Category: MRC’22 Topic Overviews

  • EMPL


    Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

    by Eleni Anayiotou (CY)

    Case study & introduction

    With 2022 being named the ‘European Year of the Youth’ light was shed on a range of issues concerning young Europeans. According to a Euronews report from April 2022, the youth has been one of the ‘hardest hit groups of the pandemic’, particularly concerning their involvement in the workforce. NEETs, defined as ‘Young people neither in employment nor in education and training’, are multiplying across European States as a result of both COVID-19 and the recent war in Ukraine; various accounts from the youth itself, show that they see no hope in the future. 

    Figure 1: Statista – Youth unemployment rate in EU member states as of January 2022

    Youth unemployment rates have been escalating throughout Europe. With the numbers of unemployed youth reaching a staggering 1.3 billion in 2020, the issue becomes more imminent than ever. But youth unemployment is not merely a short-term problem: if these high rates of unemployment prevail, serious ramifications will be evident in the future. In particular, the youth’s lack of job experience will be reflected in national economies, and in the broader European sphere. The youth needs to be immersed into the job market to gain experience and confidence in order to efficiently transition into the next workforce, as well as to become productive and engaged citizens. Hence, tackling this issue at hand is significant for the promotion of both national and pan-European socio-economic stability.

    Key problems

    Figure 2:  One Europe – EU Youth Unemployment

    Youth unemployment can have a range of negative consequences, both for the citizens themselves and national economies. The average EU youth unemployment rate rose up to 13.0 % in 2022, but with significant variations across Member States. What however underlies this issue and what should be tackled in order to resolve it? 

    From the youth’s perspective, there are a range of barriers that restrict their access to the workforce. Firstly, the youth’s limited access to capital leads to their incapacitation within the market. Capital would make the youth financially independent, increasing both their confidence as well as their accessibility to resources and education to introduce them into the labour market. Often, NEETs that lack the financial resources are forced in a vicious cycle of unemployment as they do not have the appropriate support to either apply for further education or prepare to enter the workforce. 

    Another prominent issue connected to youth unemployment is the lack of opportunities, entrepreneurship and life skills education. These shortages are interconnected, leading to a persistently vicious cycle. Specifically, the limits of education in preparing individuals for the labour market, subsequently lead to a disempowered young community with limited opportunities. 

    Other barriers are more nuanced, such as NEETs’ socio-economic background. Southern European countries have the highest rates of youth unemployment, the most prominent examples being Greece with 31.4% (2022) and Spain with 29.4% (2022). This phenomenon is generally linked to a lower average standard of living compared to northern Member States. The socio-economic backgrounds of the youth vary on a national scale as well; often, students from state schools have less opportunities, because the educational systems lack the infrastructure to properly inform them or prepare them for the labour market. 
    Within the labour market the issue of unfavourable working conditions also persists. Young people are often victims of unfair treatment and disproportionate salaries, as they are treated unjustly in comparison with older people. For example, 7 out of 10 Irish people aged 18-24 are contemplating moving abroad in search of better job opportunities, and many ‘remain trapped’ due to financial barriers.

    Key stakeholders and measures in place

    Addressing the issue of youth unemployment encompasses a range of approaches, and the EU has different competences in addressing different aspects of the issue. For example, the EU has shared competence on issues of employment and social affairs, giving it authority over policies that tackle unemployment amongst the youth. On the other hand, it only has supporting competence in education, hence limiting the extent of its involvement. 

    The European Commission holds power to initiate policy-making and executive power in the EU. It is an essential stakeholder that can allow for the creation of initiatives and the promotion of actions that develop sustainable, prosperous and strong economies across Member States, with its set priority towardsan economy that works for people’. Both the European Social Fund as well as the Youth Employment Initiatives, which are mentioned below, are under the auspiece of the European Commission. 

    The European Social Fund (ESF+)  is the main instrument of the EU that is involved with employment, with a rigorous focus on the European Pillar of Social Rights; it ensures that better and fairer job opportunities are made available to EU citizens. Through its 2021-27 budget amounting to almost EUR 99.3 billion, the ESF+ financially supports local, regional and national employment-related projects throughout the EU. Recently, there have been many initiatives by the ESF+ to support young unemployed Ukrainian refugees. Through the Shared Management Strand, Member States can coordinate with the Commission to decide on where to allocate employment funds. This bottom-up approach is particularly beneficial for Member States who have a rigorous agenda to improve youth unemployment that needs financial support. 

    The Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) is one of the main financial resources that focuses specifically on supporting youngEuropeans that live in areas where unemployment rates surpass 25%. The YEI supports NEETs through the funding and provision of apprenticeships, traineeships, job placements, as well as further education leading to a qualification. For the 2021-27 programming period, Member States are asked to  invest an appropriate amount of their aforementioned ESF+ resources,  to  support actions and make structural reforms to decrease unemployment amongst the youth and provide educational and training opportunities.

    Supported by YEI, The Reinforced Youth Guarantee is a commitment by all Member States to ensure that all young individuals below the age of 30 receive a good quality offer of employment, continued education, apprenticeship, or traineeship within a period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving education.

    The European Network of Employment Services (EURES) is a cooperation network, where European citizens can search and apply for jobs anywhere in Europe. The network works towards ensuring that linguistic, bureaucratic, legal and cultural barriers are minimised for citizens seeking work. It recently launched an emergency initiative that supports people fleeing the war in Ukraine. 

    The Proposal for a Council Recommendation on adequate minimum income ensuring active inclusion (September 2022)  set out a plan for Member States, that attempts to modernise minimum income schemes while simultaneously attempting to integrate those who can work, including NEETs, in the labour market. The Proposal will be discussed by the Commission in due course. ALMA is a cross-border mobility initiative supported under the ESF+, which provides a supervised stay abroad for a period of 2 to 6 months in another EU Member State, along with a cohesive training project, to young NEETs.


    Thank you for taking the time to read the Topic Overview! Now, to get acquainted with the topic, go back to the ‘Key Challenges’ section. What are the issues associated with youth unemployment? (Hint: They are in bold!). 

    Choose two of them, and use any format or note-taking method you like (e.g. spider-diagram, mapping, bullet points) and brainstorm potential courses of action and solutions to these two specific sub-issues. You may include projects and initiatives that already exist (see ‘Measures in Place’) or you can note down your own ideas. When you are done, make sure you have a digital and/or physical copy to bring with you to the session. Remember to save your sources

    The following resources might help you:

    • This video outlines an Erasmus-style work placement initiative.
    • This report by the UK Parliament outlines key recommendations.
    • This initiative by Peace Child International outlines their training programmes with the aim of making the youth employable.

    This report highlights a range of local initiatives that are supported by the YEI (pg 25).

  • AFET


    Committee on Foreign Affairs

    by Katarina Mazzini (SI)

    Case study & introduction

    Since the beginning of the armed conflict following the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, relations between Russia and Ukraine have been worsening, erupting into invasion and war in the beginning of 2022. The war on the EU’s eastern border caused massive migrations, global inflation and gas shortages. Just a few days after the start of the invasion, Ukraine had already applied for the candidate status, which was officially approved in June 2022. Ukraine is now in a state of war and in need of humanitarian aid and military funding, and with them seeking EU shelter, other Eastern European countries (Moldova and Georgia) also afraid of Russian violence, want in too.
    The European Union currently consists of 27 member states with 7 more officially recognised candidates. With Croatia being the last joined member in 2013 the rest of the former Yugoslav countries, Albania, Moldova, Turkey and Ukraine want to join as well. During the negotiation process many conflicts have arisen on the EU borders such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the conflicts between Serbia and Kosovo, and Azerbaijan and Armenia. With worsening diplomatic relations between these States and new accession applications, the EU has to find new ways to mediate the conflicts and accept new members by giving them protection.

    Graph 1: Busting 10 myths about EU enlargement

    Key problems

    The more the EU has been expanding the more it has come in contact with unstable areas where conflict is actively happening or it is on the edge of erupting. These conflicts may not always present a direct security threat to the EU, however there is the potential for conflicts spillover, issues over human trafficking and organized crime, downfall of European economy and exacerbating poverty in Member States and bordering countries. The main instrument the Union has been using in problematic neighbouring countries has been the promise of EU membership, which is not applicable to many new neighbours. The accession process is long and complicated, sometimes lasting  decades. The countries stuck in the negotiations, especially in the Western Balkans are experiencing democratic stagnation, do not actively threaten EU values and are continuing to be pushed down the priority list. 

    Another problem in the area is lack of motivation due to the extreme length of the process; moreover, Serbia keeps its historical and traditional ties with Russia which presents an easier ally than the West. However, the areas of Ukraine, the Western Balkans and the Caucasus have been on the radar of the international community since the 90s because of their common conflicts. 

    The path for post-Communist Europe in many cases still is not written: because of their short democratic tradition, these countries are more prone than others to instability and autocratic regimes. The EU still presents a safe haven and promises to protect human rights and democratic values, which is why membership is an end goal for so many Eastern and Southeastern European States. 

    1Conflict spillover: an instance of overflowing or spreading into another area.: “there has been a spillover into public schools of the ethos of private schools”.

    Graph 2: EU’s acceptance to rising prices

    Key stakeholders and measures in place

    The European Commission promotes development of the economy and rule of law in candidate or want to become candidate countries. The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was created in 2004 to promote stability, democracy, rule of law, human rights and economic development in EU’s neighbouring areas in the South and the East. These partner countries are mostly less developed than EU Member States and are seeking to one day be a part of the Union or more closely integrated with the EU. The ENP is divided into two main parts: The Eastern Partnership (EaP) and the ENP -South. It works by creating bilateral action plans drawn up between the EU and partner countries to establish political and economic reform agendas. Its goal is to help neighbouring areas develop into democratic and inclusive societies with economic integration. The EU supports the ENP with different tools such as financial support and technical cooperation. Another directorate responsible for the EU neighbourhood is the DG-NEAR which focuses on the eastern and southeastern neighbourhood, prioritising the importance of democracy and strengthening security and prosperity in the east and the Western Balkans. The Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI) is a department of the European Commission and it serves to stabilise and prevent conflict, build peace and respond to crisis situations. It works globally but also focuses on the EU neighbouring regions trying to mediate conflict, take rapid responses, help with peace agreements and integrate victims back into society. 

    The European Council establishes and supervises the EU enlargement process and the accession negotiations. Regarding enlargement politics the Council generally works by unanimous vote between all Member States. The Copenhagen Criteria are the rules that decide whether a candidate is eligible to join the EU or not. The political criteria demand a country respects democracy, rule of law, protects human rights and its minority groups. However this agenda has its flaws in the mechanism which is shown in the inability to prevent the rise of populism and nationalism across the continent. 

    The EU mainly deals with conflict by imposing sanctions such as freezing assets, travel and transport bans, import bans, restricting media and propaganda and economically coercing the sanctioned country. For example, the EU has adopted several sanction packages against Russia and condemned them for the military attack on Ukraine, to which Russia is responding by suspending gas delivery to the Member States. Russia’s economy is collapsing, dealing with the toughest sanctions in history of international law; however the war in Ukraine and attacks on civilians are continuing. 

    Another way of helping the suffering country is through military funding and humanitarian aid. Another important action is helping with the refugee crisis and supporting frontline countries that are dealing with the highest numbers of refugees. Besides active response, the international community also prosecutes and tries the people responsible for war crimes in the International Criminal Court. Being the so-called “last resort” the ICC is responsible for trying people who allegedly committed serious war crimes and crimes against humanity, such as aggravated attacks on civilians. This brings justice to the victims and penalises serious breaches of international law committed by specific individuals. However Russia is not under its jurisdiction and it has ties with the UN and not the EU.
    Cooperation is another key step especially when it comes to the Western Balkans region. Since these countries lack political stability, economical resources and are historically still on the edge of dispute, integration presents a good motive. By giving out financial aid the EU is trying to stabilise the region and help it grow so it can reach the criteria and join the Union faster.


    To make sure you understand the topic, think about the current main conflicts in the EU neighbourhood and prepare a short summary of where, how and why they are happening. 

    After you have a good overview of that, think about the following questions and brainstorm possible arguments. Why do these states wish to become a part of the EU? How do the specifics of their conflict give them the (dis)advantage of joining? How can the EU help them join faster while still adhering to its criteria? Please prepare a text of 150-200 words and try finding some alternative sources that have not been yet given in this Topic Overview.

  • ITRE I

    ITRE I

    Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

    by Hermione Ysabelle Buensuceso (IT)

    Case study & introduction

    The use of automation in industries is one of the most discussed topics today, even though the phenomenon has been on the rise for a long time. Automated machines first appeared during the Industrial Revolution, when Oliver Evans developed history’s first completely automated industrial process. The biggest change in industries though, began in the last century, in which robots had an essential part in the automotive industries, like the Fiat motor company. 

    In today’s industries, machines don’t just support workers with their activity: they actually do the job for them. An example of such industries is Itsvan Simon’s factory in western Hungary, which produces more than one million plastic parts everyday. What makes this industry stand out is the one and only sound that we can hear inside of it: the echo of machines continuously clicking and whirring. There’s no trace of men, only of robots.

    During the last few decades, technological progress has affected all spheres of society, especially by reshaping the nature of work. Technology development has led to the implementation of robots in the working environment, which are able to perform tasks with little to no human intervention. According to the Join Research Centre (JRC), the intensified use of robots has contributed to the growth of labour productivity in European industries in the time period 1993-2015.

    Despite the robots’ positive impact on the European economy, millions of jobs are at risk to be displaced by the arrival of new automated labour. As a matter of fact, about 20% of  European labour risks being automated by 2030, which would reduce the employment rate by 0.16-0.20% depending on the robot density1of the Member States.  

    1The robot density is a measurement that tracks the number of robots per 10,000 workers in an industry.

    Key problem

    With forecasts that nearly millions of jobs in advanced economies may be potentially automated, it is no surprise that many European citizens fear that technology may replace workers. According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), the average robot density of Europe is 99 units. As a matter of fact, 3 of the most automated countries in the world are  situated in Europe: Germany, Sweden and Denmark. As the robot density in automated European countries such as Germany started to increase, so did the number of workers who could possibly be displaced: currently, about 14% of jobs in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries are automatable. 

    Though not all departments will be replaced with robots, there are particular sectors which are more predisposed to automation, such as healthcare and agriculture. While many estimates claim that the unemployment rate would increase, other researchers claim that almost 100 million new jobs will surface, due to the remodelling of the division of labour between human workers and robot machines. As it happens, studies from the World Economic Forum (WEF) state that this massive number of new jobs will rely on advanced digital knowledge, especially about Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) subjects. This will make it imperative for jobseekers, and particularly for young students to prepare for high skilled technological jobs.
    The presence of robots in industries, still, could disrupt the working environment and be damaging for workers rights in many ways. For example, the adequate living wage could be reduced, the safety of workers’ data could be at risk and, strictly related to the maintenance of robots, excessive surveillance can have a negative impact on the wellbeing of workers. In particular, one extra robot per 1,000 employees could lower wages by as much as 5%.

    Key stakeholders and measures in place

    The issue of automation falls under both the branches of industry and employment and social affairs, corresponding to supporting and shared competencies. According to the areas of action of the EU, whilst the European Commission can monitor national policies in policy areas such as economic policies, the main responsibility of releasing regulations is all up to the national governments, and the European Commission may only support and integrate the actions of Member States in other policy areas. This means that the EU has to approach the topic of automation through different competencies, such as the common agricultural policy (CAP).

    Some of the most technologically advanced Member States, such as Germany and Sweden, have already adopted a legal framework for automation, whether it is for AI or robot machines in general. To be specific, in 2018 and in 2020, the Kingdom of Sweden and the German Federal Government have respectively adopted different AI strategies with the purpose of ensuring a responsible development of AI and promoting new initiatives, focused on sustainability and international cooperation: the National Approach to AI and the AI Strategy.

    Although the EU Commission has adopted many policies related to digitalisation in the European Union, till this day,  for automation regulation we only have the proposal from the EU Commission of the Artificial Intelligence Act, a legal framework that monitors the use of AI based on EU fundamental principles, and it represents the first attempt to globally regulate AI, that will possibly become a conventional norm like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The purpose of this regulation is to create an ecosystem of trustworthy AI, to define mandatory requirements for the design and development of AI and to ensure the safety of its users, by adopting a risk-based approach to address specific levels of risks. For example, systems that are clearly a threat for people’s safety are labelled as unacceptable risk AI systems, and are banned for use. 

    Nevertheless, the European Parliament approved in 2017 the main regulation in regards to automation, being the basis of all these new policies regarding automation: the Civil Law Rules on Robotics. This report discusses the liability of robot technologies, the protection of data for the user’s privacy, the creation of a standard manufacturing quality, and the respect of fundamental ethical principles, so basically guidelines for an efficient development of robotics.

    With automated robots being constantly involved in our lifestyle, as their availability in the market increases, so as their usage in big companies. Replacing employees with new generation robot machines has now become a common practice in industries, seeing how much productivity they bring to the market. This practice, aside from nurturing industries’ efficiency, has caused profound troubles to the displaced workers, particularly for women. These people need to find a new job, with possibly lower retributions. Nevertheless, what will be faced is the destruction vs creation of jobs: as was stated before, technology will also create and transform millions of jobs, not only ICT related subjects.    

    Notwithstanding Asia being the world’s largest robot market, with China reaching a record of 243.300 installations in a year versus the 75.600 units in Europe, after the pandemic, in 2021, the demand for robot technologies in Europe increased across all industries and the sales of industrial robots recovered after a year of decline, resulting in the electronics and automotive industries being the largest customers of industrial robots. Some of the biggest  international automation manufacturer suppliers in Europe are FANUC, ABB and KUKA, which also helps companies implement automation in working spaces , not only in industries.The role of industrial robots also has a huge impact on reaching the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations (UN). For example, the use of solar panels makes the use of fossil fuels obsolete by using solar heats or electricity, while robots designed for agricultural purposes reduce the use of chemical agents, and the risks of these substances harming human workers.


    The topic of automation is quite controversial itself, especially among young people, and understanding this particular issue related to workers can be quite hard. 

    In order to comprehend the key aspects of the topic, I strongly suggest you watch this Ted Talk. It discusses the topic by presenting you with interesting statistics and examples.

    I would also invite you to already start searching for two problems and two solutions for our topic. You can consult all of the links I’ve listed above, or also do your own research if you would like to expand the topic yourself. By doing so, we will be ready to work together during the session!



    Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

    by Matilde Scatizzi (IT)

    Case study & introduction

    As the Russo-Ukrainian conflict started, it became clear to the European  Union that relations with Russia would deteriorate substantially on several international matters. This means that Europe has now to face a transition from depending on Russian natural gases by 40% to no longer having Russia as a reliable energy partner. This new phase out of Russian energy greatly impacted Europe’s energy supply, and the EU is now risking an energy shortage emergency.

    Figure 1: The EU Green Deals objectives”

    This, combined with the climate crisis that the world is facing, pushed EU’s competent bodies to pay particular attention over the way in which Russian energy is replaced, in order to reach the goal set by the Green Deal of zero net emissions by 2050 with an interim target of 55% emission reduction by 2030. 

    However, as the winter approaches, establishing new energy sources becomes more and more pressing.  Europe is looking into making investments in renewable energy sources such as solar and wind-powered, but unfortunately they alone cannot make up for the Continent’s energetic demand and therefore ensure energy security. This is due to the environmental and geographical differences of the Member States, as some countries are fitter to employ renewable energy plants than others. Another source of energy that is still being debated within Europe is Nuclear Energy which the European Commission, earlier this year, has proposed to be defined as “green”

    Key problems

    Europe’s energy import dependency rate surpassed 60%, meaning that more than half of EU’s energy needs were satisfied by foreign producers. Such a high foreign dependency is one of the reasons that led Europe to struggle to meet its energetic demands after taking the decision to cut imports from its main energy supplier, Russia. The second and third main energy suppliers are Norway and Algeria; nevertheless, and despite their great energetic contributions, they cannot substitute Russia for the amount of energy supplied. 

    Russia typically exports Europe’s natural gas by pipeline and, as Russia slashed flows, exports fell to 40% of the pipeline capacity in June, and to 20% in July. The gas that arrived in Ukraine was then shared mainly with Austria, Italy, Slovakia and other east European States, but Ukraine has said that this pipeline will be temporarily shut down, allegedly blaming Moscow and saying that the flow of gas will be shifted elsewhere.

    Moreover,on the 29th of September, Sweden has found two major leaks in the Nord stream pipeline which is used to supply gas from Russia to Germany, likely caused by underwater explosions. NATO has reputed this incident as “deliberate, reckless and irresponsible acts of sabotage” while Russia responded to the accusations as “predictable and stupid” and decided to shut down the pipeline for an  indefinite amount of time. 

    Figure 2: “The gas pipelines linking Russia and Europe”

    Ukrainian State energy Major Naftogaz stated that he plans to boost natural gas production, thus accumulating enough fuel to supply for Europe’s next season, but as proved by many analysts’ researches, this is unlikely to happen since the country’s gas reserves are low, and Ukraine has always been unsuccessful in increasing domestic production. Europe however is not only importing: in 2020, the EU produced around 42% of its own energy, mostly from petroleum products1 (including crude oil) (35 %), natural gas (24 %) and renewable energy (17 %).

    Figure 3: “Energy mix for the EU”                    

    1 Petroleum products are fossil fuels (usually in liquid state) and include crude oil and all products derived from it

    Key stakeholders and measures in place

    The Directorate-General of Energy (DG ENER), led by Kadri Simson, is part of the European Commission, the EU body responsible for bringing forth proposals on legislations, financial packages and other impactful measures. The DG ENER holds the responsibility of energy supply and security throughout the European Union.

    The European Commission has been particularly active in taking measures against the lack of energy supply.  First, it demanded reduction in gas usage in order to save it and store it in the joint storage; second, they are trying to diversify away from Russian fossil fuels towards other reliable suppliers, such as the United States, Norway, Azerbaijan, and Algeria. The European Commission has also presented the REPowerEU Plan, which aims at ending the EU’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels and tackling the climate crisis through different actions such as energy savings, diversification of energy supplies, and accelerated roll-out of renewable energy.

    However, Russian manipulation of the gas market has spillover effects2 on the electricity market. To tackle this issue, the Commission has decided to put forward a set of 5 measures: savings of electricity, proposing a cap on the revenues of companies that are producing electricity with low costs but have high prices on the market thus achieving enormous revenues, a solidarity contribution for fossil fuel companies, support to energy companies to allow them to cope with the volatility of the markets, and lastly, lowering the cost of gas. 

    The Member States are the countries that belong in the European Union. The EU as an organisation has to lay out the general and macro plan and course of actions regarding the energetic transition, but then Member States are tasked with the responsibility of adapting said plan to their own unique socio-political atmospheres and represent the interests of their citizens. 

    Therefore, each Member State is taking a different stance on the matter: for example, Italy and Spain have decided to tax those energy companies profiting from the increase in energy prices and use the money raised to help its citizens pay the bills, while Germany has pledged to lower the value-added tax on natural gas from 19 to 7 per cent until the end of March 2024, in tandem with two aid packages (for a total of EUR 30 billion), to help citizens with the rising prices. 

    European citizens are the most affected stakeholder when it comes to price increase and energy shortages , but there are so many ways with which they can save up electricity and gas in their daily life. Many tips have been given by the European Commission: for example, just by reducing temperature by one degree,  7% of the energy used for heating in the EU can be saved. Moreover, choosing the lowest suitable temperature to wash clothes and switching off devices, such as printers and old game consoles. 

    Third-party energy suppliers purchase either electricity or gas from generators and sell the access to it to businesses in the areas. The key suppliers to Europe are Russia, Norway, the United States, and Algeria which mainly export fossil fuels. Norway, for example, has decided to export 122 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe, which is 8% more than in 2021, to help deal with the energy emergency, unfortunately this is still a low amount in comparison to the 155 billion cubic meters supplied by Russia in 2021.

     2 Spillover effect is when an event in a country which has an effect on the economy of another, usually more dependent country.


    Dear delegates, in order to kick-off some pre-session work, I would like all of you to think and try writing four ideas of possible solutions to this problem, which we will then discuss all together. To achieve a better knowledge of the situation, and most importantly understand how Europe started to depend on Russian gas, watch this video, and while doing that try to point out some important facts to reflect on.

  • JURI


    Committee on Legal Affairs

    by Julia Grajewska (PL)

    “There is no liberty if the powers of judging is not separated from the legislative and executive”


    Case study & introduction

    When the Law and Justice (PiS) party took power in Poland in 2015, they began implementing various reforms targeting the judiciary to “improve its efficiency”, claiming that long-overdue reforms were needed for a system beset by corruption and communist era mentality. These changes, however, have drawn the attention of the EU and international critics, who claim that the reforms are a threat to the rule of law and democracy itself.

    The package of laws introduced in 2017 affected the entire structure of the justice system in Poland, impacting the Constitutional Tribunal, Supreme Court, ordinary courts, National Council for the Judiciary, prosecution service and National School of Judiciary. The reform was accompanied by a media campaign presenting judges as an insulated caste and accusing them of nepotism, corruption, laziness, and abuses of justice under Communist rule. Due to the changes, the executive and legislative branches have been systematically enabled to politically interfere in the composition, powers, administration and functioning of the judicial branch.Democracy and the rule of law are some of the core values of the EU, and should be common to all EU countries. A breach of these values by a Member State does not only concern the Member State in question, but it also has an impact on other Member States, the mutual trust between them, the functioning of the Union’s institutions as well as its citizens’ Fundamental Rights.

    Key problems

    Among many other changes, the reform altered how members of the National Council of the Judiciary (NCJ),  involved in the procedure for the appointment of judges, are elected. Currently, it is for the most part made up of members chosen by the legislature. The legislation also immediately ended the terms of the NCJ’s sitting judges, allowing the lower house (Sejm) to quickly replace 15 members of the body with its own appointees. As a result, the Sejm had effectively taken control of judicial appointments in Poland. On 28 October 2021, the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary decided to expel the NCJ from their organisation, mainly for its lack of independence and failure to defend judicial independence against attacks.

    Moreover, the offices of Minister of Justice (executive branch) and Prosecutor-General (judiciary branch) are occupied by the same person. Following the merging of these positions, the Minister of Justice, who is a member of the Law and Justice party, directly wields the powers vested in the highest prosecutorial office, including the authority to issue instructions to prosecutors in specific cases and to transfer prosecutors.
    Furthermore, Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal, which was regarded by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) as unconstitutionally composed in regard to the Polish Constitution, issued a ruling that directly challenges the primacy of EU law1. It questioned the compatibility of the EU treaties with the Polish Constitution, declaring many provisions of EU law unconstitutional. In response, the Commission swiftly reaffirmed the primacy of EU law and the binding force of all Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) rulings on national authorities, including national courts.

    1The principle of the primacy of EU law is based on the idea that where a conflict arises between an aspect of EU law and an aspect of law in an EU country (national law), EU law will prevail.

    Key stakeholders and measures in place

    Democratic values are the core of the EU’s functioning – they are enshrined in the Union’s Treaties, for example in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), and all Member States should act in accordance with them. To ensure the respect of the principles and values, several procedures enforcing the democratic values mentioned in Article 2 TEU exist. 

    One of them is the infringement procedure, which is launched by the European Commission (EC), the EU’s executive body responsible for implementing policies as well as proposing and enforcing EU law. The Commission notifies an EU country that fails to implement EU law of its concerns, giving it the time to respond. If the member state still fails to fulfil its obligations, EC later sends a formal request to comply with EU law.

    If the country still doesn’t comply, the Commission may refer the issue to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which consists of judges appointed by all Member States. It interprets EU law to make sure it is applied in the same way in all EU countries, and settles legal disputes between national governments and EU institutions. In certain cases, when a Member State does not comply with CJEU’s judgements, the CJEU can impose financial penalties

    Several infringement procedures have already been launched against Poland regarding judicial independence. In fact, on 27 October 2021, the CJEU imposed €1 million as a daily penalty payment on Poland for not complying with its previous orders.

    Another possible penalty can be found in Article 7 TEU. It includes two mechanisms for protecting EU values: preventive measures, if there is a clear risk of a breach of EU values, and sanctions, if such a breach has already occurred. Possible sanctions against the EU country concerned are not clearly defined in the EU treaties, but might include suspending voting rights in the Council and the European Council. On 20 December 2017, the Commission concluded that there is a clear risk of a serious breach of the rule of law in Poland and therefore proposed to the Council to adopt a decision under Article 7(1), triggering Article 7 TEU for the first time. However, the procedure of stripping a Member State from its voting rights in the Council requires unanimous support from other Member States, which in practice can be difficult to reach. For example, Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s Prime Minister, announced on 8 January 2016 that Hungary would block any Article 7 sanctions that the EU might propose against Poland.

    Breaches of EU values: how the EU can act (infographic), 2018

    The judiciary reforms in Poland directly affect Polish judges and citizens. The level of perceived judicial independence in Poland is now very low among the general public. Overall, only 24% of the general population perceived the level of independence of courts and judges to be ‘fairly or very good’ in 2022. Moreover, a group of polish journalists exposed an online trolling campaign aimed at a group of judges being organised within Poland’s Ministry of Justice. 

    Since 2017, approximately 10% of Poland’s judges have been investigated. The Polish Judges’ Association, Iustitia, stated that judges who oppose the changes in the judicial administration are being targeted, and that there may be numerous pretexts: a public statement, approaching the CJEU with a request for a preliminary ruling2, or simply wearing a t-shirt with the inscription Konstytucja (Constitution). Disciplinary proceedings are not the only repression affecting judges; some have even been suspended for challenging government policies.

    2A preliminary ruling is the decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the interpretation of the European Union law that is given in response to a request for a court or a tribunal of a member state.


    In order to kickstart our work, I will ask you to prepare a short answer to one of the following questions. Feel free to do it in any format you like – a video, infographic, written piece – anything you’ll feel most comfortable with! It doesn’t have to be complicated, a few sentences will be perfectly enough. You’re very much welcome to do more research on your own, however if you use a fact not mentioned in the Topic Overview make sure to include a source of your information.

    • How do the reforms in Poland affect other EU countries, and why do they matter in the international context?
    • What are some possible dangers of the executive and legislative branches interfering with the judiciary? 
    • Think of another example of a breach of the rule of law in Europe (preferably in the last 5 years). Was it similar to Poland’s judiciary reforms? Are there any common patterns?
  • CULT


    Committee on Culture and Education

    by Jelle Zegers (NL)

    Case study & introduction

    The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has identified a big imbalance in the speakers of the world’s languages. According to a study, about 97% of the global population speaks 4% of the world’s languages. This leaves just 3% of the global population speaking the remaining 96% of languages. Therefore the world’s linguistic diversity depends on a very marginal amount of people

    An example of this phenomenon is Tsakonian, which is a rare language spoken in parts of Southern Greece. This modern descendant from an ancient Greek dialect belongs to the same linguistic branch as modern Greek, called the Hellenic branch. Tsakonian is classified as severely endangered, with an approximated 2000-4000 native speakers worldwide. The number of speakers is declining, as increasingly less young people get taught the language. Most speakers are bilingual. They were forced to learn modern Greek as well, as that invaded and became the dominant language in regions where Tsakonian was spoken

    Tsakonian is a part of Greece’s cultural history, as linguists have linked the language to the language spoken by the ancient Spartans. With the death of Tsakonian the direct connection to this part of history and culture would be lost.

    The EU is home to over 80 indigenous languages2. Besides the 23 officially recognized State languages there are 60 languages that are indigenous to, and spoken in, the EU but are no official State language in a particular State. These languages are called Regional and Minority Languages (RML).  RML’s are spoken in the EU by more than 40 million people RML’s and their linguistic community are part of humanity’s intangible cultural heritage. Their protection needs to be ensured not only to sustain the EU’s linguistic diversity, but also the fact that not doing so might amount up toracial discrimination and a breach of human rights.

    1 The Atlas of the world’s languages in danger specificies five levels of endangerment: ‘vulnerable’, ‘definitely endangered’, ‘severely endangered’, ‘critically endangered’ and ‘extinct’. The simplest definition of what makes a language is “a language is endangered if it is not being passed on to younger generations”. 

    2An indigenous language is a language that is native to a certain region, which is spoken by a native or indigenous community that often share the same cultural values and beliefs.

    Key problems

    Unesco has compiled a list of multiple factors in a language community that can lead to ‘language death’ – the process of a language decreasingly being spoken until it is not spoken anymore. Two striking factors on the list are military, economic, religious, cultural or educational domination of another language community, and a lack of intergenerational transmission.

    Most States centre their economy, education and overall workings of society around their official State language, the ‘majority language’. This dominance can force speakers of minority languages to adapt and resort to bi- or multilingualism; they speak the dominant majority language in addition to their own RML. In extreme cases this can lead to the abandoning of the RML, which can possibly negatively impact its use in a society where another language is dominant.

    In an environment where speakers of RMLs are reliant on other more dominant languages, knowledge of RML’s gets passed on less and less. Simply put, parents and grandparents decreasingly feel the need to pass on linguistic knowledge of RMLs.  This can be caused by a lessened connection to the RML, or even a growing negative internal or external perception of said language. This decrease in passing on knowledge caused by said lessened connection makes people feel even less connected to their RML, creating a kind of snowball effect.

    As speakers of RMLs decrease, these languages run the risk of going extinct. The potential extinction of RMLs in the EU poses a danger to the Union’s linguistic diversity. With people’s culture being closely tied to spoken languages and linguistic diversity, the extinction of a language implies a loss of cultural heritage, identity, and knowledge. In some countries measures are being taken to protect RMLs: however, less economically developed countries often have their priorities in areas of economic growth and employment, even though they might be home to RML’s that are more prone to extinction.

    Key stakeholders and measures in place

    Members States: Since educational and language policies are an exclusive responsibility of  individual Member States, the EU has very limited influence in those areas. It is up to Member States to recognize their RMLs and take measures to safeguard them. 

    Some Member States have developed and carried out elaborate plans in an effort to protect their non-dominant RMLs. However, these plans often involve RMLs that are more commonly spoken. An example of this is Irish; the Irish government developed a 20-year strategy for the promotion of Irish, even though that is an RML that is not in direct danger of extinction.

    Council of Europe: The Council of Europe includes all Member States alongside 19 non-EU countries. It is not an EU institution but a separate international organisation that aims at the protection of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

    To encourage members to protect their RML’s the Council of Europes has set up the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML). Member States that sign the Charter are thereby required to choose and implement at least 35 measures for the protection and promotion of their RMLs. 18 Member States have signed and ratified the Charter. The rest of the Member States have not signed or ratified yet, or have only signed but not ratified.

    European Parliament (EP): The EP consists of directly elected Members who represent people’s interests with regard to EU law-making. In 2001 the European Parliament established the European Year of Languages. It was an information-campaign aimed at raising awareness, stressing “the need for lifelong learning of languages”. It was specifically aimed at the general public, featuring amongst other things a special website, exhibitions and events, open days, and even competitions.

    The European Commission (EC): Since the 1980s the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm has been expressing its concern on the endangerment of RMLs. The European Commission has supported RMLs and their linguistic communities through several initiatives throughout the years. These include several funds, projects, campaigns, action plans and programs.

    The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO): UNESCO is an organisation that has a close cooperation with the EU. Both parties share similar values and objectives, and the EU is currently the UNESCO’s largest donor. As languages are part of the world’s intangible cultural heritage, preserving them is of great concern to Unesco. Unesco is responsible for a lot of research on language endangerment and what can be done to prevent language death. In a more direct effort to vitalize and protect endangered languages, Unesco recently launched the Global Task Force for Making a Decade of Action for Indigenous Languages. This task force will amongst other things coördinate the planning and implementation of activities that will be held because of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032).  This is an initiative of the United Nations aiming to preserve, revitalise and promote indigenous languages.

    The Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN): The Federal Union of European Nationalities has launched a campaign with the help of the European Commission to raise awareness on linguistic diversity, celebrating multilingualism. The FUEN, who represents the interests of the European minorities, states that language is not only a universal human right but is also “the basis of your own identity”.

    The Network to Promote Linguistic Diversity (NPLD): The NPLD is a European wide network funded by the EC that works in the field of language policy and planning for Constitutional, Regional and Small-State Languages.The NLPD has a broad target audience, ranging from EU politicians, decision-makers, and governments to academics and researchers. Its goal is to not only raise awareness on language diversity but also accommodate the exchange of best practices. They do this, amongst other things, by advising EU institutions on RML-related policymaking.

    Following the European Year of Languages, the European Parliament urged the European Commission to present a report on its results with a special focus on RMLs. The European Parliament additionally called on the European Commission to designate funding to RMLs, and urged member States to sign and ratify the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages. In addition, in 2002 the European Council adopted a resolution on the promotion of linguistic diversity and language learning. Through the resolution Member States were encouraged to critically look at their languages policy, to diversify their language offer and also include regional languages.

    The European Language Equality Network (ELEN): In 2011, EU funding was cut for the Bureau for Lesser-Used Languages. To replace it, The European Language Equality Network (ELEN) was founded. This NGO does not specifically target RMLs, but instead  strives for the protection and promotion of “Europe’s lesser used languages”. ELEN comprises member organisations representing 50 languages in 25 European States, such as language immersion schools and academic institutions.


    Now that you have read the Topic Overview, it is time to delve into the topic yourself! I would like to ask you to browse through the following document. It is an elaborate document from Unesco on language vitality. In other words, the document explores why languages go extinct and what can be done to prevent it.

    Take your time to read the whole document if you’re interested, but your main focus should be on chapter 4.2.1, page 9-12. This chapter identifies and picks apart 6 factors that influence how endangered a language is. Choose one factor that you think plays the biggest role. Write a short text (around 100 words) on why you think this factor is important, and how it relates to regional and minority languages in the EU.Do not be afraid to have fun with it! Make it into a dinner table discussion, or watch some interesting Ted Talks on the topic. See you in Maastricht!

  • AFCO


    Committee on Constitutional Affairs

    By Teni Shittu (IE)

    Case study & introduction

    In June 2022, in a decision that highlighted the EU’s solidarity with the State, Ukraine was granted EU Candidate status amidst the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Several other Eastern European countries suffered from the ripple effects of the war and began to seek shelter in European Union Membership. Countries such as Moldova and Georgia  have consequently applied for the membership status. However, these economically developing countries will suffer from the especially lengthy accession process. 

    The EU  accession policy consists of 5 key steps. A country seeking EU membership must submit an application to the European Council who then refers it to the European Commission. This is where the Copenhagen Criteria come into play. All EU countries must then unanimously decide whether an applicant country can be awarded candidate status. Furthermore, once granted candidate status, a series of discussions must take place between the potential candidate country and the Commission and it is only once these have been completed that  a country becomes an EU Member State.  The process in its entirety may take years, such as in the  case of North Macedonia, Albania and many other Balkan countries. Where our point of discussion arises is the contrast in a 17 year gap between candidate status and accession negotiations compared to that of Ukraine which took mere weeks. Where are the discrepancies? What are the driving factors behind this? Is this the EU Institutions acting in a preferential manner?

    Key problems

    There are two main issues regarding the EU accession policy; the Copenhagen criteria and the inconsistent time frame for different countries becoming candidates.

    1. The Copenhagen Criteria

    The Copenhagen Criteria, as aforementioned,  are the key criteria for accession, as decided upon in the European Council in Copenhagen in 1993. he basic requirements a country has to satisfy are:

    • stable institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, Human Rights and respect for and protection of minorities;
    • a functioning market economy and the capacity to cope with competition and market forces in the EU;
      the ability to take on and implement effectively the obligations of membership, including adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union.

    Though this criteria play an integral role in deciding a country’s eligibility to join the EU, the wording itself is quite vague. This is one of the key criticisms on the criteria, coupled with the EU’s lack of vigor in ensuring that all the criteria are met before a country attains candidate status.  

    2. The Arbitrary Time Frame between Application and Candidate Status 

    As discussed, there are criticisms over the length of the process of accession within the EU. Different countries of a similar status have taken drastically different time-periods to become candidate countries. The most notable example is the difference in timing between Western Balkan countries and Ukraine’s applications. While it took the Western Balkan countries up to 17 years to attain candidate status , yet due to the unprovoked war in Ukraine, they were able to avail of candidate status after mere weeks, yet both countries were suffering from similar economic and social crises.  Is it  essential that the EU is not seen to be giving preferential status to certain Member States or should certain applications be given a fast-track due to current circumstances?

    Key stakeholders and and measures in place

    In order to come up with solutions, it is essential to look at the relevant stakeholders in the issue on both a larger and smaller scale. 


    The General Affairs Council, created by the Council of the European Union, establishes and supervises the EU enlargement/accession policies. The Council itself is the main decision making body in deciding whether a country may achieve candidate status and achieve this goal through the General Affairs Council. It has stressed the need for a review of the Copenhagen Criteria.
    They wish  to  reform the accession process making it more predictable, more credible, more dynamic, and subject to stronger political steering. They recognise the fact that candidate status must be awarded on objective criteria and that having an arbitrary selection process is completely unacceptable. This stance of the Council is correct as at December 2021. Evidently, the Council will play a huge role in whatever changes are proposed to improve the accession process and thus they are one of the biggest stakeholders in the matter. 

    The European Commission drafts and proposes new laws. Specifically in this context, the European Commission is the institution that assesses if the country has met the Copenhagen Criteria. Based on their stance, the Member States must then agree whether the candidate status can be awarded or not. They also approve of the ascension treaty. They are a key actor in reviewing how the Copenhagen Criteria is applied and how long it takes before the candidate status is rewarded. 

    The EU Council is the body taking the unanimous decision as to whether or not a country becomes a candidate country for EU membership. Composed of heads of state or government from EU member states,  they represent the views of all European citizens. Notably, unlike in some other decision making process of the council, matters regarding members olf the EU must be decided upon unanimously. Being a main political diretor of the EU, in the context of Eu enlarfgemet, the council are responsible for  In the context of EU enlargement, acting as a bridge between the Commission and the citizens is essential that a candidate country in their application put forth an argument that can be relayed to eu citizens, convincing them of their potential for candidacy. 


    Member States are significant stakeholders in the EU enlargement process for two main reasons. Firstly, any application to join the EU must be agreed upon unanimously by all Member States according to their own national procedures. Therefore the Member States have a say in who is eligible to be a part of the EU. Secondly, there are several contributing factors that may affect a Member State’s vote: whether or not the moral or cultural values of the Member State and the potential candidate country align, or the economic prospects of an enlargement, as well as the implications on the Member State due to having more members in the Union. Therefore any enlargement decision should be seen in the sense of adding value to the common market, rather than unnecessary or unfair competition within it.

    Enterprises in the EU Countries:The enlargement of the European Union creates a bigger trade market. This will have a direct effect on Small and Medium Enterprises across EU member states. An example of this is the impact on the labour market. With an enlarged European market, businesses are faced with an increase in new technologies which oftentimes cannot be matched with unskilled labour causing the businesses to struggle with workers. As well as new technology , the free movement of labour in a now expanded EU may lead to an increase in brain drain and migration. This leads to people leaving countries with low employment opportunities which may be best for the individual but a strain on the countries’ economy.


    In order to ensure you have a grasp on the topic and are prepared for the session, listen to the Liberal European Forum podcast (available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud)   on EU enlargement in which the host welcomes Stefan Lehne, a senior fellow at Carnegie Europe whose work focuses on post Lisbon Treaty development of the EU’s foreign policy. In listening, pick out 3 key points that you find most interesting about EU foreign policy and enlargement as well as one argument in favour of the current accession system and one against it.  

  • ENVI


    Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
    by Laura Birbe (ES)

    Case study & introduction 

    Biodiversity is key in maintaining healthy societies in various aspects: preventing the spread of future diseases, boosting agricultural productivity and more. However, biodiversity has experienced a concerning decrease as a result of unsustainable human activity. Around 75% of Earth’s land and 40% of its marine environments have been drastically changed, with the global population of wild species declining by 60% over the last 40 years.

    The biodiversity crisis is highly linked to the climate crisis, as natural disasters threaten the health and prosperity of our ecosystems. This makes climate change, which is primarily caused by pollution, a pressing environmental and social issue.

    A very applicable example of biodiversity loss and its consequences is the case of Allis Shad; a fish species that resides primarily in the north-east Atlantic and the rivers that flow into it. The area through which this species is distributed across has seen a significant decrease over the years. 150 years ago, several hundred thousand shad where caught in the Rhine river system. Fishing activity of this species contributed to the local economy from close-by communities. Nowadays, the conservation of them is at a worrying state and still declining. The main reasons leading to this trend are overfishing, an increase in river pollution and construction of river obstacles such as dams. Initiatives such as Project Maifisch are striving to recover from the current situation. One of the measures taken was introducing nearly 5 million shad larvae into the Rhine; thus, reintroducing a species that had gone extinct 100 years before. However, the status in conservation has not improved, and the only positive change is due to the project’s activities. Therefore, significant improvements may be seen when action focuses on removing river barriers and restoring the ecosystem; rather than reintroducing a species into an altered ecosystem. All of this is explained in the State of nature in the EU report

    Key problems

    Biodiversity refers to the variety of organisms on Earth. It includes all the different existing species, from bacteria to humans, as well as their interactions between each other and their ecosystem. This means that the disappearance of one organism can have an extremely significant impact on the whole ecosystem’s dynamics. 

    The primary reasons driving biodiversity loss are pollution and the use of land. The three main types of pollution are air, water and land pollution. All three contribute to biodiversity loss. Most air pollution comes from human activity, stemming from the burning of fossil fuels and an increase in greenhouse gas concentration. These air pollutants that are released eventually return in the form of acid rain. The impact of this phenomenon can alter the acidity of lakes, increase global average temperatures, and destroy forests. Water pollution can arise from an exposure to hazardous chemicals or bacteria that can cause sickness or disease. Leakage of chemicals in oceans or lakes can cause severe damage to living organisms and the ecosystem itself, as toxic environments are established. Dead zones are the result of this. Usually, contaminants that affect water ecosystems can equally harm land, leading to land pollution. Pesticides and fertilisers are an added danger for wildlife. These substances can enter the food chain through vegetables and fruits, and can cause diseases such as  cancer.  

    As the human population grows, so does the need for more agricultural land, which leads to natural habitat loss and degradation. This directly relates to a reduction of species, as different species require different habitats to thrive in. Other relevant driving forces of biodiversity loss include climate change and exploitation of resources, which are also directly correlated to pollution and the use of land. 

    Key stakeholders and measures in place 

    The European Commission plans to implement the Biodiversity Strategy, with its main goal being to put Europe’s biodiversity on a path to recovery by 2030. Actions in place include an expanded EU-wide network of protected areas on land and sea, the launch of an EU nature restoration plan and measures to enable these changes, such as strengthening the governance framework and improved financing. 

    The European Environmental Agency (EEA) is an agency of the EU that aims at supporting sustainable development by producing reliable information both for the general public and policymakers. The EEA has an established partnership network with The European environment information and observation network (Eionet). Through this network, the EEA shares environmental information from and amongst the 32 Member States; building high-quality and up-to-date information.

    The EU’s environmental policy is overseen by the Directorate-General for Environment (DG ENV) of the European Commission.  It suggests and puts into action policies (such as EU Biodiversity strategy for 2030 and Chemicals strategy for sustainability) that guarantee a high standard of environmental preservation and uphold the living standards of citizens.

    The EU Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity is a knowledge service that aims to enhance the expertise available on biodiversity and to facilitate its sharing, as well as to incentivise cross-sectorial dialogue for EU policy making in biodiversity and related fields. This service supports policy making by providing ways to aid the implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy, making information accessible and bringing them together with relevant collaborators such as NGOs, policymakers, and citizens, and communicating information in a transparent, clear and concise way. Some measures that are already in use are The Biodiversity Information System for Europe (BISE) and online resources such as conference summaries and reports

    Natura 2000 is a network of protected areas across Europe, covering both land (18%) and marine (8%) territory. In practice, it consists of a network of critical habitats for rare and endangered species, including certain rare natural habitat types that are protected. On land and at sea, it crosses all 27 Member States of the EU. The network’s purpose is to safeguard Europe’s most valuable and endangered organisms and ecosystems, which are classified under both the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive. The Natura 2000 Network Viewer can be used to witness all their protected sites with relevant information in regards to its species and habitats. Natura 2000 does not consist of restricted natural areas where all human activity is forbidden. The majority of the land is still privately owned, even if it does contain some strictly protected nature reserves. The Natura 2000 regions are being approached from a much larger perspective, with a focus on people collaborating with nature rather than opposing it. However, Member States are required to make sure that the sites are managed in a way that is both environmentally and economically sustainable.

    Green infrastructure is a network of strategically planned natural and semi-natural areas. These areas are designed to provide a variety of ecosystem services, including the purification of air quality, space for recreation, and climate mitigation and adaptation. This system of green (land) and blue (water) areas is able to enhance environmental conditions, boosting the living standards of citizens. Additionally, it promotes a green economy, offers employment opportunities, and increases biodiversity. The EU’s green infrastructure is supported through the Natura 2000 network. The Green Infrastructure Strategy, developed by the European Commission, aims at making green infrastructure a dominant part of spatial planning. This report reviews the progress made in implementing this strategy up until 2019. 


    Once you have read over the Topic Overview and made sure you are familiar with all of the relevant concepts that are mentioned, choose 3 words or concepts that you think are relevant for our topic. Draft a clear explanation of what they mean and how they relate to our topic question. When everyone has completed their part of the task, we will have a nice glossary of key terms we can always look back to!