Sunday, 5 February 2023

Closing Ceremony

 After an intense day with 8 debates the session officially came to an end this afternoon. The journo team presented the funny and creative session video, reminiscing on the weekend we had together. 

After that president Francisca Somann delivered a closing speech, emphasising how special it is that more than fifty high school students decided to spend their weekend at school instead of at home or with friends. After multiple rounds of thanks, for all the amazing volunteers that made this weekend possible, and of course the tireless Head of Everything (Margriet Bosman) another speaker took the stage: Jeroen Smeulders.

Mr Smeulders was our head of jury for the session and announced what we had all been waiting for: the 8 delegates that will make up next year’s EYP team! Here they are: 

 This was of course an important part of this weekend, but it is not its essence. Every single delegate voluntarily came to broaden their horizon and step out of their comfort zone, which is something to be extremely proud of. Great thanks for everyone involved! 

Final debate: LIBE

 As the afternoon reaches its summit, we approach the last debate. The committee on LIBE will defend their motion on a resolution concerning disinformation via traditional and social media. This debate is the last chance for the delegates to state their opinion and bring in points they want to share. The debate is preceded by a last energizer: we are going on a bear hunt. 

The final defense speech is held with a lot of passion. If grandmothers can't distinguish fake news from real, who can? According to LIBE the problem must be treated at the source; fake news mustn't be spread at all. The first attack speech is held by AFCO they point out that reaching people to do a social media training will be difficult and that freedom of speech might be at stake when every message has to be checked. This was followed by a second speech in which the social media literacy training was also criticized and the feasibility of checking every message ever posted. LIBE got a chance to respond to the points made in the speeches. Even thought not everyone will be reached for the social media literacy training, some people will be. AS well as clear responses to the other points

The first point of open debate was made by Vera from ITRE. This was followed by a direct response given by AFCO adding that certain measures would cost a lot. LIBE gave another direct response to the points previously made, with some nice examples of successful campaigns in the past. This was followed by a normal point made by CULT. ENVI I was the next committee to enter the debate. They were followed by another point by CULT. They posed another issue, concerning the adding of extra professional checks. ENVI II wants to see that companies like TikTok and Twitter are also taken into account in the resolotion. This point was followed by an elaborate and well thought trough point from DROI. Followed by a direct response from ENVI II: the people who need campaigns most are already deep into the algorithm. AFCO made the point that not everything without an author is unreliable, therefore people will question trustworthy websites. ENVI I proposes to implement a trademark for liability. Jet from LIBE was the first from the proposing committee to respond. She was able to answer all questions raised in open debate until now.

The first point after was made by ITRE stating that there are already AIs which can't be distinguished from real life. LIBE directly reacts to this stating that there are accessible ways to detect a deepfake, and ITRE responds again stating that this is another form of AI. After a direct response we return to the topic of an expert group of European fake news checkers. This was also followed by a direct response. This debate is very lively and even after this very long day the delegates still seem to have a last bit of energy left to show everything they have. ENVI I proposes to use the money in the fund to another purpose. After a thunderstorm of noise AFCO is permitted to make the last point in this round of open debate. We return to the proposing committee. They show the importance of tackling fake news.

We proceed to the last and final round of open debate, opened by FEMM. DROI raises the point that freedom of speech may be at stake. ENVI II shows us that media training is not only necessary for high school students. This is followed by a direct response from CULT. AFCO raises the point that checking every article ever written won't be doable. ITRE suggest that it will be difficult to become a rising online star if everything has to be checked. FEMM proposes to use YouTube adds. Soon, the topic of the debate changes to punishing people that spread fake news, which is also found to be difficult. The last point of the day is made by Olivia. The last debate is wrapped up with two summation speeches, in which the last unanswered questions and raised points will get a response. In the prepared summation, there is another mention of grandmothers that are unable to tell fake and true news apart. Sadly, the motion for a resolution hasn't passed.

Debate on ITRE

 The committee on Industry, Research and Technology (ITRE) discussed a rather current topic: energy provision in relation to the war in Ukraine. The delegate that gave the defence speech put this to good use, once again illustrating the everyday graveness of the war and its implications. The main focus of ITRE was to ensure that short-term energy provision is safe, however the attack speeches deemed this effort insufficient: very fundamental criticism, very early on in the debate. 

The open debate took a different, very creative path; besides delivering constructive criticism, delegates were also eager to ask questions, and expand on the problem, even coming up with their own alternative solutions. A popular proposal was nuclear energy. However, despite the number of delegates that raised this point, it was not uncontroversial. This was because of the tension between short-term needs and a sustainable future. Even though the room dit not come to a shared conclusion regarding energy sources, this discussion was a clear example of how exchanging knowledge and opinions can spark new joint insights. 

Another controversiality was ITRE's legislative proposal to introduce a price cap on energy usage: is it a violation of the free market or an effective solution to ever so present inflation currently affecting households? The proposing committee's stance was of course obvious, but their argumentation was quite convincing. Their summation speech strongly added onto this, and the result of the vote was representative of this: the resolution on ITRE passed!

Debate on FEMM

 The sixth debate of today is the debate on the resolution made by FEMM. This topic is about the prevention of human trafficking and sexual exploitation of women in Europe. The opening speech was told very carefully; this is such an important but also a very sensitive topic. FEMM made clear that the increase of victims is a reason for worry. Mainly by legalising prostition, teaching at primary schools and spreading awareness via influencers, who have a very big platform, FEMM wants to tackle this issue. Member States also have to be more involved in the prevention of human trafficking of women. FEMM stands for regulation and registration. 

In the first attack speech the DROI committee adressed their concerns about the use of influencers to spread awareness. They used Famke Louise as an example. She did a campaign about a serious topic and years later people still make fun of it. DROI assumes this will happen to this topic as well. Also, influencers are mostly not the most genuine people; they just do it for their own benefit (money). The second attackspeech was made by ENVI II. ENVI II pointed out that most sex workers are refugees, do not have a residence permit or are undocumented, thus unable to register. FEMM responded to these attack speeches by saying that the biggest group of victims have not even finished primary and that spreading awareness via influencers is an effective and quick way to prevent children to be trafficked. 

The first round of open debate was mainly focussed on the registration of sexwork in every Member State. AFCO kicked of by sharing their doubt in if this is an achievable goal. FEMM direct-responded by telling that the chances of an undocumented sex worker being trafficked are much higher than if they were documented. There was a chain of direct responses after ITRE questioned if teaching children in primary school about human trafficking and sexual exploitation of women is a responsible thing to do. 

Round two was very diverse. AFCO thought operative clause three was too vague and LIBE direct responded and agreed with AFCO. CULT re-addressed their concern about the children who might not take this topic seriously. ENVI II supported this by telling sex education is not taken serious by children in primary schools, so why would this be taken seriously? Round three discussed the taboo of sex work and which teaching method would be the best for primary school.

The unprepared summation by FEMM is tackeling the assumption that education at primary school is not important, because more than 50% of human traficking victims have not finished primary school. In the prepared summation FEMM emphesises the lack of preventive meassures and lack of actions taken by the EU. Clear and simple rules that are accepted by all Member States will make a big difference. The board complimented every committee on being so passionate and thoughtfull about a this sensitive topic. With 26 against and 35 in favor, the FEMM committee's resolution has passed!

Debate on ENVI II

After the lunch, the energy is back up again and we've started with the debate on the resolution of the committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety II (ENVI II). This committee tackles the great problem of declining biodiversity due to human activities, primarily pollution. The debate was opened by a strong defence speech, after which all the placards of the committees were up in the air during the call for attack speeches.

The board recognised the ENVI I committee to present the first attack speech. During this speech powerful points were made about the effect of operative clause two, concerning the need for efficient farming and reusable products, on low-income families who cannot afford sustainable products. Afterwards the president of the board Lotje acknowledged this point as a great message. The second attack speech was given by LIBE and it addressed shifting the focus from the consumer to the producer. LIBE gave a great suggestion of implementing taxes on the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by airlines. 

When given a response to the attack speeches, ENVI II perceived the criticism as helpful by saying that it is a good point to focus more on the companies when combating pollution, while also adding that trains could be a better travel alternative.

During the rounds of open debate, many of the points regarded taxation suggested in the operative clauses that is already in place, Third World countries not being able to keep up with the costs of switching to more sustainable farming, and asking what measurements can be taken for small companies to help them switch to organic materials. A few moments really stood out during this debate, for example the president complimenting a delegate's outfit of the committee of FEMM and a fiery stare off between LIBE and ENVI II that ended in LIBE stating that it is already too late to try and prevent decreasing biodiversity. 

The debate was closed off with an exceptional summation speech pointing out the measurements stated in the resolution to ''clean up the big mess'' caused by biodiversity loss. After a tensive voting procedure, the ENVI II resolution has passed! We are looking forward to the next debate. 

Debate on ENVI I

 The fourth debate was on the resolution of the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety I (ENVI I). In their resolution they strive to tackle the transition to a more circular economy to battle waste and it's environmental impact. ENVI I started the debate with a well delivered defense speech which created a nice and understandable image of the current waste problem. Innovation and investment in developing technology for a circular economy seemed to be an important focus. This was followed by two attack speeches, which showed the complexity of the problem. 

The open debate started off with a lot of very enthusiastic points. It was pointed out that a lot of people do not have access to recycling bins, especially in less wealthy countries. DROI also pointed out that regulating companies on their sustainability is hard to do, because small companies often have different priorities in order to start up their business. All in all, the conversation took an interesting turn as the different committees tried to weigh the importance of economic and sustainability benefits. ENVI II also pointed out that citizens play an important role in the waste quantity that there is currently, and highlighted that companies are not the only ones to be held responsible. 

Lastly, the debate came to an end with another joint summation speech. In this speech, ENVI I showed us the possible dangers of the environmental impact of single use products in a linear economy. Nonetheless, they ended on a positive outlook towards the future and emphasized that through collaboration and innovation we can battle this issue. The room seemed to have been inspired: their resolution passed!!

Debate on DROI

The third debate was on the resolution of the Committee on Human Rights (DROI). This committee discusses a complex, layered subject: that of armed unmanned drones. The opening defence speech was especially captivating, with emotions (and voice volume) rising high. This made clear that drones are not at all a dull subject. In the two eloquent attack speeches given afterwards, two new dimensions of the problem were highlighted; not only are such drones a human rights issue, but they can just as well problematise industrial relations if sanctions are implemented, and additionally we must not forget that the topic is more present-day than one might think. In all of their speeches, from defence to response to summation speech, the DROI committee proved their extensive knowledge and involvement. This did however not hold other committees back from constructively questioning the resolution. 

Many of these points regarded DROI's choice to not fully ban armed unmanned drones. Worries of imprecise weaponry, collateral damage and innocent casualties were prevalent amongst delegates. Where this matter did indeed seem straightforward, the situation turned out to be more nuanced. Refraining from thinking in black and white is an important value in the Barlaeus Youth Parliament. After this engaging discussion, the debate seemed to slow down. However, when a point about the necessity to regulate drones even outside of EU borders was raised, the general discussion was quickly revived. More and more often, industrial and diplomatic implications of international drone trade came to the fore, emphasising that the scope of the problem goes beyond 'mere' human rights. What all parties did seem to agree on was that regulating and tracking armed unmanned drones, is necessary and very pressing. This sense of urgency  however did not nullify the persistent criticism in te room, unfortunately resulting in a resolution that did not pass. Off to the next debate! 

Debate on CULT

 The second debate was on the resolution of the committee on Culture and Education (CULT), which was on the impact of a lack of education about gender identities in Europe. The debate started off with a fluent defence speech about the importance of education on LGBTQ+ identities to battle discrimination. This was followed by three very articulate attack speeches, in which many strong points were made. In the second attack speech, an interesting point was made about the willingness to participate in education on this topic. 

After this, CULT gave a concise response to these attack speeches, and with that the first round of open debate commenced. A point was made about whether school is the right place to discuss such topics and whether it is a place for students to discover their own identity or sexuality. In reaction to that, ENVI II responded that the main focus of education is to create awareness, which led to an intriguing discussion about the function of school. After many well thought out points were made, the first round of debate was finished.

During the remainder of the debate, the practical implementation of education was one of the main focuses of the debate. This matter seemed to be quite complex, as many committees had different views on the subject. Also, the role of religion and their views on identity and sexuality were brought into the conversation. Eventually the debate came to an end with a well delivered summation speech by the proposing committee. This summation ended the debate with an emphasis on the importance of inclusion, normalisation and especially the importance of school being a safe environment for children. The rest of the room seemed to share this sentiment: the resolution of CULT passed!!

Debate on AFCO

The first real debate was on the resolution of the committee on constitutional affairs (AFCO), which discussed the application system for EU member states. After courageously delivering the first defence speech of the day, the debate kicked off. LIBE held an attack speech, pointing out that the proposed solutions did not address all of the relevant issues. This sentiment was shared by other delegates during the open debate. However, the proposing committee was quick to expand on the effectiveness of their resolution. 

Many articulate and thought-through points were raised, which set the tone for the following debates. Highlights included constructive criticism regarding polarisation that could be caused by the legislative proposal, and practical unfeasibility of altering the Copenhagen Criteria. This controversy was once again countered by the proposing committee, but the other committees were not yet fully satisfied. The final points that were raised, were answered in a confident joint summation speech, emphasising international collaboration. Fortunately, this collaborative spirit was shared by the room: the resolution on AFCO has passed!

Opening of the general assembly (GA)

After a nutritious breakfast and a morning of hastily finalising speeches for the debate, the general assembly was opened by Bram Kortekaas. Mr Kortekaas was part of the first Barlaeus delegation sent to the European Youth Parliament; he shared with us insights gathered throughout his journey as a delegate, and enlightened us with a geopolitical crash course, urging us not to forget the value of continuous dialogue. 

As the European anthem played, the atmosphere in the room turned serious, with the first debate quickly approaching. To ensure that delegates feel comfortable with the structure of the general assembly, a mock debate was held by the officials that organised the weekend. By discussing the ins and outs of European monarchies, delegates experienced the course of business of youth parliament style debating first hand. The resolution passed and the day was off to an enthusiastic start.

Saturday, 4 February 2023

Resolution booklet

The resolution booklet can be found here

Committee work

This afternoon was spent discussing all types of topics with which the European Union is usually concerned. The delegates spoke, among other things, about environmental pollution, killer drones and LGBTQ+ education in Europe. The work has resulted in eight awesome resolutions, which will form the basis for the general assembly, tomorrow. After the resolutions were finished, it was dinner time. The orgas cooked a very tasty curry. Now all the energy from the food can be turned into various speeches to defend or attack the resolutions. We are looking forward to the evening to come. Apart from the academic work, there will also be a just dance party.  


To ensure that cooperation goes smoothly this afternoon and tomorrow during the debate, the delegates have to get to know each other. Luckily, that's what team building is for. The delegates play games with each other or have small competitions with other committees to build their bond. As a 'kers op de taart' all delegates are invited to come along to the Leidseplein to get some fresh air and regain a bit of energy by singing songs, playing monster and little girl and repeating dances. Back in the classrooms the last couple of games are played, golden rules composed and the first bits of topic are introduced. After an energizing, but tiring morning, it is time for lunch. The group of delegates seems to be very hungry as most of the bread is already gone, oh well, the supermarket is close enough.

Arrival and opening

At 8.15 the first delegates started to come in and within minutes the canteen was filled with voices from sleepy yet enthusiastic kids. Everyone was packed with sleeping bags, toothbrushes and their formal clothing for the general assembly. Soon after that, everyone climbed the stairs to the gym, where everyone was introduced to the officials and the first warm up games were played. We ran around like ponies, amoubes, lions and cheerleaders. At the moment, everyone is getting to know each other through more games.

Good morning!

We are up and running! See you in a few!

Thursday, 2 February 2023

One day!

One day, two's been ordered, placards have been made, rooms have been allocated, officials are packing their bags to arrive at the Barlaeus at 20.00 tomorrow to prepare the building for you...actually, all we're waiting for is delegates! Prepare like mad for one more day and please remember to bring your deodorants, because it's going to be sweaty...



Sunday, 29 January 2023

One week!

Dear delegates, 

Only one more week and BYP will be off and running...time to get your engines started, practise your English, research your own and other resolutions, find your suit, sharpen your pencils & your tongue and in general, prepare yourself for one of the most fatiguing, educating, stimulating, frustrating, communicating and exhilarating weekends of your life.

The officials’ team is looking forward to organizing, boarding, jurying, chairing and journoing for you: now it is up to you to make it worth our while!
One more week. Get ready.