Should Europe ensure asylum for more refugees or strengthen its external borders? How can we overcome democratic deficits in Brussels? What should be the role of Germany in Europe’s future? These were among the central questions during the first Magdeburg Symposium which took part on this year’s Europe Day weekend between May 9th and 11th 2014 at Otto-von-Guericke-University in Magdeburg. Under the working title “Understanding and shaping the EU“ 68 students of European Studies and various other disciplines participated in workshops, lectures, and discussions. Among the speakers of the weekend were representatives from NGOs, political parties and academia.
INES as a partner of the organizing committee held the opening session. Tina Kortsch, head of the INES Board, lectured on the basics of the European institutions and politics. After that, participants were invited to a role play, simulating European political campaigns. They were assigned membership of one of the major German parties running for seats in the European Parliament. The parties elected their top candidates who then engaged in a thrilling and sometimes heated mock-TV debate on refugee and asylum policy and the EU’s democratic deficits. After the debates, INES held a simulated election among all participants of the symposium which saw the Green party as the undisputable winner.
The organizing committee saw the first Magdeburg Symposium as a great success, eager for a new edition in 2015. INES would like to thank all participants at the simulation game and of course the organizers of the symposium. It was a fun weekend with lots of inspiration and great people!
On February 2nd, the INES Annual Meeting 2013 took place in Berlin. Instead of conference rooms, the INES board had chosen a small Italian bistro with a very pleasant environment as the suitable venue. The first main item of the agenda was a report by managing INES board director Tina Kortsch on recent activities of the network. This includes, for example, the very successful project on the financial crisis in 2012, comprised of a 5-day seminar in Frankfurt and the follow-up event in Berlin with more than 20 participants in total; the participation of INES at a Universal Peace Foundation event in January 2013, and INES participation at a workshop on youth training, organized by Youth in Action. Following an overview on the financial situation of INES, the current board was discharged of liability of the business year 2012.
As the most important administrative agenda item, the members elected the new INES board. Tina Kortsch was officially elected board director of INES. Moreover, INES is especially pleased to welcome Ekaterina Ananyeva and Amy Gustafson as new members of the board! The last main item on the agenda was an outlook on planned activities of the newly elected board. INES vice chair Katharina Ewert presented an update on the preparation for this year’s planned seminar on Green Economy in Brussels. Similar to the seminar on the financial crisis, this project will bring together young students from across Europe to consider sustainability and the approach of a Green Economy to overcome the current EU financial and economic crisis and analyze its potential for European Integration from a social, economic and political perspective. The Annual Meeting agreed to put forward the effort to finalize a project proposal for funding over the next weeks. As the concluding agenda item, Anna Brüning, a young researcher on Green Economy and sustainability, outlined her views on the topics in a short presentation to the INES members.
As the project planning for the Green Economy seminar is ongoing, we would be happy for any input. If you are interested to be involved, send us an email: network(a)ines-online.eu.