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.
Our fourth debate is with students from the BA Programme in European Studies at Lund University, Sweden. We took their questions to Stefano Sannino, Director General for Enlargement at the European Commission; Petri Sarvamaa, an MEP from Finland from the liberal conservative National Coalition Party (part of the centre-right European People’s Party in the European Parliament); Arlene McCarthy, a British MEP with the social democrat Labour Party (part of the Socialists & Democrats group); and two Christian democrat MEPs: Lambert van Nistelrooij, from the Netherlands, and Manfred Weber from Germany (both members of the EPP group).
1. How can voter turnout be increased at European elections?
Our first question came from Malin, who asked how voter turnout could be increased at the next European election. We put this question to Petri Sarvamaa, Arlene McCarthy and Lambert van Nistelrooij for their response:
2. Can Swedish farmers still be competitive if Sweden rejects GMOs?
Next up, we took a question from Jonna, who wondered if Swedish farmers would lose their edge in the Single Market because of Sweden’s strict regulation of GMOs.
We put this question to Petri Sarvamaa, who sits on the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, for him to respond:
I think the Swedes, actually, have been very wise and forward-looking in their approach… There are a lot of people who would like to know more about what they are putting into their mouths, and I advance this ideology in my home country of Finland as well. Of course, we need to have bulk production to produce enough food for the market, but having a strategic emphasis on things like organic food, clean food and local produce will also earn good money for the producers. So, I think Sweden is going to compete just fine, and I hope some other countries will follow their lead.
3. What would be the process for seperatist regions to rejoin the EU after independence?
Next, we had an interesting question from Oscar, who wondered what the process would be for seperatist regions (such as Catalonia or Scotland) to rejoin the EU after gaining independence. We put this question to Stefano Sannino, Director General for EU Enlargement at the European Commission.
4. What measures are being discussed concerning illegal migrants in Europe?
Finally, we had a comment from Christoffer on illegal immigration into the EU. We gave this question to Manfred Weber for his response.
What do YOU think? How can voter turnout be increased at European elections? Can Swedish farmers still be competitive if Sweden rejects GMOs? What would be the process for seperatist regions to rejoin the EU after independence? And what measures are being discussed concerning illegal migrants in Europe? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.