Europe in the world: Virtual simulation exercice

Europe in the world: Virtual simulation exercise

Virtual Simulation Exercise on the EU Digital Services Act

This virtual simulation exercise put the theory of EU policy-making into practice, allowing students to gain firsthand experience of EU negotiations, rules and strategies. It was organized within the EUTOPIA learning community on ‘Europe in the World’ and was also part of the VUB Winter School on EU Policy-Making: Analyzing Digital Rights in Today’s EU. Students from all partner universities in the EUTOPIA alliance joined participants from the Winter School and simulated the EU ordinary legislative procedure for two days via the VUB Canvas platform. The students took on alter-ego roles as European commissioners, national ministers, members of the European Parliament, tech executives and media and negotiated three articles of the recently proposed EU Digital Services Act.

In advance of the simulation exercise, students received their alter-ego role and simulation briefing notes and had one briefing session with the VUB EUTOPIA simulation coordinators. Students familiarized themselves with the topic, the background negotiations and the individual position of their alter-ego, and submitted their alter-ego starting policy position prior to the exercise. Then, over the course of the two-day simulation, the students moved between the plenary, European Parliament committee and Council of the EU configuration, bilateral and trilateral meetings. The media was a vital source of information for all parties involved in the negotiations and kept everyone up to breast with recent developments, via live coverage on the Canvas media channel. In a final plenary, the outcome of the negotiations (common position) was presented. At the beginning and the end of the simulation exercise, students completed an online survey to help them formulate their expectations and assess their experience.

By embedding themselves into an ongoing policy-making process, students gained firsthand and unique insight into the intricacies, twists and turns of EU politics.

  • DATE: February 4-5 2021
  • LOCATION: Virtual event – platform: CANVAS
  • HOST:  EUTOPIA LC Europe in the World – coordinated by Trisha Meyer (VUB)
  • PARTICIPANTS: 32 students (BA/MA/PhD & early professionals – cross-EUTOPIA)
  • MORE INFO: brochure 


“It is great to see how people of different international backgrounds look at the EU decision-making process. Also, engaging with peers from different cultures is always a good thing – we do live in a globalized world, let’s become global citizens as well!”

“I always love these settings (I’ve taught quite a few Erasmus groups) and wish that I could meet other participants ‘live’ to talk about their different studies and countries!”

“The international setting, enabled me gain insight of different strategies, quality/capacities in negotiations... I immensely appreciate the opportunity to learn from my peers, in different countries and fields of studies.”