MODEL EUROPEAN UNION STRASBOURG 2019
MEUS will happen for the 13th time next year – 6-13 April 2019 – just a few weeks before the Elections to the European Parliament in May. Applications will be open from 17 December 2018 to 6 January 2019.
EUROPEAN ELECTIONS EDITION
Less than 40% of young European citizens cast their vote at the 2014 Elections to the European Parliament. Undoubtedly, the European project needs to be brought closer to today’s youth if we do not wish to trump this negative record in May 2019. Each year, we give around 200 young people the rare opportunity to put themselves in the shoes of different stakeholders in an authentic simulation of the EU’s legislative process and attempt to reach a political compromise over the course of an intense week of negotiation and debate.
MEUS – highly commended for its realistic representation of the European Parliament – is designed to educate participants about the EU and show them how decisions are made in a diverse political landscape. By making the European institutions more tangible and the Union’s importance more salient in their minds, we increase our participants’ interest in EU politics and inspire the emergence of a genuine European civil society from the bottom up.
We strongly believe in the importance of democratic participation in EU decision-making – but true participation must be based on awareness and access to information. With each edition of MEUS, we are trying to fill in the gap of misinformation and disengagement of young people in European-level politics. By engaging them in a realistic reenactment of the Ordinary Legislative Procedure, we attempt not only to educate but also to show the complexities and difficulties associated with the process, building upon what MEUS has already been successfully doing for the past 12 years: turning young people into engaged EU enthusiasts.
In 2019, we want to put the European elections at the front and centre of the conference by adding a Council decision on the European elections as third topic for participants.
During MEUS 2019, you will be discussing what the EU is doing in the fight against Climate Change on one hand; and on the other learn more on what the role of the EU is within highly publicised cases such as Dieselgate or the RyanAir flight cancellations by attempting to strengthen the Consumer Law Protection for all European citizens.
For years, European countries have been recognised as leaders in sustainability and action against climate change. As technology develops and further studies are conducted, it is becoming more and more evident that human activity causes major changes in our environment. There are wildfires are devastating the Mediterranean. There are Europeans living in urban areas must confront with frequent heat waves and flooding. As debates on the future of the world economy continue, sustainability is becoming a buzzword not just in political circles but in the homes of ordinary people, as well.
Unfortunately, the drive for a greener, cleaner and environmentally-friendlier economy often has high societal costs. What is undoubtedly needed in order to pursue sustainability comes with the need to limit certain industries, most notably coal, or invest in new resources redesigning conventional business models. Therefore, policies created in climate change and environmental protection have to take into account the two sides of this contentious debate, making sure the changes implemented protect both our planet and our societies.
Thanks to celebrities and media outlets, the need for environmental protection is gradually gaining ground with the public. Likewise, decision-makers should keep up with what is driving social engagement and make tangible efforts to deliver solutions. Opening this discussion is all the more important considering the 2019 European Elections: before making their choice, voters should know the candidates’ priorities and the EU’s potential to promote change.
At MEUS 2019, participants will get to discuss the 2016 Regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union. Bringing the topic of Climate Change to our conference will not only allow participants to familiarise themselves with different sides of the debate, but also, by way of thorough research, learn to recognise flawed arguments and populistic discourse. It will help participants identify the main obstacles in pursuing ambitious policies, as well as work out effective solutions to removing them. The skills and knowledge participants gain at MEUS will enable them to translate their expertise into positive actions in their daily lives and professional careers.
CONSUMER PROTECTION LAW
The EU already has one of the strongest sets of rules in place to protect their consumers. Nonetheless, recent cases like the Dieselgate scandal and the numerous Ryanair flight cancellations have harmed many Europeans and, more often than not, left them without effective means to seek proper redress.
The need for consistent Consumer Protection Law regulation has already proven essential. Only recently, the European Court of Justice decided that a privacy rights activist could not present a class action lawsuit involving Facebook, specifically because of discrepancies between the applicable Austrian and Irish national laws. Consumer rights organisations screamed outrage following this ruling.
With ‘A New Deal for Consumers’, the Commission seeks to remedy these issues by streamlining consumer protection laws across Europe. However, various interest groups are voicing their discontent, such as the German Banking Industry Committee that is questioning the legality of some of the included proposals. At the same time, small and medium-sized enterprises often suffer from these new measures due to complex bureaucratic requirements only large companies have resources to fulfil. The topic has gained more media attention than ever before and the decisions following the proposal of the package will be a key factor for the future functioning of the European Single Market.
Despite having a direct impact on all EU citizens, the role of the Union in consumer protection is often overlooked. Model European Union Strasbourg 2019 will gather over 150 enthusiastic students and young professionals that will debate this important and contentious issue, thus gaining insight on the complexities of European decision-making and on how the institutions are continuously making the Single Market fairer for all EU citizens.
At MEUS 2019, participants will get to discuss the 2018 Directive on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers.
EU citizens have elected representatives to the European Parliament since 1979, but many debates on how to hold these elections and how to implement possible reforms are still taking place today. While they are called “European elections”, the actual voting is still regulated within the Member States according to different national laws. This situation is often criticised as the “democracy gap” of the EU.
Since the European elections in 2014, there has been a strong support to “Europeanise” the EU electoral campaigns, in which the “Spitzenkandidaten” process of has been informally introduced in the European Parliament to further determine the selection of the President of the Commission. Additionally, multiple political stakeholders such as the French President Macron have supported the idea of transnational lists in which European political parties would set up a list of candidates that is the same across the entire Union.
At MEUS 2019, MEPs and Ministers will discuss an Annex of the 1976 Electoral Act which will give our participants the opportunity to debate these reform proposals and advocate for new ideas while learning more about European democracy.
So you’d like to take part in MEUS 2019? Awesome!
In order to be considered as a participant, you need to fill out our online application form in English until 6 January 2019. The form will ask you for some basic information about yourself, as well as a motivation letter and some other materials depending on your preferred role.
You can apply for up to two roles in order of preference (you can apply as Interpreter and Journalist only as a first choice). Note that we can only accept applicants who have not already taken part in a Model European Union Strasbourg conference in the past, and we will only accept applicants who will be between 18 and 27 years of age during the conference. We also recommend a level of proficiency in English equivalent to B2 to have the best experience at MEUS 2019.
Once you have submitted your application, you can expect your result by the beginning of February 2019.PARTICIPATION FEE
In case you are accepted to take part in MEUS 2019, you will be required to pay a participation fee of 150€ in February 2019. The fee covers:
- Seven nights of accommodation
- Unlimited public transportation during the whole duration of the conference
- All breakfasts
- All lunches and coffee breaks at the European Parliament
- Conference materials (printed guide, badge, placard, Youthpass certificate, certificate of participation and a welcome pack)
- Access to the European Parliament including the opening and closing ceremonies
- Participation at the Workshops Day featuring several professional and institutional speakers
- Participation at the entire evening & social programme (several dinners including an all-you-can-eat Alsatian “tartes flambées” dinner, a city rally, reception, parties, etc.)
For Strasbourg-based participants the fee is set at 75€ and does not include accommodation.SOCIAL FUND
MEUS puts a strong emphasis on enabling economic and social diversity for participants with fewer opportunities through financial support. Because of this, there is a Social Fund which can provide a scholarship for MEUS to anyone who needs it. Such support can be given in the form of participation fee waivers, travel reimbursement and visa reimbursements. Applying for the Social Fund takes place via email. For more information, see the application form.