About the course structure:
The course is divided into four main parts:
- The first is an intensive introductory phase during which you will be learning about the history of the EU and look at two member states, Germany and Czech Republic, in more detail. You will visit these two member states on the first field trip. There will be a test about the material covered at the end of this phase.
- The second part begins with the twice weekly regular classes and is devoted to the institutional architecture of the EU as well as the four major EU decision-making institutions: the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Court of Justice. During this phase, we will conduct an EU Poll project.
- The third section of the course provides an introduction to EU policy fields. It covers all policy fields discussed during the Model EU. First the background and historical development of these policies is discussed, before these are placed into context with current policies and politics in the EU. In addition to introducing the policy fields, students present their assigned country’s position on each field and discuss commonalities as well as differences between their various positions. Eventually, this section empowers students to find suitable partner delegations for joint statements.
- Moreover, there are six classes integrated into the course which are devoted to the preparation of and reflection on the field-study trips. These classes are designed to ensure that students derive as much information and inspiration from the field-study lectures as possible and that they are able to connect their insights with the academic work in Freiburg.
The Model EU is a simulation of a summit meeting of the European Council (Heads of Government/State, Foreign Ministers and EconFin Ministers). Students will take on different roles at this simulation representing countries or institutions in the negotiations on a pre-set agenda.
The following roles are available:
- Council Presidency (responsible for running the council meeting and setting the agenda)
- EU Commission (responsible for the proposals discussed during the Model EU)
- Delegates (Head of government / Foreign Minister / Finance Minister representing an assigned member state)
Students need to apply for one of the above stated positions. The application is handed in through Moodle and must state their motivation, qualification and expectations for the applied position(s) and/or country (please provide alternative choices). You can also apply in a more general manner, e.g. “I would like to represent a smaller country as Foreign Minister because …”.
For the presidency positions experience in similar simulations or student government will be helpful.
Policy Statement and Agenda
If you are representing a country at the Model-EU you will have to prepare a policy statement which presents the basic stances of your country delegation on the issues on the agenda. You will have to state the sources used to write your policy statement in a separate document. Students taking on a position within “The Council Presidency”, you will draft the agenda instead. Students taking on a position as a commissioner will write proposals on the agenda topics for discussion during Model EU.
Except for a 1 page cover letter policy statements are written separately by each member of the delegation (Heads of Government/Foreign Ministers/Finance Ministers) on the topics on the respective agendas (each participant has to write about 2 - 3 pages). However, the policy statements are handed in collectively as one document. Moreover, the delegation has to write an introductory note together, that highlights each delegates points. The statements should have one common format. Students are graded separately for their respective parts of the policy statement.
There are various ways to write your policy statement. The essential aspect is that you have to provide your delegation’s basic stance on the issues at hand. Depending on your strategy and your interest in a given topic you can be more or less open about your positions and intentions. You might for example want to hint at possible compromises to show your conciliatory attitude. In contrast, you might find it advantages on another issue to take a strong bargaining position.
Policy statements are written in “high style.” You are writing as the highest representatives of your country and these are official documents. Make sure to stay in character! This does not mean that you should write meaningless statements in inflated prose. The policy statements need to have substance as they are the basis for discussion at the summit meeting.
The basic agenda topics are determined by the presidency early during the semester. This agenda will be narrowed down and focused by all members of the presidency. Each Council Presidency is responsible for its own agenda first. After all councils have put together their respective agendas, these are joined into one document.
The view of the various delegations will be taken into account as well. The agenda is released shortly after the Institutions field trip and describes the issues to be discussed during the simulation in sufficient detail. (Commonly, the agenda has a length of 8 to 10 pages, including an introduction/invitation letter).
The commissioners are responsible for writing two proposals per topic introduced by the presidency’s agenda. The proposals are introduced during the Model EU and are the basis for discussion during the simulation. The commissioners take into account the various positions of the member states voiced through the Joint Statements in formulating the proposals. The commission’s proposals are released shortly before the Model EU.
Each country representative will have to work on three “Joint Statements” for the Model EU summit. These statements need to be on the topic outlined on the agenda published by the presidency and cannot introduce new items.
In addition, these statements need to be written in small groups (4 to 6 countries). Therefore, students will have to identify potential allies and arrange group meetings. To facilitate group formation a forum will be created on Moodle. You can join a group at any time. If the interests on certain statements are clearly contrary, multiple groups should be formed. The groups should delegate a group leader. If a delegate wants to join a group belatedly to help edit the statements they need to contact the group leader.
Joint Statements are handed in to the Council Advisors during Mock Debate for final editing and publishing.
At the end of the Model EU you will have to present your Council Meeting Conclusions. This is a document consisting of all decisions you were able to reach during the summit meeting. These will be based on the proposals prepared by the commissioners prior to the summit, but will necessarily reflect the national and ideological positions brought to the bargaining table. Moreover, some proposals may have been successfully introduced or broadened during the summit. Yet others may have failed to receive sufficient backing from all member states and therefor will not make it into the Council Meeting Conclusions.
The Model EU is prepared in class both in terms of procedure and in terms of content. However, it is imperative that all students prepare for the simulation independently. All participants need to be well versed in the Rules of Procedure as well as the topics being discussed in their council setting. Moreover, all students need to have a clear concept of their role (e.g. the position of their government on the topics) to be able to play this role effectively, adjust to unforeseen developments and to generally stay in character. Faculty will be present at the summit meeting. However, they will interfere as little as possible with the proceedings. The effective running of the simulation is the responsibility of the Council Presidencies and all participants.