WELCOME TO ROUND 3 OF THE FUTURE OF EUROPE E-DEBATE COMPETITION!
The topic for the 3rd debate is:
The European Commission should take into account civil society protests when deciding the use of Article 7.
In this debate Team EngagEU 1 (Affirmative) will face Team Michel (negative).
The 1st debater of the affirmative team has 24 hours to post the 1st speech of the debate. Even if the speech is posted before the 24 hours expire, the 1st negative speakers’ 24 hours of preparation time will begin when the initial time expires.
Before posting please consult Guildelines and the Online Debate Guide.
Good luck to all teams!
I thank both teams for this debate.
There were some tricky aspects to this match, but ultimately I sided the proposition, Team EngagEU 1, as the winners.
The overview is quite simple, I felt that proposition team had some simple, yet solid arguments, that outlined why it’s legitimate and principally valid to take “the civil society” into account when deciding the use of article 7, while I didn’t find that opposition managed to prove any specific harms of this motion.
I’d like to briefly comment on a small “issue” of the debate, regarding the relation between “civil society movements” and their respective governments, when the opposition accused the proposition team of portraying their material in a “disrespectful” way. After closely reading the exchange, I didn’t find that prop portrayal was in any way disrespectful, neither intentionally or unintentionally. The source of this issue stems from the opposition argument that “can be countered as in the aforementioned example, restricted or punished, particularly if a government no longer guarantees the right to public protest or freedom of expression”. The problem with this, within the debate, is that while it may be true that, yes, these movements can be somehow undermined by the political forces, this doesn’t correlate with the idea that these movements should not be a factor when deciding the use of Article 7. Maybe there is a connection there, but opposition doesn’t point it out specifically. I found this argument to be somewhat unclear or unimpactful, which may in turn have lead to proposition understanding it as “the negative team argues that civil society protests can be ignored if national governments restrict them”, meaning, I think, that they understood that “a restriction on these protests might lead to them becoming ignored”. But again, regardless of the issue, the ability of a government to restrict such a movement doesn’t in any way prove or disprove the fact the ‘civil society movements’ should be a factor when deciding the use of article 7. I think the lack of clarity in the opposition argument led to this small misunderstanding, which I don’t think was intentional on mean-spirited in any way, as I myself had some trouble understanding exactly what the core of the idea was.
Regarding the debate overall, I find that proposition presents simple and sound arguments, but lacking in clear benefits for any of the parties involved. Yes, it’s clear the the EU values the civil society, it’s an important part of democracy, and so on, but SHOULD this aspect of society become a factor? What are the benefits? There is technical si philosophical legitimacy to the idea that civil society is an indicator of “democratic well-being” within a country, and that it can be a valuable metric for the E.U. But in practice, what would be the actual gains? Just because we could, doesn’t mean that we should? Even if the EU already takes these movements into account, somewhat, doesn’t mean that it’s automatically a good idea.
There is an opposing and competing idea on side opposition, regarding the fact that Art. 7 is meant to ‘pressure’ the ruling class, without creating further harms for the population. This idea is sound and has some merit, but I feel that it doesn’t stand up to the proposition portrayal of the importance and the impact, for democracy, of the civil society movements. But in practice, the reason I find the opposition somewhat lacking in this debate is the absence of speculated, potential, probable or clear harms/disadvantages to the motion. What could happen? What are the risks when taking people’s “subjective” opinion into account? Are citizens a good measure of democratic deficit? Does the EU become a mirror of societal beliefs and is that bad? What is lost and what is gained when the “objective” part of this process, the facts, get muddled by societal and civic perception? Yes, the EU can decide on using article 7 WITHOUT any input for the civil society, but why is that the desirable way to do things?
This is my perspective on the overall debate. There are other nuances that I didn’t discuss here, but in the end I think that Team EngagEU 1 wins this debate.
1st Affirmative: 18 (Content: 7; Style: 6; Strategy: 5)
2nd Affirmative: 16 (Content: 6; Style 6; Strategy: 4)
1st Negative: 15 (Content: 6; Style: 5; Strategy: 4)
2nd Negative: 14 (Content: 5; Style: 5; Strategy: 4)