The Maastricht Debate 2019: a student's opinion
The Maastricht Debate, a political debate between the “Spitzenkandidaten” of the leading European parties took place last Monday, 29 April at the theatre at the Vrijthof. Simultaneously, the debate was live broadcast on the Vrijthof square for all interested spectators who did not get the chance to join the debate inside the theatre.
A unique aspect of this debate was that it targeted in particular young voters. In this spirit, the audience were welcomed with modern electro music, and viewers could share in real time which candidate convinced them the most via online polls. The main topics of the debate were Digital Europe, Sustainable Europe and the Future of Europe, all of which are of great importance to the younger generation. Young spectators in the theatre indicated, with loud cheers, their high interest in many of the debated issues, such as payments for internships.
As a Masters student of Economics at the School of Business and Economics, I was pleased to see that most of the politicians present had clear ideas and seemed enthusiastic about the debated topics. I found the discussion about the Future of Europe particularly interesting as this is an issue that I am personally quite concerned about, and the debate helped me to differentiate between the contrasting propositions. In my opinion, most of the Economics curriculum has some political dimensions. The (economic) future of the Union is a hotly debated topic at the moment with a lot of challenges ahead. During last night’s debate, I found it fascinating to be able to relate the content of my studies to the issues discussed on stage.
It was also a great experience to witness a live debate and I saw a clear difference between political messages being conveyed via a screen as opposed to hearing them in person. The reactions of the people around me, something that cannot be portrayed on a live stream, allowed me to have a more complete experience.
Photo: Michel Saive