Early yesterday morning the Vesalius College delegation to the State University of New York Model European Union met up at Zaventem Airport to depart to the United States. Over the coming days, the delegation will be participating in the simulation of the European Union on a variety of issues. This year, Vesalius College is taking on the following roles:
- Donald Tusk, European Council: Linda Slapakova
- Federica Mogherini, Foreign Affairs Council: Emiel Haeghebaert
- European Council Secretariat: Stephan Johansen
- Foreign Affairs Council Secretariat: Justyna Hinz
- COREPER II Secretariat: Dieter Stroobants
- ECOFIN Secretariat: Ivan Mannino
While our day was mostly filled with traveling to New York, here’s a summary of key events of the day:
- Perfectly timed arrival at the US Pre-clearance at Dublin Airport complicated by half our delegation being selected for random security checks;
- Most used sentence of the day: “Hey, where’s Ivan?”
- Total hamburgers consumed: 12
On Thursday, March 30th, the first thing on the agenda was exploring New York City. Having had a fantastic pancake breakfast, we were ready to discover:
Next, the conference officially kicked off at the SUNY Global Center, where our very own Linda Slapakova, playing European Council President Donald Tusk addressed all the delegations in order to outline the priorities for the summit. Agenda items for discussion were selected, and a speech was given by EU ambassador to the UN, João Vale de Almeida, on the relevance of the EU for American citizens.
After the ceremony, a reception was held and everyone went to bed early in order to be ready for the first day of negotiations.
On Friday, March 31st, the negotiations at SUNY MEU officially started. The topics for discussion in the different committees were:
- European Council: Transatlantic Relations as well as Brexit
- Foreign Affairs Council: the European Neighborhood Policy and the Southern Mediterranean
- ECOFIN: Free Trade Agreements and Modernisation of the EU’s Current Trade Defense Instruments
- COREPER II: Responses to the European Migration and Refugee Crisis
Each council was to debate the pre-set agenda and amend it as necessary, before sending their conclusions to the European Council for formal adoption on Saturday. After the press conference in the evening, the delegates were asked to vote on an alternative agenda item, which would be discussed in case time was left at the end of the discussions on the formal agenda. In the Foreign Affairs Council, for example, both the formal agenda and one alternative agenda were discussed and formally adopted. All councils were successful in adopting their final documents, which were signed by all the Heads of State or Government at the closing ceremony on Saturday.
On Saturday, April 1st, the Vesalius College delegation at SUNY MEU went into their sessions prepared to wrap up the negotiations and produce the conference’s final document. Each council managed to adopt their respective conclusions, which were then unanimously accepted by the Heads of State or Government at the formal closing ceremony.