If I had to describe the Euroscola program in one word, it would be colorful. Despite the cold weather, the atmosphere in the European Parliament was warm, due to all the young people inside it discussing, sharing ideas and parts of their culture. After getting to know each other briefly, we all went to the Chamber where the Members of the European Parliament discuss and decide about issues regarding the E.U., the Hemicycle. We were introduced to Younous Omarjee, a MEP from France. Students from all around Europe asked questions about current major issues such as international relations, immigration, climate change and environmental pollution. All the questions were answered satisfactorily, so that all 486 students were persuaded that their worries about the future of the E.U. have been discussed by the Members of the European Parliament. With a few inspiring words from Younous Omarjee, the first part of the first Euroscola program of the new decade was concluded.
Each country was then briefly presented by a few members of the teams of the 21 countries that participated. Some made speeches, some showed pictures and some even sang. This helped us all learn more about each other’s culture, further promoting the idea that the E.U. stands by, that despite our differences in lifestyles we can all peacefully work together.
The students were then separated based on which topic they had prepared. Each team got moved to a separate room, where the members discussed the best solution to the problem they were assigned, which would then be presented to all the participants. The issues that the students’ teams debated about were about the environment, human rights and security, young people facing addiction, Europe’s future, immigration and youth’s employment. The reporter’s team spent this time taking part in a journalist simulation, touring the areas where real reporters interview and take photos of Members of the Parliament. We took this opportunity to act out an interview in groups of two, so that we could get a better idea of what journalism is like in real life.
The last part of the event was the one that made us all truly feel like Members of the Parliament. The teams that had prepared the requested solutions asked the rest of us to vote after presenting their ideas one by one. Each team had chosen 2 students that would represent the rest of the team’s decisions. A total of 12 students, 2 of which were Greek, took the floor to explain what they believed would help solve the problem that they had to discuss. After each presentation, we voted whether we agree with their propositions. With only one of them getting rejected, it was clear that the youth of Europe share common opinions regarding serious issues and how we should tackle them. After the voting process was concluded, the 4 teams that had got the best scores in the quiz about the EU that we had to fill in during our resting time were brought to the center of the Hemicycle and answered questions about the EU and about some general knowledge. Some of the questions were answered by the rest of the students, by voting positively or negatively.
This is an experience that I believe all participants will remember, as it brought us all closer to people with different beliefs and thoughts, and helped us realize that diversity is beautiful.
Danae Mpifsa, Evangeliki Model High School of Smyrna, Greece