What are committees?
Each delegate states their committee preferences and is then assigned to one of the eight committees. Before the conference, the delegates research on the committee issue based on the study guides provided by the Committee Presidents (CPs). At the beginning of the committee meetings, each delegate introduces their country and party’s standpoint on the committee issue. However, we do not require any official position statement sent to us from the delegates prior to the conference.
During the sessions, delegates in the committee try to break down the issue into specific problems and discuss solutions to these issues. The output of these discussions is the committee’s resolution, which is then presented at the General Assembly to all MEP delegates. The committee explains the resolution, answers questions from the delegates and defends the resolution. The General Assembly votes on whether a suggested amendment should be part of the resolution, and finally, whether the resolution should pass or not.
The study guides will be uploaded soon.
SEDE – Committee on Security and Defense
During recent years, the idea of a unified European army has moved from a taboo subject to a widely discussed topic. The discussed scenarios range from tighter cooperation between the member states’ security forces to a joint army under the command of European institutions. The majority of the EU member states are part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. However, the current American presidency has led many to believe that the US is no longer a trustworthy guarantor of European security. Furthermore, some assert that Europe should be able to protect its interests militarily if needed. What are the benefits and drawbacks of the already existing military alliance? Would a European army be efficient in fulfilling the tasks of a modern military? How would a common defense strengthen the European position as an emerging superpower?
ECON – Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs
As big tech companies like Facebook, Google, or Amazon amass record-breaking fortunes, worries about monopolistic behavior mount. Their wealth, access to personal data, and presence in people’s daily lives mean that these companies enjoy far-reaching influence in both the economic and the societal sphere. Their dominant position was reaffirmed by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which exposed the threat that social media pose for democracy. In recent years, European regulators have taken the lead in punishing tech companies’ unfair behavior. Margarethe Vestager, the European Commissioner for Competition has gained recognition for imposing huge fines, and top Facebook executives including Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of the European Parliament. How should the European Union foster innovation and fair competition? Do tech corporations need to be more heavily regulated?
LIBE – Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
Each year, billions of euros are distributed from the EU budget to the member states through various cohesion, development, and social funds. While this money is used to finance many beneficial projects, it notoriously attracts criminals. Corruption and embezzlement are frequent, especially in countries where rule of law is weakened. The EU’s powers in law enforcement are limited: its anti-fraud office, OLAF, lacks the authority to prosecute wrongdoers. Instead, it makes recommendations which are often not followed by the member states. Similarly, no unified legal code protects the European Budget, meaning that investigators must rely on a patchwork of national laws. Should the EU’s capacity to investigate and prosecute crimes be increased? Are member states willing to sacrifice sovereignty by allowing the EU to act without the cooperation of local law enforcement? How can the European budget best be protected?
INTA – Committee on International Trade
As China’s ambitious, $8 trillion infrastructure program evolves from rough contours to real projects, European countries struggle to form a consistent response. While many welcome the investment and trade flows that the ‘New Silk Road’ promises to its member countries, others worry about unsustainable debt levels and China’s control of strategic facilities. The authoritarian nature and frequent human rights abuses of the Chinese regime make it an unlikely partner of the EU. Nevertheless, China already controls a port in Athens and plans projects in Poland and Germany among other European states. Is the Belt and Road Initiative a genuine economic project or merely a scheme to expand Chinese influence? Should Europe look for new trading partners at a time of American isolationism? Is cooperation with China a threat to European security and democracy?
ENVI – Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
Millions of Europeans die prematurely each year due to air pollution, yet the pollution levels in many European cities and countries exceed the acceptable limits set by the World Health Organization and the EU. This problem is pressing especially in cities, which often suffer from low air quality. However, decreasing the amount of dangerous gasses and solid particles will require sacrifices. Transportation, industry, and agriculture are all sources of anthropogenic air pollution, meaning that radical measures like restricting diesel cars in cities are needed. How should Europe tackle the public health crisis caused by air pollution? What can the EU do to keep cities clean in an era of increasing urbanization? Which sectors should bear the economic cost of regulations?
FEMM – Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality
A look at the composition of parliaments and company boards in European Countries reveals that women are severely underrepresented when it comes to leadership positions. One solution is affirmative action: quotas that would dictate the minimum proportion of women. Several European countries have already implemented them, including Germany, France, and the Netherlands. However, this mechanism is highly controversial, as many object to it on the grounds of both fairness and efficiency. Are gender quotas an appropriate measure for combating gender inequality? What stance should the European Union assume towards them? From mandating or encouraging the use of quotas to banning them, all options are on the table in the FEMM Committee.
Eurogroup – Meeting of the finance ministers of the Eurozone
While the Euro was intended to be a crucial part of the European project, several EU countries have not yet joined the Eurozone. Additionally, the Greek crisis, which shook the foundations of the monetary union, opened up many questions about the Eurozone’s viability as a long-term economic arrangement. At this Eurogroup summit, the EU’s finance ministers will negotiate the terms of Eurozone’s enlargement or contraction. Should all EU countries join the Eurozone one day? Or should the Eurozone be a selective club of countries with similar economic prospects? Can a common currency serve the needs of countries as different as Greece and Germany?
General Affairs Council – Meeting of the foreign ministers of the EU
While the idea of Turkey joining the European Union has been around for a long time, the recent worries about president Erdogan’s authoritarian behavior change the political landscape. The General Affairs Council, composed of member states’ foreign ministers, coordinates the accession process of all candidate countries. In this committee, the delegates will assess Turkey’s compliance with the Copenhagen Criteria that countries need to fulfill to join the EU. They will discuss whether Turkey is suitable for a community of developed, democratic states, and what steps the Turkish government needs to take to be eligible for membership. Additionally, they will plan the accession procedure with regard to Turkey’s unique geographic, demographic, and economic position. Is Turkey sufficiently stable and democratic? What effects would the addition of a large and relatively poor country have on the EU? What reforms should the EU dictate to Turkey?