British-style Parliamentary Debate for the Brussels Symposium

For the 2nd Symposium that was held in Brussels, the EucA staff proposed a round of British-style parliamentary debate to the students selected to come to the event.

From the 5 motions proposed by EucA, students chose 3 through a poll on Facebook to be debated in Brussels on February 26th. Each student signed up for a team (government or opposition) and started collaborating online with the other members of their group. They could also use EucA’s preparatory documents that were provided (bibliography and context of each motion).

This preparation allowed students to know each other before the symposium, so when they met in person in Brussels, there was no need for introductions! Beside a socialising factor, the debate’s aim was to exercise a set soft skills related to public speaking and critical thinking and start a meaningful reflection on the topics related to the project.

The motion that opened the debate was “Dissidents who rebelled had superior moral qualities”. The government team – composed by Cristina Simarro Segura, Almudena Salort Orpi, Rocío Vega Gonzalez, Alexandru Heltianu, Marija Jurisic – stressed in their arguments that we should consider dissidents as heroes because they risked everything to follow a moral imperative. The opposition team – composed by Alina Strelkovskaia, Michal Blass, Amandeus Van Rossum, Nino Marzullo and Patrick Neu – argued for the necessity of being realistic, that is cruel to demand such a sacrifice, and that the moral aspect is not dominant, since the sum of all the key factors (economy, politics, etc.) does not produce moral progress. The government concluded stating that since their beliefs were stronger that fears, it can be said that dissidents had superior moral qualities, and the oppositions replied that we are not entitled to judge other people’s choices. The public voted for the opposition.

The following motion was “Stasi collaborators should be sanctioned”. The government team (Piotr Popeda, Givi Gigitashvili, Attila Beregszaszi, Jazmin Xenia Topuzidu, Tomasz Monastyrski) stressed the fact that evil must be punished according to the moral laws, while the opposition team (André Levi Ferreira, Lucas Williams-Serdan, Gregorio Ramella Pollone, Alessio Pellegrino, Elena Bernini) underlined the fact that there should be a commitment towards reconciliation, that having those trials means jeopardising the unity of the German Federation and to declare war to a part of the population. Although members of the government made desperate appeals to justice and respect of human rights violated by Stasi collaborators, the opposition, aimed to show the necessity of forgiveness, essential for the growth of Germany as a united nation again. The opposition won, but just by a few votes.

The last motion to be debated was “A dissident leaving his or her country does not contribute to the reform process”. The government (David Endre, Brigita Kupstaitite, Jonathan Seib, Laszlo Robert Szilagyi, Clemens Richenhagen) pointed out that leaving the country slowed the reform process and weakened the dissenters’ side. The opposition (Indrek Niibo, Noemi Magugliani, Marta Jagunic, Emma Oreskovic, Mateus Ribeiro da Cunha) stressed that mass emigration meant more visibility and thus, more power to the internal opposition. The opposition won just by one vote.

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