A student of the Master in European Affairs represents Sciences Po and France in Brussels

A student of the Master in European Affairs represents Sciences Po and France in Brussels

  • Alexandre Alecse, student of the Master in European Affairs © DRAlexandre Alecse, student of the Master in European Affairs © DR

Early February 2023 in Brussels, students from all over Europe took part in a major simulation, allowing them to learn about European policy-making. They stepped into the shoes of national decision-makers and together negotiated new rules for the whole European Union. Alexandre Alecse, a student in the Master in European Affairs at the School of Public Affairs, who represented Sciences Po and France in this simulation, tells us about it. 

What is the ConSIMium, the simulation of the Council of the EU and what was its aim?

ConSIMium is the first-ever simulation of the European Council and the Council of the European Union organised by the Council itself. This event gathered 162 students from every Member State of the EU. Each country sent a delegation of 6 students with different roles: a Head of State, a minister, an ambassador, two national experts, and a journalist. 

For two days, we have been put in the real conditions of the Council. The Heads of State had to do a doorstep speech in front of the journalists before the European Council to expose their national priorities for the negotiations. The European Council negotiated the conclusion proposed and defined the political axis for the rest of the negotiations. The national experts were reunited to discuss the more technical aspect of the regulations. The ambassador and the minister finalised the negotiations to find a compromise on the regulations we worked on. 

How have you been selected?

The French delegation was composed of 6 students coming from different universities. Personally, I applied following the publication of this opportunity by the Master in European Affairs and I had the honor to be selected by Sciences Po to be part of this delegation. We then had several meetings to prepare our national position with our coordinators. 

On what subject have you worked and what was your position during the simulation? 

We worked on the subject of the ecological transition and more precisely on the regulation on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure (AFIR) and the regulation setting CO2 emission performance standards for new passenger cars and for new light commercial vehicles. 

During the simulation, I played the role of the President of France. As President, I represented and advocated for the interests of France at the European Council. I negotiated hard to integrate into the conclusion of the European Council the notion of industrial competitivity to protect at best the French and European automobile industries in order to reach our strategic autonomy. I also claimed for the protection of nuclear energy to reach our objective to have a zero-emission energy mix and achieve our aim to be energetically autonomous in the following years.  

What do you keep from this experience? 

This experience was very enriching both academically and personally. Indeed, this kind of simulation allows us to give practical meaning to the theories learned in class and gives perspective on the reality of negotiations. It is necessary to look beyond textbooks, especially if you are considering this kind of career in the future. 

In addition, we also get to see the diversity of opinion and culture in the European Union by having the opportunity to meet young people from all the member states. We had the chance to discuss our different backgrounds, our professional ambitions, and the possibility that one day we might meet again in this very same place to play our roles in real life!  

Furthermore, the Council officials were very present and at our side in the preparation and execution of the simulation. We were able to discuss with them after the simulation and they were all pleasantly surprised by the realism of our negotiations and our preparation.

Délégation française

French delegation to the ConSIMium, 2023 © DR

What are your future projects linked with Europe? 

Currently, I am in the Master in European Affairs, Europe in the World policy stream, at the School of Public Affairs. I will be doing my end-of-studies internship at the European Commission's DG DEFIS (Defence Industry and Space) in the coordination and inter-institutional relations unit. In the framework of the Bluebook internship, I will follow the different negotiations between the Council, the Parliament, the Commission, and other actors of the sector on subjects concerning the defence and space industries at the European level. I will also be participating in the elaboration and implementation of the new European policies on the defence industry and space matters. 

I will also continue my associative activity as President of the Young Europeans - Sciences Po with the organisation of a trip to Brussels to visit the institutions and meet high-level European officials and the organisation of a conference cycle given the European elections of 2024.  

My ambition is to continue my career in European affairs, especially within the Commission. I would like to take the European civil service competition to become a senior European civil servant.

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