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.