Report: European energy politics in Essen
The European Youth Forum Essen 2013 was the third and last of a trilogy of different sessions, all under the common motto “Young energy for Europe”. Its sister sessions earlier this year, in Istanbul and the Hague, dealt with the exact same committee topics. Austria was represented by Raphael Bek (Chairperson, ITRE I), Samuel Hönle (Delegate, ENVI I), Amin Oueslati (Delegate, AFET, II), Florian Rogner (Delegate, CLIM), Florian Schinnerl (Delegate, ENVI II). The session was presided by Zahra Runderkamp (NL), who recently visited Austria as a trainer at the Alumni Weekend.
Young energy for Europe
All committee topics were all related to European energy politics: EU Russia-relations, the Desertec project, the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme, nuclear power, shale gas, the Energy Roadmap 2050, Research & Development, and citizens’ participation in Europe’s energy infrastructure. The coherence of the topics created high synergy amongst all committees, supported mutual understanding, and enabled interesting discussions at the session. Additionally, it was also possible for all committees to consider the resolutions from the previous sister sessions with exactly the same topics.
The second day of committee work offered delegates the possibility to get in touch with experts with various economic and political backgrounds to discuss their own topic, and additionally find out about others and get feedback on the prevailing state of their resolutions. Having the possibility to get different perceptions from people who work in the relevant fields day-to-day was a great experience and helped to find fresh ideas, give feedback to other committees’ thoughts, including their proposals and reflections on the resolutions from our sister sessions in Istanbul and the Hague. At the end of Energy Nexus committees were more informed about the general opinion about their work, and also in which areas more work was indispensable.
Zeche Zollverein and Essen
Zeche Zollverein is Essen’s landmark, UNESCO World Heritage, and the reason why Essen was the perfect site for this Forum about energy. Often referred to as “the worlds most beautiful coal mine“ it marks Essen’s deep connection to the topic of energy. It reminded participants of the early energy industry in Europe, while they were elaborating on its future. Some of them got a deeper insight into it when they were visiting the site during the cultural program, and it definitely had some effect on their resolutions.
The first day of General Assembly took place in the architecturally stunning Sanaa-Building, which is a modern and austere contrast to and part of Zeche Zollverein.
Besides a christmas themed party, and an exciting night at Zeche Zollverein, At game night, one of the evening programmes was Game Night. Committees challenged each other in order to get points, and to eventually find a winner. The games were a mixture of teambuilding games, creativity and craziness, with the highlight being a dance-off to various older or newer pop songs. After competing at all challenges, all participants gathered to experience stunning rap choreographies by each committee, related to their respective topic, which got judged by a jury of session journalists, and helped the winner to have an advantage over the others. For the final showdown, the best of the best Ninja players delivered the most epic game of Ninja played at the session.
The session concluded that energy is certainly one of the most burning topics in European politics today. This time more than ever, young Europeans took a strong stance on the the various topics at hand. Even national decisions have high cross-border impact, and the vast activities in the sector have great economic and social influence. The session provided a deeper understanding of energy politics, and also a great awareness of the European energy mix. It can be said that all partitcipants reached consensus about the need for consequences, the request for European stakeholders to gradually replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources, the wish to further support and intensify European research and development, and finally to put all efforts to reaching and improving the current national and European goals for climate and energy.
(written by the Austrian delegation at the session)