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European Council simulation in Croatia

Where does a simulation end and a larp begins? An interesting event had been organized in Croatia recently which could be said to clearly fulfill the definition of both, lasting two days and providing a good example of how a modern, political larp can work. Here's a description of the experience from +Aleksandar Gavrilović, one of the participants.

The first of July marks Croatia's entrance into the European Union, a very big and game-changing step for our country. In this light, the European Forum Alpbach has organised a series of events, one of which has been a simulation game of the  European Council, where each player had a role either as an ambassador or head of state of a European country. For my part, I played Pedro Coehlo, the social-democratic prime minister of Portugal. 

The game was set up by the Plan politik agency which is experienced in leading such simulations, and they provided all the players (2 per country, 16 countries total) with study materials beforehand (our position on various topics and so on). Preparations were in the form of filling out a short survey answering questions about our country, so they would know we read and understood the material, atleast in the broadest sense. The goal of the meeting was to create a Declaration for the Future of Europe.

The event itself consisted of two days, the first day saw an "informal meeting" of the Council, with the countries' representatives trying to figure out which states are "on board" with whom, and setting up alliances. There was a natural divide between the countries on the matter of austerity, and I, as Portugal, naturally joined the NO bloc, along with France, Greece, Spain and so on. There was some fighting and some harsh words were said about Germany and so on, but nothing too extreme. The second day was more formal, with negotiations being held in two seperate councilrooms, one dealing with economic and the other with institutional change. The economic one saw more frustration and fighting between the groups, and the institutional one was more-or-less smooth, with most of the countries agreeing and then trying to convince the odd-one-outs to concede (mostly the UK). There were certain outbursts of emotion after long and frustrating stand-stills, but we slowly drafted the document to everyone's liking.

In the end, after an exhausting 2 days, a consensus was finally reached on all topics and everybody unanimously approved the declaration, which was suprisingly to everyone's liking, and this was a cathartic experience, especially for those less fond of believing in win-win scenarios.

The game was concluded with a debriefing from Plan politik, with us sharing our experiences about how the game felt, and them commending us on our success and wishing us all good luck in the future and in the EU.


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