AROUND SLOVAKIA

Slovak students debate European issues

SECONDARY schools from across Slovakia sent 46 students to Bratislava’s parliament building to take part in a mock session of the European Parliament on September 27. The students came from all eight regions of Slovakia and the best five members of the 'parliament' will travel to the international round of the programme, called Model European Parliament (MEP) to be held in Istanbul at the end of October, said Mária Rychnavská, Slovakia’s coordinator of the project, as reported by the TASR newswire.

Daphne Bergsma, Maroš Šefčovič and Richard Sulík (l-r) join two student parliamentarians.Daphne Bergsma, Maroš Šefčovič and Richard Sulík (l-r) join two student parliamentarians. (Source: TASR)

SECONDARY schools from across Slovakia sent 46 students to Bratislava’s parliament building to take part in a mock session of the European Parliament on September 27. The students came from all eight regions of Slovakia and the best five members of the 'parliament' will travel to the international round of the programme, called Model European Parliament (MEP) to be held in Istanbul at the end of October, said Mária Rychnavská, Slovakia’s coordinator of the project, as reported by the TASR newswire.

She added that the aim of the programme, organised by all EU member states, is to teach secondary school students about political culture, as well as sharpening the students’ skills in communication and debate. The programme has them propose and debate solutions for problems that are discussed at actual sessions of the EU’s parliament. Rychnavská said the level of argument and the quality of the students keeps improving.

“The quality of the performance of individual students has been improving and the number of schools involved in the project is also growing,” the coordinator said, adding that students were diligent and enthusiastic during the weekend as they were putting together their resolutions and arguments about the pressing issues of present-day Europe.

On the first day of the mock parliamentary session the students worked on issues while divided into parliamentary committees.

The foreign affairs committee dealt with protection and security within the EU vis-á-vis Russia. The parliamentary debate on this issue was chaired by Ján Hoffman, a student from the Alejova secondary school in Košice.

The committee for monetary issues discussed ways to deal with the economic crisis while the committee for protection of consumers dealt with the problem of reducing communal and household waste. The committee for culture and education examined issues such as alcoholism, common complaints from young people, and how to make the food that young people eat more beneficial to their health, Rychnavská said. She added that the committee on constitutional issues discussed the Lisbon Strategy and ways in which the European Parliament can influence national parliaments and vice versa.

The mock parliamentary session was attended by the speaker of the Slovak Parliament, Richard Sulík, as well as by Slovakia's European commissioner, Maroš Šefčovič, Slovak MEP Miroslav Mikolášik and Daphne Bergsma, the Dutch ambassador to Slovakia.

Sulík appraised the quality of the mock parliamentary session as good and called for more such projects.

Šefčovič said he was pleased with the skills of the Slovak students and praised their rhetorical skills and their level of English.


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