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, Lund University in Sweden here, and the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED) in Spain here.
Our sixth debate is with students from St. Jozefscollege, Aalst, Belgium. We took their questions to Professor Charles Wyplosz from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva; Arlene McCarthy, a British Labour Party MEP (part of the centre-left Social Democrats in the European Parliament); Jörg Leichtfried, an MEP with the Social Democratic Party of Austria (also part of the S&D group); Petr Nečas, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic (whose party sits with the “eurorealist” Conservatives group in the European Parliament) and Caroline Spelman, a British Conservative MP and former Secretary of State for the Environment (also with the ECR group).
1. What specific measures should be taken to improve growth?
We started with a question from Kaatje, who asked what specific measures could be taken by the European Union to finally beat the crisis and improve economic growth. First, we took this question to Professor Charles Wyplosz from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.
Next, we asked Arlene McCarthy ( S&D group) to respond to the same question:
2. In the G20, G7 and IMF the EU speaks with different voices. Does that diminish the effectiveness of the EU as a global actor?
Next, we had a question sent in from Louis, asking if the EU’s role as a global actor was diminished because member states often spoke with “different voices” in various international forums. We took Louis’ question to Jörg Leichtfried ( S&D group) for his reaction.
We also wanted to get a reaction from the leader of a European Member State, so we spoke to the Czech Prime Minister, Petr Nečas ( ECR group), and asked him to respond to Louis.
The European Union is the world’s largest economy and, as a whole, indisputably plays an important part in global politics. The European Union’s specific representation in each international organisation depends on the composition of that organisation. Hence, the EU is a full member of the G8 and the G20, and in both groups it is represented by the President of the European Council and the European Commission President, who maintain and speak on behalf of European interests. Since the composition and voting structure of the IMF is different from aforementioned institutions, the European voice is represented there through all EU Member States.
3. What is the EU doing about the environmental impact of livestock rearing?
Finally, we had a question sent in by Lise, who asked:
I know that the EU has strict rules for the slaughtering and raising of animals, but what is the impact of rearing animals on the environment? Especially in the production of food for animals, their slaughtering and transportation? How is the EU coping with this?
We took this to the UK’s former Secretary of State for the Environment, Caroline Spelman ( ECR group) to see how she would respond:
Agricultural policy is completely decided at the EU level, so the European regulatory framework is very strong in this area. As you mentioned, there are very strict controls on the raising of livestock, and this includes rules governing animal welfare, effluent management and transportation to slaughter and market. These rules have also been designed to limit damage to the environment.
What do YOU think? What specific measures could the EU introduce to encourage growth in Europe? In the G20, G7 and IMF the EU speaks with different voices. Does that diminish the effectiveness of the EU as a global actor? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.