BullsEye Octoberâ€™12 / 51st year / No. 49 / ISSN 2033-7809
The newsmagazine of European Democrat Students
Youth Engagement with Politics p.20
The Challenge Facing Youth Politics in the 21st Century p.21-22
Henry Hill, Editor-in-chief
Amélie Pommier, EDS Vice Chairman
It feels very strange to be taking over from Sandra, who has edited BullsEye for the past three years. I only started writing for this magazine a year ago, but despite that she seemed an indispensable part of it. I shall have to work very hard to live up to her track record. That said, it is always exciting to embark on something new, and I hope that this new year will see BE go from strength to strength. In addition to members of last year’s team we are pleased to publish a host of new writers from across the EU and beyond. This issue’s theme is about how young people engage with the political process, and I think that BE is symbolic of how there are many ways to get involved. While most political parties have their youth movements that offer the chance to get involved in domestic campaigns, there is much more to politics than that. Political writing offers the opportunity to examine policies and develop arguments, and as a form of political activity is surely at least as valuable as a rainy afternoon’s campaigning. All of which is my way of saying that you, our readers, should not be afraid about getting involved. If you’re a member of EDS and like what you see (or even better, disagree with it) then please, do contact us using the email at the bottom of this page. Putting thoughts into writing can be intimidating, but it is a wonderful experience and BE is a great place to start. All that remains is to pay tribute to all the people who have made this new issue possible. There are too many to name here, but you can find their names next to their articles throughout the issue. An editor is only as good as the material he has to work with, and here I consider myself to have been very lucky. Enjoy the issue.
One year later and it is against a first. Last year’s first issue was the first time I ever wrote for BullsEye, and this year I write the editorial for the first time. BullsEye has a new team, one made up of both old and new members. Clearly this shows how young people can get engaged with politics, which is the main topic of this issue. Writing about ideas, trying to find the truth and looking for what is best for European society is a very real and substantial engagement. With the political changes Europe faced during the last century, youth now has both the right and the freedom to express itself in politics throughout Europe, and student organisations and the youth wings of political parties are increasing in importance. We should not forget that in Belarus political expression is hardly possible and freedom is not the fundamental basis of politics. So we would like to dedicate this issue to the activists of Young Front, EDS’ Belarusian member. During this year’s first event in Bucharest we will host a workshop on campaigning, something Young Front find really hard to do. Youth involvement in politics is crucial these days as the European Union is getting stronger and stronger, and I am sure the 2014 European elections will show this youth engagement. But how does a young person come to politics? Maybe you have your own answer. Nonetheless I am sure you will still think about how you came to be reading these pages.
Freedom Fighters 04 Konrad Adenauer
05 British Europhiles should not fear
an In/Out referendum 06 Parliamentary elections in the Netherlands 08 The role of Europe in the Scottish independence debate 09 The eye-opening Arab Spring
10 Marriage is the only basis for family 10 Marriage is not fundamental to family
12 Has Marx heard of AKEL? 14 We must ensure a European orientation
for the Western Balkans 16 Innovation and the Creative Economy: key factors for a better future
17 What should young conservative
leaders look like? 18 Whither EDS? 19 Combating homelessness in Croatia 20 Youth engagement with politics 21 The challenge facing youth politics in the 21st Century
22 Europe, a synonym for peace” - Konrad
Adenauer Foundation event
24 Aarlborg University
26 Meet the new EDS Bureau
Council of Europe
27 Never forget the Council of Europe
ISSN: Print: 2033-7809, Online: 2033-7817 Editor-in-chief: Henry Hill, Editorial team: Aija Koniševska, Alexandra Gazashvili, Algirdas Kazlauskas, Amélie Pommier, Ana Janelidze, Anna Tamasi, Andrey Novakov, Emilis Kazlauskas, Henry Hill, Jakov Devčić, Luke Springthorpe, Matt Lewis, Miroslav Jurčišin, Petros Demetriou, Contributions: Ann-Sofie Pauwelyn, Calum Crichton, Charlotte Spurkeland, Ivan Burazin, Photos: Balázs Szecsődi, European Commission archives, KAS archives, private archives, Shutterstock Publisher: European Democrat Students, B-1000 Brussels, Rue du Commerce 10, Tel: +32 2 2854-150, Fax: +32 2 2854-141, Email: email@example.com, Website: edsnet.eu
The newsmagazine of European Democrat Students
Publication supported by: European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe Articles and opinions published in this magazine are not nessessarily reflecting the position of EDS, EDS Bureau or the Editorial team.
Dear readers and supporters of EDS! The new work year of 2012/2013 has started and we arrive to you with a brand new issue of BullsEye. This year is one of historical landmarks for EDS, with many milestones for EDS history. This bureau is the first in the history of EDS that has more women in the Bureau than men. This was a natural development and was not achieved through quotas or positive discrimination of women. Another historical entry is that EDS finished its first ever online Europe-wide campaign known to all of you by now – entitled “Knowledge is Power”. I wish to thank all the organizational team members that helped. A landmark in EPP – EDS relations is the candidacy of our Vice-Chairman, Gintarė Narkevičiūtė, for the EPP Vice-President. We hope that our representative in the Presidency will be to the benefit of EPP and our policies and positions will be better represented on the top level of decision making. This is what the new Bureau, which will be introduced to you in more detail in this issue, took in as its policy. Having our voice heard even more this year in increasing amounts of fora, that is our goal. For this, EDS took up a challenge of creating the Higher Education and Research Programme, which will be adopted at the Summer University in Berlin, July 2013. This will serve as a platform for MEP candidates with topics and themes for higher education. We will also compile all our policies into more comprehensive online publications, where our motions will be easily accessible to the reader. EDS will also support the MEP candidates, which be given a chance on the EP elections. In the field of human rights and democracy building, EDS for first time ever registered with the Central Electoral Committee of Georgia to observe the parliamentary elections in this Caucasus country. In the crucial elections, where an EPP member party, UNYM, and other pro-European parties struggle against the Russian influence, it is that much more important for EDS to be in the field. Similar action will be taken later this year in the Ukrainian parliamentary elections. Policies for Europe will see a suggestion that we developed during our Policy Days in Georgia. It concerns the Eastern Partnership, a multi-faceted programme of the EU, which lacks significant commitments to educating the future leaders of our six partner countries. The motto of the EPP Congress is “More Europe”. This issue will appear during the EPP Congress and will be widely spread to audiences inside the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest. However, I feel our title should be “More Youth”. This shall not be an empty phrase. The students of today will be taking over the responsibility of public life in their countries soon enough. It is important that EDS and the EPP reach out to them and involve them in the politics of the 21st Century. The new millennium brings about new challenges and new approaches to understanding political involvement. This will be addressed in the Seminar in Bucharest, however it is a much longer project than this. The young people will bring creative, well-informed and meaningful solutions to our countries and the EU. Thus we chose this topic as our main carrier idea for the Seminar, spread it in the EPP Congress and most importantly have our members reach out their societies and get as many young students involved in politics as possible. I wish you a pleasant read in this politically hot autumn and see you in the winter time!
Juraj Antal, Chairman
Konrad Adenauer Ana Janelidze
After the Second World War, in 1949 two separate German states were established: the Federal Republic of Germany (known as West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (known as East Germany or the GDR). Konrad Adenauer, who served as the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic from 1949 to 1963, led his country from the ruins of World War II to become a powerful and prosperous nation that enjoyed good relations with its old enemies, France and the United States. He supported democracy, capitalism and anti-communism and was dedicated to a Western-oriented foreign policy and restoring the position of West Germany on the world stage.
The outstanding commitment of Adenauer cannot be understood without considering his past. He joined the Catholic German Centre Party and was elected to Köln city council in 1906, later becoming viceMayor of the city. Sharing the ideas of common sense, order, rationalism and Christian values, he attracted many of his generation. Adenauer shared anti-Nazism and anti-communist views, considering both doctrines as violations of individual human dignity. A strong opponent of Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists, Adenauer was imprisoned in 1934. He was released but later rearrested by the Gestapo in September 1944 and accused of involvement in the July 20th Plot. After the war Adenauer served as Mayor of Köln but was removed by the British authorities on the grounds of alleged inefficiency. In 1945 he helped establish the Christian Democratic Union (CDU and in 1949 became the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.
In 1950 Adenauer appointed Walter Hallstein as Undersecretary of State, who was leader of the German delegation at the Schuman Plan conference. He developed what became known as the Hallstein Doctrine, according to which the Federal Republic of Germany had the exclusive right to represent the entire German nation. From the beginning of his Chancellorship, Adenauer focused on strengthening the wartorn country. He managed to reconcile with France and restore relations with the United States. By 1949 the US and Britain agreed that West Germany had to be rearmed to strengthen the defences of Western Europe against the possibility of Soviet invasion. Adenauer firmly integrated the country with the emerging Euro-Atlantic community (NATO). He also implemented a new pension system which ensured unparalleled prosperity for retired people. The Adenauer chancellorship is known for its “social market” economic policy that led to the boom period known as
the “economic miracle”. The reforms undertaken and implemented under Adenauer led to a dramatic rise in the standard of living for average Germans, with real wages doubling and unemployment falling. Adenauer worked for full alignment with the West, not only leading the country into NATO but also being a strong proponent of the agreements with France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg that gave birth to the modern European Union, of which he can be considered a founding father. In a historic speech to the Bundestag in September 1951, Adenauer recognised the obligation of the German government to compensate Israel, as the main representative of the Jewish people, for the Holocaust. As a result, Germany started negotiations with Israel for compensation of lost property and the payment of damages to the victims of Nazi persecution. Apart from restoring relations with old enemies he also opened relations with the USSR. However, he refused to recognise the GDR and broke off diplomatic relations with countries that maintained relations with the East German regime. In contrast, critics of Adenauer’s policy accused him of sacrificing reunification and the potential recovery of German territories lots in the westward shift of Poland and the Soviet Union. On August 13th 1961 the GDR embarked on the construction of the Berlin Wall, which completely cut off, by land at least, West Berlin from surrounding East Berlin and East Germany. In the early Sixties, the grand old man did not find it as easy to cooperate with the newly-elected and very young US president John F Kennedy as with previous presidents. His eventual departure from office was triggered by a scandalous analysis of West German military defence published in the weekly news magazine Der Spiegel, which claimed there were several weaknesses in the system. Adenauer’s own reputation was damaged and he announced that he would step down in the autumn of 1963. For Konrad Adenauer, “full integration into Western Europe was a precondition for the reunification of Germany”. This is why he laid so much emphasis on it. After his foreign and economic policy, Adenauer established a stable democracy and an advanced welfare state in West Germany. Of course, it is obviously difficult to briefly discuss Adenauer as a person, politician, leader and statesman with all his achievements and mistakes, but he is truly one of those distinguished freedom fighters in world history who paved the way for a better future.
British Europhiles Should Not Fear Matt Lewis
an In/Out Referendum British anti-Europeans are certain that a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union would result in the people advocating withdrawal. They favour the line that, at the last such referendum in 1975, the British public believed that it was voting for a trading bloc, and that the current political union has been treacherously foisted upon it. The people will be fooled no longer, maintain the Europhobes, and will seize the very first chance to get out. Before the summer Parliamentary recess, it seemed as though all three major political parties in the UK – Conservative & Unionist, Labour and Liberal Democrat – were moving towards a pledge to hold an In/Out referendum in their next manifestos. Whilst it should be noted that this does not represent a wish by the leadership of any of the parties to leave the EU, the Conservatives, and to a growing extend Labour, have large and vocal Europhobe minorities. David Cameron wishes to avoid a referendum not because of the potential outcome – he would be confident of a victory for the ‘In’ camp – but the damage it would doubtless do to his party. However, he is well aware of the danger of allowing Labour to steal a march on the issue. As the (rabidly) Europhobic Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan (ECR) wrote in his Telegraph column: “Think of it like this: the question is not whether we get an In/Out poll, but which party delivers it. If the Tories refuse to give such a commitment, they will lose the general election, and Ed Miliband will hold such a poll... If [Labour] get this issue right, they will win.” Amongst the panic and scaremongering, one important question has yet to be asked: should Europhiles fear an In/Out referendum? It is my opinion, and also that of far wiser and more experienced people than I, that a referendum should be welcomed by those of us passionate about the European project and the UK’s place within it. A referendum ought to put the question of Britain’s place in Europe to bed once and for all. More importantly, regardless of the wording of the question, we would win it. The British are a strongly pragmatic people. Despite their image across much of the rest of
Europe as unwilling partners in the European Union, those calling for the UK to exit the EU have always been a minority. Richard Watts, writing for the British Eurorealist campaign group Nucleus, spoke optimistically regarding a future referendum: “Referenda strongly tend to favour the status quo... The American political consultants, specialists in referendum campaigns, that advised Britain in Europe [a now defunct pro-European campaign group] have a ‘golden rule’ to assess which side stands a chance of winning. This is that for a referendum to have a high probability of changing the status quo the ‘change’ campaign must start polling at around 60 per cent of public support, the ‘status quo’ must be polling at below 30 per cent and the ratio between ‘change’ and ‘status quo’ support needs to be at least two to one. “Popular opinion in referenda almost always moves significantly towards the status quo during the campaign. Look at our recent referenda to see how strong this effect is. Nine months before the referendum on the Alternative Vote YouGov put support for AV at 44 per cent and opposition at 34 per cent, yet electoral reform was heavily defeated at the polls. The same happened in the referenda regarding the North East Assembly, the Welsh Assembly and, most instructively, EU membership in 1975. “The exception that proves the rule is the 1997 referendum on establishing the Scottish Parliament where, as John Smith said, change was “the settled will of the Scottish people” and voting for the parliament would have felt to many like supporting the status quo.” According to Anthony Wells, the latest polls on EU membership show some support for withdrawal: “in a straight in-or-out 31 per cent of people would vote to stay, 48 per cent would vote to leave (21 per cent say they don’t know or that they wouldn’t vote).” So it’s easy to see why Europhobes are getting excited at the prospect of a vote. But there is evidence that this opposition to the EU is ‘soft’. Wells goes on to say: “YouGov [in July] asked how people would vote if the government renegotiated British membership and then David Cameron recommended a yes vote
(basically the equivalent of what Harold Wilson did in 1975) – in those circumstances 42 per cent say they would vote to stay in, 34 per cent said they would vote to leave.” In fact, historical polling by Mori has shown significant swings in British attitudes, with opposition to EU membership much higher in the early 1980s than now, despite the ongoing crises within the Union. It is no surprise that opposition to the EU has grown during the long-running Eurozone crisis. Economic uncertainly and weak political leadership in the single currency take their toll; YouGov polls found an 11.5 per cent swing towards leaving the EU during the first half of 2012. The YouGove poll in May this year at the height of the financial crisis put support for leaving at 51 per cent and support for staying in at 28 per cent, perilously close to meeting the ‘golden rule’ for securing change. However, with the eurozone slipping out of the news as summer went on, support for the EU rallied slightly in July to 48 per cent wanting out and 31 per cent wanting to stay in – effectively meaning the ‘Out’ campaign aren’t even close to achieving the 60 per cent the ‘golden rule’ demands. The pro-European camp, as with most pro-status-quo groups, is far quieter than its adversary. Think on this: the above-quoted figures come at a time when the European Union is in the midst of its greatest crisis, and the Europhobic voice has never been louder. Put simply, this is the lowest ebb. A referendum being called would cause Europhiles from politics, the media, business and all other fields to stick their heads above the parapet and speak their minds. The weight of argument would inexorably shift in our favour. A British government, following a successful ‘In’ vote, would be freed of the shackles of uncertainty that have dogged successive Prime Ministers since Thatcher. A more ambitious and committed UK would being benefits to its own economy and influence, and be a boon to our European brethren. Bring on a referendum.
Parliamentary Elections Ann-Sofie Pauwelyn
in the Netherlands 6
The Netherlands voted in September 12th 2012 for new members of the House of Representatives. The centre-right liberal Peopleâ€™s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) emerged as the winner with 26.6 per cent of the vote and an unprecedented 41 seats, while the Labour Party (PvdA) came second with 24.8 per cent and 38 seats. Since the parties are not ideologically sympathetic to each other, cooperation looks problematic. In addition, they would need a third party in a coalition in order to command a parliamentary majority. This means that the VVD and PvdA must either together or individually try to find coalition partners in order to form a government, but the more parties that participate in a potential coalition the harder finding consensus will be. The election took place against the backdrop of the collapse of the previous VVDled â€˜austerityâ€™ coalition. When Girt Wilders announced on April 21st that his populist, anti-European right-wing Party for Freedom (PVV) would withdraw their support for the Rutte government as a result of the failure to reach a consensus on the budget, the Dutch knew that a long period of waiting would follow. Forming the first Rutte Cabinet had taken four months after the parliamentary elections of June 2010, and this will likely be the case again in the months to come. This is not least because the winning lib-
erals and socialists have little common ground or shared priorities to try to base negotiations on. The level of difficulty in successfully forming a coalition in the current political climate of the Netherlands can be demonstrated through the composition of the previous Rutte government: the government was a minority government composed of the liberal VVD and the once-dominant Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), supported in parliament by the PVV. Whilst the latter had no ministers, their support made a parliamentary majority possible. The apparent weakness of this arrangement in times of difficulty was made clear when the PVV withdrew their support after only two years, leading to the resignation of the government. Why is it so difficult to form lasting coalitions in the Netherlands? It is a country of minorities. No single party can count on being able to reach sufficient electoral support to come even close to an overall majority, and during the last decade many a new party has suddenly appeared on the political map only to disappear back into obscurity soon after, while even the results of long-standing and well-established parties are known to change drastically from election to election. This year some 21 parties contested the election. Amongst the most prominent parties on the left of the political spectrum at the moment are the GreenLeft (GL) and the
Labour Party (PvdA), who compete fiercely with the former-Maoist Socialist Party (SP), and at the local level they all compete with a number of smaller socialist fraction parties. The labour movement came to the Netherlands relatively late compared to many other European countries, and thus the socialist cause has never become greatly popular. The working class had already organised itself through a number of other parties and thus many of the workers rejected social democratic ideology. On the centre-right of the political spectrum the noteworthy conservative parties are the CDA and the ChristianUnion (CU). Further to the right are the Reformed Political Party (SGP), which refuse to enter coalitions. Fraction parties exist also here to appeal particularly to the Protestant electorate, as well as the Orthodox and Catholic minorities. The liberal aspect of the centre-right is the domain of the liberalprogressive D66 and the conservative/classical liberal VVD. For decades the liberal parties have not been able to raise notable popular support and thus the present victories of the VVD are another example of the constant change present in the Dutch political climate. Further to the right the PVV is a relative newcomer in Dutch politics that has still managed to have multiple successes, following in the wake of the rise of populist and far-right movements all over Europe over the last few years. Where does this mentality come from? The Netherlands is a very small country but it has a high population density. The land has also fought for centuries against the sea. Some political scientists say that typical Dutch coalition politics are the result of the threat of water; the Dutch people have learned over the centuries to make concessions towards each other in order to reach a higher goal – to win land from the water. Furthermore, the traces of the former ‘pillar-
isation’ of civil society are still noticeable. A century ago, Dutch society was composed of highly organised and separate social groups and subcultures. They did not only shape the political field, but almost every aspect of society. Most citizens lived within the confines of the socialist, liberal or Christian pillars. The role of ideology within each was very important. Therefore each society had, for example, their own health insurance mutual societies, labour unions, and recreational associations. Weakened after the war, these structures really began to break down in the late 1960’s. Religion and ideology started to lose their significance as distinctions between the different subcultures, whilst other networks and social structures increased their popularity. Finally, Dutch politics are characterised by what political scientist Arend Lijphart calls a consensus democracy: while extreme social divisions prevail amongst the citizenry, that division is ameliorated by cooperation at an elite level – the level of the political class. In a consensus democracy as many minorities are represented within the government as possible, hence the Dutch adoption of a system of proportional representation. An extreme form of proportionality prevails because there is no electoral threshold. The consensus style also means that zero-sum games are largely avoided; no single group can win or lose everything since the system ensures that everybody can see at least some of their demands fulfilled. This means in practise that every government that comes to power in the Netherlands is composed of very different political parties that are united within a coalition. What the future holds for the Netherlands remains uncertain. The coalition negotiations will most likely take months, and even after a consensus is reached the problems are not resolved. The Netherlands struggles with increasing state debt, rising real estate prices and the increasing cost of public healthcare. Above all this are the ongoing economic problems facing the European Union and eurozone. A weak coalition would delay or prevent the positive developments that are desperately needed. Would the VVD and the PvdA be able to solve these problems together in a possible coalition? Or will they prefer first to look for other, more ideologically coherent alternative alliances? We hope that the current world record for the duration of coalition negotiations remains in the hands of the Belgians.
Current aFFairs Calum Crichton
The Role of Europe in the Scottish Independence Referendum “Independence in Europe.” That has been the SNP’s slogan since 1989. It was designed to address British unionist claims that separation from the UK would leave Scotland isolated. Instead, they argued, Scotland would enjoy a seat at the table of the European community. It might have been an attractive motto once, but not now. As the Scottish electorate gets ready for the 2014 referendum on independence people are asking awkward questions – questions the SNP cannot answer. Would Scotland automatically become a member of the EU upon separation from the UK? Would Scotland inherit the UK’s opt-outs from the single currency, social chapter and Schengen? The SNP has always insisted, in no uncertain terms, that the answer to these questions is ‘Yes’. However, the reality is very different. Although there is no precedent in the EU treaties for the membership status of postsecession states, it is worth considering
what happened when the Irish Free State left the UK in 1922. Specifically, 26 of the 34 counties of Ireland left the then-United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Free State was a new state. It was not automatically a member of any organisation the UK was a part of, was not bound by the UK’s international obligations and the UK’s status in international law was not affected. The weight of legal opinion suggests something similar would happen upon the breakup of the UK. Most lawyers argue that the SNP either do not realise or will not accept that Scotland is only in the EU because the UK is a member state. If Scotland left the UK it by definition forms a separate state and loses this benefit, meaning it would have to reapply. It does not follow that because the UK is the fourth-largest shareholder and both the IMF and World Bank an independent Scotland would be so automatically. It does not follow that because the UK has 29 votes in the European Council an independent Scotland would do so (it would have seven, leaving it with less voting power than Greece. The UK would have 27). It does not follow that because the UK is a member of NATO and the United Nations an independent Scotland would do so automatically. And similarly it does not follow that because the UK enjoys EU membership an independent Scotland would do so automatically. The majority of lawyers argue that the UK retains its membership status and its current opt-outs, while an independent Scotland would need to reapply. This would require a treaty amendment, which is a process that could take several years as it requires the approval of all member states, some of whom are struggling with separatists of their own to whom they would wish to give no encouragement. Upon application, it is extremely unlikely that the EU would grant Scotland the same opt-outs it currently enjoys as part of the UK, because it would set an unhelpful precedent for future accessions. In any event,
an independent Scotland would not be able to opt out of the single currency. Under new laws, new member states of the EU are required to join the euro once necessary economic preconditions had been met. This wouldn’t happen immediately, but Scotland would have to make the commitment, much as Romania and Bulgaria did. Another issue for Scotland is that it would need to negotiate the EU budget. However, given its reduced influence and leverage outside the UK, an independent Scotland is unlikely to keep the UK rebate secured by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. A study by the Commons Library found that in 2008-09 Scotland contributed £16 per person to the EU budget, but without the rebate it would have been £92. As a consequence, Scottish taxpayers would end up paying much more per head to the EU than they do at present. The SNP have never fully accepted this reality, and despite dropping their slogan the idea behind it is still at the heart of the party’s agenda. Angus Robertson, the SNP’s spokesman for foreign affairs and defence, has insisted that upon independence Scotland would become “more integrated” with the EU than the UK currently is. In other words, the SNP are signing themselves up to political integration with Europe. How does that fit with the logic of ‘independence’? Despite the importance of the issue, the SNP has consistently refused requests to reveal whether or not it has received legal advice on the matter. The party argues that it is “not in the public interest” to reveal that information. This despite the fact that 285,000 Scottish jobs directly depend on Scotland’s EU membership, Scottish businesses could lose access to the free market, the potentially devastating impact exclusion from the market could have on many Scottish industries, such as financial services, that depend on free movement of capital and labour for success. Despite too the millions of pounds of subsidies and grants Scotland would lose. At this point, the Scottish Executive’s own Information Commissioner is taking it to court to try to force them to publish the information. As a Scot who will be voting in the referendum, I would find it very useful to have all the facts available so that I am making an informed decision about my country’s future. Despite what the SNP say, a separate Scotland’s position within the EU is not secure, and unless Brussels confirms a contrary view the Scottish electorate should remember this when they cast their vote.
The Eye-Opening Arab Spring When the Arab Spring erupted, many in the West started to dream of an Arab world that would eventually become liberal and democratic. However, the reality has been a major blow not just to this naïve liberal dream, but also for the West’s long-standing foreign policy approach to the region. It is true that the roots of the Spring, which drastically changed the political landscape within several Arab countries, were mostly secular and driven by young people with Western-influenced modes of thinking. Therefore it is not surprising that, in the early stages of protests against autocrats, both many Western experts in international relations and established journalists starting to declare the long-awaited triumph of universal Western liberal-democratic values. Indeed, several democratic elections took place in formerly autocratic countries like Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. However, jubilation and optimism are now giving way to reality: the secularists and liberals are wildly outnumbered. When truly revolutionary standard bearers were away in democratic elections by their better-organised and larger Islamist opponents, the West of reminded of the uncomfortable fact that democracy does not always yield superior outcomes to the autocracy that preceded it. In Egypt, one of the strongest regional pow-
ers, the moderately liberal one-fifth of society belatedly understood that the Islamists, who had been unleashed by the toppling of the nominally secular regime, could be even worse than the hated Mubarak. Pogroms of Coptic Christians, uncompromising power struggles between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military establishment and the rise of the extreme Salafist movement presents the true face of Egypt’s new democracy. Nor does the situation in Libya resemble liberal democracy, and this is a country where the people should be grateful for vital Western assistance in overthrowing Gaddafi. Instead, following parliamentary elections the Libyan political agenda is dominated by frictions: between rival tribes; between monarchist, Benghazicentred Cyrenaicians and Tripolitania; and between democrats of all stripes and the Islamists. Even the so-called success story of Tunisia, where the supposedly moderate Islamist Ennahda (Renaissance) Movement (part of the Muslim Brotherhood family) won the parliamentary elections, may be far from permanent. It is suspect that Ennahda has ties with radical Islamist groupings, while the extreme Salafist movement is causing serious unrest and there is an obvious division between the French-in-
fluenced coastlands and the conservative interior. However, the most depressing part has been the response from various American and European heavyweights. The Arab Spring, by overthrowing Western-backed and thus moderately favourable or useful dictators, should have helped to assuage the troubled consciences of the Western political elite. In the event, not only has it snatched away the last vestiges of our influence in the Arab world, but also shown the terrible risks presented by Arab democracy to the naïve Western societies which were so bewitched by the supposed universalism of liberal democracy. Unfortunately, many in the mainstream media still desperately try to rescue the once-fashionable image of the Arab Spring, but political developments quickly digress from their comfortable predictions. The most typical example happened during the aforementioned power struggle in Egypt between the Muslim Brothers and the military. After the Brotherhood’s candidate, Mohamed Morsi, narrowly won the presidential elections against the militarybacked Ahmed Shafik, the New York Times, Bloomberg and other prominent media outlets were packed with articles and reports of how institutionally hamstrung the new president was, and how we need not fear a rising Islamist power. Not even a month has passed and Morsi has sacked his main rivals – senior military officials – proving that Islamists are not slowing down the winning streak they have sustained since the start of the Arab Spring. In conclusion, the main lesson which must be learned is that pouring money to and interfering with autocratic political systems in Arab countries yields only limited political rewards, and eventually empowers anti-Western and anti-Semitic sentiments within these countries. After all, these sentiments did not just appear from nothing – autocrats, while collecting western money, supported or at least did nothing to ameliorate hatred of the West. Finally, a tragicomic example sums up the situation. Barack Obama’s administration released an official statement after Egypt’s presidential elections that spoke about “building a democracy that reflects [Egypt’s] values and traditions”. According to the director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Robert Statloff, it is hard to understand what he meant by this, “given the country’s five-thousand-year history of Pharaonic and autocratic rule”.
Bullseye on Algirdas Kazlauskas
Marriage is the Only Basis for Family There has been considerable discussion surrounding the new Hungarian constitution, the Fundamental Law of Hungary, which came into force on January 1st 2012. Many accused the government of passing judicial and economic reforms which appeared ‘undemocratic’. However, under normal circumstances similar issues do not receive such a degree of hysterical attention in Western European media. The conservative family laws were probably the basis for this reaction. This problem was not unique to Hungary – Christian family values were also hotly debated in Lithuania this year. It started when the Constitutional Court introduced a broader concept of what constitutes ‘family’, although it did not define the term. The Christian democrats (TS-LKD) initiated a constitutional amendment – a clarification of the legal definition of family. The aim was to bind the concepts of family and marriage together in order to stem future attempts to marginalise the role of marriage in society. During the public discussion on this matter fundamental arguments regarding family and its juridical nature were clarified. My idea was to generalise the outcome and present it at a higher, international leve. The point is that family policy remains and hopefully will continue to be the main axis of our Christian heritage; it is therefore vital to comprehend the scale of the ongoing demagogic and destructive assault on family values. In policy, there is a choice between pro-active protection and non-interference. Many so-called liberal family adherents claim that the state should not intervene in personal relationships between two adults. According to them, uncommitted couples should be treated on the same legal basis as married ones. However, in reality a married and uncommitted couple are far from equivalent. To believe otherwise is to render marriage increasingly meaningless. If uncommitted couples are treated the same as committed ones, then the commitment no longer serves a useful purpose to offset its burdens. To avoid this situation, the state established a public commitment to marriage as a precondition to a couple receiving particular assistance from public authorities. Conversely, choosing not to make a public and legal commitment indicates that a couple wants nobody, including the state, to intervene in or regulate their personal life. Secondly, defining family in accordance with marriage is often and wrongly associated with discrimination against orphans. However, legal practise in Western countries demonstrates that this is not the case, because the state usually protects not only marriage but also fatherhood, motherhood and childhood. Consequently, no discrimination against orphan children is imposed or permitted by granting different status to marriage and non-committal relationships.
Thirdly, in recent decades the Western world has faced strong opposition to marital commitment. They called themselves a movement of emancipation and progress in family issues and declared several main objectives. One of the most important was loosening matrimonial responsibilities and legalising so-called ‘civil partnerships’. To treat the law this way is arguably a legal misinterpretation in itself. Civil partnership is no more than a semi-marriage or partial commitment. It was developed by individuals who believed that marriage is undesirable and burdensome. Thus civil partnerships introduced a substitute for marriage for persons who fear the burden associated with marriage, effectively cherry-picking from a system of rights and responsibilities to maximise the former while avoiding the latter. This denial of responsibility means that the very state whose ‘interference’ was criticised in the first place will then be called upon to care for the abandoned partner and children. In effect, civil partnership sounds like an oxymoron in legal terms – a commitment which is based on caprice rather than responsibility which lowers the cost to an individual of offloading family responsibilities onto state and taxpayer. Fourthly, civil partnerships opened the gate to a further juridical controversy: samesex partnerships. This is a typical inversion of law. The concept of family in law appeared not to institutionalise the relationship between a man and a woman for its own sake, but because it was necessary to institutionalise the reproduction that a family provides. Family laws always regulate matters including the rights and responsibilities of a man, and woman and children within a family, the sharing of property gained during the marriage, and so on. None of the laws regulate the sexual relationship between man and woman, because it is not relevant to the state. Unfortunately, same-sex partnership adherents put the emphasis on the sexual aspect of a relationship; according to them, family means only a form of sexual desire. This initiative deliberately erodes the fundamental meaning of the concept of family – the subordination of personal desires for the common good i.e. the newborn life – and thus the law itself. Finally, it is necessary to comprehend that family is a fundamental part of every society. The most durable bond to keep a family safe and long-lasting is marriage. No semi-commitments could ever serve as substitute for marriage, either for the safety of family members or the security of the state. It is therefore indispensible to preserve and protect the marriage-based family concept to preserve peace and trust in society.
Marriage is Not Fundamental to Family If you go back 40 years in time, having a child out of wedlock would be controversial, and in most European countries being gay was illegal. Thankfully, society has evolved and now we are open and accepting of those who choose to live their lives in other ways than the norm. Defining what constitutes ‘a family’ these days is challenging. The traditional approach is that a family consists of a mother and a father living together with their children, and this is of course what most families look like today – and probably always will. A modern approach to the definition of a family is wider. ‘A family’ today can mean, in addition to the traditional family: a single parent and their children; two divorced parents and their children from former and current relationships; or even two adults of the same sex and their children. In Norway there’s even a saying that a modern family consists of “my children, your children and our children”. Earlier this year the Seimas, or Lithuanian parliament, voted in favour of a constitutional amendment saying that a family may only be based on marriage or parenthood. There was heated debate on this amendment both in Lithuania and the rest of Europe. The Seimas has chosen to define a family only in the traditional meaning of the term, meaning that people living in other forms of relationship, either hetero- or homosexual, are by law excluded from being defined as ‘family’ if they are not married. The consequence of this is that heterosexual couples who are not married or couple who are
in a same-sex relationship are not given the same legal rights as those who comply with the state’s definition of family. It is interesting to note that my unmarried parents would not fall inside the narrow definition of family prescribed in Lithuania although they have lived happily together for 30 years, bringing into the world two daughters of which I am one. Entering a committed relationship today in most European states can be done without getting married. These civil partnerships ensure legal rights for persons in relationships who do not wish to marry, whatever their reasons may be. The legal rights that a civil partnership bestows make sure that couples and their children are fairly treated in the case of a breakup, in the same way that married couples are, by the law. Entering a civil partnership should therefore be considered as responsible an act as getting married when it comes to ensuring fair and equal treatment of the involved parties. There is no plausible reason for them to be treated differently by law because they have chosen a different approach to cohabitation. The debate after the Seimas’ amendment has also touched on the question of whether same-sex relationships can be considered ‘family’. By a modern and liberal definition they should. Many states allow civil partnerships between couples of the same sex and recognise that all inhabitants of a state should be treated equally and enjoy the same rights under the law. If a family can consist of two childless heterosexual adults, why should it not consist of two childless gay adults? Another matter is that a considerable number of gay couples have children from former relationships or have conceived by other means. Such families should also be seen as ‘family’ by the state and its laws. What I say in this brief comment is in no way questioning the fact that most people live in families where a man and a woman have married, and I believe that this will always be the case. My point is that in this enlightened age the state should not discriminate against people who take a different approach, either by choice or sexual orientation, but rather protect and give equal rights to all. On a political level I would say that we as conservatives, and therefore of a liberal conviction, should lead the debate and point out the way forward on these issues, protecting and working for equal rights for all.
reports It is well known in politics that the implementation of an ideology will usually be adapted to take account of both geographic and local historical factors. That said, each ideology has a core set of idea (the “central ideological doctrine”) which must not be compromised. These doctrines probably cannot be altered without serious repercussions for the consistency and credibility of the ideology as a whole. With this in mind, how much Marxist ideology is there to be found in the thinking of the Cypriot labour party (AKEL), formerly the Cypriot communist party? This question is not easy to answer; although AKEL does not denounce Marxism, its members accept personal property; instead of seeking to achieve a communist society via revolution and dictatorship, they seek change through “socialist transformation”. They also favour a mixed economy! However, implementing their ambitions is another matter. AKEL appears to be searching for a communist identity in a post-communist world. The total dominance of liberal ideas following the demise of the Soviet Union forced communist parties in Western democracies to either shrink dramatically or to follow a dramatic change in policy thinking. In their article “Red Flag Still Flying: Explaining AKEL – Cyprus’ Communist Anomaly”, Richard Dunphy and Tim Bale argue that AKEL is living in the past rather than adjusting to the new conditions surrounding it and underline the politically anomalous nature of this endeavour. In theory, it continues to exist as a Marxist-Leninist party which remains loyal to its former ideology, staying in power by easy control of loyal followers in a party which remains politically immature. The market economy environment, which AKEL both operates within and dominates Petros Demetriou, Translated by Stelios Georgiou
Has Marx Heard of AKEL?
Communists in a postCommunist World 12
since the 2008 elections, has been gradually urbanised, increasingly resembling the very economic model which AKEL was created to resist. To monopolise power with multi-party politics, it is following a course of inexorable assimilation at both town and state levels within the liberaldemocratic framework. For this purpose, AKEL continues to evolve by including centre-left candidates on its roster so long as this is justified by long-term party strategy. AKEL’s class conscience is patchy and the party is increasingly willing to distance itself from policies which form an obstacle to power. The only common ground which AKEL shares with pure communism is the many scandals (not to mention criminal omissions) surrounding the insatiable nomenclature which has always been a key feature of such regime parties. Nowadays, in what way is AKEL anxious to create a class conscience? Marx rejected socialist transformation through parliaments and party politics, believing that parliamentary politics are no more than an urban fraud with the purpose of deceiving the proletariat and making it believe that political power is exercised via the ballot. The effort to create a people’s government is a farce to Marx because for him the urban state is a “parasite”, a “fork in the neck” of the people and by its very nature it is the political mechanism which suppresses the workers’ movement and defends the capitalist system. It is for this reason that all of its functions and services serve as a “foreign body” which tortures and inconveniences the working classes. Lenin was in favour of creating political parties for the purpose of pursuing the creation of a class conscience. In what way does AKEL promote this purpose? In his presidential campaign, the current President of the Republic of Cyprus,
Demetris Christofias, stated that his answer to the “propaganda” directed against him was that “these people have awakened the communist monster sleeping in the closet”. How can an ideology such as communism, which many people believe in to the point of religious devotion, be characterised as a monster? This amounts to the repudiation of the core ideological communist heritage that the party was created for the express purpose of upholding. In conclusion, I believe that by rolling from left to right AKEL has evolved into a socialist party with intense liberal elements, defined by public perceptions despite its unsuccessful internationalist attempts. It has accepted an industrialised society; adopted a milder class policy; accepted the mixed economy; campaigns for social justice within the boundaries of the existing system; and adopted social rights – with some exceptions compared to liberalism – and social welfare. By way of reform they have rejected social revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat and the collectivisation of property. It will take years for AKEL supports to accept reality because of the view that socialist transformation will be suspended for as long as the ‘Cyprus problem’ continues to exist, together with the slow evolution of political attitudes in Cyprus as a whole. At any rate, I would not bet on any return of true communist ideology in Cyprus: how can a party possibly function when it has suspended its ideological positions and works within the confines of the capitalist system? The management of the system (as the President himself has admitted) amounts to nothing more than an acceptance of compromise and urbanisation by a party which in present times appears to have read Marx’s manifesto backwards!
European Pensions: Luke Springthorpe
Crisis and Reform
The continued problems faced by Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain regarding their fiscal deficits are all well documented. A major contributing factor to this has been the detonation of a demographic time-bomb that has been ticking for some time. This has been, and continues to be, driven by two primary factors: increasing life expectancy and decreasing fertility. Since 1960 life expectancy in the eurozone has increased by eight years and is projected to rise by a further six years for males and five years for females by 2050. Most of these gains are the result of lower mortality rates amongst people as they get older. Yet striking as that may be, it is declining fertility rates that appear to cause the most significant problem. Throughout the eurozone fertility rates are below their natural replacement ratio (approximately 2.1 children per woman) at which the size and age structure of the population remains stable. The problem stems from the very fact that pensions are funded on a non-actuarial “pay-as-yougo” basis, a system whereby those currently in work pay for those who have left the workforce. Given the narrowing of the ratio between those in work and those retired, this appears to leave governments with two choices in how to fund their pension promises. These are: either making those in work pay more in contributions for ‘their’ future retirement, whilst de facto using it to make up for the present shortfall; or raising overall taxation to fund the shortfall that will have to be met by general government funding. There is another alternative: they can renege on their promises with immediate effect and raise the retirement age. The problem with this is that, whilst this has been done, the issue has been kicked so far down the road that the solution is almost meaningless in the short term and insignificant in the long term. Which leads us to the crux of the problem: any decision that has to be made is ultimately going to be one that is politicised and incredibly unpopular. This problem is compounded by the fact that in European democracies the elderly are generally far more likely to vote than the young taxpayers upon whom they depend.
Combine this with the fact that there are more retirees requiring entitlements than ever before and it doesn’t require a degree in political science to understand that getting a political mandate to reform these entitlements isn’t going to be straightforward. It invariably leads to a situation where the fear of losing office leads to elected officials simply skirting around the problem. For all the initiatives at a European level, including PENMICRO pension monitoring and the SHARE (Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe) project, that try to map the technical properties of pensions and the productive capabilities of the elderly, the onus to act still rests with national governments. These governments are of course aware that they are running huge unfunded liabilities with regards to pensions. The problem lies in the fact that they are unwilling, and potentially electorally unable, to act. The problem therefore is not one of improving the information available to governments. Indeed, so long as provision for pensions is in the hands of the state, governments will continue to make lavish and unfunded promises with regards to long-term pension provision that are both inequitable and unfair to those still in work when they come to due. The solution to these problems lies in moving towards individually-tailored private provision, either in the form of individual stakeholder pensions or self-invested pensions for public sector employees. The state can continue to offer a contribution with an employee-based contribution, offering matching funding up to a certain level (say, 10 per cent) into a pension pot. The individual can then have a degree of autonomy over how this port is managed. For example, they may wish for it to focus on capital growth by investing in equities early in
their life cycle. This could have the added benefit of providing a boost to equity investment in European businesses. This would probably be followed by a desire to move their ring-fenced pension investments to cash and bonds later on in life. Needless to say, it would be their pot and the responsibility for it would rest with the individual. The individual should also have a choice over when they retire, thus ending the concept of a one-size-fits-all retirement age. This approach is flawed in that many retirees are often capable and in some cases eager to work for longer, either out of a desire to work in its own right or to ensure a more comfortable retirement. Forced retirement isn’t just costly, but also unnecessarily excludes perfectly good and experienced workers from the workforce. There is still the task for the state to ensure that there is a degree of poverty alleviation and consumption smoothing for those who have either been on low incomes or had partial careers. This, however, is based on the idea of the provision of a safety net rather than the present concept of supporting a given lifestyle throughout retirement which has become so unsustainable. What shouldn’t be in doubt is that the political factors that have been alluded to will continue to make it harder to deliver a solvent, statefunded retirement for those who have been promised it. Governments have two choices: they can fix the issue or they can kick the can a little further down the road for resolution at a later date. They are ill-advised to opt for the latter. The problems of increasing longevity coupled with decreasing fertility are not confined to the PIGS nations (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain). This is a problem that has the potential to cause a severe headache for every European state over the coming years.
We Must Ensure a European Orientation Jakov DevÄ?iÄ‡
for the Western Balkans
The Western Balkans are defined, according to the European Commission (EC), as including Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo. Besides Albania, all were involved in the violent conflicts surrounding the collapse of Yugoslavia, which developed into the worst wars seen in Europe since the Second World War. None of them, except Croatia, will join the European Union anytime soon, even through the EU underlined the membership prospects of the Western Balkans in 2000. The EU itself faces profound problems in relation to the future development of its institutions and powers, which have been greatly weakened by the current crisis within the eurozone. In addition, the Western Balkan states themselves face many regional and internal problems which hinder the process of European integration. This article aims to identify the major problems facing the Western Balkans and point out alternative paths they might follow should they be unsuccessful in completing their progress towards membership of the Union and instead fall under the sway of rival international powers. Bosnia & Herzegovina continues to face significant problems regarding its national identity and the legacy of the Dayton Agreement. Politicians in the Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian parts of the country remain focused on their own interests. In addition to political gridlock, issues relating to the rule of law, privatisation, corruption and inefficient civilian administration are the main obstacles to further progress the integration process. Bosnia remains under the tutelage of the international community and is not in itself stable enough to ensure effective governance. In the case of FYR Macedonia, the dispute with Greece about its official name has comprehensively blocked the integration process. The government in Skopje already applied for membership in 2004. Since then, Macedonia has waited for the opening of EU accession negotiations. Unfortunately, the leaders of the
other member states have not taken this into consideration during negotiations for financial support to Greece. The small state of Montenegro is the only one of the club to have made significant progress
towards EU membership in the past few years. The government in Podgorica was granted candidate status in 2010, and the European Council aimed to open accession negotiations in June 2012. In the areas of the rule of law and fundamental rights, Montenegro has introduced many reforms. Nevertheless there is still much work to be done in the fight against corruption and organised crime. For Serbia, the greatest challenges in recent years have been in cooperating with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the establishment of good relations with their regional neighbours. After achieving these two goals and a positive report on political and economic reforms, the EC recommended to grant Serbia candidate status in October 2011. In the meanwhile the conflict between Serbia and Kosovo came back on the agenda, so that the EU and some member states in particular to open dialogue with Kosovo to improve international relations.
After achieving some initial successes, the EC decided to name Serbia as a candidate for accession. Since that point Serbia waits for the leaders of the member states to decide on the date of the start of the negotiations. During the first meeting in September 2012 between the new Serbian Prime Minister, Ivica Dačić, and Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, declared that the EU as a whole expects Serbia to recognise Kosovo in the near future. For that reason it will still be hard for Belgrade to manoeuvre between further rapprochement with the EU and its insistence on considering Kosovo – especially Serb-majority ‘North Kosovo’ – as part of its sovereign territory. Since parliamentary elections in 2009, Albania has faced a political crisis which is dominated by political struggles between the changing government and opposition parties. In 2009, Albania submitted its formal application for EU membership. However, according to the EC, Al-
bania must first solve its political crisis and built up stable administrative capacities and step up the fight against organised crime. And corruption. In comparison to the other states in the region, the government in Pristina faces a different sort of problem. First of all it is confronted with its questionable legal status in international law. From a formal point of view, the EC has repeatedly held out the prospect of accession for Kosovo. That said, this has not yet crystallised into a formal framework due to internal politics and disagreement between the member states. In addition, the government in Pristina has yet to assert undisputed authority over the northern part of Kosovo, where the majority of the population are Serbian. In the case of Kosovo there are also more elementary problems to related to the structure of the state which hinder statebuilding, and the resolution of these problems is a prerequisite of EU accession. In addition to the above-discussed political issues, all five countries face economic problems. They have been hit hard by the economic and discal crisis of the EU, as the Union is the main trading partner of all the West Balkan countries. All six state are heavily dependent on the development of the economies of the member states for banking, external trade and foreign direct investment. The crisis caused a strong dip in demand for products from the Western Balkans and foreign direct investments from the EU declined. Many of the financial institutions in the Balkans are Austrian, Italian, Greek, French or Hungarian. Because of the uncertainty in these states and of the banks themselves, the supply of loans has dwindled and new investments within these countries have been stifled. Budget deficits and unemployment rates have risen. This low economic development is likely to be transformed into political problems in relation to security issues in the region. For that reason it is of great importance for the EU and its member states to intensify their economic involvement with the Western Balkans. Otherwise other great powers such as Russia, China or Turkey will fill the void left behind by the EU. Russia has traditionally played an important
role in the Balkans, especially regarding Serbia. The Russia energy company Gazprom acquired a controlling stake in Serbia’s NIS in 2009, which is one of the biggest energy companies in southeast Europe. In addition, Russia issued a $200m loan to Serbia in 2010, which has to be endorsed with a second tranche of $800m. In order to gain more influence in strategic sectors, the Russian government has set aside part of the loan package for Russian investment in the Serbian railway infrastructure. Part of this package is going to be used to balance the Serbian state budget. In contrast to international players such as the EU, the World Bank or the IMF, the Russian government does not expect Serbia to introduce structural state reforms. China’s role in the Western Balkans is also increasing; for example last year the ExportImport Bank of China made a €345m loan to upgrade Serbia’s Kostolac thermal power plant. This project is part of a broader bilateral agreement, signed between Belgrade and Beijing, with an investment volume of $1.25bn. These investments also concentrate on strategic infrastructure projects. As with Russian loans, Chinese loans also require no structural or institutional reforms. In August this year, the Prime Minister of Montenegro Igor Luksic visited China in order to take over a new ship which had been built in China. This cooperation is part of a wider treaty with an investment volume of $10bn in the energy and infrastructure sectors. Similarly to China and Russia, Turkey is also extending its political and economic activities in the Western Balkans, Based on the centurieslong influence of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey successfully started to take the role of mediator in Bosnia & Herzegovina in 2010. This foreign policy approach is evidence of a new self-confidence in Turkish foreign policy, which is based on its economic growth. In 2010 the Turkish Limak Holding signed a public-private partnership with Kosovo concerning the expansion and operation of Pristina International airport. Thinking strategically in the long term, it would be better for the Western Balkans to integrate into the European network, rather than to render them dependent on alternative international powers which are not so dedicated to the rule of law and other core European values. For the EU, a more intensive style of political engagement has to be supported by much more intensive economic involvement. Otherwise, economic and political rivals such as China, Russia and Turkey will continue to expand their influence in the Balkans. Even if the situation there is stable in comparison to other border regions like North Africa and the Maghreb, the EU must continue its stabilisation and integration work in the Western Balkans.
reports In the last three to four years, Europe has faced unprecedented challenges in all spheres of social and political life: difficult fiscal problems covering all financial sectors; humanitarian crises; immigration; rising costs of fuel and raw materials; and climate change put Europe in a situation that nobody could have foreseen before 2008. However, European political leaders correctly saw that high-tech and creative industries could be a solution for many problems. Moreover, investments in high technology can create an innovative economy that produces goods with high added value, which would make Europe competitive in global markets. Evidence of this intent are the 7th and 8th Framework Programmes, also known as â€œHorizonâ€?. Behind these are â‚Ź80 billion to be set aside for scientific research and innovation over the period of 2014 to 2020. At this stage Europe starts creating business clusters and high-tech centres, focused entirely on turning good ideas into products and services with high added
value, which are environmentally friendly, and will create jobs. There are numerous examples of such parks, which include high-tech parks in Dortmund, Vienna, Karlsruhe and Eindhoven. Of course, it will be necessary to adapt the already existent industry to the new creative economy. According to a problem by the European Commission in 2010, the creative industries created 3.3 per cent of total EU GSP and 3 per cent of employment in Europe, and it represents the most rapidly growing sector of the economy. Employment in creative industries increased by 4 per cent per year, compared to 1 per cent across all other industries. The most commonly asked question about the creative economy is whether it is the same as the rest of the economy. The reason for these questions is that the creative economy is a relatively new industry and the traditional economy has sustainable results that have been proven over time. All this is true, but the world is changing every day and to continue its existence, each system must be reformed and adapted to the
Innovation and the Creative Economy: Key Factors for a Better Future
new conditions. This holds true for the economy as well. Often, current industry cannot achieve a desired result, or can but in an inefficient, high-cost and environmentally-unfriendly way. This is why innovation is an integral part of the capitalist economy and its focus on innovation lends the creative economy a major advantage. There are several differences in the forms adopted by new companies concentrated on innovation and products with high added value. The most popular form is not the classic company, but the project. There is no company staff, but instead a project team. In the beginning it is often not a legally registered company. Each member of the team works towards developing the initial idea, adding knowledge and expanding the skill base. This informal network gives the team freedom and flexibility in the development process stage of an idea, while the lack of a formal hierarchy brings creativity and originality. Of course, when the product is ready, the next step is to create a company that can sell and market it. Then come the other benefits of these new products: new jobs, which raise employment levels and bring all the attendant social benefits. This is why I said at the outset that the creative economy can be a solution and cure for many of the problems facing our generation. There is a touching example of the advantage of the creative economy. Ten years ago nobody believed that anything could replace steel as the main material in many industries. Moreover, nobody believed that a material could replace it which is at once lighter, stronger, cleaner and more practical. However, the idea of a single person, combined with creativity and technology has given the world carbon fibre and overturned many concepts in engineering and technology. Just imagine, if only one product from the creative economy can affect several global industries, what happens if there are five or ten competing products? There is the potential for a totally transformed reality. What is the common ground between industrial innovation and policy? Innovative industry brings to society those benefits that many government policies aim for. Encouraging innovative thinking and the development of high technologies could consign many of the difficulties that we face today to history. Is there a politician on earth who does not want to solve the problems of our times? The creative economy is a useful tool for any government. Therefore we can only truly compare the rise of the creative economy with the transformative impact of the industrial revolution on Europe and the world in the early 19th Century. And take my word for it, the creative economy will be the steam engine of the 21st.
WHAT SHOULD YOUNG CONSERVATIVE LEADERS LOOK LIKE? Miroslav Jurčišin
We live in difficult and changing times. We are not aware of the consequences of our decisions and members of youth organisations have to make difficult decisions about whether or not to remain engaged in politics, or to move on. This decision will change their lives. In the case that a young person chooses to continue in politics, and becomes a successful leader, this decision can have a significant impact on other people’s lives. The question is what sort of person should they be?
Young persons in the early stages of their political career are influenced by many factors and people. They may meet senior politicians from different parties trying to persuade them of their political views. In my opinion many cannot stand this pressure, maybe because of the fact they are young, and they join political parties too early to consider problems within broader contexts. Young politicians should be careful to stay true to themselves and remember the reason why
they entered politics. Those reasons could be that they are disappointed or dissatisfied with decisions and want to try to improve things. They should beware not to be too keen to please senior politicians to benefit their career, but should uphold their core beliefs when in office. So what sort of young conservative person is ideally suited to political leadership? Their values, beliefs and character are crucial in this respect. To my mind, it should be a person with their own opinions; a strong sense for solving problems; a good speaker; charisma; and something more. It should be a person who is able to express his or her opinion even where the electorate or audience will not support them. Of course, a leader has to be sure about their own opinions and must also be able to explain them in a manner that everybody understands. In my opinion, a conservative leader has to be pragmatic, a specialist in his or her sphere of interest and be able to defend a point of view in every situation. Arguments and numbers are the best instruments for the fight against populism and deceit. A leader without command of the facts cannot lead effectively, because it is hard to take their arguments as well-informed and credible. Leadership is different from popularity and populist rabble-rousing, and the two are not compatible. Leaders should not abuse their positions, nor act as demagogues who lie and abuse others. Leaders should not pursue their career merely for fame or power. These practises are
unfortunately all to frequent in today’s world. Many leaders offer only words and populism, and those who do so lead their countries or corporations to failure and crisis. A leader must take responsibility for solving problems, to reach the result which will profit not only him or her but the whole of society. Unfortunately, the difference between a leader and a populist can be slim. It is important for leaders to maintain their opinions and character in the face of adversity. There is nothing easier than to captivate people with populist rhetoric, tell people only what they want to here, and thus abuse a difficult situation. In my opinion, there are a number of essential qualities a young conservative leader must possess. Without veering toward populism, a leader must have a strong belief in his or herself. Conservative leaders increasingly need to work across borders, both within our cultural sphere and beyond. I feel that not only Europe but the world needs conservative leaders who will defend traditional values. The world currently needs those values in these unpredictable and disturbing times. Mohandas Gandhi once defined things that he believed would destroy us: politics without law; pleasure without conscience; fortune without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; and faith without sacrifice. To my mind, he was defining the state of a society without committed and diligent conservative leadership.
Rethinking European Democrat Students
theme European Democrat Students has a long and proud history. Several of today’s major European political players were EDS delegates in their youth. Some of the defining moments over the past five decades of the history of our continent have featured EDS as a vital player, particularly the fight to spread democracy eastwards, behind what Churchill described so eloquently as the Iron Curtain. Rightly, EDS is held in high esteem for its past actions. Its role as Europe’s answer to Africa’s youth freedom fighting organisations was hard earned. For the ANC in South Africa, read EDS in Poland, East Germany and Hungary. However, does this worthy analogy continue to be accurate in a modern sense? I attended my first EDS event just over four and a half years ago, at a wine tasting event in Budapest, before representing the Conservative & Unionist Party as a YCEG observer in the CF delegation at the 2008 Summer University in Malta. By my reckoning, that makes me one of the oldest hands in the current generation of EDS delegates. Deciding to step back from EDS following this year’s S U has allowed me to look back over my time in the organisation and offer my thoughts on how it has performed during my time with it. Four and a half years is a long time in student politics. As an EDS delegate, I have known four different Chairmen and dozens of Vice-Chairmen, Directors and Working Group CoChairmen. Individuals come and go from authority with regularity. This is both a positive and a negative: bureaus rarely have the opportunity to grow stale, but it is not an easy task to build a coherent political agenda. Student political organisations will always experience a high turnover
of members. In EDS, this has manifested itself most obviously in the number and quality of Vice-Chairman candidates in recent years. In 2011 we had eight candidates for eight seats. This year saw nine individuals stand, but only seven elected – rightly or wrongly the voting member organisations considered the candidates list to be lacking in quality, as well as quantity. In some organisations, the issue can be remedied by gentle encouragement for suitable members to put themselves forward for election – women especially are less likely to throw their hat into the ring unasked. But the problem runs deeper in EDS. Draw up a list of delegates you think would make good Vice-Chairmen. Now remove all those that share a nationality with an incumbent bureau member and are thus ineligible. Then cross off all those who have previously served two terms, the constitutional limit. How many names are you left with? I’d wager not more than two or three. Let’s return to the earlier analogy of EDS being akin to the ANC, South Africa’s premiere freedom-fighting group cum all-powerful governing party. The ANC was founded with a purpose: to rid South Africa of white government and apartheid. This worthy cause united disparate groups, and by the mid-1990s the cause had been won and the ANC earned an overwhelming majority in the country’s first free elections, a position it has maintained ever since. Yet the ANC is rarely described in glowing terms these days. Why? We’ll ignore, for the purpose of this article, the corruption and numerous other unsavoury activities. The key issue is poor political performance. As an organisation, the ANC has no direction. The common cause that served to bind its members together has gone, and now only the lure of power prevents the ANC from fracturing. Beyond that, a political party that contains communists, capitalists, liberals, socialists, conservatives, nationalists and any other political view you care to mention cannot possibly pursue a cogent agenda for government. Now I’m not saying that EDS is in exactly the same position as the ANC, but there are parallels. In its early days EDS fought the common enemy of communism, but European communism has almost vanished from most of the continent. Next came embracing the new democracies of the East, then our modern Islamic neighbours. EDS now, though, is rather like the boxing champion after his last great bout: popular and fêted,
but silently asking himself “what now?” This is not blame to be laid at the door of previous Chairmen or their bureaus, but rather it is a question we all need to address. What is EDS’ cause, its direction, its raison d’etre? I ask because I genuinely don’t know, and I don’t think anybody in EDS does. Are we propagating EPP views and values? Are we the voice of centre-right students? Are we continuing our heritage and campaigning loudly for human rights causes? EDS has seen great improvements to its working practises during my time as a delegate. Focus on internal matters has seen solutions provided to sticky questions of subscription costs, voting rights, and eastward expansion. These issues bogged EDS down and needed to be resolved, but has years of internal focus led to a loss of external direction and purpose? Some of EDS’ greatest challenges go handin-hand with its strengths. It brings together young people from right across the continent, from the United Kingdom to Georgia, from Italy to Finland and most states in between. This political and cultural mix produces fiction, yes, but also great energy. We are young, we are bright, we are optimists and idealists. We have so much potential. EDS campaigns have been a tremendous success in the past. Recent campaigns have mostly been worthy causes, but successes? Arguably not, as they don’t filter down to the national level. Because we as delegates don’t really understand – or agree on – what EDS is for, we can’t take that message back home. This means that EDS operates almost within a bubble. Its focus on the European stage means often the national foundations are forgotten. EDS often proudly boasts that it represents some 1.5 million members. I would say the figure is closer to one or two hundred. That would certainly explain the problems of quality and quantity of candidates for election. Why not try to tap into the talents and ambitions of those 1.4998 million others? My humble suggestion is this. Forget what has gone before, and all those pre-conceived notions of what EDS has been in the past. Start again. Ask yourselves: “What place does EDS have on the modern European stage?” Ask not as individuals, nor in twos and threes, nor even as national groups, but as the vast pan-European movement we are... what does Europe need EDS to be?
COMBATING HOMELESSNESS Ivan Burazin
The story of SO HSS (Student Organisation of the Croatian Peasants’ Party) working with homeless people begins in March 2009, when the organisation was reorganised. Student standards, promotion of human rights, and centre-right Christian values became our fields of interest. As Christians, we could not accept the fact that in these modern times there is a large amount of homeless and socially vulnerable people living in a city with a population of 250,000. Our first step was to raise awareness of this issue, so we started to organise student parties where we talked to people and introduced them to the topic. Through these parties we spread the word across the student population and our first goal was achieved. After that, we contacted NGOs working in this field and we accomplished an excellent cooperative relationship with one organisation named MOST. They introduced us to the main obstacles they face in their everyday work and told us how we could contribute to overcome them. The first things that needed to be changed were the beds in the shelters, which were more than ten years old. We raised money through our parties and we bought the beds, as well as some supplies. Since our parties were well attended, we made a deal with NGOs to contact us every two months and give us a perspective on what they need, so that we could help to provide it. This cooperation was very successful and eventually we became interesting to the media, which resulted in a higher level of public interest. People started to contact us and were interested in how they could contribute. With time we started to collect food and clothes, and after a couple of successful donations we started to organise public kitchens. Soon we received the first public recognition of our work – we were the only political organisation to receive an award on the anniversary of opening the shelter.
We have continued with the activities, public kitchens and parties but we knew that helping and raising awareness is not the final solution, so we decided to encourage a public discussion on this topic. In this we included: NGOs; professors of sociology, economic and law; the Red Cross; the Ministry of Social Care, and representatives of the city. The conclusion was that the main problem was a legislative one, namely a social care law that defines a homeless person the wrong way. The discussion was well presented in the media and we became publicly recognised as fighters against poverty and as politicians who care about homeless people and related issues, and we continued organising parties and educating people. SO HSS became a common participant in round table discussions on this topic; we were guests on a couple of TV shows and were included in many discussions. As time went by, we received a reward on the 5th International Volunteers’ Day for the huge contribution we had made to the fight against poverty, and we were again the only political organisation to receive such recognition. This motivated us to include more people and to expand our sphere of activity. At this point we are working on a project, the main goal of which is to educate homeless people for working in agriculture. In cooperation between the state and private landowners who do not work on their fields, homeless people would grow produce which they could sell on markets. We strongly believe our Christian values will continue to guide us to much bigger actions, with even greater results.
theme Alexandra Gazashvili
YOUTH ENGAGEMENT with Politics
The most important part of any society is its youth. It is in youth’s hands that the future rests, under whose charge all changes to come will occur. In short, we are the future. For this reason, more than any other, it is vital that every country has an active and engaged youth. Does this extend to politics? Is it really necessary for young people to be involved in politics too? Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide. Before you do though, you should give it careful thought. There is a big difference between what young people think they’re ready to do and what they can actually do. Young people lack one of the most important things that a real politician needs: experience. There are only two qualities that adolescents can show to make up for their lack of experience – new ides (those that are needed to change the “old rules”) and immense energy. Politicians, who have been in the dirty game for decades, quite often simply don’t have the energy to do as their experience suggests. They have reached their goals in life and feel they don’t need to achieve anything new in politics. Sometimes, they just don’t care anymore. Many adults underestimate the power of youth. Parents often try to prevent their children from entering the ‘dirty’ business of politics, while others argue that we don’t have sufficient experience and so on. Nonetheless, throughout history there have been many examples of young people playing a positive and key role in politics. For example, there is Joan of Arc. At the age of just 17 she rallied the people of France and led them to victory over the English at Orléans, turning the tide of the Hundred Years’ War and helping to create a new sense of nationhood amongst the French people. Or consider David IV of Georgia, known as ‘the Builder’, who became King of Kings of Georgia when he was just 16. In 1121 he led his people to victory at Didgori and drove the Seljuk Turks out of Georgia. His reforms of the army and administration enabled him to reunite his country and bring most of the Caucasus under Georgian control. On the other hand, history provides plenty of examples of less successful young leaders. Edward II was crowned King of England in 1307 at the age of 23. His reign was marked by conflict
with England’s barons and the reversal of his father’s military gains in Scotland. The disproportionate gifts and influence he bestowed to his favourites alienated many of his countrymen and few came to his aid when he was deposed by his wife, Isabella of France, in 1327 and murdered shortly thereafter. Meanwhile, Louis XV became King of France at the tender age of five. While initially popular, his extra-marital affairs damaged the perception of the French monarchy whilst defeat in the Seven Years’ War saw the loss of France’s North American possessions to Great Britain. History shows that young people can excel in positions of political responsibility and should be given a chance to do so. Nonetheless, their relative lack of experience means it is vital for them to have someone experienced and trustworthy to act as a mentor whilst they learn and develop. What about less important decisions? Can young people take part in different political activities without risking harm? The answer, of course, is no. A good example of this is the Young Student Organisation Graali in Georgia. YSO Graali is an affiliate of Georgia’s National-Democratic Party, uniting both young politicians and students. The core values of this institution are to empower civil activity, implement democratic
values, and support national traditions. Both YSO Graali and the Young National Democrats are involved in “Democracy Starts with You”, a project organised by the Conrad Adenauer Foundation. With IRI support the institution runs the project “Democracy Discussions”, the participants of which are students, young politicians and representatives of non-governmental organisations. Internationally, YSO Gralli’s main objective is to encourage young people to get involved in Georgia’s European integration process. YSO Graali also offers many interesting opportunities for young people to deepen their knowledge of current political and social situations in their country. It gives us a chance to take part in the search for solutions to the various problems that exist in Georgia today. Activities offered by organisations such as YSO Graali help to encourage people to understand from a young age that they are responsible for their country, and how they can change it. This is exactly what we need. In conclusion, I’d like to say that no matter what someone’s age is, if an idea is right it should be considered on its merits and accepted. Giving young people a chance to feel and act like an adult is a very important decision for adults to make, and it is important that they get it right.
THE CHALLENGE FACING YOUTH POLITICS Henry Hill
in the 21st Century Over the course of the 12st Century, it seems inevitable that politics will change substantially. The political divisions and parties (if the latter even exist) of 2112 will probably see us as being as different from themselves as we see the politics of pre-War Europe in 1912. These changes will not be uniform. For example, in America they face the problem of ‘polarisation’ – where people are coming more and more to identify with one party or the other, leaving less and less in the centre ground. This conflict is extending beyond politics to the socalled ‘culture war’, and the increasing division of American society is beginning to resembled the ‘pillarisation’ (or verzuiling) of Dutch society before World War II. Here in the UK, we lack America’s energetic political culture and have the opposite problem: fewer and fewer people are identifying with the major political parties, and there has been a massive fall in party membership – including youth membership. As a result, British parties have mutated (in reality if not technically) from mass-membership organisations to being increasingly professionalised and managerial. For example, at the conferences of the UK’s two main parties (the Conservative & Unionists and Labour) there is no longer a mechanism by which delegates can have debates and vote
on policies. More recently, local associations have lost control over selecting candidates for general elections, who must now first gain central approval. Understandably, the decline in membership has only sharpened as the privileges, opportunities and responsibilities of party membership are taken away and fewer people see the point in getting involved, especially paying to get involved. When this happens to a political party, it will happen to its youth movement too, for the latter is in many instances a reflection on the former. I want to use the example of the British Conservative youth movement to highlight to European parties the challenges facing youth movements in the 21st Century. I have been involved in youth politics ever since I first went to the University of Manchester in 2008.l There, I signed up to the Conservative & Unionist Party and became enrolled in its flagship youth
group, Conservative Future. Since then I have been quite heavily involved in ‘CF’, as it is known. I was elected to the council of my student union as a ‘Conservative and Free Trade’ candidate, the first conservative to be elected in years, and later went on to chair the organisation across the Greater Manchester area. I have also assisted others running for election and been a candidate in the city council elections. Over the last four years I have experienced a lot of how the Conservative Party runs its youth movement, and how the other major parties – Labour and the Liberal Democrats – run theirs. Additionally, since several rightwing members of CF defected to the youth wing of the anti-EU UK Independence Party, they have provided a third point of comparison. Much like the main party, CF has big problems with membership engagement and empowerment. Nothing illustrates this better than the turnout in the CF national executive elections. The organisation claims a membership of 18,000 people, yet last time the National Chairman was elected with only 369 votes, even with online voting. Why does such a huge organisation have such appalling turnout when electing its national leadership? First, it is worth taking a second look at those membership numbers. Although it claims to be the largest national youth political organisation in the European Union, in reality CF is an umbrella organisation for all members of the Conservatives from the ages of 16 to 30. Following our crushing defeat in the 1997 general election, our leader merged the three branches of the youth movement, which
theme were the Young Conservatives, the Conservative Collegiate Forum (for students) and the Conservative Graduates. As a result, a lot of people who are technically members of CF aren’t active in the organisation and do not actually identify as part of ‘youth’ politics anymore at all. Setting that aside, one major consequence of this merger is that CF lacks focus. It is not a strictly student organisation, so it does not focus on student union elections and the National Union of Students as the Collegiate Forum and its predecessors did. It isn’t strictly for school pupils and under-18s, so they are rarely well-represented in its leadership and things like the Youth Parliament are under-explored. It isn’t really for graduates, so it doesn’t provide the full array of networking and peer-meeting opportunities that political young professionals might expect. This must be particularly frustrating for younger members of the organisation. Whilst everybody involved in the party wants to help it win councillors, members of parliament and so forth, young people especially tend to be attracted to politics by other things: the lure of new ideas and debates and the excitement that comes from that first taste of political combat. Due to the demands of leading such a large organisation, most of the leadership tend to be young professionals and others who are no longer students, many of whom have their eyes on the next rung of the political ladder and have no wish to rock the boat. As a result of this lack of focus, Conservative Future’s activities are largely confined to socialising and campaigning for the party in local and national elections. There is little room either for genuine political debate or the thrill of the political game, both of which are avoided or even looked down upon by the somewhat technocratic leadership. This demonstrates that ‘focus’ is vital for a successful youth group. Any such organisation must be targeted towards a certain group of people and focus
on delivering the sort of experience that might tempt those people into political activity in an era when such activity is becoming less and less popular. Without these elements, it is easier to understand why engagement between CF and young people, even young conservatives, remains fairly low. While socials are good, they do not encourage deep commitment by themselves as people can always socialise elsewhere. Whilst a small proportion of the membership is happy to function as free leaflet deliverers, it is hard to see why a wide range of young people would choose to do so without other, more appealing activities to lure them in. As a result, there are several other youth organisations muscling in on CF’s political territory. Within the party, groups like the pro-European YCEG, the centrist Young Tory Reform Group and the libertarian Young Conservative Reform Group are attracting – and thus distracting – ideologically-inclined members, whilst the independent Young Britons Foundation and Young Independence (the UKIP youth wing) strongly appeal to the increasingly frustrated right-wingers. In short, CF has mirrored the adult party and fails to offer much that a motivated, intelligent, politically-aware and politically aware young person finds attractive about politics. If politics can be described as involving hard work, camaraderie, ideas and the tactical/strategic fun of elections and political activity, CF only provides the first two. How did the once-mighty British young Conservative movement end up in this state? A similar question could be asked about the whole party, and the answer lies in a failure to reconcile an honest, dynamic and internally democratic political organisation with the pressures of the 24-hour news cycle. Back in the 1980s, the Conservative youth movement was called the Federation of Conservative Students, or FCS. This was almost the antithesis of the modern CF – it was strongly activist and ideologically charged, and ran a sustained and sometimes effective anti-NUS campaign. The problem was that, as the media became ever faster to respond to party activity, the excesses of the youth group started to attract attention. Champagne-drenched balls on the one hand, and a small
handful of ultra-rightists in anti-Mandela tshirts on the other, reflected very badly on the party and turned the FCS into a public relations liability. Eventually, it was shut down, and its successor organisations have never matched its energy or political liberty. This failure to adapt a traditional, democratic and member-led model of political organisation to the rigours of the modern media is the key to party decline in the UK. A major party cannot – or at least will not – permit an open and vigorous exchange of views lest somebody say or do something that will embarrass the party in the press. People thus have less reason to join and membership contracts to the politically committed, who are less likely to be in tune with the public than a larger membership and can thus be entrusted with even less freedom. In an attempt to make a virtue of this apparent necessity, the culture inside much of CF has become deliberately indifferent to the things that inspired FCS. Non-involvement in student politics has become a point of pride for some, whilst most of those who aspire to lead the organisation adopt a managerial stance that looks down on ideological activity. The net result is that, despite an impressive paper membership, the Conservative youth movement is becoming a shadow of its former self. While socialising remains important to members, the days when the Young Conservatives were one of Britain’s pre-eminent social organisations are long gone; and where once FCS fought hard to elect Conservatives to positions of responsibility in student society, now such activity is abandoned or frowned upon. Does this matter? Do modern parties of the right really need potentially-troubling youth movements? Again, I think Britain proves they do. In my country youth representation is entirely dominated by the left. When the government tries to tackle youth issues, such as tuition fees, school funding and the looming demographic crisis – there are no conservative voices amongst the students for the media and public to hear, and the perception that the centre-right is somehow ‘anti-youth’ is allowed to continue. That’s why the right needs a strong youth movement. But i youth organisation should be more than a way by which adult politicians find free workers. Part of a strong youth movement is the freedom to debate ideas and policies, and the fun and training of student political campaigning. How a party balances these essential freedoms with the rigours of the 21st Century media will dictate how successful its attempts to recruit the next generation will be.
EDS Events Anna Tamási,
e” c a e P r o f Synonym
On August 28th 2012, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary to Prof. Dr Bernhard Vogel, former Minister-President of Germany’s Rhein-Pfalz and Thuringen and Honorary Chairman of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. After the ceremony, the German politician delivered a speech at the Andrássy University to the event “Germany, Hungary and Europe”. In recognition of his special contributions to German-Hungarian relations, especially during the initial period of transition, and in recognition of his deep friendship with former Prime Minister József Antall (who died in 1993), Prof. Vogel was awarded the Antall Memorial Medal by the Antall Knowledge Centre at the Corvinus University of Budapest, which was presented to him in the presence of university leaders by Mr Antall’s widow, Mrs Klára Antall. In recognition of his extraordinary efforts towards Hungarian integration, the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary was awaded to Prof. Vogel by the Hungarian Head of State. The ceremony was held in the Parliament Building, where the Minister of Human Resources, Zoltán Balog, said that through this award Hungary recognised Vogel’s multi-faceted work for Hungary and in cultivating German-Hungarian relations through the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. After receiving his award, Prof. Vogel emphasised in his speech that wherever he goes, he will draw attention to Hungary, a ‘pearl’ amongst European nations. His people would never forget what Hungary did for Germany in 1989 and the following years. The closing of the programme was held at the Andrássy University where the Honorary Chairman delivered a speech in front of more than
tion’s Profe ner Founda
. d in Hungary
re ogel honou Bernhard V
200 guests with the topic “Germany, Hungary and Europe”. Professor Vogel described the role of Hungary in the transition to democracy and referred to Hungary’s roots as a deeply European country. He called Europe a synonym for peace and emphasised that European countries’ freedom depends on their joint efforts in responding to global challenges. Vogel added that Germany is willing to help Hungary and Central Europe, and that in the future every European country had to function in the spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity. He claimed that everyone has their own job but must not hesitate to help one another and work for Europe, and that we must have a clear idea of where we have come from and where we are going before we will be able to make the right decisions. During this event, Minister Balog, who is also President of the Foundation for a Civic Hungary, also addressed the audience. He emphasised that the biggest problems of Europe are indebtedness and competitiveness. In this context he also said that Hungary has performed well, reducing the budget deficit whilst implementing structural changes. Those measures that Hungary used as an answer to European challenges are being followed by an increasing number of European countries. Mr Balog said
the democratic deficit should be addressed by increasing the legitimacy of EU institutions, rather than falling back on the legitimacy of the member states, and that the Union should make an effort to maintain its citizens’ confidence in Brussels. He welcomed the fact that attention has now turned away from ideological debates towards European questions and economic recovery. In his closing remarks he also reiterated the unswerving commitment of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) to Hungary. Professor Vogel also announced that the Head of the KAS office in Hungary will be Frank Spengler, who personally requested to continue his work in the country. After a reflection on his six years of activity in Hungary, minister ret. and outgoing KAS representative Hans Kaiser received a statue in recognition for his work from Zoltán Balog in the name of the Foundation for a Civic Hungary. The closing remarks were held by the incoming resident representative, Frank Spengler. We, the European Democrat Students, would hereby like to thank Mr Kaiser and the KAS for their support in the past and wish Mr Spengler every success in his future work. EDS was represented at this event by Vice-Chairman Anna Tamási.
Aarlborg University Aija KoniĹĄevska
In 2011, Aalborg University (AAU) were placed 362 amongst the 18,000 universities of the world by the QS World University Rankings. More than that, in Engineering and Technology AAU is in the top 200 at number 198. Finally, in the times Higher Education list of the worldâ€™s best young universities it is number 67. So how has a young university achiever so high a rank in so short a period, and continued to improve the results every year by approximately 100 places?
uniVersities Aalborg is the third largest city in Denmark, with over 200,000 inhabitants. Nowadays it is a city that relies mainly on service industries, trade and knowledge institutions. Aalborg University had the main role in leading the establishment of a number of contact committees with cultural institutions, trade unions, the business community, public authorities and other educational institutions. In 2000 Aalborg University’s Contact Council replaced contact committees, and as a result dialogue with the business world, public authorities and other organisations were expanded. HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT The foundations of AAU were laid in 1974 under the name of Aalborg University Centre (AUC), which was changed to Aalborg University in 1994. Today it has over 18,000 enrolled students and campuses in Aalborg, Esbjerg and Copenhagen. The University is located on the main campus in the eastern part of Aalborg, but it also has departments in downtown. In the previous year, Aalborg University experienced the largest increase in applicants in Denmark, and the number of new students increased by 27%. Additionally it has one of the highest graduation rates and shortest completion time in the country (Bachelor and Masters programme takes 5.1 years as opposed to 6.5) and a low dropout rate. There are four faculties: Humanities, Social Sciences, Engineering & Science and Medicine, which offer 120 study programmes and fields for specialisation.
Aalborg University is the only one in Denmark that is a member of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU). Universities in ECIU have strong contacts to industry and regional institutions. That is why the university pays a lot of attention to: developing and implementing new learning styles and research methods; experimenting with new management styles; nurturing internationally inclined staff; and offering quality teaching with a European perspective. THE AALBORG PBL MODEL Study programmes are based on Aalborg University’s own internationally renowned model for problem-based project-organised learning in close interplay with the surrounding society and business community, the Aalborg PBL model. The AAU form of study includes problem-based group work, which is centred around projects focusing on real-life problems. Solutions are often founded in cooperation with the business world, and several other teaching methods are used to ensure maximum knowledge acquisition. These include seminars, lectures, courses, exercises and laboratory work. This provides the unique competence and experience in teamwork and analytical and result-oriented working which is highly valued by employers. The results of the project are described in a report, in which many business enterprises and other employers point out that this model of learning is essential in maintaining AAU’s strong position relative to other universities.
versity and business worlds lead to the establishment of AAU Matchmaking. This includes a network of strong matchmakers who provide guidance about cooperation options and assist with finding the best researchers and students for facilities or their own departments. They also assist cooperation between students and business on projects and internships. RESEARCH The university has four doctoral schools, one in each faculty. The research production is distributed in Danish universities’ shared research publication platform, PURE, and also internationally. The goal of a high number of international students taking academic PhDs is achieved by ensuring the importance, availability and usefulness of the research to as many people as possible. AAU is amongst the world’s leading universities in research into health technology, wireless communication of energy, computer science, innovative economics and comparative welfare studies. Moreover, it has established telecommunication centres at the Birla Institute of Technology in India, Bandung Institute of Technology in Indonesia and the University of Rome. In addition, a research centre into health technology has been established at the Xi’an Jiaotong University in China. Maintaining the balance between Danish and international scientific research is one of the AAU’s main goals.
AAU MATCHMAKING The understanding of the importance of transferring knowledge between the uni-
Meet the New EDS Bureau
European Democrat Students elected a new bureau for the coming year at the last Summer University in Sopron, Hungary. Juraj ANTAL (ODM Slovakia) is our Chairman for another year. He will lead a team of seven Vice-Chairmen, two Directors and one Secretary-General. Chairman ANTAL’S activities are mainly to organise EDS’ various activities, to represent EDS and to maintain EDS’ connexions with organisations and decision-makers.
Ann-Soﬁe PAUWELYN (CDS Belgium) is the new Secretary-General. She assists the Chairman and the whole Bureau in its day-to-day work.
Stelios GEORGIOU (FPK Protoporia Cyprus) is in charge of statutory questions and fundraising. He is also responsible for helping the three diﬀerent working groups in their activities, providing them with training and support when needed.
Ingrid HOPP (HSF Norway) was already ViceChairman last year and is responsible for communications and external representation. She communicates daily on EDS actions and views, in particular using social media. With Vice-Chairman MAJEWSKI and POMMIER she represents EDS at diﬀerent events to make our voice heard.
Eva MAJEWSKI (RCDS Germany) is responsible for membership questions. Moreover she is participating actively in the work of EDS this year.
Amélie POMMIER (UNIMET France) works on the campaigns and promotion of EDS. She is also in charge of EDS publications, which comprise mostly of BullsEye magazine and the EDS monthly newsletter. She will also develop other types of publication for EDS.
Gintarė NARKEVICIUTE (JKL Lithuania) is another experienced bureau member. This year she is building the programme of EDS work. She also helps Vice-Chairmen MAJEWSKI and NOVAKOV with EDS policies.
Andrey NOVAKOV (MGERB Bulgaria) is in charge of output and input strategies. He makes the policy work stronger through increased research activity.
Anna TAMÁSI (Fidesz Hungary) supervises all EDS events this year. She helps local organisers and is responsible for raising the standard of events. She also has the responsibility for EDS alumni in order to maintain good links with part members who will always be our representatives.
Anna MASNA and Avram CRISAN are both Directors. Anna is in charge of European integration and helps EDS to get in touch with other organisations. Avram is Policy Director and assists the policy team.
Dace SPELMANE is Deputy Secretary General for her second year. She is EDS’ only employee, based in Brussels. She assists the Bureau in its day-to-day management.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE
Never Forget the Council of Europe “All religions can live together without hatred, respecting beliefs of each, to build together a free and humane society.” So said the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), and member of the French National Assembly JeanClaude Mignon, as he called for calm, mutual respect and dialogue in the Middle East. “We follow with great concern the violent protests that have flared up across the Middle East, triggered by the circulation of an Islamophobic film, and we wish to support and spread Pope Benedict XVI’s call for renewed Muslim-Christian cooperation in the Middle East; we underline that all religions can live together without hatred, respecting the beliefs of each, to build together a free and humane society”, said Mignon and his predecessor Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, former PACE President and member of the Turkish delegation to the PACE. Last year, following a debate which brought together leading religious figures from across the continent to discuss the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue, the Council of Europe called for Europe’s religious leaders to help create “a new culture of living together”. They made this call based on assertion of the Council of Europe’s basic principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. PACE went on to call on Europe’s governments to set up a new “platform for dialogue” where high-level representatives of Europe’s main religious institutions – in particular Christian, Jewish and Muslim ones – could meet, together
with humanist and non-religious organisations, to discuss how best to promote “the values of that make up the common core of any democratic society”. Very admirable words. However, they went widely unreported. The Council of Europe is probably Europe’s most misunderstood organisation. It never ceases to amaze how often people confuse it with either the European Council or the Council of the European Union (Consilium), even those who work in European politics. It was not always thus. The Council of Europe played a vital role in the integration of the former Eastern Bloc into democratic Europe. When the European Union was still a small western club, the Council alone represented much of the continent, providing the only place where the likes of Romania, Czechoslovakia and Serbia sat together with Sweden, France and Germany as equals. This state of affairs came to an end though as the former Communist states turned their attentions to EU membership, which became the yardstick by which a country was judged to have arrived on the modern democratic European scene. The Council of Europe sank into relative obscurity. It still boasted Russia as a member, which the EU clearly did and does not, but the rather timid way the Council sought a peaceful solution to the bloody conflict in Chechnya at the turn of the century rendered this fact moot. In-
creasingly, Council of Europe members openly flouted the organisations democratic principles, and the credibility of Europe’s largest institution was undermined. We live in a time when the European public is questioning the legitimacy of EU institutions and the benefits of closer integration like never before. As voters and business tire of the ongoing financial crisis, and budget cuts start to deepen, it is again becoming attractive to turn our attention to an institution such as the Council of Europe, which has always put democracy and human rights, rather than economics and regulation, at the forefront of its activities. Its simpler, more fluid framework when compared to the bloated European Union, which previously worked against it, now means the Council is unencumbered by the wrangling and infighting afflicting its better-known sister institution. Whilst the Council has issued firm statements on the ongoing problems in the Middle East, institutions such as the EU and UN have been toothless, unable to agree on a unified position. Perhaps then, the Council of Europe has again found its niche, its raison d’etre. It has a legally binding Human Rights Convention, which even the European Union is working towards becoming a signatory of. It alone succeeds in bringing together a continent that throughout history has fought bitter wars. It is not the poor relation to the younger, brasher European Union; indeed, at this moment I struggle to think of another international organisation that garners as much respect as the Council of Europe. We are so often guilty, even within EDS, of referring only to the European Union when we say the word “Europe”. Pro- and anti-European are judged on their opinions towards the Brussels machine, not the continent itself. It is time for us to remember that Europe is a continent of close to 50 states, not 27, and take some time to recognise an outfit of which we can all be justly proud. Ladies and gentlemen, the Council of Europe!
Living Together in Diverse Societies A Youth Approach to the Intercultural Dialogue with the Roma Minority 4-9 December 2012, Trnava, Slovakia
BullsEye is the official magazin of the European Democrat Students. It is published 4 times a year.