Published 12 December 2022

Emilia and Tobias represented Sweden in the Model European Parliament

Our students, Emilia Fredriksson and Tobias af Geijerstam, participated as two of five Swedish delegates on site in the city of Sofia, when the EU role-play Model European Parliament took place on November 12-19 in Bulgaria. 

Model European Parliament (MEP) is a role-playing game about European politics, where students from EU member states meet for a week to discuss current political issues. The students work in committees, whose task is to draw up a resolution, a bill, which must then be debated and then either adopted or rejected.

The Swedish delegation this year consisted of two students from SSHL; Emilia Fredriksson and Tobias af Geijerstam, as well as three students from Viktor Rydberg Gymnasium, VRG. Also on the trip were two students from VRG Djursholm, one as committee chairman and one student as vice president.

The role play is conducted in English and the students get to practice their rhetorical skills when they have to defend their resolution during the General Assembly.

Patrik Nehler is the students’ Social Science Studies teacher and supported the students on site during the role play:

– I have to say that the students did well. Both received fine written reviews from their committee presidents. In Emilia’s case, she was recommended to participate in the role of committee president next time, which is an honor and recognition of commendable contribution.

emilia Fredriksson i talarstolen på MEP

How did it come about that you represented SSHL at the MEP? 

– SSHL has never conducted the Model European Parliament at the school before, so both me and Tobias were a bit inexperienced in it, says Emilia. But our mentor explained what it was and asked our class, SA23, if anyone was interested. I submitted a declaration of interest to him and was lucky enough to be selected.

– I also made a declaration of interest, says Tobias. Then I was lucky enough to be selected.

What was it like working in committees and together with the students from VRG? 

– I found the work in the committees very fun and educational as I met many different people from other schools in Europe with different opinions and points of view, says Tobias. In addition, everyone was very talented.

– Working in a committee means a lot of cooperation across national borders with young people of your own age, says Emilia. They quickly found many similarities and had meaningful discussions. Traveling to Sofia with the other Swedish delegates from VRG meant that you got to share their experiences, thoughts and tips, which really helped when preparing for the General Assembly, she continues.

Alla representanter från SSHL och VRG samlade på trappa i Sofia

What proposal did you bring up to the General Assembly?

– I was in the “Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union, including Disinformation”, explains Emilia. In our resolution we had 12 proposals, in one of which we call on current EU member states and potential candidate countries to follow the rules on trade and spyware, and to only trade spyware with countries approved by the ESO (an EU organization we proposed the creation of to monitor EU countries’ spyware), as an additional part of the Copenhagen Criteria. She continues:

– Tobias was in the “Committee on International Trade”, where one of the 19 proposals in his resolution was to confirm the urgent need to establish new food supply chains as well as fertilizers and other products needed for food production, from the EU and other potential trade partners to African countries with priority given to those suffering from famine, due to the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

How did your debate and resolution go? 

– The debate went well in my opinion, both within the committee but also during the general assembly where all committees had to defend their resolutions. Unfortunately, the resolution did not go through as we did not get enough votes that were in favor of our solution, says Tobias.

– It went badly for our resolution, says Emilia, but the debate was a little more rewarding. We consoled ourselves by saying that it was probably because it was a difficult subject, trying to mediate between law enforcement and gross intrusions into one’s privacy, which spyware can involve.

Did you get the opportunity to see and experience more of Sofia? 

– We had several occasions during the trip where we got to wander around Sofia and do whatever we wanted, says Tobias. In addition to that, we went to the Bulgarian National Museum of History. We also got to participate in cultural activities such as music, food and dance, which I appreciated.

– Bulgaria is a country with a lot of history and it was really noticeable, says Emilia. We went for walks in the capital where we saw remains from many empires, including the Roman Empire. In addition, we visited Europe’s oldest city and Bulgaria’s second largest city; Plovdiv.

MEP is funded through the Erasmus+ program and celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2019. Every year two international sessions are offered where each member country brings a delegation of five students. 

Scroll down for more photos.
Below: Emilia Fredriksson and Tobias af Geijerstam