16 Feb Report Day 7&8: The General Assembly!
All the committee meetings led to these days. It was time for the General Assembly! During these days, the committees would find out if all their hard work would pay off, by having their resolution accepted, or if it was all for nothing,by having their resolution denied. There were 2 days of General Assembly, with 5 committees having their resolution handled on the first day and 5 resolutions on the second.
The first day started at 7 o’clock. It was time for breakfast. A few eggs and slices of bread later, all the delegates left towards the bus to go the Maastricht School of Management, where we were welcomed in a beautiful conference hall. However, before the General Assembly began the mayor of Maastricht, Annemarie Penn-te Strake, had her say. She expressed her gratitude to us about our presence. She was proud to host such a talented bunch of European youngsters.
After this it was time to begin. Let me first talk you through the procedure that applied to every resolution. First off the textual changes could be applied. After that a committee member would read out the OCs, followed by a fellow committee member with a speech regarding the resolution. This was followed by the presentation of the amendment and a speech in favour of the amendment. There would be time for some questions regarding the amendment before it was time to either approve or reject the amendment. After this it was time for the open debate. When the debate finished, there would be a speech in favour and a speech against the resolution. In the end all the delegates would vote on the resolution.
The committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) had to kick off the day. Their resolution unfortunately didn’t pass. The resolution by International Trade (INTA) was next. Their resolution passed. Then it was time for lunch. We got some amazing sandwiches and were treated very well by the Maastricht School of Management. After the lunch break, we handled three other resolutions. These were by the committees on Foreign Affairs, subcommittee Security and Defence (AFET/SEDE), Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) and Constitutional Affairs (AFCO). All three of them passed! The passing of those three resolutions marked the end of the day. After a long day the buses took the delegates back to the StayOkay hostel, where dinner had been prepared. The delegates thoroughly enjoyed their dinner and started with their second lobbying session after that. In the end everyone was in bed by 23:30, exhausted but excited for the last day of MEPNL17.
The next day started early, as the delegates woke up with the sun at 7:00. This day, we would debate in the Maastricht Gouvernment. In this building, where the official Maastricht treaty had been signed 25 years earlier, the last 5 resolutions would be discussed. Every resolution was accepted, except the one by Culture and Education. Fun fact: The resolutions by Foreign Affairs/Human Rights, Employment and Social Affairs and Culture and Education were decided by less than 10 votes difference! After the last resolution had been passed, head of presidency Max Magnée gave the word to Ger Koopmans, a member of the executive board of the province of Limburg. He expressed how proud he was that the province had hosted the conference. Liesbeth Weijs, coordinator of MEP the Netherlands, and Gottfried Oehl, president of MEP Europe, also addressed the delegates. They were very proud to have been part of the conference. The last person to take the stage was conference manager Manon van de Ven. She gave a lot of people a special thank you. There were presents for the original organizers, as well as flowers for every volunteer involved. After this official moment, Max pronounced the final words everyone feared to hear: ‘Hereby I declare MEPNL17 officially closed.’
This didn’t mean the day was over however. There was the ending party! At the party venue there was a snack car, where the delegates could enjoy some fries and Dutch snacks. When the great big band left, the DJ and the saxophone-player took over.
The night ended with a lot of party poppers and European flags held up by everyone. This summarised the week perfectly: One big party attended by youth from all over Europe. Thank you all very much for this amazing week and we hope to see you in the European Parliament in a few years!