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"Europe on trial" on the economic crisis

80 students, 12 countries, 1 question: Who was responsible for mishandling the 2008 economic crisis?

EucA and CIME, Consiglio Italiano del Movimento Europeo, held in Rome from 24 to 26 of October the 5th event of the Message to Europeans 3.0 project funded by the European Union.

Message to Europeans 3.0 brought together hundreds of University students to debate the current challenges of the European Union: euroscepticism, the migration crisis, populism and the future of Europe. After Warsaw, Budapest, The Hague and Ljubljana, Message to Europeans 3.0 stopped in Rome, where young people tried to understand via the format of a mock trial the economic crisis, Member States’ competencies and EU responsibilities in dealing with it.

The first two days of the event meant preparation: participants were divided in 3 groups, the prosecution, the defense, and the popular jury, and they had to devise their arguments and trial strategy.

The participants could also test their arguments by attending expert panels on the “Financial Market Regulation and Supervision”, “European Economic and Monetary Union & EU Governance”, “Social policies, youth unemployment & poverty” carried out by Paola Lucantoni, Professor of Financial Markets Law at Tor Vergata University of Rome; Vincenzo Russo, Professor of Public Finance at Sapienza University of Rome; Efren Moiso, Junior Researcher for the Planning and Research Research Department of the National Public Agency for Microcredit; Benedetto Ippolito, Professor and Researcher in History of Philosophy at University of Roma Tre and Letizia Cesarini Sforza, Project Manager of CILAP-EAPN.

On the third day the mock trial started. The participants presented their arguments as prosecution and defence. After the presentations, Alessandro Fusacchia, Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies challenged student to consider the progressive stalemate of the European Union, touching upon the  goals of European integration, peace and security, economic prosperity, solidarity and freedom. “Over the last 25 years, the progressive stalemate of the European Union has been mainly due to the inability to adapt governance and tools from inward to outward-looking” said Fusacchia.

In the meanwhile the popular jury led by two judges, Pier Virgilio Dastoli, President European Movement in Italy and Ugo Ferruta, Honorary judge of Rome, prepared the final verdict. A summary of their decision can be read: “Generally, the Jury agrees with the Prosecution that the responsibility of the mishandling of the 2008 economic crisis must be shared between the European Council and the European Commission, but it disagrees with it in recognizing an equal responsibility of the two institutions. Indeed, the arguments against the European Council have been considered, globally, more compelling than those presented against the European Commission. In conclusion, the Jury wants to congratulate all the members of both teams, Prosecution and Defense, for their hard work and for the wealth of elements that they presented during the hearing. Indeed, the verdict reflects the long and complex debate that has been necessary to the Jurors in order to evaluate such arguments and to come to a final deliberation“ (read the final verdict by clicking here).

A group of Student Leaders covered the event on social media so to involve more people online. Anna Luetkemeier, Student Leader from Germany,  “As a social media team we experienced 3 exciting days in which we could accompany the Prosecution and Defense Team as well as the Popular Jury. Through several channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we kept our followers up to date on the progress of the event, reported on the different keynotes, followed the lively discussions, and of course took the audience to the networking events of the evening. It was a great success to see that within these 3 days alone we reached over 14.500 people via Facebook where we could spread the Message to Europeans”.

From the 80 international participants taking part of the mock trial in Rome: 2 students were from Ireland and other 2 from Germany. From Spain we had 7 participants and 9 from Hungary! We had also 1 representative from Finland, 1 from Poland, 1 representative from France, 1 from The Netherlands and 1 from “La Belgique”! We had also 2 representatives from Romania and other 2 from Slovenia. From Italy, we had 7 people coming from outside of Rome and the rest were local participants from Rome taking part during the whole event.

We can read some feedback comments of the participants: “overall I had a really good time. I enjoyed the conference. It was a good experience to learn about the EU and the financial crisis with motivated international students. I made good friends and the location was also wonderful”, “it was a wonderful event to get to know how a mock trial works and to learn about the economic crisis of 2008 by debating with the other participants”, “this event has been amazing in every possible way, starting with the place, the level of knowledge of the experts, people and the mock trial”.

Message to Europeans 3.0 will stop next in Brussels on 19-21 February 2018 to present to policymakers the new EU narrative, the most significant civic initiatives carried out during the two years of the project and much more. It will be the last event of the project, so you can not miss it! Follow us on our social media channels to stay informed.


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