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 other European countries here.
Our fifteenth debate is with students from the Szepsi Laczkó Máté Mezőgazdasági és Élelmiszeriapri Szakképző Iskola, Hungary. We took their questions to Gabriele Zimmer, a German MEP and the Chair of the Radical Left group; Katarína Neveďalová, a Slovakian MEP who sits with the Social Democrats in the European Parliament; Seán Kelly, an Irish MEP with the Centre-Right, and James Nicholson, an MEP from the UK with the Conservatives.
Take a look at their answers below, and see if they help give you a better idea who you want to vote for in our Debating Europe Vote 2014!
1. Is the right of EU citizens to migrate to other European countries under threat?
The European Parliament elections are less than a month away, and EU migration is proving one of the most controversial issues in the run-up. Some countries would like to see a reform of the EU’s freedom of movement rules, making it harder for EU citizens to migrate to other countries unless they already have a job waiting.
We had a question from Zsolt asking what the EU could do to better protect the right of workers in the EU to migrate to other countries. We took this question to James Nicholson, an MEP from the UK who sits with the Conservatives. He argued that there shouldn’t be a completely “free flow” of people within the EU, and there must be guarantees that migrants will work and contribute to the society they live in.
Sean Kelly from the Centre-Right had a different perspective. He argued that freedom of movement is a fundamental right of the European Union, and despite the recent tensions he does not think it is under threat.
2. What can the EU do to encourage more female politicians?
The next question came from Márton, who wanted to know what the European Union could do to encourage more women to become involved in political life. We took this question to Gabriele Zimmer, an MEP from Germany and the Chair of the Radical Left group in the European Parliament.
We also took this question to Katarína Neveďalová, a Slovakian MEP with the Social Democrats. How would she respond?
To have more women in politics, we need to have good examples. I hope I’m one of them, because I’m also a young woman, which is a combination not very often seen in the European Parliament. I hope that we can strengthen women and also help them to be in more senior positions, but this is the role of hte national member states and the national political parties in the MS to support more women in the lists as candidates in regional, national and European elections. So, it’s more on the MS, but we as the EP want more women. I’m very glad we have lots of female members, and we ahve a special committee in the European Union looking at women’s rights.
3. How can the EU better support farmers and agriculture?
We took this question to James Nicholson, who is a farmer himself as well as being a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development. How would he react?
Is the right of EU citizens to migrate to other European countries under threat? What can the EU do to encourage more female politicians? And how can the EU better support farmers and agriculture? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions!