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Dear friends, 

Welcome to MEU Insider, the new newsletter of BETA Europe! After a long, but successful transition from BETA e. V. To BETA Europe AISBL, we are now a true Brussels based federal youth organization, we are back and are happy to have you on-board on our journey.

Every month, BETA Europe Think Tank will bring you the newest developments from the BETA and MEU world and inspiring articles and features which we are sure you will love as much as we do. Like many organizations, BETA and its many MEU organizing teams struggled with the challenges of the pandemic, but we rose to the occasion and continued to offer educational events.

On behalf of the European Management Board, I would like to thank you for supporting us and I'm looking forward to staying connected through social media and this newsletter. Enjoy reading! 

Kind wishes, 

Kristin Aldag
President of the European Management Board of BETA Europe

The MEU Symposium, organized by BETA Europe, provides for a unique learning environment in which best practices are shared and partnerships are sealed. Given the extraordinary circumstances and travel restrictions, the 2020 edition of the Symposium was organized online, becoming more accessible and bringing together over 70 participants to learn and share their experience, by attending 16 workshops and learning from 33 guest speakers and young professionals. 

During the 4 days of the Symposium, participants had the opportunity to learn more about BETA Europe and Model European Union concept, as well as to exchange good practices with youth leaders from UN Youth of Albania and European Youth Parliament, and learn from young EU professionals how to get from Model to the real European Union and benefit from all the opportunities that the European institutions provide. 

The core of this event was the MEU project and what it entails. From fundraising to PR and content, from social events and interpreting to IT and risk management, the wide palette of workshops provided the best tips and tricks of organizing such an event. Each of the workshops strived to provide a comprehensive guide, and, based on real-life examples, contribute to the improvement of MEUs as well as other youth-centered conferences. 

Some of the main questions from the Symposium were answered by providing the real-life experience of former and current MEU organizers and participants, as well as key partners of BETA Europe, covering the following topics:

  • Refined and practical educational outcomes for both the organizers and participants (From Model to Real EU: real-life stories)
  • Innovation in times of crisis (The MEUs of our times: the impact of Covid-19 pandemic)
  • Meaningful stakeholder dialogue  with the aim of sharing the best practices (Know-how and best practices: the world or youth political simulations) 

To conclude, I consider the 2020 edition of MEU Symposium a success. The organizing team had experienced a number of difficulties, but it did not stop them from delivering exceptional value for the participants. All participants and speakers obtained a certificate, showcasing their active role in the symposium. Just as knowledge was shared and friendships created, I would like to dedicate my final words to express appreciation to all organizers, speakers, and participants. Your feedback has proven invaluable in the process of refining the concept for the upcoming MEU Symposium 2021 to deliver even more and better content.

Jakub Rybnikár
BETA Europe Think Tank Officer

It has been more than one year since we had to adapt to a new lifestyle. We have been experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions, and we have been determined to improvise and overcome the challenges of this new reality. With courage and innovative ideas, the MEU world moved into the Online. The complete digitalization of the MEUs was inherent in keeping the concept alive and keeping the educational process rolling. 

This new online concept has been embraced already by MEU organizers, namely MEU Bratislava, MEU Blagoevgrad, WAMEU, and MEU Scotland. One particular aspect that seemed to be slightly more advantageous was that the digital format of the event was easier to be organized logistically. The costs are significantly lower, down to no charges. 

The targeted audience was broader, the advantage of an online MEU being the flexibility and accessibility of the event, according to Finley Hassett (MEU Scotland). It was easier to reach participants from long-distance countries. Veliyana Georgieva (MEU Blagoevgrad) was delighted to welcome participants from as far as Mongolia and Kazakhstan. The online platform offered the participants a whole new level of accessibility, without allocating extra funds for transportation or accommodation. Yogam Rajendra (WAMEU) said that the focus was on the new participants, more people being able to learn about the decision-making process of the EU. Lucia Krajčovičová (MEU Bratislava) found the digital format even more advantageous, stating that "we managed to get onboard specialists and experts such as MEPs and Oxford professors, who gave us excellent lectures but otherwise would have been too busy to travel to Bratislava. Unfortunately, while the event lost out on the social aspect, the online MEU's education aspect was its ultimate strength".

The main challenge of the organizers will remain the social aspect of the event. While it is more financially and logistically convenient to organize the MEU online, it is definitely more complicated to establish a real connection and to keep participants engaged for a couple of days of online debates. Despite these challenges, the MEU community has been growing stronger. The need for communication, cooperation, and learning determined a will for channeling the efforts into overcoming the social distancing measures and delivering amazing MEU experiences. All in all, digital MEUs have taught us a great deal and we are still learning.

Georgiana Crețu
BETA Europe Think Tank Officer

MEU Scotland 2020 embodied a simulation of the Council of the European Union and was adaptively held online on Discord and Zoom in the last week of October. It was one of the first simulations which incorporated a social event online and provide an example for future endeavors in similar conditions. The event’s specialty was the participation of a Gaelic choir that not only sang Gaelic folk songs but also attempted to teach them to participants. Fascinating as it sounds, this type of social had its drawbacks. The appeal from learning about another culture through songs proved to be insufficient of surpassing a naturally high level of confidence requisite for that kind of undertaking and left the choir singing alone. However, as one of the organizers recalls, this predicament could have been avoided if the social had been moved later into the event. 

An exclusively virtual venue also created very little incentive for participants to step outside their comfort zones as evening socials with the choir were attended primarily by the organizing team itself, joined only by a few extra participants who had been active in the earlier debates. The organizing team notes that this was due to a lack of commitment, which in turn was likely stipulated by the fact that the event was completely free of charge. The introduction of a mere symbolic fee could potentially desist such predicaments in the future. 

The second and the last social took place on Halloween night and was free from any disturbances. ‘Halloween Social’ enjoyed extensive attendance and commitment by the participants and proved to have the potential to become a solid foundation for similar future events. Online quiz competition followed by a rather informal games’ night was a resounding success, whereas a large portion of the crowd even made an effort to wear a costume of some sort. A lesson? Choosing the right day and time for the social is equally important as choosing the right date for the whole conference.

Stanislaw Gawrus
BETA Europe Think Tank Officer

From Model to Real EU: BETA Alumni are everywhere in the Brussels bubble, that much we know: but what are they up to? Turns out, sometimes #ModelEU can become real: Claudio Teixeira, former President of BETA Europe and MEU veteran of more conferences than we can count, took his MEU chairing skills to the next level, becoming co-chair of the Council Working Party on Company Law, under the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU. Sharing this moment on social media, he writes: "As someone who owes to Model European Union the unique experience of chairing youth conferences all over Europe, the opportunity to go from #ModelEU to real EU and actually do it at the Home of Member States is a truly unique and special moment to share. Yes, it can get real." Good words to keep in mind when applying for your next MEU! 
Youth unemployment is not new. Before the pandemic, the situation was shaky, and now with the crisis, the experts say that it might worsen. Policymakers must act to avoid Europe’s youth suffering the scarring effect. Therefore the EU is bold in its decisions, and it creates a Bridge to Jobs through the reinforcing of the Youth Guarantee.
The new Erasmus+ App was launched on the 28th of January. This app will ensure that learners are able to easily access information on mobility opportunities and support them throughout their journey abroad. Check out the launching event and more information.
EULab – Summer School on Labour Migration in the European Union will take place from 9 to 21 July 2021. More information and application
Deadline for applications: 1 April 2021
European External Action ServiceBecome a Junior Professional in an EU Delegation (JPD). Traineeship programme to work in the EU Delegations worldwide. More information here.
Deadline for applications: 31 January 2021
May be an image of map and food
Interested in how the EU can achieve the SDGs? Apply to be a participant of GCMxEurope! More information here.
Deadline for applications: 9 February 2021

Become an ASEM Young Leader, the official youth event of the 13th ASEM Summit (ASEM13) - which will bring together the Heads of States and Leaders of 53 ASEM Partners. More information here
Interested in making a difference? Become a member, a partner, or start your own project today! We are here for you!  
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