Christos Konstantis / Economy

Greek Youth Take Over the Reins

Last Monday (04/03/2013) the most exciting and constructive – 4 days – conference was completed! For the first time in Greece, students from public and private universities in Greece were given the opportunity to participate in the first simulation of Greek parliament (http://www.mve.gr).

Everything began last year, when Michalis Dagginis and Thomas Tsoulias- given the political circumstances in Greece- decided that it was time for the young Greeks to familiarize themselves with the parliamentary procedures.  Their motto was ‘Political Activation!’. So they organized the best ever conference in Thessaloniki, at Diakoneia Centre.

Students across Greece from Thrace to Crete applied for the conference. They were separated into four parliamentary parties: The Liberal Move, the Socialistic Power, the Unified Left and last but not least the National Movement. Every party consisted of 40 deputies, who at the conference, had the right to be independent or to be part of another party. The conference had 4 committees and one general assembly where all deputies had to take part. There were a variety of issues that were discussed and debated from narcotic drugs to economic crisis and fiscal adjustment.

In the Social Issues Committee the deputies had to deal with the legalization of ‘soft drugs’ such as cannabis. The debate’s level was high and young people presented their proposals like professionals. The draft that was proposed by the Minister of Justice and Social Responsibility was very liberal and progressive: The socialists, liberals, leftists and nationals did not change the initial image of the minister’s proposal and they only changed some articles and added others in order to secure the social care for drug users.

On the other hand the most difficult committee was the Public Order and Justice Committee where deputies gathered to talk about immigration problems and set the legal framework for taking citizenship. Within the committee you could see the mess that occurred when the Liberal Move and the National Movement agreed on a very conservative proposal which was in the opposite direction of the government’s bill.

Furthermore, in the Foreign Affairs committee, students tried to solve once and for all the crisis on the Aegean Sea with Turkey. They had to claim the 12 nautical miles, which should have been privilege for every country according to International Law of Sea and to nominate the Exclusive Economic Zone.

In the Committee of Education the deputies along with the minister wrote and proposed a draft which would change the entire picture of the Greek educational system.

All drafts that were agreed and proposed by the 4 committees, voted on by the General Assembly with large majority. The only exception was the proposal regarding immigration and citizenship which was voted out by Socialists and the Left.

The big fight centered on the economic proposal. For more than 1.5 days ministers, deputies and leaders of the parties were “crossing their swords” on the altar of reformation of the Greek State and the public sector. They debated long and hard which made it seem as if you were in the middle of a real parliamentary discussion. At the end of the General Assembly all four parties came to an agreement after a long…a very long debate.

To conclude, even though it was the first simulation of Greek Parliament, in my opinion you could only say positive things about it. Mr. Dagginis and Mr. Tsoulias did a great job. They provided every Greek student the chance to be part of a very extraordinary and fruitful conference.

Stay tuned for next Model of Greek Parliament!!!

Christos Konstantis

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