SIMULATION GAME 2018 - TOPIC : The Schengen Reform

The European Union is currently facing the worst refugee crisis since World War II. In response to this and to the growing terrorist threat, Member States are turning back from Schengen and re-instating controls at national borders. The European institutions are reconsidering the Schengen Agreement, which, however, was probably one of the major achievements of European integration. This border-less internal area has permitted to persons and goods to circulate freely, while bringing great benefits to European citizens and business. If unsolved, this crisis might be one of the worst blows the Union could ever receive and from which might not even recover.

The Commission is therefore proposing a reform of the pact: Members of the European Parliament and of the Council of the European Union, now it is your time to act!

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SUMMARY OF THE STRUCTURE

The European Union Model Torino 2018 aims to offer students from all over Italy and Europe a challenging firsthand experience of the daily functioning of the EU. During the Model participants, divided into two groups, will simulate the workings of the Parliament and the Council, with the purpose of passing new EU legislation on the topic of the Schengen Reform. The Model’s Secretariat will represent the EU Commission, and it will start the procedure by making a proposal to both institutions and providing additional information and support to the discussion.

THE ORDINARY LEGISLATIVE PROCEDURE

The model will simulate the ordinary legislative procedure, also referred to as the ‘co-decision procedure,’ in which the Council and the Parliament cooperate to adopt a legislative proposal. The co-decision was introduced with the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 and amended in 1999 by the Amsterdam Treaty; its objective is to grant the same decisional power to both the Parliament and the Council. After the Lisbon’s Treaty reform, the co-decision procedure has become the standard procedure, applied by EU institutions in most cases. In the co-decision procedure, both legislators have identical rights and obligations, and they have to approve the same text.

  • Regulation: has general application and is binding in its entirety. It is directly applicable in the EU member states.
  • Directive: sets out a goal for all member states, which each member states decides how to transpose into national legislation.
  • Decision: binding on those to whom it is addressed (member states or individual companies). It is directly applicable in the EU member states.

THE COUNCIL

The Council of the EU is the institution representing the member states' governments. Also known informally as the EU Council, it is where national ministers from each EU country meet to negotiate and adopt EU laws, develop the EU's common foreign and security policy, conclude international agreements and coordinate member states’ policies.

The Council meets in 10 different configurations of 28 national ministers. The work of the Council is prepared by a body composed of permanent representatives (COREPER I or COREPER II), which monitors and co-ordinates work and deals with the Parliament on co-decision legislation. The Presidency of the Council, held by Malta, will be represented by the Secretariat.

THE PARLIAMENT

The European Parliament is directly elected by EU citizens every five years. It has 751 members and meets in plenary sessions once a month in Strasbourg. The Parliament also meets every month in Brussels in the form of topic-specific committees. The Parliament is chaired by a President elected among all 751 MEPs; the current President is Antonio Tajani, from the European People’s Party.

Currently there are seven political groups inside the European Parliament: the European People’s Party (EPP); the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D); the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR); the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE); the European United Left – Nordic Green Left (GUE); the European Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens); the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) and the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF). There is also a group of non-attached members, which counts 14 MEPs.

Most of the Parliament’s in-depth work is carried out in the above-mentioned specialized committees, which prepare reports that are later to be voted on in the plenary sessions.

THE STRUCTURE