Model European Parliament 2019
From 13 to 15 February inclusive, the Model European Parliament (MEP) took place in the provincial government building. Eleven schools from all over Zuid-Holland met at the Zuid-Holland provincial government building. Approximately 80 students separated into various committees to debate with each other on current European issues and to try to form coalitions to jointly support the proposed solutions to these issues. The MEP is a simulation of the European Parliament for European students. With this, the MEP provides young people from the final years of secondary education the opportunity to gain experience in coming up with solutions for cross-border problems within the European Union. In the role of 'European parliamentarians these young adults learn about the complex process of European decision making and gain insight into the importance of cooperation between the various EU member states.
The conference was opened by regional minister Jeannette Baljeu. From her portfolio European and International Affairs she gave a brief reflection on what Zuid-Holland does and why it is so important to be active in Europe. Baljeu indicated that it is important and useful that the province of Zuid-Holland offers young people a platform to simulate the Model European Parliament, so they get involved in local and international politics early. Regional Minister Baljeu concluded by wishing the group much success: “it is not only great to take part in the congress, but that it also educational and offers young people the chance to develop skills and explore their own qualities”.
Three days of debating
The MEP in Zuid-Holland is synonymous with three exciting days in the political hub of The Hague, filled with various activities centred on debate. Secondary education students from Zuid-Holland meet here, to represent a country in committees during the committee meetings. Six current issues on the European agenda will be discussed in detail in the provincial government building. Each school views the issues from the perspective of the particular European country it has been assigned. A lot of preparation and involvement is essential to be able to respond actively and effectively to the positions that come up in the meeting rooms. There is a communal goal: to produce inventive solutions to a multitude of European social issues that require solving in modern-day Europe.
Learning about European political environment
It is important to the Province of Zuid-Holland to support this Model European Parliament, to offer the students a stage to immerse themselves in their own knowledge and skills, as well as in politics. The Province believes it is important that besides being aware of the local, regional and national political developments, these young adults learn more about the European political environment. Europe plays an increasingly important role. These young adults represent tomorrow's future, and in time, they will have to do it. As such, it is vital that the students are given the opportunity to develop the various skills required in politics.
The students most involved in the MEP stand a chance of obtaining one of the highly coveted places among the group of students that will attend the national conference, offered by the MEP organisation. Once again, various social questions and issues will be discussed during these conferences. Eventually, a small selection from the top of these students will be given the opportunity to attend the international conference. These three days in the bustle of The Hague were a great opportunity for all participants to help each other make considerable headway in the development of their knowledge and eloquence, and to gain a lot of experience.