Alba Escala - Euroscola
Thu May 25th 2017 at 18.00 - 20.30
Following the decision of the UK to leave the
European Union, members of the Bridge of Allan and Dunblane Rotary Club were intrigued
to hear from Alba Escala, a sixth-former from Dunblane High School, who had
recently returned from Strasbourg. Alba had
been selected as one of the 25 Scottish Euroscolas, supported by Rotary, who
would join some 600 young people drawn from the EU countries to visit the European Parliament in Strasbourg. There they would have an opportunity to
discuss the work of the EU, and the affect that membership of the EU could have
(or, in the case of the United Kingdom, will not have) on their
On arrival in
Strasbourg, the group had an opportunity to do some sightseeing and to
familiarize themselves with the local landmarks. The following day, the
programme involved preparation for a meeting with MEPs – to be conducted in
French – which would be followed by a meeting later in the day with a Scottish
MEP to discuss environmental issues. But before that, the group put their language
skills to the test by interviewing members of the public in the Strasbourg
streets, seeking their views on a range of subjects, including attitudes to the
On the next day, the
challenge for groups from Scotland was to create a short film showing how
Strasbourg had developed as a European city.
This task involved a fascinating exploration of the development of the
City over the centuries, with political control oscillating between France and
The highlight of
the week was, however, undoubtedly the Euroscola Day spent in the European
Parliament building. The young people were divided into multinational groups, with
groups required to discuss current issues including EU finance, migration,
university education, the role of young people in the EU, and renewable energy.
Each group then chose a spokesperson to present its conclusions to the
participants assembled in a 'plenary sitting' in the Chamber of the European
Parliament. Then, following a debate in the Chamber under
Parliamentary procedures, a vote was taken on each of the issues discussed.
Inevitably, in the
course of the visit, the issue of Brexit was raised, with speculation as to how
both the EU and the UK would deal with the various crucial issues. Not surprisingly, the issue of migration was
also to the fore, with some outspoken views from the representatives of
countries most under pressure.
But all was not hard
work: there were opportunities for some games, including one where members from
different countries tested their ability to distinguish and interpret various
EU languages. On the final evening, the Scottish group arranged a ceilidh as a
means of setting a seal on five days of intense activity and enjoyment.
Alba reflected on
the value to her – and to her colleagues – of the wonderful opportunity to meet
young people from so many different backgrounds, and the chance to share with
them, even for a short time, their views on the problems currently facing, and
to be faced, by the Community.
Alba said that she
was extremely grateful for the opportunity which the Rotary support had given
her; she would always remember the experience.
Speaker’s Host, gave the vote of thanks, congratulating Alba on an excellent,
comprehensive and entertaining account of her visit.