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Hey everyone… Denise here, writing my final entry to the Model European Union 2012 in Strasbourg. Yes, no exclamation marks this time as it really is not a joyous feeling.
I was really, really enjoying myself this week. It was challenging, it was funny, but above everything else it was an experience I certainly won’t forget. I have made a lot of friends, acquaintances and uncountable numbers of good memories. The MEU 2012 is, undoubtedly a great simulation program that did not only excel in authenticity, but also in social and educational aspects. A lot of interpersonal and intrapersonal skills are required to make your faction or alliance work, as well as the courage to speak up. The MEU program certainly provided for many opportunities and incentives to practise these skills extensively, and to develop critical skills sharply. I am so glad, and so genuinely devastated that I was part of this simulation program - glad because I could live an experience so few can make and has incredible value; and devastated because I’m not only leaving Strasbourg behind, but all the friends, all the debates, and all the good times too.
Today did not pass just like this, though; today, too, we ended up debating in the Parliament. Again the PNR, but this time we had to decide whether we would take the amended version from the Council or not. A lot of procedural things went wrong with a lot of humor; communists beginning to sing their anthem, an EPP member changing his seat to become an ALDE, EPP Olsson standing up during parliament speech and being awesome, and some informal shoutouts - it was great fun!
At the same time, however, it was completely and utterly embarrassing. After all, the European Commission was watching, so it was quite… the bad impression we left. XDD;;; But nonetheless, we were quite good still! And, for the first time in the history of the MEU Strasbourg, we passed both proposals. Yay for getting things done!
The best part, though, was waiting for the closing ceremony. Out of boredom someone decided to flick through the interpreters channels, only to realize that they were playing radio music! Suddenly everyone put on the headphones and started clapping, which encouraged the interpreter of Hungary to continue her broadcast until someone saw her still in there. A wide round of Awwww went through the parliament, and then a cheeky Point of Information whether another song could be requested. It was fun, and amazing, and certainly worth it.
And then the Goodbye Party! Amazing atmosphere, great people - and the best part of the night:
LEO WILKINSON AND HESTER BORM DANCE SHOWDOWN.
This requires a little more information. Throughout the week the European Star [tabloid newspaper the MEU journalists made] was in a feud with the Model European Commissioner, Leo Wilkinson, about the claim around Leo’s unique dancing skills and alcohol habits. The result was a lawsuit that was then withdrawn in favor of an amazing dance show-down [and a preceeding apology from Ms. Borm to ensure the dance show-down would go down amicably.] It was really fun, and a great conclusion to this week!
And with this, I say goodbye to you. The Model European Union is over now, and so this blog has fulfilled its purpose. I hope you have had a good time following up to the reports and entries throughout the week, and that it gave you at least a good insight in the MEU simulation program. Go and apply, it’s worth every second - and I promise you, you won’t walk away without having made at least one new friend. It’s almost impossible not to; even me, the socially awkward odd bird out, have found a circle of friends I call my MEU-family. We have grown together, both in character and knowledge, and stayed together even when factions divided us. It was truly great and worth it all!
All the best,
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You know a day in parliament was fruitful when the blog entry starts with a quote from George Orwell’s Animal Farm! And it was a good day, it indeed was. Not quite as fruitful as the PNR debates [though certainly much longer and more entertaining], but still great!
Much like the day before, we started off at 7 30 AM from our hotel. Typical morning, with a slightly disappointing breakfast. Luckily the faction meetings afterwards were fruitful and good! [We also managed to sneak past the amendment submission deadline, with the honorable Chair distinctively looking away when anyone approached the Chair with amendments after 10 30 AM!] Good thing we all worked together in the Parliament; or rather: We tried to. So instead of 43 amendments for the PNR, we had only 39 for the FRONTEX proposal!!!
… Yes. I know. That collaboration didn’t really work out. We tried at least!
The debate itself was… Interesting. It was hard for many MEPs to keep concentrating on the session, much to the responsibility of the magic of passing notes! [I must confess, I fell for the magic too. I started pestering the journalists with notes of almost no substantial meaning! And Mr. Myllymäki who is an MEP of the Greens was so kind as to reply with Angry Birds-lore too. It was AWESOME.] But there were still funny points raised. We could truly say that there was actually more of a relaxed ambience going around than real debating, especially considering that all the amendments were met with quite high parliament-wide support to begin with! In the end, more than 30 amendments were passed, all of them meeting high quotas of favorable votes. Whether they were useful or not is a different issue… One of such a case was amendment 39, submitted by the NGL/GUL, our communist faction. It states paraphrased:
“[…] Every employee of the FRONTEX Agency shall receive equal pay.”
It was the only amendment submitted by only the NGL that actually passed. Much to our surprise, too, since we didn’t expect that to happen! But then again, many, including me, are guilty of the pleasure of humorous voting. Not that we mind – It’s payback to the Council for denying 11 of our 14 amendments for the PNR proposal! Now they have to deal with the ridiculousness that is the communist approach…
Other than that, it was an entertaining day. Still productive, but only behind closed doors. It definitely was a great day in the MEU 2012 simulation! /o/ I really don’t want to go back now anymore and wish I was really working in the Parliament… It’s really very interesting. But tomorrow is the last day, and I already sense everyone being all sad that it was over already. I definitely found some awesome people here who I really want to stay in contact with! And I’m sure the guys from UoB are more familiar with each other too now. C: It’s a good thing and I am happy to be here.
All right, see you tomorrow for the final [substantial] blog entry! Keep in touch!
Hi there, everyone! Denise here, reporting from Strasbourg after a tiring and eventful day. It was certinly more interesting in the Parliament, but whether it was more fruitful…?
Let’s try a complete and utter embarrassment/farce in front of the EU-Commission.
All right, let us give this a better run-down. We began the day as always, getting up early and going to the Parliament. The daily routine changed, however, as we were informed that the European Commission had decided to observe our procedures today via Livestream, thus getting a picture of our progress. A wonderful chance to show how much European spirit and elan we have to work efficiently on our duties. Sadly it went completely to waste as some people seemed to entertain the idea of making today’s session into a complete farce.
A list of things people did today:
And THIS. Was just the livestream session in the morning. Yes, it didn’t get better in the afternoon. » In fact, it turned into a real farce!!!
Yes. Today’s session was more than highly entertaining; however, in equal, if not, exponentially proportional amount, it was useless. That is most probably because we all had a parliament-wide consensus on all possible amendments prior to our FRONTEX proposal debates. So of course, when we opened debate, we still had to discuss - and this ended up with people trying to argue against their own suggestions with feeble and sad attempts of objection. It was sad, and entertaining at the same time.
SO WHAT ABOUT THE CHARITY GALA?
… Well… about that…
Let us just say that the Charity Gala was more of a Charity Club Nightthan anything else. Just with posher wrapping.
There was a general feeling of disappointment.
Well, that would wrap up the whole report on today! It was an eventful, but completely useless and unprofessional day that had to coincide with the most important session of the week. What a bummer.
Cheers from Strasbourg,
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Hi there! Denise here, reporting live from Strasbourg!
Today marked the day of finishing our amendments for the Passenger Name Record Data Proposal, the directive currently discussed in the real EU as well. It’s an important proposal that will affect and impact several areas of every citizen’s life. And today we decided on our first set of amendments to be added and later on forwarded to the European Council.
And the process was a truly tiring and strenuous one. I now look at parliament sessions like this:
And now have absolute respect for the real Parliament for actually getting something done.
That doesn’t mean, though, that we were unproductive! The noon debates and amendments were written fiercely by each faction, a huge amount of collaborations were formed, and alliances born between normally unsuspected allies. We came to a total of 43 [!!!] amendments submitted to the parliament, all of which had to be debated and voted on by today. Of course this resulted in fierce debating that stayed surprisingly well in the frame of the rules of the procedure; and some amendments were quite… questionable. One of these questionable suggestions included the exclusion of communist countries from the PNR system which - surprisingly so - was due to the fact that some MEPs were convinced they were superior to the Western World.
The reaction in the EP was about like this:
Like, seriously. We really had to use precious time on it, and there were much more awesome amendments to consider! One such amendment was concerning Intra-EU-flight-data to be included in the PNR system, a topic met with both strong support and opposition. [Sadly it did not pass.] It led to a very interesting remark from the leader of the ALDE too, saying we were decreasing democracy in the Parliament by limiting Speaking Time and amount of Speakers allowed. Very interesting point, and certainly justified, but then again, we all just wanted to have a coffee break at some point. [Besides, the security guards would have thrown us out if we had stayed longer than until after 7 PM! XDD]
In the end though, we finished our job and are now ready to send it to the European Council for review! Job done!!! /o/ Now for the Gala tomorrow!!!
… And FRONTEX.
Common reaction among the MEPs:
And that would be all for today. Good bye and good night for tomorrow’s probably delayed blog, detailing the beauty of the Charity Gala [YAY!] and the FRONTEX debates [NAY…]
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FIRST DAY OF THE OFFICIAL MEU! \o\
The face of AWE when we stood in front of the parliament equals the GIF you see above. Sadly, we did not display the appropriate shade of blue with our suits, but with our lips and hands. The building is amazing! First thing you see when enetering is the inner court, displaying a spheric sculpture within the ring of the parliament. At the same time we also realized that the upper levels of the parliament were but a product of our imagination - a complete façade, even, seeing how the windows truly were just windows. That did not compromise the impression of the interior, though.
With the flair of greening politics - a contemporary take on architecture combining occurences in nature with artistic interior design - it was quite clear that the EU aimed for a sustainable Europe. The rooms themselves, though, were in the typical modern and, while slightly minimalist, comfortable. Certainly a nice place to carry out long-winded, weary battles of less wits and more stubbornness. [But shush, you didn’t hear that from me!!!] At the end of the day, though, it was an inspriring and yet tiring first day at the official MEU conference. The Passenger Name Record Data Proposal was discussed in very deep detail, with little agreement within, but more consensus between factions. My personal sentiment after the press conference, though:
YEAH I HAD TO COME DONE TO A COLD ON THIS WEEK, DURING THIS CONFERENCE. But I shall not give GERMS THE HONOR OF VICTORY! I shall persist and spew my evil minion parasites at my fellow MEPs.
… As words. Sick Denise is a good [and assertive] pretentious MEP.
And with that said, I will go and end this blog here. I need to get better till tomorrow, or I’ll be fainting and slipping beneath the table! :P
BECAUSE I CAN.
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Hi there, everyone! Denise here, reporting live from Strasbourg. Well, more or less. Sorry for the delay with the blog update, but the internet in our hotel decided to go on a hiking trip between the mountains of Perfect Internet Signal and That Signal Is Useless. Isn’t that marvelous?
Either way. So today we began with a series of workshops to delve into the MEU2012 simulation with more confidence and less blind faith in our knowledge and abilities. To my pleasant surprise each of the three workshop panels we attended had a representative of the European Union speaking. It was really interesting and informative, considering that we could count a legal adviser of the FRONTEX proposal – one of two proposals we are discussing this week – a representative of the European Commission, a Desk Officer of the Hungarian Administration of Foreign Affairs, and a Secretary of the European Parliament to our speakers. All of them gave us specific insight into both the FRONTEX and Passenger Name Record Data proposals, clearing up misunderstandings and questions as efficiently as possible. Let’s hope that the newly-found knowledge holds up till tomorrow!
The last workshop was a workshop true to its name: After learning about the rules of procedure we were split into smaller groups and had a personal instructor. I don’t know how the others went about it, but my instructor was really helpful and out-going. It was pretty easy to pick up the pace! [But then again, it is quite easy to argue about Facebook becoming a paid site, Alcohol being distributed for free, re-endorsing the death penalty across all of the EU, debating whether EU border guards should wear pink uniforms and making Strasbourg the new HQ of the EU…] Very helpful indeed and quite a good start and way to gain confidence about the actual meetings. Now it only lacks the knowledge concerning the papers!
As for the… Food. Our breakfast was… interesting. One muffin, or one croissant, and nothing to drink. |: It was not quite the best start into a strenuous and tiring day, but it was all right. Let’s just hope tomorrow they will serve better food in the actual Parliament building! The lunch was better, though, and so was the dinner. I do, however, highly contest the claim that my chocolate mousse was genuine… » Then again, it was a student restaurant, so I suppose you can’t be really picky. Same goes with the ‘meat’ filling of the lasagna, but that is a story of little importance.
The night event was a real highlight, though! We were asked to join a Scavenger Hunt, had to follow a [unreadable and undiscernable print of] google map, do ridiculous and entertaining tasks and simply make it through! It included singing the French anthem to the end of the eighth line, making sounds of an animal you were assigned to find your counterpart, finding a bomb embedded in a house wall and creating a new kind of handshake to go by. [My group was awesome! We did Mass Effect greetings; I personally had the gesture Shepard and Jacob share when they talk about going to the Citadel for a drink with the whole crew. Best part ever!]
Now if only the internet worked…
Either way. That is all for now! Here’s hoping that you stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog entry, as we are finally – FINALLY – entering the European Parliament with all posh and fancy dress-ups. And the most dreadful part: Club Night in the evening… :P
Cheers and à plus,
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FINALLY! We’ve arrived in Strasbourg today!
All the things we went through — getting up before 6 AM, rushing to the train station, getting on the airplane, customs… We even have the pleasure of lost baggage! Luckily, my friend expects her case to arrive tomorrow, so at least she gets her stuff back in time.
THAT DOESN’T CHANGE HOW EXCITED I AM, THOUGH! /o/
That’s my excitement face.
Represented by a hyperventilating eagle, yes.
So we arrived here after 8 hours of traveling, and met a whole bunch of other people from the MEU! Irish, Polish, Turkish - you name the EU member, there is certainly one citizen from that country present! It is a great networking opportunity, and really a good chance to learn about all the different cultures in a vibrant environment.
So yes, this week is really multi-national. And if it wasn’t for my presence, it would have been completely free of any chinese person too!
Well, aside from all this excitement, today there wasn’t much of a programme. Basically it was a day to arrive in the hotel, and afterwards we attended an entertaining opening ceremony. We now know that certain… intercourses are not allowed in staircases, corridors and elevators — well, if they tell us this, we can be quite certain that it has happened before. :P Then again, this is an programme mostly for students, so I’m not too surprised.
And the highlight of the evening: EUROFEAST.
Everyone was asked to bring one dish typical to their nationality and share it with the other people! Of course, that led to a huge variety of food to try. Greek, Italian, Slovenian, Latvian, simply Pan-European. I particularly liked the waffles from Belgium and Netherlands, and the sausages from Austria [naturally!!!], and it was a great chance to socialize too. A little bit crowded, though, since it took place in the hotel lounge and 180 people ARE a huge lot to fit in that tiny room… Nonetheless, it was a great experience! I can’t wait for tomorrow, lots of workshops and debating waiting for us!
And with that, I have only one thing left to say:
Cheers, everyone! o/ Stay tuned for tomorrow’s entry.
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Hi there! Denise here, getting ready to fly to Strasbourg tomorrow. Lots to prepare, but it doesn’t measure up with the excitement for next week! I can’t wait to meet up with the other guys from UoB going there.
I can barely contain my excitement :P
For those who’re wondering what the Model European Union is and what you have to do, I’ll leave a small rundown here:
What is the Model European Union?
The Model European Union is a simulation programme where people from all around the globe come together and emulate the European Parliament, European Council and the Journalism around it. The whole procedure lasts a whole week, and takes place in Strasbourg. We also hold our conference in the actual Parliament building, so we can see what our elected MEPs are confronted with!
Sounds cool, but what do you do there?
Well, depends on who you’re asking! I’ll list the roles beneath with a bit more information.
There are more roles, but their requirements and duties differ marginally.
Interesting! So how do you get in there and what do you have to do? What should I prepare?
Well, first off, application period usually is in December and includes the first three days of January. For all roles you have to write an essay of 500 words and a statement detailing your motivation. For ministers and MEPs it’s 150 words, for Journalists and Interpreters it’s 1000.
Well, that would be all for now. o/ I hope this post helps clear up some questions about what the MEU is about. Looking forward to keeping you up to date!
This GIF is too awesome not to use here.]