Visit (in German only)

Today’s post differs slightly from our usual posts. This one does not analyze a global economic trend, a political action, or the EU’s strategy – but instead is about an interactive online game. A couple of days before Christmas, seemed an appropriate time. Not only fun but also useful (well, after all, it is still about political action and the EU’s strategy.)

In the interactive German online game “Unionslabor” (“Union Lab“), young people aged 14 and up build their “own” European Union together. In the role of a European head of state, they weigh up national and common European interests, negotiate political measures and try to reach an agreement. They have five rounds to do this. In the game these are the five decades up to 2030.

Image: EU


Comic: Ship

Players are transported in the game to the year 1970: Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg form the European Community. The first important steps towards a common Europe have already been taken. But how should it continue? Do we want a common market? Should new member states be added? Will efficient countries be rewarded, or will we act in solidarity and distribute prosperity?

Through the game, which was among the finalists of the EU’s Spinelli Prize in 2018, participants experience the complexity of political decisions. They understand how the tension between national and European interests influences the progress of European unification. When they compare their union with the results of other game groups at the end of the game, they also better understand how open and unwritten the future of the “real” European Union is and strengthen their own ability to make competent judgments.


Even in the classroom, the ‘Union Lab’ can be carried out easily – either completely remotely or in a hybrid lesson. To make this transition as smooth as possible, we have developed a guide with easy-to-understand explanations and an example scenario, this guide provides all the necessary information on the game processes and implementation for young and old alike.

Nothing stands in the way of the fun of playing even under the current circumstances! The game can be set up with a few clicks and used in class or “just like that” – over the holidays with your family – and played on a smartphone or tablet.

The ‘Union Lab’ was launched by the Bertelsmann Foundation at the end of 2018 in cooperation with the Heinz Nixdorf Foundation and the Berlin-based company Planpolitik. The aim is to familiarize young people with the topic of Europe and let them experience European decision-making processes.

Watch the YouTube video here (in German only)