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Session 2: Teaching the European Council: Approaches and tools

In session two, the panelists presented approaches and tools for teaching on the European Council. Miriam Vogel from the German Civic Agency for Public Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, BPB) presented her institution and selected tools and publications targeting a range of age and interest groups. Being founded after World War II in reaction to the German National Socialism, the BPB now has a long history of producing various teaching material. According to Vogel, this long-time experience was unique and Germany envied for it by other countries. As examples of the BPB’s work, Vogel presented eurotopics, a daily press review providing information on around 500 print and online media, published in 30 countries. The review can be accessed at and is free of charge. The magazine Fluter addresses young readers and quarterly highlights current issues from various perspectives. Another interesting tool Mrs. Vogel presented is the Young European Professionals (YEPs) – a peer-to-peer program where peers aged between 16 and 24 explain and discuss European topics to and with other young people. 

Susana Muñoz then introduced the work of by (Centre Virtuel sur la Connaissance sur l’Europe by University of Luxembourg). The former start-up which once created the first digital research infrastructure on European Integration is now based at the University of Luxembourg. It provides more than 22 000 original sources in 30 original languages. Muñoz showed how every user can create its own collection of CVCE sources on every kind of topics. This service is available after registration at  under the category My publication. 

More tools were presented by Marieke Eckhardt from SUMMIT. Marieke presented a quiz game on the European Council which is freely available as a pdf in an English, French and German version at Moreover an interactive version can be accessed via In 30 questions students, practitioners and an interested public can test their knowledge on the European Council and the European Union. Afterwards Marieke showed a webcast on the European Council’s role in EU decision-making which was produced as a deliverable of SUMMIT. Using visual material and expert interviews with Martin Selmayr, Head of cabinet of the European Commission and Enrico Letta, former Prime Minister of Italy, the webcast illustrated the European Council’s decision-making activities. The webcast will be published at the project’s website together with other video-tutorials and expert interviews. 

Lenka Curillova, Comenius University, Bratislava, reported from her experience of organizing Model European Union meetings in Bratislava. While this tool has been known in other countries for some decades, Curillova was the first to introduce this in Slovakia. She reported how her students would usually complain about the EU’s inability to solve problems. Yet, in the simulations they could experience the difficulty of producing such solutions. Lenka reminded the audience of the importance of teaching, emphasizing that the European Union cannot exist if people have no knowledge upon it. 

As last panelist, Jürgen Mittag from the German Sport University Cologne, gave insights into his work with comics as a tool to teach the history of the European Union and the European Council. When commenting on the European Council, comics – which he called ‘historical junk food’ – would make use of recurring themes, such as Europe on the bull, Europe as a boat or a train. Also, leadership was an important issue depicted in comics. Accordingly, it was typical that the British, French and German Heads of State or Government were the only ones clearly depicted in a mass of anonymous figures. 

In the following discussion Wulf Reiners, Turkish-German University, summarized the panel’s insights by pointing to the importance of addressing all human senses when teaching. Hearing, seeing discussing – and at best producing solutions on their own – would add up to people’s ability to remember things. As a result, panelists presented different tools to address these very senses. 

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