Peterlee, County Durham – 18 March
Report by Victor Klügel
The day started with a welcome speech from the organizers were the attending pupils were encouraged to be “bold and passionate”. The young pupils were also encouraged by the mayor of Peterlee to go out to the world as the great next generation and try to make it a better place.
After the speeches, the rules were explained together with an illustration of how the pupils should use the different signs they all been given and when they were permitted to speak. The debates started with a warmup before the first subject of the day was addressed.
The first debating subject of the day was whether or not the EU should take stance towards reparation the return of artefacts stolen from colonies. Points that it was stolen and should be returned was made but also arguments that one should not return it and instead use it for educational purposes.
The next debate concerned Gibraltar and its unique position when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. “What approach should EU take towards the overseas territory?” Issues with the border were raised and also the fact that a big majority from Gibraltar wanted to stay in the EU. How a separate deal could look for Gibraltar was also discussed.
Two more subjects were discussed before the lunch break. These subjects concerned how to protect the Jewish citizens and the fact that the fashion industry and its gas emissions and sea pollution is a major problem. Regarding the question of protecting the Jewish citizens many agreed that education is important but had different opinions whether it was the children or the adults that needed education because of the effects parents have on their children.
To decrees the greenhouse gas emissions within the textile industry the pupils brought up several arguments, for example “harder penalties for those who do not follow the rules”, “reduce plastic packages” and “more sustainable materials”. A large deal of the debate was also about how to deal with the landfill that comes with the industry.
Question five out of six was regarding global warming and what measures EU can take that balance both commitment to fight global warming and the welfare of European citizens. Because of the relevant subject and the fact that pupils had grown in to their debating costume, the debate was more passionate than ever. One suggestion that was mentioned during the debate was that instead of following others EU should take leading action in the fight against global warming. A clear theme from the discussions was that EU should do more and the current agreements do not go far enough.
The final debate of the day was about cyber security and how the EU can make sure its citizens are correctly informed and not mislead by miss information. All of this to ensure the security of for example, an election. The passionate debate continued and it was nice to see how much the pupils grew during the day and got more comfortable in their debating role.
After a day full of debates two schools would stand as winner and even though they all did very well, King Edward VI School Morpeth and Durham sixth form centre was named the winners and will now move on to debate in Liverpool. The winner from Liverpool goes to the national final in London.
It was a pleasure attending this well-organized event and it was impressive listing to all the passionate pupils during the debate. Best of luck to King Edward VI School Morpeth and Durham sixth form centre and well done to the others attending. I hope you enjoyed the day, at least Europe Direct did.