Ideas about EuropeThe workshop “Ideas about Europe” allowed the participants to make a reflection about Europe and European Union and to generate an interesting debate.

The first question participant had to face was the simple idea of how to define Europe. From cultural, geographical passing to historical definitions, most of them gave their version of which are the borders of that could be considered Europe. Finally, an agreement was adopted in the geographical version, establishing the borders on the East in the Ural Mountains, although some participants, mainly from Canary Islands, disagree once that this could leave outside their homeland.

After this, the next step was to go into the idea of the European Union (EU). An interesting debate was established about which is the main reason for it creation and survival and a common position of the mix between the peace (after II World War) and economy, especially after the creation of Euro Zone, was adopted. Most participants could be framed in the idea that they like the results of EU (in specially the four fundamental freedoms: persons, goods, services and capital) but not how it works.

Ideas about Europe2Failures of EU in the current economical situation and how it should act focused the discussion after this. The main reproach done was the lack of fast decisions and the incomplete integration of the different countries.

The functioning of EU from inside when the so called “golden triangle” (Council, Commission and Parliament) occupied the last part of the workshop. First a theoretical approach was used explaining some graphs and slides where could be observed the functions and the working of every one of these three institutions. After that and to finish the session, a practical game was played. For making a remembrance of the so called “co decision” process, born after Lisbon Treaty, participants were divided in 3 groups, each one of these represented one institution of the Golden Triangle.

To every institution was given 10 photos, 5 famous actors and 5 famous actresses, that had to be classified according to their beauty and then, explain the other institutions why this classification for a later agreement.

The results were quite similar but still a 10 minutes debate was needed for a final agreement. According with the impressions of the participants, the workshop helped them to understand better the EU and many questions were made afterwards for clarifications.

To sum up, EU is not such a big unknown for the participants and for sure this workshop will help them to make further steps in order to understand why 500 millions of European live together under this umbrella.