulations in the sphere of raw material extraction, the establishment of global media and education campaigns for raising awareness on the topic and sharing knowledge in technologies. However, the resolution doesn’t entirely address the problem on a global level. First of all, it does not guarantee completely actual information provided by a company, especially in a search of lowered tariffs. Secondly, any decision taken at WTO level does not

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spread to non-WTO countries. For instance, Congo is the largest source of conflict materials such as cobalt and tantalum but not a member of the WTO. Thirdly, international legislation has recommendation character and does not necessarily influence the national level. The influence of multinational companies, the most powerful consumers of raw materials, is very strong and can affect decision-making on both national and global levels. Thus, they will be able to keep relations with suppliers of cheap materials, even though their extraction is not sustainable. The situation requires a change in companies’ attitude towards the environment and the labour force. Finally, the resolution does not suggest any penalties for the companies which import or use non-sustainable or conflict materials. It makes them discouraged to follow all the listed recommendations. All in all the resolution shows a comprehensive approach. Though it still requires deeper insight into the source of the problem and search for more solutions, I hope these comments will boost the debate, but not discourage participants from to voting in favour of the committee’s resolution. ■ LZ

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LI

BE

II

Immigration and integration in Europe

No more blame games

A topic like that of the Committee on Civil Liberties II could easily slide into the question of whether you are for or against immigration. The controversial topic of migration often descends into over-simplified argumentation and populist rhetoric. Yet the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs II managed to keep the discussion on a balanced and nuanced level and have decided to tackle the actual problem instead of judging or placing blame with specific stakeholders.

T

he greatest success of the committee was their approach to the Common Asylum System (CAS). The CAS is an EU directive that aims to bring EU member states together when it comes to asylum seeking processes and to increase the solidarity between the European countries. The directive was founded in 1995 to pave the way for an open and welcoming Europe. But it has failed tremendously, as the asylum seeking process still takes many years in some member states. Again, the blame game that the EU is currently playing doesn’t lead anywhere. The failure of the CAS is due to huge administrative difficulties, which has deeply affected individual migrants and the EU integration policy itself. The committee managed to propose with a system far from throwing around blame which instead focuses on the actual problem – the lack of integration in

Europe. The Committee on Civil Liberties II cannot prevent harmful attitudes such as discrimination and racism towards people coming from foreign countries. The committee deals with these crucial issues when approaching integration of migrants and new citizens. Therefore, it wants to strengthen the already existing anti-discriminatory legislation to get implemented efficiently in the daily life of strangers not having a real chance to get close to European societies. The delegates of Civil Liberties II have decided to take a clear stand towards the EU of tomorrow. An EU where we focus on the actual problems instead of playing blame games. â– LLy

The Common Asylum System has failed tremendously, as the asylum seeking process still takes many years in some member states

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LT

Artikel par die resoluutio mbi limbi

CU

Preserving Europe’s linguistic diversity

The trouble for the Committee on Culture and Education is that their topic presents them with conflicting interests. “Protecting multilingual heritage” calls for spending money to protect linguistic diversity. On a practical level, expanding the existing system of translations seems the way to go. This is what the Culture committee have done by expanding translation internships in Brussels.

T

he committee has grasped that forming a union, even one that celebrates diversity, is a long-term process. Hence, the resolution devotes many clauses to the stimulation of language education. this resolution is ambitious. They want better translations and for every citizen to speak three languages, including a common language: English. Teaching every citizen English not only makes the EU function better, but also makes sense in a globalised world dominated by English. The resolution is vague on the role of English as a lingua franca, but tries to say the following. At the institutional level, so in the EP and in official documents, the committee would allow all 23 official languages of the EU, using translations to ensure understanding. On top of this, the long-term aim is for everybody to be able to speak English to make communication quicker and more efficient when needed. In the long term, all 23 will remain as working languages so that unity will not come at the cost of diversity. Protecting cultural heritage, however, seems to be overlooked. Only one clause, on the importance of cultural initiatives preserving languages, directly

Keeping languages alive is all about education and translation

Munich 2013

addresses this part of the question. However, it must be said that the question’s contrast between heritage and working languages is flawed. Our classical cultural heritage is extremely well preserved, even though Latin has been a dead language for centuries. So, if the question is instead asking how to protect the many living languages of the EU, the Culture committee have found an answer. Keeping languages alive is all about education. Keeping up the translation service is another way to make sure diversity doesn’t die out for the sake of unity. The idea to create intensive language exchange using a network of educators is good and shows that the committee has understood the session theme. The best resources for learning French or Swedish are the teachers in those countries. In the Internet age, using these resources across the language borders where they are most valuable is exactly the right plan. ■ DM

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The Source #4

LI

BE

I

Examining online security

Private, responsible, sustainable

The resolution by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs I examines data security. The resolution attempts to tackle the issue of online privacy and data protection largely through personal liberty in security online. The approach the committee chose to take was one of security over profit-seeking freedom in online business. On the other hand, the resolution also looks to ensure fluidity in online interaction, keeping in mind the importance of the internet as a medium of communication.

T

he chief way in which the resolution deals with personal security is harmonising legislation. The committee identified regulating online activity as one of its key challenges. The resolution targets the differences between legislation and its application in Europe and other continents, particularly the United States. Concretely, by equal application of internet security between small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and multinational corporations (MNCs). The former operate within the EU or their own nation, while the latter operate beyond continental borders. Thus, the stricter online legislation of the EU tends to have a larger impact on European SMEs, which decreases the competitiveness between SMEs and MNCs and makes it more difficult to achieve online security. The resolution also tackles this issue by making compliance with EU Data Protection Laws be a prerequisite for handling the personal data of EU citizens. This levels the playing field between EU and

external companies, as well as making it simpler to regulate the activity of all companies dealing with the personal information of EU citizens. The resolution also examines European citizens’ awareness regarding personal data online. Most importantly, the fallacy of online consent is addressed. The resolution stresses that a majority of the individuals involved in online networking are not aware of what they agree to in using these websites. The resolution accepts that it is difficult to change this, and raises the requirements for transparency of companies using online personal data. It also looks to improve the awareness of European citizens regarding online security. The resolution thus is rooted in privacy combined with responsibility. The emphasis is on achieving a sustainable solution to online privacy, as opposed to something that would require immediate changes. However, the resolution also takes into account the changing nature of the internet and incorporates flexible solutions. ■EH

Most importantly, the fallacy of online consent is addressed

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72nd International Session


The Socio-cultural Issue

IT

Responsible resource extraction

RE

A new rise of European industry

II

For the past three days the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy II has been intensively discussing the industrial revolution in Europe. Their topic focused on which actions the EU should perform in order to increase its industrial competitiveness and maximise its output potential.

I

n the beginning, the committee took different directions by dividing the topic’s keywords into sub-categories that helped to visualize the problems. The main ones they agreed on were Europe’s weakened productivity and inefficiency, vague use of existing knowledge and lack of support in research and development which would lead to usable knowledge in industry. Also up for discussion were the lack of new, desired products and a question how to bring them into the market in a way that attracts consumers. One of the main concerns was also the harmful side of industrial activity, namely pollution. Furthermore, wasted resources, lacking communication and international competition in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMSs) in Europe also raised discussion and were considered to be an important part of the resolution. The committee took environmental issues into consideration and emphasised the use of knowledge

which will eventually lead to even better quality in products. Establishing a crowd-funding website for the early-stage promotion of new products was seen as a crucial point. The committee hopes to increase energy efficiency by introducing smart grids into less energy efficient member states. According to the resolution, the same system could be introduced in all of the Member States as it further reduces the energy loss during industrial process. The delegates aim at supporting SMSs as those would result in increase of risk capital and reduce the risk of investment of institutions. The committee made note of the expansion of EU’s population and the effect this has on consumer demand and European industry’s targets in general. All in all, the committee agreed to focus on the bigger picture and base their resolution on the following goals: the efficiency in productivity, knowledge and international competitiveness. ■ AKs

Three main goals: the efficiency in productivity, knowledge and international competitiveness

Munich 2013

21


The Source #4

From a continent to a world of peace

SE

DE

The European Union is a significant economic and political entity in the global arena with large military capabilities and it is founded on values of peace and democracy. The Committee on Security and Defence believes that the EU is responsible for advancing peace outside its borders.

I

n response to intrastate, interstate and oppressive regimes, the resolution proposes a combination of short-term crisis management operations in the case of obvious humanitarian abuses, medium-term conflict management policies to prevent the escalation of conflicts, and long-term strategies aimed at fostering peace. The tools proposed are a variety of diplomatic sanctions, economic and trade incentives for compliance and military means. SEDE proposes the creation of the office for the Commissioner for Human Rights of the EU (CHREU) – a political body under the supervision of the European Commission - responsible for monitoring and reporting to the Commission on any human rights violations. These reports will be at the basis of all EU-level decision-making and will serve to define the degree of EU intervention necessary. The resolution also establishes the EU Military Headquarters (EUHQ): a body similar to NATO that coordinates joint EU military efforts in the case of possible interventions. These two proposals will serve to legitimize and standardize any interventions while furthering the EU integration process.

22

The best route?

What is probably the most innovative proposal by SEDE is the Treaty on Mass Atrocity Response Operations (MARO), which requires a joint EU military intervention in order to stop crimes against humanity. Written with the 70,000 Syrian deaths in mind, the Treaty will ensure that the prevention of such glaring humanitarian crises is not held hostage by gridlocks in the UN Security Council – the only body that can legally authorize interventions. Faced with the question of legality and legitimacy, the Committee consciously agreed to bypass the UN Security Council and have the EU intervene against international law in order to prevent humanitarian abuses. This choice is a legitimate one considering that what is legal is not always right (the most obvious example is Apartheid South Africa) and that every EU intervention would not be unilateral, but a deliberate multilateral effort taken by democratic countries. SEDE recognized the moral imperative of the European Union to advance peace in the world. The EU derives its legitimacy and responsibility to act from its democratic structure, its peace-based project and the realistic chances of its success. However, we should consider the possible implications of having the EU so active in doing interventions. Would this set a precedent and justify other (less democratic) multilateral organizations such as the Arab League or the Organization of American States to implement similar policies? When does not enough become too much? ■AM

72nd International Session


The Socio-cultural Issue

ON

20 dollars in whose pocket?

EC

Shaping a European Banking Union

Over the past three days, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs discussed many complex aspects of a European Banking Union. Despite some strong arguments against an implementation of a banking union, they came to the conclusion that the banking union should be supported. Many benefits to ending the economic crisis in the Euro zone seem to outweigh bad impacts of having a banking union.

S

upporting a banking union means striving for more European integration. Being concerned by the lack of banking regulation by the European System of Central Banks the committee is convinced that a supranational solution such as the SSM is needed. To ensure the effectiveness of the ECB’s execution of tasks they propose to distribute them of which one

vere financial crisis with countries wanting to leave the union, strengthening the feeling of European unity by forcing Member States into agreeing to another supranational institution seems like the wrong attempt to promote European integration. Finally, they request an EU-wide Common Deposit Guarantee Scheme (CDGS) funded by the ESM

body would be strictly supervisory. Moreover, the possibility to impose stricter regulation on systemically important banks enables the ECB to set higher standards within the proposed banking regulation framework, that the current degree of European economic integration requires. Systemically important are banks whose failure might trigger a financial crisis. By establishing a banking union, the committee hopes for a smoothing of bank failures in the Euro zone. They even argue that having a banking union, and thus a SSM, will prevent bank failures. Additionally they reason that if a bank fails they will still have the possibility to resolve such banks, having a Common Bank Resolution Fund. However, given the se-

as an emergency backstop when money is needed immediately. However, to lift the burden for taxpayers, the banking sector is going to fund the CDGS in the long run by paying money into the resolution fund over a long period of time. In conclusion, the proposals made by the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs set priorities in order to reach a more stable financial market and a more secure way to regulate money. â– LLd

Munich 2013

23


The Source #4

AF

ET

I

Examining online security

Private, responsible, sustainable The Committee on Foreign Affairs I have attempted to lay out a resolution that allows the EU to improve their position in the trilateral relationship between Europe, China and Africa. There is no doubt that Europe must ensure that they remain competitive in the ‘resource race’ in Africa whilst retaining their high standards of respect for human rights.

T

he Committee on Foreign Affairs I begun their committee work by spending a large amount of time collating information regarding the topic. With three very separate angles to approach this topic from, namely China’s, Africa’s and crucially Europe’s, there was much to think about regarding the current state of affairs and the information that helps to determine their operative clauses. the committee really focused on improving relationships and standards in civil societies in Africa which will make communication with corporations and the acquisition of resources far easier. The resolution does not shirk from the EU’s responsibility to assist the humanitarian issues that still exist in Africa. Crucial aspects of the resolution include the stance that the EU should strive to instigate a ‘less for less, more for more’ policy. If it is possible to put clear motivation for African countries to become less corrupt and have more transparent governance then this is a good start. Placing clear regulations that define how African countries can get aid from Europe could be

a real incentive and a catalyst for increasing bilateral trade and resource investment. It could be argued that in a resolution about the EU’s position with China rather than its position towards Africa, there are few details actually focusing on actions regarding China. Apart from operative clause 1, which itself is rather non-committal, there are few details regarding what their stance towards China would be, there are hardly any parts of the resolution detailing Europe’s future conduct directly with China. Whilst a desire to retain extremely high humanitarian standards in Africa is of extreme importance, it should be taken into consideration that it is a dangerous move if they should happen to step on Chinese toes. Diplomatic ties with China cannot possibly be underestimated and as a result the Committee on Foreign Affairs I should ensure that the EU’s global position is not threatened by jumping into Chinese bilateral trade scenarios making new demands. ■ MW

Diplomatic ties with China cannot be underestimated

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72nd International Session


The Socio-cultural Issue

VI

Thirsty for action

EN

Ensuring enough water for everybody

Although easy at first sight, the topic dealt with by the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food safety is complex. Ensuring water for everyone across the EU is an issue which brings together international relations, economics, politics and governance into the context of environment.

W

hen more than one million of European citizens have no access to clean water, immediate action needs to be taken. The main purpose of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) is to create and manage River Basin Management Plans (RBPM). However, member states do not respect their commitments, and WFD became inefficient. The Environment committee’s approach involved creating a system which will financially incentivise countries to improve the management of river basins. The aim is to make countries work together towards ensuring the water supply and quality. The delegates strongly condemn the privatisation of water resources under all circumstances, but allow the privatisation of the water services when necessary. This represents a good compromise between the wellrun company and the conduct of the state. When services are privatised, the government has the power of intervention in the case of citizen’s rights not being respected. The economic aspect presented the committee with the dilemma of preventing people from wasting water through the instrument of public policy. The delegates’ approach is ensuring a basic quantity of wa-

Munich 2013

ter for everyone at a fixed price, followed by a volumetric price increase. This could achieve the purpose of reducing overconsumption without creating social issues such as poor people not being able to afford water. A controversial part deals with the condition of cross compliance in the upcoming Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform. Cross compliance refers to the requirements of farmers to comply with a set of environmental conditions in order to receive financial aid. Keeping these conditions rough, as the delegates from Environment proposed, might ruin the farming industry. Whereas EU spends 37 billion per annum on the CAP, the farming industry in is in severe decline. If the farmers receive less financial aid, they are going to be less incentivised to do it. Therefore, Environment should have discussed more this point in order to fairly assess its impact. Water is a scarce resource and immediate action is required. The delegates from Environment have thoroughly analysed the problem and showed us that we need to be thirsty, thirsty for cooperation, thirsty for action. ■ CBH

25


The Source #4

H Resource village

alfway through Committee Work, one of the defining events of the 72nd International Session of the EYP took a central place. As a new format of the widely used expert briefings, this approach can be considered a risky one in keeping the results directly relevant to the resolution process. Similar to more classical methods, the Resource Village allowed for the delegates to exchange their research and opinions with someone who works in their field; for instance the Committee on Culture and Education conversed with Professor Ehlich from the Free University in Berlin, and the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs was assigned a representative from the German Sparkasse. Committees were only given 30 minutes with their experts, since the Resource Village involved a rotation of experts within the five resource dimensions, and was followed up by a panel discussion with by experts from an entirely different group. While this served to educate the delegates on topics they had not fully engaged with yet and raise the academic quality of debates at General Assembly, these briefings did not contribute directly to the specific topics they were going to be in direct

26

contact with throughout the days to come. Especially in times of heated debates on the academic output of EYP sessions, it is legitimate to put such new approaches under scrutiny and discuss their purposes within the session. In the case of this session’s Resource Village, an entire afternoon of Committee Work was sacrificed in order to spend half an hour with a dedicated expert, and approximately two hours with experts on entirely different topics. In any creative process, external input can be extremely valuable, and Resource Village was certainly an innovative and rich example for this. When trying out new models, we always have to ask what the cost is: would committees have benefitted more from a half day more of Committee Work? Could the broad subject matter and rotational system expert briefings have been useful as a part of G.A preparation rather than Committee Work? Someone else will have to try. ■JF

72nd International Session


The Socio-cultural Issue

Munich 2013

27


Bayerische Staatskanzlei

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

The activities of the European Youth Parliament are under the patronage of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

The European Youth Parliament is a programme of the Schwarzkopf Foundation.

The Source: The Socio-cultural Issue (4)  

The 4th newspaper from The Source, media team of the 72nd International Session of the European Youth Parliament in Munich

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