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Living, learning, working and moving in Smart Cities of the future: with or without plastics and petrochemicals?

More than 80 students between 16 and 19 years old, from 9 schools in the territory of Milan, debated this topic in English

Milano, 28 May 2018.
The Italian leg of the "European Youth Debating Competition" the international project took place in Milan. This European competition, involving about 500 secondary school students from nine European countries (in addition to Italy: Belgium and the Netherlands for a joint “Benelux” finals Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom), who were given the opportunity to discuss the role of petrochemicals and plastics in the cities of the future, following a standardised structure. The students, divided into "fixed speaker" (1 group of 5 students in favour, 1 group of 5 students in opposition) and "free speakers" (is the largest group whose members can participate, always following the rules of the debate), alternatively intervened (1 pro speaker, 1 representative of free speakers, 1 con speaker), for 5 rounds, in an orderly manner, tenaciously supporting their own thinking. During the debate, a jury, made up of industry representatives, teachers and experts from EPCA and PlasticsEurope, evaluated the performances based not only on their knowledge but also on their expressive capacity.
The winners: Giulia Dargenio, Sofia Da Col and Carmen Cojocaru from the Manzoni Linguistic Lyceum of Milan, will take part in the European final, in Vienna on October 8th, together with the finalists from all the other countries, as part of the 52nd EPCA Annual Meeting.
In his comments after the competition,  Marco Bussetti, Director of “Ufficio Scolastico Ambito Territoriale di Milano e città Metropolitana”,  complemented the young talents directly: "The debate teaches everyone to prepare well before supporting a thesis and then going beyond the dialectic (whose purpose is to find a common meeting point) overcoming the logic of study as mere mnemonic learning".

​Also intervened:
- Roberto Frassine of the Polytechnic of Milan, with a speech in favour of petrochemistry and plastics.
- Emilio Bianco of Legambiente, as con speaker, highlighted the problems related not to materials but to bad use by consumers.
"It was very interesting to attend the debate as honorary president, to experience the enthusiasm of these extraordinary students, to listen to their opinions, to look to the future from their point of view. I also congratulate - added Daniele Petrini, CEO of Sabic Italia - their preparation on the discussed topic and for the good level of English, certainly a result of their commitment but also of the dedication of their teachers".
“This valuable initiative, a real competition among young European students, shows the high level of interest on how the Petrochemical Industry will be part of the future, a sustainable future for the whole world. We have the mission to promote such a contribution for the young generations” said Leonardo Mascolo, Business Director – Basic Petrochemicals Repsol and Member of the EPCA Board.

Nathalie Debuyst, responsible for communication and education for joint organisers EPCA, reiterated the effectiveness of this project, a real springboard for young people and their careers, regardless of the positions they will occupy.
EPCA and PlasticsEurope have promoted for the third consecutive year the European Youth Debating Competition to involve young Europeans on the key issues that society is facing and to bring them closer to the study of scientific disciplines (STEM). The Italian stage of the debate, for the second year in a row, was carried out in collaboration with the “Ufficio Scolastico Ambito Territoriale di Milano e città Metropolitana”.

The European Petrochemical Association (EPCA)

Based in Brussels, EPCA is the primary European Business Network for the global petrochemical business community consisting of chemical producers, their suppliers, customers and service providers. It operates for and through more than 700-member companies from 54 different countries. EPCA provides a member oriented platform to connect and meet your peers and potential partners, exchange ideas and showcase your successes. EPCA is also a forum to develop and share knowledge and support innovation, forward thinking and sustainability.

 EPCA promotes STEM education, with a clear focus on gender and diversity inclusion. EPCA also highlights the multidisciplinary approach and the variety of challenging career paths that the petrochemical industry offers.

PlasticsEurope is one of the leading European trade associations with centres in Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Milan and Paris. The association is networking with European and national plastics associations and has more than 100-member companies, producing over 90% of all polymers across the EU28 member states plus Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.

Press contacts

Media Contacts


Nathalie Debuyst, Communication and Education Manager

Tel. +32 (2) 741 86 66 -

PlasticsEurope Italia

Noemi Sutera

Tel. 02 34565355 -