There will be 9 pressing global topics discussed in ten committees at Maastricht 2021, the first Digital International Forum of the European Youth Parliament the Netherlands. Each topic is connected to the overarching theme “The Digital Generation setting an Innovative Agenda”
The nine topics are:
1. Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO):
With young, activist citizens marching en masse for ends like Fridays for Future and Black Lives Matter, it is becoming increasingly clear that their opinions are not reflected well in the European political agenda of today. In an age where more and more citizens get involved in political movements digitally, European democracies fail to accommodate citizens that engage in politics virtually. What should Member States do to improve the engagement between policy makers and the younger generations via digital means?
2. Committee on Culture and Education (CULT)
With 60% of people reporting no experience with distance learning before COVID-19, developing and implementing the “Digital Education Action Plan” is a flagship priority of the current European Commission. Bearing in mind that and 1 in 5 young people across the EU fail to reach a basic level of digital skills, and less than 40% of educators feeling comfortable with digital technologies, how should the new Recommendation on Online and Distance Learning address issues of effectiveness and inclusivity?
3. Committee on Environment, Health and Food Safety I (ENVI I):
No Game, No Life: With the World Health Organisation recently recognising compulsive gaming as a mental health disorder, how can the EU harness the benefits of video games in supporting learning and developing cognitive skills while combating video gaming addiction?
4. Committee on Environment, Health and Food Safety II (ENVI II):
With recent developments in medical technology, genome editing opens up the possibility of heritable modification of our genetic composition, to either heal a genetic illness or alter physical traits. How should the EU approach these new possibilities in the field of research and practical application?
5. Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE):
The power to change: The deepening climate crisis has provoked an ambitious commitment to a European Green Deal and a sustainable energy transition across all aspects of the European economy. The role of climate-neutral industrial production and goods transport is crucial for achieving these targets: Electrification alone will not cover the rising demand for clean energy in industry, and no single alternative has yet emerged to replace fossil fuels. How should the EU empower the research and adoption of new digital and energy-efficient technologies to enable a climate-neutral future for European industry?
6. Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs I (LIBE I):
Balancing the scale of Data: Data is the lifeblood of the digital economy however there have been calls across Europe to ensure digital sovereignty – whereby states protect their citizens and businesses from the challenges of self-determination in the digital sphere. How can the EU and other European countries promote sustainable technological growth while also ensuring digital sovereignty in this sphere?
7. Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs II (LIBE II):
An online presence comes with a variety of dangers. With access to the internet and digitalisation becoming a necessity for education, economic and social well-being, how can the EU ensure that States, digital platforms and individuals all cooperate towards protection against image-based sexual abuse and cyber sexual harassment
8. Committee on Regional Development (REGI):
Collaboration despite differences: In the EU, cross-border regions such as the Rhine-Meuse-Nord Euregio are witness to some of the most dynamic exchanges of people, knowledge, services, and goods, actively redefining the meaning of borders and of the nation itself. This regional and local cooperation is often a grassroots effort, a spontaneous action happening individual of capitals’ control. How can the EU improve its collaboration as a union of states through the model of regional border cooperation?
9. Committee on Security and Defence (SEDE):
L’Europe qui protège: With digitalisation and globalisation greatly increasing the potential impact of hybrid threats, how can the EU protect its citizens against those threats?