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 debates with students from the Arsakeio Lykeio in Greece here, the Business Academy Aarhus in Denmark here, the Dr. Vasil Beron school in Bulgaria here, and Lund University in Sweden here.
Our fifth debate is with students from the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Spain. We took their questions to the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy (who belongs to the centre-right European People’s Party); a German MEP with the centre-right Christian Social Union in Bavaria, Manfred Weber ( EPP); a British Labour Party MEP, Arlene McCarthy ( Socialists & Democrats); a Dutch Labour Party MEP, Emine Bozkurt ( S&D) and a Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party MEP, Juan Fernando López Aguilar ( S&D).
1. How can we increase the participation of citizens in European institutions?
The first question came from Amalia, who felt that the EU should be much closer to its citizens, and asked how direct participation could be increased. We took this question to Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council (comprised of heads of European state and government, voted for in national elections), and to Manfred Weber, a Member of the European Parliament (the only directly-elected EU institution), for them both to respond.
2. How can we increase the participation of citizens in global economic decision-making?
Next, Maria sent us a broader question on democratic decision-making in the global economy. Decisions taken by private companies and investors, between states and within international institutions (such as the IMF) can affect millions of citizens in Europe, so how can we increase the participation of citizens in decision-making? We put this question to British Labour Party MEP Arlene McCarthy.
3. Are European asylum rules ready for the challenges of the globalisation?
Mariusz sent us a question asking if European asylum rules will be sufficient to meet the challenges of globalisation and increased migration (including from states where there is conflict, or where human rights are not respected). We put this question to Manfred Weber MEP, Vice-Chair of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament.
4. How can the EU more effectively support democratic transformations in third countries?
Next, we took another question from Mariusz on how the EU could better support human rights and democratic transformations across the world. We aksed Emine Bozkurt, a Dutch MEP, for her response.
5. Could citizens ever appeal directly to the European Court of Justice for protection of their rights contained in the Charter of Fundamental Rights?
Finally, we had a question from Amalia on whether we were likely to see European citizens able to appeal directly to the European Court of Justice for protection of the rights contained within the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which was proclaimed in 2000 and became legally binding in 2009, and which sets out in a single text the whole range of civil, political, economic and social rights of European citizens and all persons resident in the EU.
We took this question to Juan Fernando López Aguilar, a Spanish MEP and former Minister of Justice of Spain. How would he respond?
What do YOU think? How can we increase the participation of citizens in in EU institutions and global economic decision-making? Are European asylum and immigration rules ready for the challenges of globalisation? How can the EU more effectively support democratic transformations in third countries? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.