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!