The Mock Council of the European Union is a fun and challenging event offering young people with a passion for lively debate and an interest in European affairs the opportunity to learn more about the workings of the EU. The Mock Council seeks to replicate the real Council of the European Union, allowing students to debate live issues of concern to the EU’s Member States. By discussing the economic and social inclusion of Roma and the creation of an EU energy market for greater security of the gas supply, the students were able to find out more about the workings of the main decision-making body of the European Union. They could also practise their debating and diplomacy skills in realistic settings observed by teachers, students and official representatives of the European Commission and Member State governments. Students presented ‘their’ country’s standpoint and made alliances with other countries during working groups, before successfully casting their final votes in Council sessions, where they sat behind the flag of their adopted country.
Each school represented one of 27 EU Member States, the European Commission or the Secretariat-General of the Council. Schools have been selected from participants of the European Union’s Comenius programme, managed in the UK by the British Council. Students were able to research the countries they are representing through their European school partnerships or through meeting with the relevant Embassy representatives in London.
The event also gave students the chance to hear from the Minister for Europe, David Lidington MP; Jonathan Scheele, Head of the European Commission Representation in the UK and Matthew Rycroft, EU Director at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Minister for Europe David Lidington said: "The Mock Council is an excellent way to show young people how the big decisions are made at a European level and at the same time test their debating skills in front of their peers."
Jonathan Scheele, Head of the European Commission Representation in the UK, said: "The EU institutions need more British graduates to apply and we hope that events like the Mock Council will give this generation a taste of what working in the EU entails. Even if they aren't inspired to work at EU level, I'm sure they will come away with a better understanding of how the EU works."
Sam from Brighton Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College represented Malta at the Mock Council on EU energy market, he said:" It is the first time that I take part in the Mock Council. It is a great experience to debate in a historic place such as Lancaster house. It makes me consider a career in the EU institutions and I will definitely recommend friends at school to apply for the Mock Council next year".
The programme of Mock Councils builds on a series of successful similar events held by the European Commission and the British Council in Northern Ireland and Wales in recent years. Now in its third year in England, the British Council is running the 2010 London event as part of International Education Week 2010 and the EU-funded Comenius Programme. This programme provides support for partnerships between schools, colleges and local education authorities across Europe, as well as professional development for educational staff.
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