Student Forum Maastricht 2017 will once again enable young people to have their say in EU politics! Our topics team has decided in which ways SFM 2017 will engage in the policy making process of the European Union. The topics include Healthcare, Human Trafficking, Urban development, and Youth Participation in the EU. Participants will have the chance to engage in active discussion with high ranking EU officials and have an impact on these relevant issues. Check out this years topics below!
The challenge of modern healthcare – A European evidence-based approach
Member States of the European Union are facing the challenge of growth in chronic diseases, expanding treatment possibilities, an ageing population and an increase of public expectation. These elements are combated by increasing the proportion of GDP that is spent on health. This development has raised the concern about the sustainability of the current healthcare systems since you cannot continuously increase the proportion of GDP spent on health. Thus, countries are seeking for solutions and it seems to be appropriate to search for potential solutions that can be better achieved on the European level. For example, one way to combat this problem is to become more efficient with the available resources. This can be accomplished for instance by the concept of health technology assessment which analyses not only the effectiveness, costs and broader impact of healthcare treatments but also for instance the social, ethical and economic issues. This is a way of tackling the problem in a multi-disciplinary evidence-based manner in which the European Union could take a leading role and be of value.
How the European Union should take upon this role is a point of discussion. SFM will provide a platform to express different perceptions and think of possible solutions. Guided by experts and a European Commission Representative, students from all over Europe will engage in discussions to tackle the “modern healthcare problem”.
Trafficking in Human Beings – A joint European effort to end an international crime
Article 5 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union stresses that no one shall be held in slavery or servitude. If we think of trafficking in human beings we mostly think of a outdated and infrequent crime while we should rather think about it as being a common practice. Europe itself is destination for many victims of human trafficking, which in numbers amounts to 30.000 victims annually.
It is a crime and a human rights violation. A crime that does not respect national borders and therefore has to be fought on a European level. With the objective of protecting victims, prevent trafficking and persecute the culpables, the European Union increasingly combats this inhumane practice. Multiple Directives have been issued and the position of the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator was launched respectively. Nevertheless, the reasons that lead to Human Trafficking persist. Economic differences and deviating laws among the Member States still facilitate this crime. Hence, there is still room for improvement and the question arises how this improvement should look like. In this year’s conference Student Forum Maastricht will directly address this question. In cooperation with experts as well as Commission Representatives SFM will work on an effective policy proposal that meets the need of efficiently combating Human Trafficking.
Future European Metropoles – Making urban life more sustainable
Environmental protection is one of the topics that will inevitably shape the future political landscape, as the impact of environmental degradation equally effects the whole of humanity beyond borders. The 7th Environmental Action Program states that “In 2050, we live well, within the planet’s ecological limits”. Looking at the current situation, the ecological limits are still widely exceeded in European countries.
The global trend of urbanization is relentless, yet the pollution in European cities is posing a threat to the environment as well as to the future health and living standard of its inhabitants. Therefore, we ask the questions: how can the EU encourage the development of more sustainable metropoles in the future? What are the most pressing environmental issues and which policies must be adopted to resolve them?
Now you might wonder what you as an individual can do about all this? In face of such a big challenge it is not unlikely to feel overwhelmed at first, but here SFM is your chance to make a difference. Creating a more sustainable environment in the future is not one problem with one solution but needs to be approached step by step. At the conference you have the chance to take one step in the right direction by focusing on possible ways to make future European Metropoles more sustainable.
Increasing Youth Participation in the European Union
Various polls indicate that younger people are generally speaking supportive of the European Union and feel more attached to it than older generations. However, this trend does not exhibit itself in the outcomes of recent referenda or the elections to the European Parliament. The last years show an increasing disengagement from political participation by young people. Yet, in times of growing Euroscepticism and uncertainty about the Union’s future, engagement of EU citizens is more crucial than ever.
Student Forum Maastricht 2017 therefore aims to come up with ways which will enable young people to have their voices heard in the democratic process of the EU. A first step to this is to increase the voter turnout to the European Parliament elections, which in 2014 was at an alarmingly 28% among people aged 18 to 24 years old. We will address the reasons for the lack of participation and look for concrete steps that need to be taken to improve turnout and involvement of young Europeans, in order to strengthen the EU’s democratic legitimacy and secure that it’s future is not decided for us by others.