Political Culture

Model European Parliament

Die vorherrschende Meinung, die Jugend sei unpolitischer geworden, wird von jüngsten wissenschaftlichen Untersuchungen widerlegt. Die Jugendlichen in Deutschland interessieren sich weniger für Großorganisationen wie Parteien oder Gewerkschaften, aber sehr wohl für politische Inhalte.

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Author: Zaza Rusadze
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They want to understand how politics works, how compromises are reached, and how these things can help the European Community grow closer together. The report follows a group of politically minded young people taking part in an EU parliamentary simulation known as the MEP, or Model European Parliament.

The MEP, or Model European Parliament, is an initiative which arose in the Netherlands. It simulates the workings of the European Parliament for students between the ages of 16 and 18. The Model European Parliament takes place annually on a national level in Germany and many other European countries. The association known as MEP.de works together with the international Model European Parliament Foundation based in The Hague and is part of an EU-wide network of national Model European Parliament organizations. The German MEP is sponsored by the German Foreign Office and the German Bundesrat, or Federal Council, as well as other entities.

Every year, eight high school students from each German state travel to Potsdam and Berlin for a week to take part in a parliamentary simulation. They spend their first day at a youth hostel in Potsdam. Group games are organized so that the students can get to know each other. But the next day, things get serious as the students are assigned an EU country to represent as delegates. The official opening of the national Model European Parliament takes place at the Federal Press Office. After the delegates are welcomed and have introduced themselves, the committee work begins. Each of the eight delegates per EU country sits on a committee. The committees have 16 members each and are led by two committee chairs. They tackle various political problems and issues, such as the following: How can the EU help combat the growing number of environmental catastrophes? What types of models can the EU develop to aid the integration of foreigners? What role should the EU play in resolving the conflicts in the Middle and Near East? It is the delegates' task to write a resolution which presents the problem as well as potential solutions. This committee work continues the following day.

When the resolutions are completed, they are printed out and distributed to all delegates. The General Assembly then takes place in the German Bundesrat in Berlin. The Assembly is led by an executive board. During the Assembly, the committees must explain their resolutions, defend them in debate and convince the majority of delegates to vote in favor of them. If a resolution is accepted, it is forwarded to the European Parliament, the European Commission, and the Council of the European Union.

International parliamentary simulations take place twice a year in different European cities. Students who have proven their political maturity and powers of persuasion in the national MEPs can take part as delegates in these international parliamentary simulations.
Goethe-Institut e. V. 2007
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