Blog: Model European Union – what, how, when and where?
December 14, 2022

Blog: Model European Union – what, how, when and where?

Elena Gladun is a Young European Ambassador (YEA) from Moldova and organiser of the Model European Union (MEU) Netherlands. Valeriia Yefimenko is a YEA from Ukraine and a participant in this year’s MEU Netherlands. Together, they share their experience of organising and participating in the MEU project. 

What is the Model European Union (MEU)?

The Model European Union is a method of informal education for young people from all over the world that teaches them the decision-making procedure of the European Union in a format simulation. In MEUs, the participants are united to represent different EU institutions and other stakeholders: the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, legal advisers, political advisers, journalists, lobbyists, and interpreters. 

Usually, the participants are young people aged 18-35. Typically, around 100 youngsters take part in the MEU event. The participant’s task is to review and vote on two proposals (on directives or regulations) that are being debated during the event. The Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and the Ministers (representatives of the Council of the European Union) help each other to develop amendments, vote on them and add them to the original proposal. Their work is regulated by the Rules of Procedure (RoPs), and the presidency of each chamber (chairs of the EP and the Council of European Union) ensures that all the debates go according to the RoPs.

What is MEU Netherlands, and when did it take place?

MEU Netherlands is the simulation of the work of the EU organised by the Bringing Europeans Together Association (BETA) in the Netherlands. In 2022, it took place from 26 until 30 October in the Hague – the city of peace and justice. The organisers chose this city because of the abundant presence of international organisations and national administration buildings that are located there, which gives the city a unique vibe. In 2022, MEU Netherlands had around 85 participants coming from countries such as Moldova, Romania, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Netherlands, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, etc. 

How can you participate in the MEU?

If you are interested in participating in MEU, here are some tips on how you can get there. The good news is that filling in the application form usually takes about 12-15 minutes. It is made public after the announcement of the dates, team, and participation fees (if any). The application form is essential, not only because the organisers want to see people’s experience, language skills, and motivation, but also to properly understand which role would suit them best. Normally, MEUs tend to offer people roles that are as far from their original views as possible – for them to be able to get out of their comfort zone. The process of dividing roles is comprehensive, and a lot of time goes into it. Be ready to state your motivation and show your knowledge about the topics discussed at the conference.

Usually, the people involved in the allocation of roles are the Content Deputy Director-General, the Participants Coordinator, and the Head of Content. And yes – they do indeed read all the applications. No text is ever skipped, and all the details matter because we always want to be sure that we offer the best experience for everybody.

The application form differs from one MEU to another, depending on the organisers and requirements. 

How can one organise the MEU?

The think tank of BETA Europe has prepared a very detailed and well-organised manual that includes anything one could think of for organising the MEU: from logistics to content and beyond. To get the manual, you can contact BETA Europe: at [email protected]

Of course, there are a lot of technicalities to it. However, the most essential part is team reliability and the ability to ask for help when necessary. It is not easy to organise an international event for 100 people or more, and communicating constructively with your team is crucial. Sometimes hearing that you’re wrong is necessary, but it is also necessary to be reminded that you are doing a good job. 

A large group of organisers is needed to make this event happen. The organisers are divided by roles: some are responsible for the content – Deputy-Director General Content, Head of Content, Commissioners, Lobbyists and Journalists coordinators, Chairs, etc. – and some for logistics – Operational Deputy Director General, Logistics Officers, PR Officers, Participants Coordinator, etc. This is just a short list, but all the people on the team often forget about their roles and are very active in helping each other when necessary. As it has always been known: teamwork makes the dream work.

At MEU Netherlands 2022, Since Elena was the Operational Deputy Director-General, her most profound insight is the logistical part of a MEU – such as accommodation, catering, printing, venue hunting, and A LOT of e-mails. “I would never be able to do it myself, so a big thank you is to my logistics officers and the Directorate team,” she says. 

What should you do to get the most out of a MEU?

Be involved. Even if you don’t have anything to say as a participant at some point, ask questions, raise a point or make a motion. From the participant’s perspective it may be hard sometimes, especially when you feel a lack of knowledge in a specific area, but give it a try. “I am usually trying to be observant at the MEU conferences and raise points or motions only in case I am 100% sure I can give a good speech. However, this year, I tried to overcome this behaviour and raise my placard even if my statement was short and concise. I am still learning this, but I truly believe that I am on the right path,” explains Valeriia. 

Another option is to talk to legal and political advisers. These people are there to help if you are stuck and unsure how to proceed with your amendments. Moreover, do your research on the topics discussed. Prepare a bit in advance to feel more confident in the debates. 

Last but not least, each MEU has a non-mandatory part to it as well – which are the socials (for instance, City Quest, Karaoke Night or EuroFeast). Going to socials not only offers you the possibility to create new coalitions and alliances, but also to make friends. MEU friendships are known to last for a long time – because you usually see the people again at other simulations, in other countries. MEUs have a good community of people that tend to stick together regardless of country of citizenship or residence. Valeria said that this year’s MEU Netherlands proved this statement again, as there were lots of participants from all over the world, and it was really exciting to communicate with each and every one of them.

And in conclusion…
We are glad to inform you that MEU Netherlands 2023 is already in preparation! So, if you are interested, follow BETA Europe (Facebook, Instagram) or other organisers of MEU so as not to miss your chance.

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