By Noreyana Fernando
By Brian Ang and Jonathan Hanley
Over the last meeting, the once-cooperative group of foreign ministers changed tone when debating a part of their proposed legislation that would create offices in Turkey and several unspecified locations in Northern Africa, with the purpose of educating possible regular and irregular immigrants on how to immigrate, and the dangers of using irregular means to enter the European Union.
The room was surprisingly torn on the issue, only passing by a single vote that Turkey would receive these offices. Those opposed were not willing to shift their opinion on the matter at all, with the Belgian foreign minister even going so far as to say immigrants from Turkey are a “security risk”, and countries like Hungary backing these anti-Turkish ideas.
The Bulgarian foreign minister seemed to be much more concerned about the moral implications of exempting these people from the education that could possibly save Turkish lives and even give some a chance to improve their livelihoods. Poland was firmly in this camp and so was the UK, who was prepared to shoot down anything of which he wasn’t in favor, down to even the smallest detail such as the punctuation of sentences.
With only a few countries like Portugal sitting on the fence, negotiations were slow. A source in the anti-Turkey camp decided to vent to me about the UK and Luxembourg, calling them “childish” over their nitpickiness of wording and intentions. The initially simple question of “do we trust Turkey?” spiraled into an hour of debate, unmediated caucus, and political back-scratching.
The UK and Luxembourg ended up on top, but at the cost of the opinions of many Foreign Ministers. After all the dust had settled though, the ministers were able to re-gather themselves, and used their remaining time productively and amend wording to many of their clauses trying to impress the waiting Heads of Government.
All in all, the foreign ministers were wildly successful compared to some of their counterparts, who happened to be bogged down in financial semantics. Although the foreign ministers did leave one more question they will need to figure out for this to ever really happen: Where will the money for these reception locations and employees come from? Hopefully, they were not banking on an EU income tax!
By Nicholas Marricco
Two resolutions were passed by the Heads of Government during the 2015 Model EU session: One of the resolutions was titled “proposal for the Betterment of European Relations with the Russian federation,” and the second resolution passed was titled “Resolution for the Advancement of the European Energy Union.”
These resolutions empowered the EU and this resolution does everything humanly possible to restore balance in Europe. The resolution that promotes diplomacy with Russia, while limiting any signs of weakness on behalf of the EU.
One of the first, and one of the most important, principles is the fact that this resolution restates that it believes Russia deserved the sanctions it received. This one component shows that the EU is not afraid to admit what it has done to Russia, after multiple aggressive moves. The second more important principle is the term “equal, independent partners”.
This shows the EU’s willingness to be equal with Russia and not have one reliant on the other. The good faith principle is also very important, the EU is willing to release the sanctions on the RF, only if the RF acts in good faith.
“Good faith” is defined in the document is any action that decreases Russia military prescience in Ukraine and Georgia that shows that the EU is willing to work with the Russian Federation, but only if the federation is willing to work with the EU.
The way in which the EU plans to ensure the independence of its members is to invest in energy programs throughout the EU. While some nations might be hurt by the fact that their energy comes from Russia, this resolution ensures that assistance will be provided to those members who are affected by this.
It also shows that the EU will explore investment in Russia to boost its economy. It is provisions like these that make this resolution the best possible solution. The resolution promotes equality between the two powers and ensures cooperation between Russia and the EU.
The second resolution establishes long term planning for the EU. This resolution is much shorter than the first resolution mentioned; however it is just as important.
However, order for the previous resolution to work effectively this resolution needs to be implemented. This resolution promises to encourage renewable energy systems such as solar and wind, which appeases those against fossil fuels. The promise of equity and efficient with regards to the distribution on energy is also promising, this can ensure that each EU member has enough energy.
With the EU growing its own energy infrastructure, the EU can be self=reliant and not rely on outside sources, such as Russia, thus empowering the EU. The EU has many faults, the EU has much growth needed in order for it to reach its potential. However, these resolutions steer the EU in the right direction. These resolution promise to grow the EU and rely more on themselves then outside influences.
By Slawomira-Rita Mysiak
Delegates representing 28 EU states were discussing issue which arose around Maltese citizenship scheme, and the COREPER II was concerned about Malta’s actions.
To recap: In 2014 Malta announced that is ready to sell Maltese Citizenship in order to boost funds for social programs. The COREPER II felt that such a scheme may lead to hazardous situation in the European Union, therefore the committee discussed discussing a proposal to create minimum requirements for each EU member state before granting citizenship to third country nationals.
The proposal contained requirements of a residency (minimum 12 months), austerity measures with checks across the border including the screening concerning funds to ensure that they are coming from legal sources, and the last part of proposal including separation of the fee and the investment in the country. This resolution of the COREPER II did not pass, although the Head of Governments decided that they may come back to this issue in the future.
What is important to notice that the Maltese citizenship scheme is the first one already accepted by the EU but it is not the only one. Other EU states also have citizenship schemes and/or residence permits for sale. This practice, although quite common in the world, is broadly criticized by some and defended by others.
Those who bring this issue into EU they should first analyze all of the citizenship offered and compare them. There also needs to see the economic situation in the state which offers citizenship scheme, because some of states may in that way collect the funds for development.
Maltese journalist James Debono compared few of the schemes and in those it look like scheme offered by Malta is the cheapest one in the EU. However, this is not the case for some states like for example Greece offer residence against investment of a minimum of 250,000€. Whether or not the Maltese offer for citizenship is the cheapest, there is still a question of where the money comes from. Are the states are going to adopt the austerity measures to ensure that funds are coming from legal sources? And would be they able to resign from several dozens millions of Euro worth investment if it so happens that money comes from illegal sources?
By Slawomira-Rita Mysiak
On Saturday, March 28, delegates met for last time to conclude all previous negotiations and reach a consensus. After hours of negotiations, the Heads of Governments agreed to to accept proposal of Council of Foreign Ministers concerning the European Union response to the immigration crisis in the Mediterranean region.
The Council of Foreign Ministers agreed that in order to have a better response to the crisis, the European Union must:
This resolution, although accepted, may meet some obstacles when it comes to implementation.
The biggest foreseeable obstacle would be funding. Mare Nostrum was ceased and replace by Triton, which is active within 30 miles off the Italian coast while Mare Nostrum operated even in international waters.
Secondly there is no specification how exactly the ENP is going to be approached as well as the role of Common European Asylum System in addressing the crisis.
Regarding reception centers, Greece, and Turkey are already building them with help from European Union. Therefore it would be reasonable that before establishing new centers in those two countries, the European Union would double check to ensure that there is respect for basic human rights since both countries have a tumultuous history with it.
By Julia Bohm and Theresa Ziegler
The COREPER proposal ultimately focused on regulating the sale of EU member state citizenship and on an-EU wide policy. The COREPER committee feels this discussion was crucial due the recent actions of Malta. In 2014, Malta began selling its citizenship in order to boost funds for social programs to whoever could afford it. The proceeds from Malta current program are meant to boost Maltese infrastructure and social programs.
These measures have raised important questions about equality and coordination with other EU members has become necessary. The following proposal is designed to address this need for coordination among all EU member states.
In the first part of the COREPER meeting on Saturday, member discussed the creation of an agency as well as information centers. One delegate said that if the immigrants have enough information, they are more likely to spend their money wisely.
For example in Germany, immigrants can stay for six months to found a place to work. But if they are high-qualified persons, they can use a “Blue Card,” which is similar to the Green Card of the U.S.. It’s a work and residence permit to work in the EU.
After a long discussion, the committee decided unanimously to expand, increase founding and standardize the already existing officers and information provided within.
The committee also discussed the question of selling citizenship hand countries can concern themselves with the security of traveling between nations.
The first proposal was, to set a residency requirement of a minimum of twelve months and more can be determined by country itself and background checks across the board.
Cyprus wants background and medical checks, and Lithuania wanted to add a monetary checks to see whether money could be used for investment. Greece said the country should use the money to integrate the immigrants, while Belgium wanted to raise the residency requirement to 30 months for security purposes. Italy wanted to require investing a minimum investment of 5,000,000 € and renouncing former citizenship.
Summary of debate:
The need of investments instead of straight payments in order to quell concern over the possibility of corruption but each country would have the right to dictate laws surrounding their selling of their citizenship –Approved
A partial investment, and in total, a minimum of 3,000,000 € as a minimum anything above that is at the discretion of each member state. This will limit the amount of people who will have the ability to purchase this citizenship – Approved
The inclusion of the cost of citizenship and the investment. These investments would also include real estate and living costs – Approved
To set a target date being 2020 when the next budget goes into effect in which in discussion of sales, in which sales of citizenship will be abolished – Approved
Each member state has a minimum time requirement of residency – Rejected
Including mechanism to check where the invested money is going to — Approved
Make the residency requirement minimum of four years – Rejected
Separate the fee and investment in the country, with a minimum fee of 3,000,000 € and have a separate investment amount of at least 1,000,000 € – Approved
The applicant would have to renounce to their former citizenship – Approved
Clariyfing that background checks be held across the board, including a look at where the investment money is coming from – Approved
After all the forks and knives were set down, thanks you’s made out certificates awarded, Press Corps reporter Susi Lange sat down with Barbara Syrrakos, City College New York’s host of the conference.
Susi Lange: First I want to thank you for making all this possible. Could you maybe briefly explain what your role had been here in this year’s event?
Barbara Syrrakos: My role was to facilitate and accommodate and support Kathleen [Dowley, director of the conference.]
SL: And you did a good job with that.
BS: Thanks! We were have been invited to host this year. We only started participating in the SUNY Modell EU three years ago. So here we are in the third year and they asked us to help out. I think they really just loved the New York venue and we happened to be here. So we facilitated and we also had a team. Our team represented the presidency of the Latvian presidency.
SL: Why was City College chosen as the location for the conference?
BS: I think because it is New York and I think people really want to come to New York City. Like yourself, you are coming from Germany and we have students coming from upstate New York, from various collages in the region and it’s always a wonderful opportunity to come and hang out in New York. And I think Kathleen just fell in love with the Great Hall and loved the ambiance and the whole spirit of the place.
SL: What was it like to plan the conference?
BS: It was like planning a wedding. I never had a wedding, so this is my wedding. I’m married but never had a wedding. So it’s kind of like that. But it was a lot of fun, truthfully!
SL: Do you think there is room for improvement?
BS: Yes, but don’t ask me about the hostel. I’m not going to discuss the hostel.
SL: I’m not staying at the hostel. It’s okay.
BS: Oh then you missed all the drama. I think there is always room for improvement for the faculty. We’re discussing a procedure of issues and ways, which maybe the council meetings could have been, ways in which we could have been more helpful or directed a little bit better, before students were sort of unleashed on their own. I would like to have had the coffee-service a little bit earlier and more coffee and maybe a little bit more food. But I’m very pleased with the students. I think it’s just a great social-event. You know it gives students an opportunity to just meet people from other parts of the universe and I think that’s always healthy. So from that perspective, I think it’s been a great success. There are always ways in which little things can be fixed. But I think ultimately the fact that we had so many talented students and the sociability was really great. And I also think our presentations yesterday, the faculty presentations were very helpful and interesting. When this is all over and we had a couple of drinks and put our feet up, we are going to deep breath and discuss ways in which things can be made better next time.
SL: What were your expectations before the event started? Were they met?
BS: I think they were quite fulfilled. The expectations were that everybody would make it through the weekend happy and healthy: that was our first expectation when you’re dealing with 150 students. You want everybody to enjoy it, so I think this was the main expectation. But I also think the level of discussion and the problem-solving, even if some problems were intractable problems. You know, the procedure worked and the committees worked forward, even with some frustrations, but that’s the procedure. So I think the expectations were actually quite fulfilled.
After three days of intense debate, committees at the SUNY Model EU conference 2015 came to several conclusions on relations with Russia and immigration in the union.
Press Corps reporter Fabian Kasprowicz spoke to the four people who took the lead on and facilitated these debates.
Joshua Kelly, representing Donald Tusk, chair of the Heads of Government
Fabian Kasprowicz: What do you think of the resolutions passed in the HOGs’ committee?
JK: We accomplished quite a great deal. We passed three different resolutions, two of which were from the Heads of Government and one from the Foreign Ministers and of course two submitted by ECOFIN and COREPER respectively were very interesting, but certainly were voted down.
FK: Are you happy with the overall outcomes of SUNY MEU 2015?
JK: I surely am. Especially in the committee I was chairing in I saw the most amount of collaboration that allowed us to see the process that occurred. There was such unity in what was being discussed. It was really quite something to sit down with the delegates and to make sure that everybody was happy with everything. Of course there were times that didn’t occur and there were times when delegates were on each other’s nerves and those were the bad times. We learned from the mistakes that were made. I think we made a real impact on the bills that we passed.
FK: If you could go back to the first day, to the beginning, what would you change?
JK: Maybe I would have changed some of the topics we discussed. I think a lot of the good outcomes from the proposals that we had were not part of the original agenda. I’d change the order of discussion, too. Focus on the topics we found consents first and talk about these first would have being better.
FK: What do you want to see or what do you personally want to change for the next MEU?
JK: For the next MEU I’d like to see more communication, especially between team members of the same delegation. So making sure that the communication is streamlined; making sure that people are taking time for that outside the committee so we are not interrupted inside the committee.
Conor Friend, representing Karsten Pillath as ECOFIN chair
FK: Which of your goals did you achieve and which did you not?
CF: I wanted my committee to understand how a parliamentary procedure committee works and have them to go up their own ideas and have them to debate, discuss and actually create papers that would be submitted and hopefully pass. We didn’t pass anything but I think they definitely understand now how the process behind creating papers work. I’d say it was pretty successful.
FK: Are you happy with the overall outcome?
C.F.: Am I happy with the overall outcome? Well I’d say no I’m not. I would like to have seen something to pass. I left it to the delegates to decide on what they want to discuss. Unfortunately they began by discussing income tax which as we saw was a very touchy subject and so for them it was much harder than I thought it was going to be. They faced a lot of criticism but most of them did a pretty good job getting passed the criticism and still working with each other; even though it was a very challenging subject to tackle.
F.K.: What would you change if you could go back to the beginning?
C.F.: I would change the subject we started with. I definitely wouldn’t want income tax to be discussed again. I wouldn’t want to see my committee to struggle through something like that. I would like to have seen better communication, like mister Tusk said, between Heads of Government and the other Ministers. I guess another thing I’d like to have seen [is the] the amount of trust the Heads of State had between their Financial ministers. There seemed to be very little trust. So when a finance minister did agree with a subject, we saw Heads of States voting the opposite of what their finance ministers had told them to. I mean that in itself was kind of disappointing. I’m not sure how that could change but I guess that would be something that needs to be improved.
Hannah Robison representing Christine Roger as COREPER secretary
FK: Which of your goals did you achieve which ones didn’t you?
HR: What my chair I worked very hard was to make sure to keep the discussion and group cohesion going. We tried to get all of the papers worked out for the Head of States. Was it 100 percent achieved? I would say no, because our proposal did not get passed. But I think overall it was a successful effort and we all worked really hard to get to it and that we all understood how important it was to stay cohesive as a group, and I think we did a really good job working on that.
FK: If you could go back to the beginning, what would you change?
H.R.: I think the biggest change I would change is right away starting off the very focused outlook on things. We probably spent half of the first session kind of musing around the topic and not really getting right into it. I think I want to see countries really saying what they need, what they really want, what they think and what they support instead of having them kind of say their opinions and then moving on to the next country saying their opinions. That would be the best thing to get a more efficient outcome.
F.K.: What would you change or what you want to see next year?
H.R.: I’m very excited to see Brussels next year but I want to see everyone to be extremely active and being really excited to committed to our goals and coming forward extremely enthusiasm. Not only while we’re here but also our preparation beforehand, with the research done, with the parliamentary procedure understood and just looking forward to have outcomes together. Also being more together with all the other committees, the Press Corps, our secretary and the chairs.
Jack Janson representing Federica Mogherini as FORMIN chair
FK: Which goals were you able to achieve and which weren’t met?
JJ: In large part, because of the topic foreign immigration into Europe, all of the committee goals were largely met. However my one criticism was that our solutions were less specific than I wanted them to be. They were a good first step but at the end of the day they weren’t a complete answer to the issue.
FK: If you could go back to the beginning of the conference, what would you change?
JJ: I’d have asked more of my delegates for more specificity and what kind of solutions they want. There was a bit of a learning curve during the first session.
FK: What do you like to see next year or what would you change?
JJ: I’d like to so more policy or more specifics within policy ranges solution. Another aspect that I’d potentially change about MEU is the standardization of parliamentary procedures, so everybody knows what to do at the very onset so we don’t waste time figuring out the rules of debate as we go.
By Nicholas Marricco
The Heads of Government laid the foundations for improved diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation on Day 2 of SUNY Model EU conference on Friday.
The way in which the HOGs proposed to do this is with a resolution titled “Proposal for the Betterment of European Relations with the Russian Federation.” This resolution was spearheaded by Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel. He drafted the bill after much talk about how to handle the conflict with the Russian Federation.
The conference started with the delegation discussing the most important aspects of improved diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation. Then the majority decision was reached: the conference wants to limit sanctions and lose the dependency on Russian energy.
The conference also decided that it wishes to remain as diplomatic as possible, but to not show weakness. UK Prime Minister David Cameron said Russia needs to be stood up to, but wishes to not antagonize the world power and cause a war.
France also wanted to discuss the possibility of increasing the battle groups, whose main purpose would be to battle the Russian Federation if necessary. The French proposal was shot down by the majority of the conference as the formation of battle groups would be viewed as a sign of aggression by the EU.
The core of this resolution actually lies in the beliefs held by Bettel. Bettel stated he believes the best way to improve relations with Russia is to go to into negotiations on an equal playing field, and that the best way to do that is limiting the consumer- supplier relationship the EU has with Russia.
The resolution has some interesting points worth mentioning. The first is the 11th principle, which simply states that the EUs will lift the current sanctions until Russia acts in good faith. This principle shows that the EU is willing to work Russia, but only if the federation works with the EU. The resolution also ensures that Russia acknowledges that the current sanctions are proper as they deserved it with multiple aggressive maneuvers.
The resolution calls for increased funding for energy research, while supporting infrastructure development in the EU. The idea of this resolution, according to Bettel, is to improve friendly relations with the Russian Federation, and to ensure that each party looks at each other as equals and nothing more.