At a training course on European Citizenship, my colleague Elena Kasko and I developed a simulation around the truly disgusting and disturbing way in which Europe treats refugees at its borders, in particular at the Schengen borders. One of my personal heroes, Gabriele del Grande, the unflinching Italian human rights journalist, has documented on http://www.fortresseurope.blogspot.com/ that at least 18.567 people have died since 1988 in their attempt to reach the Fortress Europe.
This was our scenario:
Europe in 2015: Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland are bankrupt. The major banks of Germany, France and the UK have been nationalised and operate under government control. Luxembourg and Austria have given up on their offshore banking strategies, and the City of London has been placed under common legislation. Economic perspectives are depressing. Russia, China and Brazil have offered to lend money to the Europeans.
Meanwhile, the citizens of Europe have lost their last bit of trust in European institutions. The majority is convinced that neither the European Union nor the Council of Europe will survive this fundamental crisis.
In this atmosphere of hopelessness, the Parliament of the European Union and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have decided to meet, for the first time, in joint session to discuss and shape the future of Europe.
Each political party has tabled 2 proposals (called motions) about the future of Europe for this joint session. These motions are discussed in joint committees, with members from both Parliaments attending.
One of the most controversial motions comes from the Pirate Party: They suggest to extend the Schengen area to include all member states of the Council of Europe and to change the external border policies to comply with human right principles.
Here are the materials we developed – feel free to download, adapt and use to your liking:
- the scenario: docx | pdf
- the motion: docx | pdf
- the roles: docx | pdf
- a newspaper we used to spice things up: indesign | pdf
- an intro movie we made – careful, the movie clocks in with 210 MB: avi
There were a few things we’d do differently next time around, most importantly probably (1) leave more time (we ran the entire simulation in one morning, including the debriefing, while it could easily consume a day) and (2) prepare fact-sheets as briefing material for the experts in the simulation, to allow them to argue evidence-based rather than invention-based.