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5 May 1999

European Debating Council, Rotterdam 1999

Minutes of European Council Meeting, 1999

European Debating Championships, 1999

11/4/1999 Rotterdam, Netherlands

Chairman: Edwin Meulensteen, Netherlands
Recording secretary: Yehoshua Gurtler, Israel

Name Country
Shpend Shmeti Bulgaria
Blanka Munclingevoua Czech Republic
Milan Konrad Czech Republic
Geoff Mamdani England
Miurean O’Cinneide England
Aaron Maniam England
Adrian Montague England
Mark Summers England
Julian Versteeg England
Kristi Hakkaja Estonia
Enn Metsar Estonia
Manolis Polychronides Greece
Colm Flynn Ireland
Tim O’Connor Ireland
Rachel Azaria Israel
Yehoshua Gurtler Israel
Gonen HaCohen Israel
Mukhit Yeleuov Kazakhstan
Sanzhar Abdikhalyk Kazakhstan
Jan-Pieter Oosterom Netherlands
Edwin Meulensteen Netherlands
Rutger Claassen Netherlands
Elsewine Rietveld Netherlands
Bibilotte Duyvesteyn Netherlands
Benjamin Bolger Netherlands
Merijn van der Zalm Netherlands
Dirk v Dorsselaar Netherlands
Floor v/d Broek Netherlands
Ana Caterina Dias Portugal
Rute L. S. Paredes Portugal
Nicole Papadopoulos Scotland
Duncan Cockburn Scotland
Chris Peggie Scotland
Anja Poytler Slovenia

Agenda - Presented by Mr. Meulensteen, no objections, or additions.

Constitution & European Debating Committee -

Edwin Meulensteen: This is the first meeting of the European Council (henceforth: the council) held without a constitution. Up till now, the competition has been held in accordance with the World Debating Championships’ constitution. Mr. Meulensteen suggested that the council elect a standing committee that would undertake the task of drafting the competition’s constitution.

Bibi Duyvesteyn: Copies of the constitution proposal should be distributed to all delegates at least two months before the council’s next meeting.

Julian Versteeg: What is the purpose of the constitution?

E. Meulensteen: The rules will ensure that the European Championships will always be held in the British Parliamentary Format and that debates will always be held in the English language.

Colm Flynn: The constitution will prevent a situation where there will be ‘double’ European Championships. The constitution will maintain the unique character of the European Championships.

Tim O’Conner: The council should register the title "European Debating Championships" as a trademark.

J. Versteeg: The idea of registration is both impractical and inefficient.

T. O’Conner: Registration can be done in a simple and inexpensive manner.

C. Flynn: The committee should study the history of the European Championships to ensure that it maintains its unique character and superiority over other European competitions.

E. Meulensteen: The World Championships aren’t a registered trademark and this has not been a problem.

Geoff Mamdani: There should be a requirement that anyone involved in the official European Championships shouldn’t be allowed to be involved in any other ‘European Championships’.

C. Flynn: We should have a mailing list that will allow the delegates to vote during the year and prevent the need for unilateral decision.

G. Mamdani: The council should clearly outline the authority of the committee.

N. Papadopoulos: The council should determine the makeup of the committee.

C. Flynn: The makeup of the committee shouldn’t be regional, it should be open to nominations and voted on by the council.

T. O’Conner: Regional membership will allow the members to have a closer connection with local debating societies in their region.

C. Flynn: Having a regional committee may create a situation where we have to force people to be members, to get all the regions represented.

E. Meulensteen: The host of the upcoming competition should always be represented.

J. Versteeg: The committee should have an odd number of members for voting purposes.

C. Flynn: The host of the last competition should also be a represented, to assist in the organization of the upcoming competition.

The Council unanimously accepted the decision to establish The European Debating Committee. The committee will be made up of seven (7) members, including representatives of the hosts of the previous and upcoming championships.

T. O’Conner: The representative of the host of the previous competition should chair the committee. This would prevent misuse of power by the organizers of the upcoming competition.

C. Flynn: The representative of the host of the upcoming competition should function as secretary.

E. Meulensteen: As there is no budget, the committee doesn’t need a treasurer.

M. Summers: The committee should consult foreign debaters on issues regarding rules etc.

The Council unanimously agreed that the European Debating Committee will have a chairman and secretary. It was agreed that the representative of the previous competition will be Chairman and the representative of the upcoming competition will be Secretary.

Bids for the 2000 European Championships

A bid was placed by Aberdeen University and presented to the council by Ms. Nicole Papadopoulos. Ms. Papadopoulos presented the history of the University and its debating society as well as the University’s credentials for hosting the Championships.

Mr. Duncan Cockburn outlined the proposed schedule, the accommodation arrangements, the entertainment planned and the possibility of a tour of the Scottish countryside on the last day of the competition. Mr. Cockburn also addressed the issue of sponsorship.

Ms. Papadopoulos explained that both local and foreign judges would be used for preliminary rounds and that distinguished Scottish politicians and academics were invited to judge out-rounds. The tabbing system the competition will employ is the ‘Swiss power pairing’ system and it will be used consistently throughout the competition. The tabbing will be done both manually and by computer to prevent errors.

The University of Aberdeen has agreed to provide the entrance fee for 10 teams from Eastern European countries. The principal of the university will determine who will receive the bursaries based on ‘need’ criteria.

The registration fee for the competition will be 85 Euros per person (maximum).

A question was raised regarding the methods Aberdeen University would employ to attract new teams.

Ms. Papadopoulos explained that the organizing committee would use a list of debating societies around the world and send invitations to teams eligible to participate in the competition. In addition, the organizers intend to use the momentum of Rotterdam 1999 to attract new teams.

E. Meulensteen: The Sorbon University debating society has expressed interest in participating in the future.

No other bids were made. The council accepted the bid placed by Aberdeen University to host the European Championships, 2000.

Which countries are eligible to participate in the European Championships?

E. Meulensteen: For purposes of the 1999 competition, any country west of the Ural Mountains was allowed to participate.

C. Flynn: Suggested that the countries allowed to participate should be all the countries that participate in UEFA. This way there will be no overlapping with the Australasian Championships.

Miurean O’Cinneide: The competition shouldn’t set strict rules. The admission criteria should stay flexible so as not to exclude interested teams.

Kazakhstan: All N.I.S. nations should be allowed to join.

Rachel Azaria: The decision should be based on the interaction between the European and Australasian Championships.

N. Papadopoulos: The determination should be based on the question - which competition is more accessible to every team.

G. Mamdani: We shouldn’t make strict rules. Rather, we should make ad-hoc decisions, should the question arise.

C. Flynn: The rules regarding eligibility should be included in the constitution.

E. Meulensteen: We should set a rule of thumb for the future.

Aaron Maniam: It should be possible for the organizers to make a case by case decision.

Yehoshua Gurtler: The European and Asian Championships should be ‘mutually exclusive’. Every team in the ‘unclear’ group should choose to participate in one of the competition and be banned from the other.

C. Flynn: We should adopt UEFA guidelines and cooperate with the Asian council.

T. O’Conner: Australia and the United States should be excluded from participating.

Manolis Polychronides: We should allow any team to participate, but only allow European teams to break.

The rule adopted by the council established that any ‘problematic’ team must choose between the European and Asian Championships and participate in only one of the two.

The European Debating Committee


Drafting the European debating constitution.

Address any outstanding issues.

Undertake and responsibilities delegated by the council.

E. Meulensteen: The council must authorize decisions. The council determines the authority of the committee.

T. O’Connor: Rules shouldn’t be changed within a month before the competition and all teams should be notified of any amendments to the rules.

Committee Members, 1999-2000:

Chairman: Edwin Meulensteen (as determined by Erasmus University Debating Society on 16/04/'99)

Secretary: Duncan Cockburn, Scotland

Member: Ana Catarina Dias, Portugal

Member: Colm Flynn, Ireland

Member: Kristi Hakkaja, Estonia

Member: Geoff Mamdani, England

Member: Manolis Polychronides, Greece

T. O’Connor: The ‘’ network should be used for debaters to follow the committee’s activities.

The council members congratulated the organizing committee of the 1999 competition. ‘Rotterdam, Ech Wel!’

Enn Metsar: All participants should receive diplomas stating their role in the competition.

Invitations to upcoming competitions

Slovenia: Hosting debating tournament, 15-21/7, in Ljublbana, Slovenia. Competition will be held in British Parliamentary style. Registration fee: 45 Euros.

G. Mamdani & M. Summers: College of Law Inter-Varsity, 29-30/10. Including tournament and year-opening workshop.

Extending competition by one day

D. Cockburn: Extending competition will raise participation fee.

M. Summers: One more day significantly raises necessary budget.

N. Papadopoulos: It’s hard to get judges to come for so long.

Date of Tournament

M. Summers: Suggested that the tournament be moved to June.

B. Duyvesteyn: The competition will coincide with university exams.

M. O’Cinneide & C. Flynn: There is no budget left for a competition that late in the year.

T. O’Conner: The competition would clash with Bar Exams.

The tournament will be in April. The date might be moved forward by one week.

ESL Semi Finals

R. Azaria: Proposed that European Championships include ESL semi finals round.

B. Duyvesteyn: The debate could be run simultaneously with general semi finals.

T. O’Connor: This is not possible as teams may be in both.

D. Cockburn: The 7th round of debate could be cancelled in favor of ESL semi finals.

Council has no objections to dropping the 7th round in favour of ESL semi-finals.

Competition information on the World Wide Web

A desire was raised for an online list of all European competitions.

M. Summers: The ESU maintains a list of competitions.

C. Flynn: The committee should address this issue together with the operators of the ‘’ web site.

There were no further issues. E. Meulensteen closes the meeting.

Reported by Yehoshua Gurtler, Israel

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