The European Movement in Albania (EMA), with the support of European Movement International, within the framework of the ‘Europe for Citizens’ Program funded by the European Commission, organized the training of participants in the EU Institutions Simulation (EUIS) on April 25, 2018 in Europe House, in the framework of month of Europe.
Presentation of the activity was carried out by the EU Day 2018 Project Coordinator, Ms. Mona Xhexhaj, who emphasized among others, that the motivation of young people and their involvement in such activities has a direct impact on the development of their skills and knowledge gains on the European Union and the decision-making process of its institutions.
Afterwards, Ms. Fjoralba Caka, Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Tirana, who was a trainer during the EUIS, presented the decision-making process of the institutions such as European Commission, Parliament and Council of EU, by pointing out the main differences between the role and weight these institutions have and how they interact with one another.
The chosen theme for this year’s simulation was the Directive 2014/36/EU – “On conditions of entry and stay of third-country nationals for the purpose of employment as seasonal workers”, which was introduced by Mr. Embro Ahmetaj, Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Tirana, who was also a trainer during the simulation. The content of the topic is consistent with the importance and recent debate that the EU has raised, which is composed by a directive adopted on February 26, 2014 and remained effective until the end of 2016. The Seasonal Workers Directive explains a well-defined job activity set out in the European internal market, which is seasonal work, by including all types of jobs that last for a limited period of time (between 5 and 9 months).Within the seasonal work context, the legal text addresses a particular category of workers: third-country nationals working in EU. Therefore, this directive represents a meeting point between the two current EU migration issues: the functioning of the internal market and the management of immigration. Mr. Ahmetaj completed the presentation of the topic by providing general information on what would be discussed on the simulation day.
The presentations were concluded by Mr. Albi Çela, participant of MEU Strasbourg 2017, and trainer and coordinator of the EUIS in Tirana, who briefly explained the rules, procedures and method of preparation for the simulation, clarifying the role each student would have in the institution they were selected to represent. Participants also had the opportunity to hold a parliamentary group meeting, according to party divisions, appointing the Faction Leader and the Faction Secretary; and finally the Council of Ministers’ met to elect the Council President and its Deputy. The scope of discussions allowed any ambiguity on the assignment to be explained and gave to participants 1 week to prepare for their role and collect the needed information for the chosen topic.
The EU Institutions Simulation took place on May 3, 2018, where 60 students dressed as MEPs, commissioners and EU ministers discussed and voted on the 2014/36/EU Directive regarding Seasonal Workers Directive. .As the representatives of the European Commission presented several proposals for the Directive, who also argued on the importance of this directive to be adopted by the Parliament and the Council, the next ones to give their opinions on the proposal were the political groups of the Parliament. The far-right MEPs were those who opposed the Directive until the end of the discussion, by offering parliamentary debates and forcing the President of Parliament to temporarily suspend the discussion. Even though there were debates, slogans, and reactions by the side of the MEPs, the Parliament nevertheless achieve to successfully adopt the directive after its amendments. The discussion by the Council of the European Union was more constructive, but there were also objections from country representatives that perceived that this Directive will affect them and their countries. The Ministers gave their arguments if the adoption of this Directive is in the interest of their countries and the EU. In conclusion, the Directive was not voted by most of the Ministers of the Member States. At the end of the event, for the three relevant EU institutions were announced winners and certificates were distributed to all participants.
The simulation activity resulted very successful, as the students were fully committed to their roles, the presentations that emerged during the discussions and the voting, as well as in the realistic representation as officials from EU institutions. At the end of the simulation, the participants were clarified regarding the functions and importance of each of the EU institutions while facing difficulties of negotiation and voting. The project sparked critical thinking, art of communicating and negotiating with individuals who carry different opinions and views, as well as public speaking and presentation. The challenge for this year was also the fact that students were chosen to represent those political groups or member states that were somewhat contrary to their political, ideological beliefs and tendencies, making it more challenging for them to find convincing arguments and to be fully involved.