Series : 2019 European Election Series
Step 1: My Democracy
Discover or improve knowledge of French and European institutional and political systems
Over the course of this activity, participants will be able to voice their concerns about society (firstly individually, and then in groups) and research who they should contact about them, specifically the elected representatives who might be able to help.
- Identify societal problems that are important to us
- Identify the people who can make a difference (elected and civil society) on these issues
During this activity participants will look for information – notably online – to learn about their different elected representatives in the different democratic institutions.
This activity can be done after the activity 1.1 Who should we contact about issues we care about? in order to make a link between the issues that the students brought up, the democratic structures that are responsible for those issues and the elected representatives who serve there.
- Learn about the different elected representatives in different democratic institutions.
During this activity, participants will experiment with different ways to make a decision: random draw, referendum, consensus, election by universal suffrage, election by male census suffrage, authoritarian decision, qualified majority voting, and double majority (qualified majority as implemented at EU level).
Secondly, they will be able to compare these different methods, their advantages and disadvantages.
- Experiment with different ways to make group decisions
- Think about decision-making methods, their advantages and disadvantages.
Duration:50’ (or 2h lesson if using variant)
Over the course of this activity, the participants will identify most of the political parties and place them within the different political groups. Then they will match the political groups with policies and ideas that they currently or historically propose.
Note: Doing this activity is crucial before doing the following activity "European political groups vs. national political groups" which deals with the organisation of the political groupings at the European Parliament level.
- Help participants identify different French political groups and the political parties within them
- Introduce the idea of political parties
Over the course of this activity, participants will be asked to identify the different political groups in the European Parliament, and the national parties which are linked to them. Participants will also be asked to think about national and partisan reasoning which affects our choice of European parliamentarians.
Note: We strongly recommend that you carry out the previous activity called 'French political groups' in order to be able to carry out this activity correctly, or at least that the topic of French political parties be already clear for all participants.
- Allow participants to identify the different European political groupings and their connections with national political groups
- Allow participants to understand the different ways of reasoning that can affect the European vote
Duration:2 x 50 mins
During this activity, participants will experiment with different voting systems and see how the results of a vote change depending on if we use one system or another:
- Simple majority vote with run-off (as in French legislative elections)
- Party-list proportional representation (as in the European Parliament Elections in France and most (but not all) EU countries)
- Try out different voting systems, including the European voting system
- Understand their differences and the impact of the choice of voting system on the electoral process and the result of the vote
During this workshop, participants will put themselves in the shoes of a Member of European Parliament and will work in groups (committees) to amend and improve a text.
As writing a law is complex, it is best to work on a resolution rather than a law: resolutions are position texts which ask competent institutions to take appropriate measures. The young European parliamentarians, in groups, will propose their amended resolution in front of the whole group (= Plenary assembly), and it will be voted upon.
- Understand the work of a Member of European Parliament by trying out collaborating on writing a resolution
- Understand the issues of deliberation, debate and consensus in writing a resolution
Duration:2 hours (3 if possible)
During this activity, participants will be asked to participate in a moving debate to discuss the possibility of making voting compulsory in France
- Understand the arguments for and against on a sensitive topic: compulsory voting
- Express a point of view and listen to others' arguments
During this activity, participants take part in a role play activity debating whether or not to include more countries in the European Union.
Note: This debate is topical as the European Commission presented its strategy for enlargement of the EU to the Balkan countries in February 2018.
- Learn about the arguments on both sides of the debate around the enlargement of the European Union
- Express a point of view and listen to the arguments of others
Duration:2 hours (1 hour if using variant)
During this activity, participants will be asked to place multiple events illustrating key moments of the European Union's construction and other world events along a timeline.
Think about and understand the different steps in the construction of the European Union as we know it today.
During the game, participants will take the roles of different parties which have different amounts of influence on the European legislative process: the European Commission, political parties represented at the European Parliament, member countries at the Council of the European Union and lobbies.
Each player has their own goals in the game and wins points by fulfilling them. The player with the most points at the end of the game is delcared winner in his category (country, political party or lobby).
Allow participants to learn the roles and mechanics of the European institutions, as well as how lobbies – which have a legal status at the EU level – interact with these institutions.