Quan participated in the EUTOPIA virtual simulation exercise on the EU Digital Services Act
Quan Xin is a student at the Master’s Programme in European Studies, Humanities Track. On the 4-5 of February 2021 she participated in the EUTOPIA virtual simulation exercise on the EU Digital Services Act. She found it to be a good opportunity to see how politicians interact with the media and the stakeholders during the legislation process.
Hello there Quan! Tell us more, what happened during those days
First, we needed to prepare our alter-ego starting policy position before the simulation exercise started. On February the 4th, we focused on discussing and preparing our group position, the Council of the EU, as well as interacting with media and other stakeholders like the tech companies and political parties. In parallel, the European Parliament committee held their meetings. On the 5th, it was mainly about the negotiations, the Council proposed some amendments and negotiated it with the Parliament and the Commission. At the same time, the Council needed to respond to the questions from the media regarding our amendment proposal. At last, the final agreement was reached among the different EU institutions on how to proceed with the Digital Service Act proposal.
Why did you choose to join, and was it as you expected it to be? Any challenges?
I’m interested in EU’s digital transformation in general and I was happy to spend two days to get some insight about this Digital Service Act proposal. Currently I’m taking the course Citizens, Politicians, and the Media: Evaluating Democratic Processes. It was a good opportunity to get some personal experience through this game to see how politicians interact with the media and the companies during the legislation process. It was nice to utilize what we have learned in the programme and see how EU Parliament, European Commission, Council of the EU function for a new legislation through this game.
In general, it met my expectations. I was even surprised to learn that Ireland has attracted 9 of the 10 largest American technology companies to set their EU headquarters there, such as Google, Facebook, and Apple. I found out this during my preparation for my alter-ego role in the game - Irish Minister Leo VARADKAR. The online format was not an extra challenge since I have no previous experience to compare it with. And I am quite used to the online format since our Master’s programme has been conducted online mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
EUTOPIA is a network that will prepare European youth for the local and global challenges of the future. Did you meet many students and where did they come from?
The students came from different countries, like Germany and Eastern Europe. But we focused on our alter-ego roles rather than our real identities. It was really fun to do this simulation exercise with other more than 40 students from different countries, especially during this isolated COVID situation. It was a good supplementary to our current Master’s Programme in European Studies.
The EUTOPIA virtual simulation exercise on the EU Digital Services Act was organized by Vrije University, Belgium.