Topics 2015

In 2015, a new edition of Student Forum Maastricht adressed pressing issues for the European Union. Five working groups discussed policy recommendations for the European Commission to present their ideas on current problems and policies. The confirmed experts and speakers can be found here.
To all participants of the survey, thank you very much for your opinion. We can now present you the five topics for SFM 2015!

NO 1

EU Energy Union

The question of energy supply and dependency has gained a lot of renewed attention against the background of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. The proposal of creating an EU energy union involves several issues that need to be addressed such as security of supply, sustainability and political competences in contract negotiations. Within what framework and extent should a European energy union be established and which features should it include?

NO 2

EU Asylum Policy

One working group of SFM 2014 has addressed the topic of EU migration policy. Another related and pressing issue is that of EU asylum policy. With numerous humanitarian catastrophes around the globe the relevance of asylum policies cannot be understated. The existing EU asylum framework has often been criticised in terms of unequal burden-sharing, the Dublin Regulation and being inefficient in general. How can the EU reform its asylum policy in order to establish a coherent and efficient system corresponding to the legal rights and personal welfare of the
asylum-seekers?

NO 3

Independence of regions in the EU

Within the EU there are several regional movements aiming at becoming independent from the country they belong to. The case that gained the most attention this year was Scotland with its referendum in September. Although the “no” votes outweighed the votes for Scottish independence, this trend towards regional autonomy and independence that can be found in other European countries cannot be neglected. How can the EU deal with these movements considering that next time the “yes” votes might be more?

NO 4

EU Minimum Wage Policy

Today, all EU member states have some form of minimum wage in place. Yet, there is little coherence in terms of height and coverage across the EU. Thus, Commission President Juncker put the issue on the agenda to ensure that wages are adequate for a decent standard of living. However, there are several questions to consider when trying to picture a feasible EU minimum wage policy. How can institutional differences be overcome without eradicating the variety of long-standing wage setting systems? Which normative and economic dimensions come into play when setting an “adequate” minimum wage?

NO 5

Data Protection and Digital Market

Data protection and privacy are arguably one of the most relevant issues affecting almost everyone nowadays. In light of the past data scandals and espionage affairs the pressure for governments and for the EU to act is high. Data protection is among the priorities of the new European Commission. In addition, Commission President-elect Juncker declared that one of his aims is to establish a single digital market. The question thus arises how these broad policy objectives can be translated into practice.