Debating Europe wants to give students the chance to question policymakers, debate with fellow students from other European countries, and learn more about the work of the EU.

To achieve this goal, we are working closely with schools and colleges across each EU member state to launch a series of student-led online debates.

You can read our previous debate with students from the Business Academy Aarhus in Denmark here.

Our second debate is with students from the Arsakeio Lykeio in Thessaloniki, Greece. We took four questions from the students there, and put them to Marietje Schaake, a liberal MEP (Member of the European Parliament) from the Netherlands, Ciarán Cannon, the Irish Minister of State for Training and Skills, and Heinz K. Becker, a Christian democrat MEP from Austria.

You can watch the class introduction video below.

1. Marietje Schaake, Dutch MEP

Marietje Schaake is a Dutch MEP for a social liberal party in the Netherlands called Democrats 66 (named after 1966, the year it was founded). Her work particularly covers issues of civil rights, freedom of speech and censorship (both online and offline). As a fairly tech-savvy politician (Ms. Schaake was described as “Europe’s most wired politician” by the Wall Street Journal), we thought it would be interesting to hear her reaction to a question from Nikolas, who asked how the EU is going to tackle the issue of increasing “hacktivism” and to ensure cybersecurity for its citizens.

We also put a question to Marietje Schaake from Jenny, who asked what the EU is doing to improve access to the internet and close Europe’s “digital divide”.

2. Ciarán Cannon, Irish Minister of State

The rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU is currently held by Ireland, so we were very happy that Ciarán Cannon, the Irish Minister of State for Training and Skills, agreed to respond to some questions.

First up, Katherine asked how the EU is planning to equip its citizens with 21st Century skills to enhance their future prospects in the labour market.

Next, we had a tricky question from Thanasis, who asked what the EU was doing to help young people fully realise their European identity.

3. Heinz K. Becker, Austrian MEP

We also put Thanasis’ question on European identity to Heinz K. Becker, a Christian democrat MEP with the Austrian People’s Party. Mr Becker works particularly on issues related to  employment, social affairs, culture and education… so does he feel positive about the prospects for a European identity?

Finally, we also asked Mr. Becker to respond to Katherine’s question on equipping citizens with 21st Century skills. As a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, how would he respond to this question?

What do YOU think? Is the EU doing enough to ensure citizens have access to basic internet services, or is there still a “digital divide”? What should be done to better equip European citizens with the 21st Century skills that will help them find jobs? Could the EU do more to protect people and companies from criminal hackers online? And do Europeans feel a sense of common identity? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.



12 comments Post a commentcomment


  1. Panayotis Dimitrios Moutafidis

    no public school ? education is public probably ask public schools as education is free and must bee expect if in EU prefere not publc education probably tha want eduucation for less go on :(

    • Alex Kypriotakis-Weijers

      exactly! I am not against the kids but unfortunately I didn’t expect something better from a private school. This is a country in crisis and you go and ask the most privileged. Go to a public school to ask the students how difficult is for them and their families to make a living!

  2. Christos Mouzeviris

    Well done kids…. As a fellow Thessalonian, I am proud of you.. If our national leaders do not hear you and do not inform you about your EU Citizenship rights, then platforms like Debating Europe, and the internet in general are offering all the information you might… Use it!!

  3. Omar Mateiro

    Europe should be mandatory in the curricula of any student, whereas passing on citizenship or history, it makes part of our heritage so it should be there.

  4. Sophie Deleruelle

    I totally agree with Omar Mateiro. Introducing more Europe in school would also allow pupils and students to forge their european identity not just from what media are willing to share.

    • Limbidis Adrian

      Fully agree with Omar Mateiro and Sophie Deleruelle. What we need now is MORE Europe in the mind of the youth.
      It’s bad enough that extreme right-wing groups recruit these kids into their ranks, and then you see them chanting racist and xenophobic things that remind us of Europe’s dark past.
      Education also needs to stay PUBLIC. So should HEATHCARE.
      “Privatizing” these two sectors would be a disaster of epic proportions – if you want to see why look at America.
      Their education is a joke compared to ours and their healthcare is abysmal.

  5. Maria Helena Neto

    European schools should have un uniform sistem for all students, the same programs based on the most advanced scientific knowledge and should also be free for everbody. In my opinion this would provide the labour market with the most qualified workers whereever they were needed and, at the same time this would do more for Europe as a whole than the never ending negotiations in the EU Parlment.

  6. Theodoros N Pitikaris

    But why was Arsakeion the One .. ? Under which Criteria ? Debating Europe is running a social class discrimination project ?

    • Alex Kypriotakis-Weijers

      They make a debate with members of conservative and neo-liberal parties in a private school. I don’t have a problem with the kids but unfortunately their parents mostly belong in the few and the privileged of Greek society at this moment. Go to a public school and ask the kids how they and their family manage during a horrible class-eradicating crisis!!

  7. Marcel

    Yes, the curriculum in schools should include a bit on comparing the structure of the EU with that of the old Soviet Union. And children should be taught the EU is a political project designed so politicians can increasingly bypass elected national parliaments.

    Maybe one day we can have a wonderful moment like in 1991 when the Soviet Union disappeared. Our democracies restored and politicians who collaborate with Brussels on trial. One can always dream.

  8. Marcel

    Greece? Isn’t that the place where the EU and IMF force mass austerity on people, drive countless people into poverty all for the glory and benefit of bankers?

    EU: bankers above everything! Screw the people (hint: the EU doesn’t hate referendums and elections without good reason, people might not vote for the pro-banker candidates such as Monti or Papademos).

  9. Profile photo of Jonny Vanessa Topaana
    Jonny Vanessa Topaana

    What happen with the Balkans schools,has lot violence and discrimination between the students and the teachers.they divide the students is that academic roles ,and also some of they don’t have enough equipment for the internet ( digitilize)or study.EU need to create some strategu for all EU member for the Education.

    And most imported for EU and the member states need mind of the youth and active participation

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