Monday, July 31, 2023
Together with MEP Helmut Geuking we organized a political summer school in a camping format, on the shores of Lake Balaton, Hungary. Youth between 17 and 22 years old gathered to learn and enjoy nature.
Participants from several EU countries had the opportunity to learn about the importance of Christian values in European democracy and to be trained in political processes like election, running a campaign, voting issues and the functioning of the European Parliament.
The two main coordinators and instructors were General Director of ECPM - Maarten van de Fliert- and MEP Helmut Geuking.
The first week the training sessions were focused on introductory subjects like the different political traditions/ parties and their beliefs, the connection between politics and worldviews, the foundations of democratic societies and elections.
Maarten van de Fliert talked to the youth about the EU system and institutions and the ECPM's place in the EU political environment. He also explained to the young people how Christian values are at the foundation of EU project as well as most free and democratic societies in the world. The participants got to engage in role-play and simulations of EP plenary sessions and debates and they filled out quizzes about the history of the EU.
In the second week, MEP Geuking focused on the importance of legislation and voting. He talked about his work in the European Parliament, how resolutions and amendments are created and passed, the importance of negotiation and the value of each vote in turning initiatives into law. He encouraged the youth to stay connected and aware, to be informed voters, and to courageously get involved in politics at local level as their communities need them.
At the end of their camping days, the youth visited monuments and sites with historic significance in Budapest.
MEP Geuking finds this sort of educational content and formats of great value, since "this is the next generation of leaders to take over from us when we are too old."