European Union Mock Council

 The EU Mock Council gives students a taste of what international politics is like, by simulating a real meeting of the Council of the European Union.    The event was attended by 30 schools and colleges, each representing either an EU member state, the European Commission or the General Secretariat.  The participating students discussed and debated 2 topics from the position of the state that they were representing.  
The participating students from Arthur Mellows were Jack Yule and Daniel Richardson.  Please read their account of the event:
The EU Mock Council was an interesting and challenging event which required a great deal of preparation and organisation.  We were chosen to represent Austria, and through our extensive research we got to know the geography and economy of the country, as well as their political approach to the 2 issues we would debate on the day:
  • Is air quality a problem that should be tackled at EU level? And if so, how?
  • What should the EU do in order to tackle youth unemployment?
It was fascinating to research and represent another country in this way, with each school acting as delegates and ministers from their assigned member states. We had the chance to debate and negotiate in the presence of real political figures, with representatives coming from Brussels to chair the working groups, and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg delivering a speech at the beginning of the day.  We also contacted the Austrian embassy to obtain more information, so that we could represent their stance as accurately as possible.  The working lunch allowed us to discuss policies with our potential allies, and come to agreements with other member states, in preparation for the final vote in which all policies were discussed and either voted as passed, or left open to be discussed at a ‘further council meeting’.  
I thought that the day was excellent for developing my communication and negotiation skills, and although I do not wish to go into politics, I felt that the day inspired me to continue to learn languages after A Level, as it is clear how important it is to have another language as a personal skill, but also for international correspondence and co-ordination.
By Jack Yule, 13EWT
The Mock EU Council was an extremely enjoyable and rewarding day, not only teaching me the ropes of everyday politics, but also giving me the chance to throw myself into debates about current issues within Europe.  The day was based at Admiralty House, based in a stunning location near to parliament, where Churchill was based for much of the war and there were cameras everywhere.  This high level security gave a very authentic feel and made you feel like you were an actual EU representative.  Yet unlike the actual EU, we managed to come to agreement on several proposals.
To interject into the debating, I had to turn my country’s name card (Austria) onto its side to indicate that I wanted the floor.  Then, when I was selected by the speaker I had to turn my microphone on, and, with all the representatives and cameras fixed on me I gave Austria’s stance on the proposal under scrutiny.  This was a very daunting process to begin with, but after the first time I began to get into my stride and really got into the running of the day, being a representative that I hope Austria would have been proud of.
By Daniel Richardson, 13EWT