Your Europe Your Say

                                                

 

YOUR EUROPE YOUR SAY

The European Economic and Social Community (EESC) invited schools from all the 27 European countries to participate in an event to be held in Brussels on the 26th till the 28th April 2012. Saint Aloysius College, was the school from Malta which was selected.  Each school was to send 3 students and an accompanying teacher to participate in a plenary session held in Brussels.

The event itself was simply part of the whole project. Months before, the national EECS member Ms. Grace Attard visited the school a number of times to inform students about the programme and preparatory work which had to be done. Students had to recommend amendments to a draft opinion of the EESC on sustainable development which would then be discussed during the UN conference in Rio in June. Each school was asked to propose a maximum of 3 amendments which would then be discussed in Belgium.

On the 26th April, Caroline Agius, Marie Claire Dalli and Naomi Schembri, together with their teacher Ms. Pellicano, left for Brussels. Upon arrival, they met other participants and were taken to a Belgian chocolate factory. The group enjoyed a hands-on experience making truffles and chocolate coated biscuits and mallows. The evening came to an end with a buffet dinner and a social event.

The 27th April was the big day for all the participants. After a number of very interesting presentations about sustainable development, the students had to split up into 3 groups to discuss the 52 amendments proposed and decide on 15. The groups represented the workers, the employees and the NGOs. Each amendment had to be discussed in light of the different interests presented by each group.  After two hours of debate, discussion and also compromise, a representative from each group presented the proposed amendments. During the plenary session, all the members present had to vote in favour or against each amendment and in some instances could also opt to abstain with the aim of adopting a final text. When the amendments were complete, the whole group went to a tram museum for dinner and a social event. Some countries presented their home town and presented their traditional dances, songs and food. The evening came to an end with dinner followed by a dancing evening.

All the countries returned home on the 28th, somewhat sad that the event was over but hopeful that they would keep in touch through various social networks. It was an unforgettable experience for all the participants who felt that they were the ones calling the shots for a day!

  


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