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UK students debate the big issues facing the EU
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Published on 25-11-11

Lancaster House in Central London buzzed on November 17 with the sound of sixth-form students from around England debating EU issues. Many of the students who participated in the Mock Council were selected from the British Council’s Comenius programme, an EU-funded scheme for schools.

    The event in London was one of a series of Mock Council events taking place in England, Northern Ireland and Wales this autumn.

    “The students sat down and tried to find out what other countries think about really serious current issues. For some of them it was also an opportunity to translate that into working in a foreign language”, commented Jonathan Scheele Head of the European Commission Representation in the UK about the event in London.

    This year the students tried to find common agreement on stimulating economic growth and the Arab Spring.

    The Mock council constituted, in teachers’ opinion, an absolutely invaluable experience as it gave the opportunity to their students to do a lot of research work in school and prepare for a fairly realistic political confrontation. Students enthusiastically threw themselves into lobbying and trying to reach common agreement, while at the same time learning about how the decision-making process of the EU really works.

    The Mock Council concluded with a number of proposals for the Arab Spring States, including special visas for young people from the Middle Eastern and North African countries affected to allow them to study in European countries. The proposals for economic growth included strengthening the governance of the Euro-zone with the possibility of sanctions for members in breach of their obligations and creating greater support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

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