|Posted by munscslovenia on April 30, 2015 at 5:45 AM|
Three MUNSC members had the great pleasure of attending the brand new Brussels Model EU simulation at the end of March. Paweł Aleksander Kupis, Meliha Muherina and Žiga Golobič joined our MUN partners in crime in the heart of Belgium and the European Union, where we met a multitude of remarkable individuals – including several that have now joined us on the MUNSC-Salient secretariat. Pawel charmed his way through the wilderness of the European Parliament with his trademark “velvet authoritarianism” as a member of the Secretariat, while Meliha faithfully steered the Council of the European Union on their path to a qualified majority (also as a member of the chairing board.) Žiga assumed the role of a European People’s Party Member of Parliament and in doing so struggled for the votes of his colleagues, as well as for parliamentary influence in the Council.
Our week-plus long stay in Brussels was as engaging as it was fun. The two principle legislative bodies of the European Union were filled with eager, well-prepared delegates and more than capable chairs (as well as two representatives of the Commission), who were tasked with passing two pieces of legislation (based on European Commission proposals): firstly, the so-called “tobacco directive,” aimed at moving forward and harmonizing the Member States’ tobacco product legislation (including e-cigarette provisions); and secondly, the so-called “Connected Continent regulation,” aimed at ensuring that the EU remains a global leader in the field of digital technology, as well as at the creation of an EU-wide Telekom market. Our days in both bodies were filled with complex negotiations and painful compromises, seasoned well with that most noble of herbs: lobbying. To facilitate a smoother transition of both documents from the Parliament to the Council and back, two contact groups were established, with two representatives of each body acting as Rapporteurs for their opposite side, as well as exchanging standpoints and making sure that all the pertinent issues were recognized and addressed for both the representatives of the Member States, as well as the common representatives of all EU citizens. The tobacco directive was ultimately a success due to the relentless (according to some, even illegal) lobbying of several MEPs. The Connected Continent, on the other hand, barely failed to pass through the Council of the EU, due to the failure of both bodies to secure sufficient support with many newer Member States.
Outside of the official proceedings at the wonderful venue of the Marriott Hotel in Brussels, the attendees of the conference lived the Belgian dream, which may be summarized in three words: beer, fries, chocolate. Daily social gatherings at amazing destinations – like the world-famous Delirium Bar, the Mini-Europe exhibition and the Madame Mustache nightclub – ensured that we all got to know each other very well – in glorious Belgian style. We even witnessed a decidedly Brusselian solar eclipse! In addition to a visit to the European Parliament and Commission, we were also treated to the “Sultan’s World” exhibition at the BOZAR just before the closing ceremony. It was there that our two chairs received standing ovations for their hard work and our delegate received a “distinguished delegate” award for, as one MEP put it, his tireless summation of the will of the Parliament during his speeches. Such was the end to this particular MUNSC adventure, but as we know, the web of MUN and MEU is as all-encompassing as it is durable. Rumor has it, that new and old friends alike already met once more at one particular conference in Mostar…