EYP – Politics for beginners
Thursday, 19 March 2015
Having been selected as a delegation of seven students from the Phorms Campus Munich for the European Youth Parliament (EYP) regional selection for southern Ger-many, we started receiving multiple emails containing daily routines and plans, packing lists and other organisational schedules.
All delegates were expected to arrive no later than 1 p.m. We had enough time to enjoy a breakfast before being welcomed and introduced to the organisers, also called chairpersons. They were to guide us over the following four days. We were also introduced to our respective committee teams. All seven of us Phorms students were sent to different committees, such as the committee on foreign affairs, on economic and monetary affairs or the committee on environment, public health and food safety.
Prior to our trip, we were given an opportunity to vote for committee topics that we found the most interesting. All the topics were somehow related to the European Security and Defence Policy, the theme of the session.
In our committees, we introduced our-selves and broke the ice with a game. The team-building games and exercises made it easy and enjoyable to get to know one another and feel safe and comfortable in our new team. For the most part, we worked within our respective committee teams – the exception being the occasional danceoff, in which we had the chance to interact with other committees. These moments enabled us to relax and not take the work too seriously, and they helped us work together. Everyone’s opinions and thoughts were taken into account, resulting in resolutions. These resolutions were a team product rather than the product of those with the loudest voice and the strongest opinion.
After a busy afternoon in our committees, we started an ambitious evening programme. On the first evening of every EYP session, there is the Welcome Party and the Euro Village takes place.
For the Euro Village, every delegation or individual was asked to represent a country of the European union and its culture. We were to bring traditional food, flags and clothing of this country.
Our delegation represented Germany; thus, we brought traditional Bavarian food and drinks and dressed up in Bavarian lederhosen and dirndl.
Before continuing with a game round throughout the school building in our committees, we had dinner as a delegation, eating our way through European culture and engaging in small talk about our committee members.
Friday, 20 March 2015
The second day was spent writing our resolutions. It was wonderful to work on teams with individuals who all had a mu¬tual interest in our chosen topics, as this led to expeditious and concentrated work. We were so devoted to getting the job done that our chairpersons had to force us to take a few breaks! After dinner, we were treated to a night-time tour of Leverkusen by bus and to one of Chempark’s three sites – the largest chemical park in Germany.
At midnight, everybody met at the school cafeteria again for a mock debate by the organisers to give us a feel for what the General Assembly the following day would be like. Finally, we tumbled into bed, exhausted and excited about the activities that would take place the coming day.
Saturday, 21 March 2015
On the third day, the sleep-deprived parliamentarians, including myself, were woken at 7 a.m. We were instructed to finalise our resolutions for the General Assembly.
After lunch, everyone was dressed in formal attire, and we were ready for the General Assembly. After a short introduction by local politicians and sponsors, the discussion began, only coming to a halt a solid three hours later with the last resolution of the day. Admittedly, the prospect of talking in front of over 100 people seemed somewhat daunting at first. After a while, however, it felt more like talking to our class and it enabled us to concentrate more on making our points, rather than trying not to drop the mic. At the end of the day, all the EYP participants gathered for a fun, if somewhat premature, farewell party under the theme ‘bad taste’.
Sunday, 22 March 2015
On Sunday, after a very short four hours of sleep – and sadly, no coffee – everyone got dressed up again and headed towards the buses. Back at the General Assembly, we warmed up with a few quick energisers, including awkward dances, before continuing our final round of discussions. At 1 p.m. it was time for final handshakes, hugs and heartfelt farewells. The session was concluded with the EYP tradition of singing along to the song ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon. With teary eyes, Niklas Sannowitz, head organiser of the session, said a few words before making the official announcements of the delegations and individuals who had been selected to move on to the national conference in Passau.
Our delegation was one of the few selected to move on! In short, it was an experience we will not soon forget.