Model European Communities Project
The Model European Communities Programme (MECP) is a yearly political simulation organised by the European Schools. Selected students from each of the 12 schools take on roles as politicians from the 27 member states of the EU, and take part in a 3-day run of council and plenary sessions. It is divided into MEC (Model European Council) and MEP (Model European Parliament).
MEC started with two teachers, Mr James Campbell (European School of Culham) and Mr Michael Farrar (European School of Brussels I – Uccle).
Each of the 13 European Schools sends one or more delegations of students to the MEC, each of which represents one of the EU's member states. The country represented has nothing to do with the location of the school; for example, the Luxembourg delegation may represent Italy, France or Malta, while Luxembourg itself may be "played" by students from Varese. Students of all nationalities make up the respective delegations.
Each delegation has its representative for each of the councils, e.g. Head of State, Economics and Finance, etc. The number of councils has usually been eight; however, due to the accession of 10 new members states in 2004, the MEC will only contain 5 councils, each attended by 27 national representatives. Additionally, the European Commission is represented in the simulation, as in real life.
Two schools, Luxembourg and Culham (UK), also provide a team of journalists. Each school produces several issues of a newspaper (often competing to some extent) reporting on the Councils, which are distributed around all the delegates. These papers are edited by one or two of the students. Their names are usually a play on words, such as "EUtopia" or "Eurostar". The journalists address the issues and events of the councils from a variety of angles.
At Alicante in 2008, the European School of Mol provided their video team, VCMol, for Press Coverage and Daily News Reports. These included exclusive interviews with numerous delegates, and news from throughout the day. This provided the politicians with the additional experience of live coverage. Much of the organising of this new feature was handled by Mr. D. Roe and Mr. Mark Hersch
The MEC 2010 will again be held in facilities provided by the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market in Alicante. MEC 2011 was in Varese, while MEC 2012 was held in Munich.
The councils discuss and amend proposals put forward before the MEC by the Presidency (the member state which is presiding over the Council at the time) and the Commission. These are then symbolically put together and signed at the end of the MEC by the heads of state.
At intervals of around 4 to 5 years, an MEP (Model European Parliament) is held instead of an MEC. The principle is the same, except each student is assigned to a political party, and these parties then debate the proposals in various committees, similar to the councils of the MEC. A notable difference to MEC is that the host school provides a temporary president to begin proceedings; a president and two vice presidents are then elected from the different parties, who then chair the plenary sessions.
Mainstream parties such as Socialists and Conservatives have the largest number of seats, again in keeping with the real world, while smaller parties like the Communists and Nationalists have only few members. Since the MECP is a roleplaying activity, the (sometimes extreme) opinions voiced by the members are not necessarily their own. The delegates are charged with accurately representing the interests of their country and the views of their party.
In the Model European Parliament, delegates come from multiple schools all over Europe.
Officially, the MEC is held in the three working languages of the European Schools (English, German and French). In practice this is made possible by interpreters (as in the real European Council). In the absence of interpreters, English is often (though not invariably) used as the de facto working language. The newspapers strive to report equally in all three languages, though once again English often dominates.
- 1996: Munich, Germany
- 1997: Copenhague, Denmark
- 1999: Frankfurt, Germany
- 2000: Munich, Germany
- 2001: Madrid, Spain
- 2002: Göteborg, Sweden (There is no European School in Sweden; the Swedish school which hosted the MEC has been taking part ever since)
- 2003: Munich, Germany (European Patent Office)
- 2004: Luxembourg (MEP, see above)
- 2005: Alicante, Spain (First MEC with 25 member states)
- The MEC in Alicante was hosted by the OHIM building
- 2006: Brussels (Eurocontrol)
- 2007: Göteborg, Sweden
- 2008: Alicante, Spain
- 2009: Brussels, Belgium
- 2010: Alicante, Spain
- 2011: Varese, Italy
- 2012: Munich, Germany (European Patent Office)