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Photo: Number 10 (Flickr); Licence:CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
 

In the wake of last week's "Karlspreis" being awarded to Martin Schultz, president of the European Parliament, guest author Frank Burgdörfer reflects upon this predictable choice and suggests David Cameron as a better candidate given his European achievements.

The city of Aachen has awarded Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, with the "Karlspreis" – an annual prize named after the medieval emperor Charlemagne. It comes as no surprise at all, as the prize is usually given to people who hold key functions in European institutions. Thus the group of potential recipients is rather limited. Council president Donald Tusk and commission president Jean-Claude Juncker were already awarded the prize. As former president of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet got one previously, it will most likely be the turn of his successor Mario Draghi next year. Truly exciting...

Do not get me wrong: Schulz definitely has merits with regard to Europe. However, this is not exceptional because we as European tax payers remunerate him well for his work. He has indeed increased and consolidated the EP’s influence over the last years. Still, giving him an award for that is a bit like awarding the Pope for special achievements in the field of leading the Catholic Church. 

Are there no committed citizens, innovate business men, progressive researchers or clerics building bridges in Europe? Cartoonists, journalists, historians, teachers or doctors, who have used their positions to give "exceptional contributions in political, economic or spiritual regard for the unity of Europe", as a declaration from 1990 puts it? It seems that the Charlemagne Prize actually puts the city of Aachen more into the spotlight than the awardee – which is in fact often the case with other prizes too. 

Published in Brussels Bubble

Topic switching at MEU Strasbourg on the third day: after the Council of the European Union has passed a favourable resolution on the accession of Croatia, it now rests on the Parliament to deal with the issue. At the same time, to keep everyone busy, the heavily amended music copyright proposal now passes from the European Parliament to the Council. Their cooperation is what is referred to as the ordinary legislative procedure, or "co-decision procedure" within the EU.

In any case there, as the conference reaches its final stages, it is reason enough for Ivana Dimitrova, Commissioner for Enlargement, to be content with the preliminary result of the voting. And the MEPs are quite happy with the desserts served in the cafeteria of the Louise Weiss building in Strasbourg. In German, "to dine like God in France" is a phrase for living in luxury - maybe that should be updated to "dining like an MEP in France"...

Day two has just started – "There is no consensus yet," says Morten Munch, UK delegate at the Council of the European Union. However, Maros Demovic, Bulgaria, feels he expresses the opinion of the majority of the Council members in saying that Croatia is a great challenge, but also a great opportunity for the European Union, also with regard to further possible enlargement. Finally, Claire Nevin for Greece is confident that "we'll pass it." But even so, an eventually favourable vote will still depend on the agreement of the European Parliament. Not forgetting the lobbyists who are constantly at work…

The Parliament in the meantime has been busy with the music copyright proposal. The devil is in the detail (at least as the Germans used to say), and the devil materialises in 40 amendments… learn more by watching the second newscast of the Strasbourg Insider!

Simulating the EU is not exactly an easy task. Thus one week ago, MEU Strasbourg started with a preparatory day, during which the future MEPs and delegates were briefed once more on the topics to be discussed in the following days, had the chance to consolidate the rules of procedure, and could exercise their debating skills.

From Monday on, things got serious and suits became mandatory. The day also brought another exciting feature: daily video newscasts put together by MEU’s video journalists Anke Harthoorn, Mitch Weaver, and Jan Zelina. It is thanks to the so-called Strasbourg Insider that MEU outsiders can nevertheless glimpse the inner workings of the simulation experience. This is why we decided that the videos should not be withheld from all the E&M Insiders out there.

Let Croatian Ambassador Marina Carre-Moliva explain the challenges and fears the Croatian people associate with becoming the 28th member state of the European Union. Listen to Commissioner Martin Dederke, when he envisions how the Music Copyright Proposal of the European Commission will bring the single market to the digital age. And let Magda Nemkyova from the European Greens explain how the Parliament in Strasbourg can help MEPs reduce their carbon footprint.

There are a lot more MUNs than MEUs out there, but there is only one MEUS, and since MEUS is a MUST, E&M is there to cover it.

E&M would not be E&M if it did not dismantle those cryptic abbreviations. Those who have been E&M maniacs for long enough as to read this age-old article can skip the following paragraph or delve into the Baby section instead. For everyone else, here you go:

MUN, MEU, MEUS, E&M. Basically, M stands for Model – not in E&M though, where it stands for Me, which is I, which is you, the readers, we, us… Yet except for E&M, M means Model, so far so good. A MUN nevertheless is not the conference of the prettiest of the international community, nor is a MEU an EU-wide beauty contest – at least not in the literal sense of the word. Rather than that, a MUN is a gathering of people willing to put themselves in the shoes of diplomats of the United Nation. And just the same kind of modelling or simulation when applied to the European Union and its political bodies is referred to as a Model European Union.

What may sound like a get-together of megalomaniac nerds playing war or big politics, is indeed a thrilling and very intense learning experience – and, if well organised, it can be tremendously realistic. 

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