Thundering noises, cacophonous sounds, and overlapping talks echoed through the hall on the Fifth Floor of the Sheraton Boston Hotel and pulled me into Room Arboretum, the home of the European Union committee. In the midst of a unmoderated caucus, the E.U. is divided into three various blocs, all discussing the issues of open border policies and the appropriation of refugee intake. Selena Zhao, the assistant director of the European Union, explains the two types of popular arguments in the room: a nationalist approach versus the redistribution of refugees within member nations of the European Union. According to Ms. Zhao, the committee has gone through a discussion about differentiating refugees versus the economic migrants an hour ago. “Delegates have to make a decision in deciding the differences,” she argues. The importance of defining refugees and migrants is echoed in my short conversation with the delegation of United Kingdom, who claims there is a significant difference between both refugees and merchants. He also stresses the importance of accepting refugees’ needs and the necessity to consider the centralization of the European Union.
“Delegates, please return to your seats,”shouts the Chair of the European Union as time has exhausted in the unmoderated caucus. Expecting a formal debate about the issue of opening borders and taking in refugees, I am shocked when the delegation of Germany shifts the focus of the debate by proposing a motion of “a 12 minute, 45 second moderated caucus regarding Brexit.” The double delegation of United Kingdom quickly exchange a look and frowns. They do not look happy about Germany’s proposal.
Germany’s motion passes with a majority and opens the debate on United Kingdom’s jurisdiction to propose a working paper. As the first speaker, the delegation of Germany believes UK has no right to speak on the issue of refugees, claiming “when U.K. leaves the E.U., it does not have to deal with the solutions it comes up with.” In accordance with Germany, the delegation of Ireland claims it is unreasonable for the U.K. to write policies when they “don’t have to worry about taking in refugees,” representing the many suspicions members of the E.U. have for United Kingdom and its authority on establishing legislations.
As the main focus in this moderated caucus, the delegation of United Kingdom gets up, gives a dramatic pause, and says, “the delegation is very bewildered by this situation.” Clarifying that U.K is still a part of the E.U., he asserts that foreign countries have no right to interfere with U.K.’s domestic issues and highlights the fact that United Kingdom has accepted 20,000 refugees, a number higher than many other member nations in the European Union. The delegation of Greece disapproves by emphasizing on the fact that United Kingdom only takes 20,000 refugees out of the millions in the Mid-East while Germany has accepted more than 1 million refugees, proving U.K.’s legislation inapplicable to the European Union. While countries such as Greece, Sweden, Malta, and France are left unconvinced by the speech, the delegation of Hungary and Denmark strongly support U.K. by claiming its”past experiences in the European Union would be a great asset to creating a credible solution to the problem.”
The dividing insights on Brexit and its implications on United Kingdom’s role in the European Union is clear. With heated speeches given from both sides of the issue and occasional laughs at delegates’ rebuttal of each other, delegates are trapped in a deadlock regarding Brexit before they could proceed to discuss open border policies.