BullsEye Sep’13 / 52nd year / No. 53 / ISSN 2033-7809
The newsmagazine of European Democrat Students
Croatia’s Case for the Union
Henry Hill, Editor-in-chief
Hello, and welcome to the first BullsEye of the 2013/14 EDS Bureau. I’m very pleased to have been welcomed back by the new regime for another year as editor of this magazine, and I hope that we shall build on our successes over the last year to make this next round of issues the best yet. As we move into the second half of the year, new questions continue to arise about the nature and viability of the European project. The economic strains remain, and tensions between member states with very different economies remain a key stumbling block to further integration. But the challenges are not just economic: the collapse of Syria into civil war poses hard questions about what the architects of a united Europe want our place in the world to be. Can we continue to purport to be a major global player if we leave it to a tiny handful of member states to maintain viable armed forces, and continue to pretend that Europe is somehow ‘beyond’ the need for a strong, globally active military presence? Those are big questions, and if you think you have something to contribute to the hunt for the answers then I hope you will consider joining the BullsEye editorial team of contributors. Whether you’re interested in a career in journalism or public affairs, or just want to have your say, this magazine is a great opportunity to get some writing experience and see your name in print. So what’s in our first issue? A wide variety of topics, as ever. We have articles on human rights abuses in Russia and Belarus, Croatia’s accession to the Union, Russian spies captured in Germany, cyber-crime and more, while in the Opinion section we have a call for a pan-European abortion law and I suggest that the European People’s Party – and all European parties – should contest future European elections under their own name. Disagree? Then send me an article saying why. This year should be an exciting one for BullsEye, for EDS, and for Europe, and if you’ve got something to say to young rightwing Europeans from across the continent, this magazine is a good place to do it. Please, enjoy the issue.
Current Affairs 04 Human Rights in Turkey 05 Socialist Misgovernment in Bulgaria 06 Spy Games in Germany 07 Immigration and Asylum in
the border States 08 Czech Republic: Crisis and the Left
Theme 09 Croatia’s Case for the Union
Bullseye on 10 EDS must oppose Russian censorship
Reports 14 Turkish Accession to the Union 16 Cyber Hygiene gives more Cyber Security 17 Resistance and Repression in Belarus 18 Young Politicians - We ask the questions
Vít Voseček, EDS Vice Chairman
Dear readers, I would like to welcome you in new working year 2013/2014. Right now, you are holding a brand-new BullsEye, with new editorial team to match. I would like to thank all contributors, former and continuing editor Henry Hill and of course, I almost forgot, thanks to our designer Uroš Podgorelec. To start, I want offer you to join our editorial team, because we still need more contributors. It is very hard to get articles together when you have small team. What are the articles about? Most are focused on the actual problems in EU, and opportunities for young people. In BE you can find very interesting article about the very difficult situation in the Czech Republic. Some of you may remember a very interesting speech about online studying at the Summer U, so you can read more in article from Silvie Rohr. There is of course the article about LGBT in Russia, thanks to Christopher, because its very hot topic now. Of course, there is many more interesting articles than what I just listed. I will be happy if you will like new BE with new editorial team. And remember, you are always welcome in our team.
20 MOOCs: A revolution in learning? 21 Jobs, not social programmes
Universities 22 Constantine the Philosopher University
Events 24 EDS Summer University
Council of Europe 26 The Union We Wanted:
A UK perspective on the Council of Europe
Bureau 27 Bureau
ISSN: Print: 2033-7809, Online: 2033-7817 Editor-in-chief: Henry Hill, Editorial team: Silvie Rohr, Stephanie Mayrhofer, Elisabeta Ungureanu, Henry Hill, David Vaculik, Annette Thoresen, Contributions: Christoffer Aav, Ivan Burazin, Eva Majewski, Krizstina Csillag, Henry Hill, Teele Holmberg, Dimitar Keranov, Konstantinos Kyranakis, Filippa Maria Nilsson, Andrey Novakov, Silvie Rohr, Vasilis Sakellaris, Simon Schofield, Ivan Shyla, Anette Thoresen, Elisabeta Ungureanu, David Vaculik, Photos: Balázs Szecsődi, European Commission archives, KAS archives, private archives, Shutterstock, Design: Creacion.si, Publisher: European Democrat Students, B-1000 Brussels, Rue du Commerce 10, Tel: +32 2 2854-150, Fax: +32 2 2854-141, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: edsnet.eu
The newsmagazine of European Democrat Students
Articles and opinions published in this magazine are not nessessarily reflecting the position of EDS, EDS Bureau or the Editorial team.
Publication supported by: European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe
Dear friends of EDS! While Brussels is getting into shape and stretching itself to gear up for the next European Parliamentary elections, we as EDS are already here: welcome to the our first Council Meeting and Seminar of the working year 2013 / 2014! During our days in Brussels and Ghent with the topic “Dialogue of Cultures in Politics”, we will examine how different cultures impact the process of European unification. What unites all of us Europeans despite the differences arising from different cultural backgrounds? How do structures in political parties picture the differences in society? And how has the dialogue of cultures contributed to the Europe we live in today – and how should it impact the Europe we want to live in in the future? Has it contributed to the process of integration or can culture be too much of a dividend on our continent? We will draw careful conclusions about all the interaction between different cultures, dialogue among them and with politics to approach society even better in the context of elections. It will depend on us to campaign at universities across Europe so that the percentage of young Europeans participating in elections will increase! It is necessary to join our forces and reach out: never have youth and education been that high up on the political agenda in countries all across Europe. We must use this momentum to make sure that policies introduced to support the young generation actually do so, that they bear the minimum amount of moral hazard, and most importantly do not patronize our generation but enable us. This is all about developing talents, offering fair access to education and a smart framework we can move within. It is not about more and yet more exceptions that make Europe more complicated than it already is. We must be bold and speak up, so that our voices are being heard and will be taken into account.
During this working year, it is therefore the aim of the entire team that we form as the executive bureau to connect more effectively. We try to be the student voice within Brussels more than ever before. We reach out, connect with politicians and our alumni, some of which holding key positions in the European institutions. But we also want to be out there, lobby for youth involvement in politics and support our candidates. We must convince with striking policies, up-to-date statements and by pointing out issues that concern us students. We therefore called for a Press Officer, Virgilio Falco from StudiCentro Italy, who will support us in the communication with media. He will also help us in making sure our policies are up to date and that we are well informed about what is going on related to educational policies within the Commission and the Council. We use Brussels more effectively as we have in the past to connect with Members of the European Parliament, participate in roundtables and liaise with all the institutions. The strong policy output will be ensured by a closer cooperation of the Executive Bureau and the Co-Chairs of the Permanent Working Groups. Where we can help develop civil societies and support the struggle for democracy, we will do so. Our rising concern regarding the developments in some of the Eastern Partnership countries has led to the implementation of an Ad-hoc working group on Eastern Partnership, which will eagerly work to ensure a pro-European development in these societies. With Russian pressure arising, we stand on their side! Join our efforts and stay tuned with BullsEye about the topics we’re discussing!
For the Executive Bureau 2013/2014,
Eva Majewski, Chairwoman
Filippa Maria Nilsson
Human Rights in Turkey Turkey has frequently been on the receiving end of criticism from many organizations, such as the Human Right Watch and Amnesty International, when it comes to their approach to the Human Rights. But in addition, both the European Union and the United Nations have requested that the government in Ankara improve its approach. Since the protests at the Taksim Square, these tensions within Turkey haves once again risen to the surface. When the protests began on the 28th of May 2013 in Istanbul, it was in response to the Turkish government’s brutal treatment of demonstrators in the Taksim Gezi Park. The demonstrators initially consisted of mostly different environmental groups who had gathered to protest against plans to build a new shopping mall in the centre of the park. When the news broke that the police had attacked the demonstrators who’d occupied the park, there was public outrage, and the size of the demonstration swelled quickly. No longer were those present demonstrating solely against the impact of the proposed development. Now, a range of voices from across the whole of the political spectrum gathered together to protest against the violent crackdown, venting their displeasure at the government and the premiership of Recep Tayip Edogan. Soon the protests spread across the whole of the country, as from Istanbul to Ankara, from Isparta to Rize, the population at large came together as one to make their voices heard. Sadly though, many had to pay a high price for their views. POLICE VIOLENCE AND QUESTIONABLE LEGALITY On 15 July, the Turkish Medical Association reported that 8,163 people across Turkey
had been injured as a result of the use of water cannons, tear gas and plastic bullets used by Turkish security services. Of these, around 63 were reported to have been seriously injured, three of them critically. In total, nine people have lost their lives as a result of the protests. Amnesty International reported that the Turkish police appeared indiscriminate in their use of tear gas, targeting anyone from the stone-throwing demonstrator to the peaceful bystander. Tear gas was also used in confined areas such as the underground metro or in buildings with closed windows and doors. This is a clear violation of the instructions from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and resulted in many reported cases of people losing their sight. According to The Turkish Medical Association, twelve people lost eyes as a result of the police use of tear gas. During the three first weeks of the demonstration, 146 people were reported missing according to the head of the Istanbul Bar Association, Ümit Kocasakaland. Out of these, nine people are still reported missing to this day. Numerous people have been reported imprisoned with minimal evidence used to convict. This might raise the issue of the legal certainty in Turkey; Human Rights Watch
reported in 2012 that Turkish prosecutors and courts unfortunately continued to use anti-terrorism legislation (which entered into force in 2007) against Kurdish political activists, students, human rights defenders, journalists and trade unionists. They also stated that there are a number of serious ongoing violations of the rights pertaining to a fair trial. In January 2013, the Human Rights commissioner of the Council of Europe (CoE) asserted in his annual report that Turkey’s long-term, systemic problems in the administration of justice have resulted in a negative impact on the human rights in the country. Even though Turkey did not directly respond to the allegations within this particular report, the relations between Europe, EU and Turkey are important for the development in Turkey according to the conclusions of a similar report published in 2012. TURKEY AND THE EU Since 1999, when Turkey received its status as an EU candidate country, the question of its record on human rights has been one of the most pressing issues, along with the question of its relations with Cyprus, the treatment of Kurdish citizens and the questions about freedom of speech. Today, Turkey has 29 pieces of legislation limiting freedom of speech. More than 50 journalists each year are prosecuted and the combined total of charges against them comes to over 700 separate offences, according to the Turkish newspaper Hürriet Daily News. The fact that Turkey does not recognize Greek Cyprus and refuses to open its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels, has led Greece to vehemently object to Turkish EU membership. The Turkish government stated in March of 2011 that they “never will abandon the Turkish Cypriots for the EU’s sake,” a statement making negotiations between the EU and Turkey even more difficult. To put it simply, Turkey is facing a number of challenges to progress towards eventual EU membership. But even though the relationship between the EU and Turkey might have been put on ice due to the current climate, there are still opportunities for Turkey. The protests in Turkey were one of the most widely reported incidents news during the spring and summer of 2013. The eyes of the world are still directed towards Turkey. Now it’s up to the government in Ankara to uphold the UN convention on human rights and answer its people’s demands for democracy and freedom.
CURRENT AFFAIRS Andrey Novakov
Socialist Misgovernment in Bulgaria
A coalition of ethnic party and far-right nationalist parties in government. A state ruled by the Communist Party. More than two months of incessant protests. Tens of thousands of people every day fill the streets of the capital Sofia. This is not part of the script of a science fiction movie, or fiction of a literary author. Believe it or not, this describes a European Union member state in the summer of 2013.
But an unprincipled coalition, held together purely by thirst for power, is not the problem. Even the highly incompetent governing of the communists is not the problem. The problem is that they are trying to divert Bulgaria from its European development. I will briefly summarise what has happened. In February this year, the leadership of the three electricity distribution companies that are closely related to Bulgarian (Communist) Socialist Party doubled people’s electricity. Quite normal people came to protest. And of course, they were in front of the headquarters of the Czech companies CEZ and Energo-pro, as well as the Austrian E-ON. Fair enough. After three days of protests suddenly a “spontaneous” group of “motivated” people participated in the protest and started chanting anti-government slogans. Thus the GERB (Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria) government, which had “open” European funds and all operational programmes, faced protests.
Thanks to the pro-European position of GERB and its modern approaches to government, today the country has implemented dozens of infrastructure projects of national importance. A law for youth was passed and thus largely defines the place of young people in society, their rights and obligations as well. After the protests, the government was forced to resign. This led to early elections. Despite a series of manipulations and unfair approach to election by the Socialists, GERB won the election. Thus the party has become one of the first in Eastern Europe which has won elections after being in office. GERB got 97 MPs out of 240 in parliament, which did not allow the party to form a government. The only chance to form a government was for other parties to form a coalition – an impossible coalition. However, they found a “common language” and they formed a government. It was this unprincipled coalition which first troubled citizens.
Then came the rows and the mindless assignments suspicious persons to important government positions. Now some of you will think I’m writing only about the situation in Bulgaria. But you would be mistaken for several reasons. First, the President of the Bulgarian Socialist Party is Sergey Stanishev, the same Sergey Stanishev who is President of the European Socialist Party (PES). This is important to note because this man and PES will be the people against who will stand in the European elections in a few months. Second, we need to know something even more disturbing. After the first speech of the new Prime Minister was clear that they intend to rehabilitate a project for Russian nuclear power plant in Bulgaria, which was stopped by GERB. Do you begin to understand the situation? It seems that the close eastern ties of former Communists and Socialists have not faded over the years. Worst of all is that such a plant will require a loan of €15bn. Guess who will furnish this loan. The next steps of the new government were to allow the agents of the former communist regime to again hold public office as ambassadors and other important government positions. GERB recalled former agents from the embassies and did not allow them to run the country, because those same agents of the communist regime were sending people to labour camps for their political views and beliefs under the old regime only 24 years ago. So, dear colleagues and supporters of the right’s ideas, in a few months we must show the Socialists that Europe is not for sale, and that we will not permit them to become conduits of “no European interest” within the European Union. To be completely honest, I do not think that the European Commission, led as it is by the PES, is fit to cope with the challenges facing the Union. I believe that students and young people have much to contribute to the next European elections – after all, EDS was amongst the first organisations to call for direct elections to the European Parliament. We must defend the achievements of our predecessors. Because I’m a positive person, I would say that the Socialists have no chance. They have no chance not because they have no supporters – they have supporters. But they have no modern ideas, nor a clear vision for the development of the Union. In any situation we can expect a very serious challenge that we can win only if we are truly a team. And do you know who the most important person in this election campaign is? I know. Just the one who reads this magazine, right now.
CURRENT AFFAIRS Eva Majewski
Prospect of Education
Youth politicians all around Europe are thrilled. The topics of the young generation are finally high up on the political agenda: the Youth Guarantee, Youth Unemployment, and ‘Employability’ are now established in the political jargon. The political focus on the younger generation, and the amount of policies made, is evolving for each day that goes by. As much as we embrace the fact and try to make our – the young people’s – voice heard, we still have to ask ourselves which tools would enable us to live a self-determined life – and which are the ones arousing covetousness at its best but add, in fact, little to a sustainable solution. Don’t get me wrong! Any efforts embracing what the young generation calls for should be appreciated. While elderly have their own strong representations, every young generation has to fight for their spot. Two initiatives are highly debated at the moment: the Youth Guarantee and the Loan Scheme for Master students. While the Youth Guarantee is aiming at sudden support for the youth and tries to offer training or employment opportunities within four months to young people under the age of 25,
we have to question whether the allocation of funds to achieve these goals is granted properly: the idea to focus on regions is good since it follows the principle of subsidiarity, solutions should be found on the level on which the problem actually exists. Nonetheless, by setting the measurement that youth unemployment needs to reach a level above 25 per cent in the region, moral hazard behaviour might be triggered. Regions will have an interest in presenting themselves in a worse state than they actually are. Even if an improvement would be achieved – that means young people will have found their way into the labour market or into training – the regions will have an incentive to present their levels of youth unemployment to remain above 25 per cent. While this
race to the bottom will aim at securing cash flow into the region, it weakens the efforts to move the youth out of its misery. It is effective, sustainable solutions that need to be considered. The grants provided in the Youth Guarantee program need to be orientated to programs that ensure sustainable educational programs and trainings. They need to focus on the actual demand in the labour market. It is important to point out that actual achievements are not the main factor in the planning of policies. It is rather the opposite, if we take a look at the Master Loan Scheme Guarantee. It is a mean that shall empower students to move across Europe, in order to study in a master programme in their desired field of studies. Both the EU Commission and the European Parliament tasked the European Investment Bank (EIB) to channel through guarantees to private banks. These will then be able to hand out student loans at a reasonable interest rate. It is a tool envisioned to particularly fill one gap: provide financing for students that desire to complete their entire master studies abroad. Conventional Erasmus funds cannot be tapped for such, they can only be utilized if a student is enrolled in a university program from which he then takes parts of his study for a semester or two abroad. It is more than just closing a financing gap, it is also considering the regional diversity and richness we provide in Europe: in the 21st Century, it is more important than ever to invest in human capital ad in education. While technology is certainly a tool in helping to bridge distances, this is only true within a limited scope. When education cannot be delivered to the student wherever he may be, then the student must be enabled to go get this knowledge at another destination. Specialized learning at the best can be achieved easily with the loan scheme guarantee. 300.000 students shall benefit from this mean in the period 2014 – 2020. It is 300.000 young, highly-skilled students that truly believe in their abilities. They are willing to put their claims onto the future and their prospect in life. Opposing this idea of creating opportunities will only result in the creation of a ‘lost generation’: not a ‘lost generation’ in a sense as some politicians refer to these days when speaking about the unemployed youth. But we need to be careful not to create a lost generation that is being patronised! No one is forced to apply for any loans, but if people want to achieve great things in their lives and have trust in their abilities,; they should by no means be stopped. We need a generation that believes in its bright future here in Europe!
Immigration and Asylum in the Border States
â€œI belong to a small country. A small rocky cape in the Mediterranean seaâ€?. Obviously, with these words on his Nobel award from the Swedish Academy George Seferis did not mean the size of the Greek coastline, a coastline easily compared with the one of the USA. This fact along with the strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, Middle-East and Africa makes Greece highly vulnerable in large numbers of immigrants, many of them illegal, and asylum seekers coming from third world countries. The great number of immigrants staying in Greece at the moment means that Greece remains an attractive location for immigrants despite the current economic situation, where even the local people often have a hard time. This is because immigrants think of Greece as only the entrance to the EU. A great contributor to this conflicting situation is the Dublin 2 Regulation. This Regulation establishes the principle that an immigrant has right of submitting an asylum application only in the Member State through which he first entered the EU, and that State is the only responsible for examining the asylum application . The objective is to avoid asylum seekers from
being sent from one country to another, and also to prevent abuse of the system by the submission of several applications for asylum by one person. However, since the country that a person first arrived in is responsible for dealing with the application, this puts excessive pressure on border areas, such as Greece. In simple words, immigrants that enter Greece and then pass to another Member State to apply for asylum are redirected back to Greece. Taking also into consideration that 90 per cent of immigrants reach the EU through Greece, everyone can see that this situation creates a great problem both for the country and the immigrants themselves. At country level, social instability and destabilization of the state are on the way as appropriate conditions for social strife are created between both legal and illegal immigrants, and between them and local demonstrators who take the law on their own hands. Moreover, religious conflicts are going to rise as long as osmosis between marginal radical groups and immigrants exist. In a few words, social cohesion is going to deteriorate or
worse, collapse completely. As far as immigration is concerned, the economic crisis has led some to member states, including Greece, not being able to cope with the issue, as they are not able to follow European immigration policies effectively and offer dignified services to asylum seekers. It is obvious that some of these people are victims of the slave trade, coming to Greece in order to finally seek a better future in another European country that can offer them the prospect of a life of good quality. As DAP-NDFK Greece, staying faithful to our fundamental values of patriotism, defense of national independence, promotion of European vision and considering a United Europe as a catalyst in ensuring world peace and survival of cultural values as long as social justice and human rights, we strongly believe that Dublin 2 must be reformed so that border member states are treated equally with interior member states. We will maintain our effort towards that direction a more prosperous cohabitation amongst citizens of Europe, economic immigrants and asylum seekers.
This raid concerned the Office of the Government as well. Among the arrested are: Jana Nagyova, Chiefwoman of the Cabinet and present PM’s partner; Ivan Fuksa, Petr Tluchor and Marek Snajdr – former deputies; Ondrej Palenik – former chief of military counterintelligence; Milan Kovanda – chief of military counterintelligence; and Lubomir Poul – head of the Office of the Government. These people were accused for misuse of power and corruption, and are being investigated at present. On 16 June 2013, Prime Minister Necas declared that the whole government would resign following day due to growing criticism
from ODS and other coalition parties. The executive board of the ODS had already decided on 20 June to nominate Miroslava Nemcova, vicechairwoman of ODS and chairwoman of the House of Commons, as a candidate for Prime Minister. Next day, representatives of ODS were accepted by President Miloš Zeman with that suggestion. Milos Zeman invited also other parties represented in the Chamber of Deputies on this day. The President did not ratify the suggestion of ODS, and decided to appoint a caretaker government headed by Jiri Rusnok. He entrusted him to form the government by 25 June. Mrs
Czech Republic: Crisis and the Left
Czech politics is in a period of deep crisis. After the fall of the rightist government of Prime Minister Petr Necas (ODS) chaos prevailed in the political arena. It all began with unannounced and unexpected intervention of the anti-corruption unit of Czech police on 13 June 2013. 8
Miroslava Nemcova commented on the president’s decision later: “It was unnecessary to go to Mr President and to consider him any proposal. He was decided long time ago that he will reject us and our proposal.” This government is perceived as a ‘Government of best friends of Milos Zeman’. This nickname was earned primarily by Rusnok’s and Zeman’s previous membership of the Social Democrat party (ČSSD). Rusnok was Minister of Finance between 2001 and 2002 in the government of Milos Zeman. Many other ministers in the Rusnok government are former members of the ČSSD. A confidence vote for the new government of Jiri Rusnok was held on 7 August. 93 deputies (from the Social Democrat, Communists and Public Affairs parties) voted in favour, whilst 100 were against (from ODS, TOP09 and liberal democrats), with 7 deputies not present, having left the hall just before vote. Rusnok announced on 9 August that he was to resign on the 13th. On 20 August an exceptional meeting of the House of Commons was called, and there was a point about dissolution of the House of Commons in the meeting’s programme. After more than 3 hours of discussion, legislators dissolved the House. In favour were 140 deputies (Social Democrats, Communists, TOP09 and Public Affairs) while deputies of ODS quit the hall before voting, meaning they were against. President Zeman must confirm this decision with his signature and set forth new elections, which experts presuppose will be held on 25–26 October 2013. My personal opinion on whole situation is very critical. Prime Minister Necas could not permit his partner Jana Nagyova to issue orders for military counterintelligence. These orders related to many things, inter alia spying of PM’s former wife, whom he separated from this year. She was spied on simply because of Nagyova’s jealousy. I think that Necas was making many people uncomfortable because he insisted on a thorough investigation of corruption cases in his government. This case also showed power-hungry tendencies of president Zeman and his closest colleagues. It also opened door for a leftist government. By the last research of public opinion, Social Democrats (ČSSD) have circa 32% of preferences following by the Communists (KSČM) with 15%, while is ODS and TOP09 which have around 30% of preferences together. I personally have never ceased to believe in rightist values and I am strongly convinced, that now is the right time to build a strong political right wing of Czech politics, the better to build hard and strong European Union.
THEME Ivan Burazin
CROATIA’S CASE FOR THE UNION
After eight years of negotiations, reforms and public scepticism, Croatia is finally home. As the twenty-eighth member we are proud to call ourselves citizens of the European Union, not only on paper, but because we share the same values and the ideas for the future. What do we expect from the EU?
Scepticism towards joining Croatia to the EU was high. Many fears were raised: the current economic situation; fear for the domestic agriculture and industry; and finally the scepticism towards every kind of multi-state union after the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the war that followed. Entering the EU, my humble opinion is that the situation for agriculture can only get better. As the full member, Croatia will take the part of the CAP, which takes a large share of the EU budget. The revival of rural areas is crucial for Croatian agriculture, and most of our agriculture is placed in
region of Slavonia which was literally destroyed in the war. It’s understandable that agriculture needs to be stimulated for recovery. Of course, a strong agricultural industry is not created by stimulation alone also but the right economic policy of the government to will make conditions for the Croatian farmers to be equal players on the single market scene. The economic situation in Europe is not the brightest, nor is it in Croatia, but the single European market and free trade of goods without the borders is actually just what Croatian entrepreneurs need. A lot domestic products which will
become branded in the future and very soon will find their place on the European market, with high quality as their main ‘’forte’’. Such are products like olive oil, wine, cheese, fish, and many more. Competitiveness is the basis of successful industry, and with the competition law it is understandable that the quality entrepreneurs and industries will become more successful as time goes by. With one of the biggest rates of youth unemployment in the Europe (after Spain and Greece) it is reasonable that the majority of the supporters of the EU in the Croatia are those young people who expect that their working qualities will be recognized and that they will find in the Union working place or better working conditions that they do have now. Tourism is the one of the most important branches of our industry, and by becoming a full member of the EU we expect that the number of tourists from other member states will only increase, which will lead to many other improvements in the private sector. As a student who has a bachelor’s degree in administrative law, I can tell that the reforms in that we have been forced to make in the negotiation process are the best thing that happened to the Croatian juridical system. Step by step, the anti-corruption fighters have brought the story of Croatian corruption almost to an end. The whole administrative system is changing, and I hope that soon they will realize their role in society. The new possibilities that are now open to the student population are huge. The opportunities presented by easier studying abroad and exchange of knowledge are the one of the most important things for future academics. Croatian higher education needs reform and in cooperation with the other universities in Europe we can make it function much better and be more attractive for prospective students.
EDS MUST OPPOSE RUSSIAN CENSORSHIP Christoffer Aav
On the 12 August this year, the English-language version of the Russian web paper pravda.ru published an opinion piece in which the author, apparently in a fit of rage, accuses the Western world of chauvinism and cultural imperialism due to the indignation shown in Western media regarding the serious human rights issue which has long been developing in Russia. The situation reached its apex this June when president Putin signed the “homosexual propaganda law”, which effectively bans all “propaganda” of “non-traditional relationships”.
The Russian establishment claims the law is meant to protect minors. Thus, the Russian censors will be labelling information regarding LGBT people and rights – such as this article – ‘18+’, like X-rated movies. However, the vagueness of the law has been widely criticised by Russian and Western rights advocates, who claim that it can and will be used to effectively curb
the right to free speech. This seems to be a valid interpretation of the law, which will in fact make it illegal to make any pro-gay statements deemed accessible to anyone underage. In practise, this makes it illegal to inform people about the very existence of LGBT people in public fora. This was clearly shown in the events of the LGBT Pride Parade in St Petersburg, and when a Moscow court ordered that no Pride events may be held in Moscow in the next 100 years. But let us be frank here. This law is in fact not an issue of minority rights. This is an issue of human rights. The freedom of speech and freedom of information of the Russian people is being effectively curbed. This law is not a document of vague policy, but a real and forceful measure to silence individuals using the violence of the state. It is not an issue of pornography control or a measure to uphold public order, as is being claimed by the writer in Pravda, who likens the law to the rule of covering one’s head when entering a synagogue. The public forum, even in Russia, is not a synagogue. It is a place of open discussion, not a place of worship closed to outsiders. I would instead like to compare this situation with the attack on the American, Russianlanguage radio channel Radio Liberty (Radio Svoboda in Russian), which suffered under the new Russian media laws of 2012. Their staff were summarily fired in 2012 and the Russian authorities ended its license to broadcast on AM radio. In fact, the two issues are more entangled than you might believe, since Masha Gessen, then head of the Radio Liberty Russian service, is a known champion of gay and lesbian rights in Russia. Just like the new media law attacked a voice of freedom in 2012, today a new media law is attacking, on broad front, every single voice which might speak out for the LGBT community. The law is a forceful, efficient, draconian measure to silence the public debate on human rights. This is why it matters to us. EDS has a long tradition of being a strong voice for human rights, in Europe and outside, since its creation. These values are
clearly enshrined in both the statutes and the policy documents. Article 1, point 3B-C of the statutes clearly obligates the EDS to work for a free and democratic Europe, and to form an understanding of political situations worldwide. The Paper on Values, adopted in 2003, states in part 2.B.5.1, that the idea of state media censorship is abhorrent to the values of the EDS and must therefore be eradicated. Also, part 2.C.1 sets down into policy that the Freedom of Speech for all is an essential value in our work. For those of you who believe that these statements do not bind the EDS to be loudly and aggressively opinionated on the issue of the Russian “gay-propaganda law”, I urge you to think again. You may believe this issue is not about you, but about a small and flamboyant minority which has little to do with the reality of European policy and interEuropean relations. You may believe the law poses no real threat to liberty. You may even believe that the Russian authorities are telling the truth when they claim that this is an issue of controlling pornography and nothing else. But trust me: the law is a real and tangible threat to the liberty of the Russians. This is not an issue about whether you like gays or not. It’s not about whether you, personally, find the idea of marriage equality positive or negative. It’s not an issue about emotions, about if you find the idea of two men sleeping together disgusting, or if you personally think that children need a stable home of two different-sex parents to grow up in a safe environment. This is a human rights issue, and therefore it matters to the EDS. Our work in Europe and outside must always be guided by the values of human rights, of the spreading of liberty and democracy, and by solidarity with those who are being discriminated against and downtrodden by an evil and powerful government. Have you decided, or are you still afraid? This issue is not about men in women’s clothing, or about women in motorcycle boots. This is about liberty; about human rights; about the freedom to speak out in a public debate on whatever issue, however uncomfortable. If you will not care, who will?
OPINION Henry Hill
Europarties Must Stand and be Counted
At this year’s EDS Summer University in Germany, one of the topics discussed was ‘European the Summer U, I thought that sounded like an interesting topic and wanted to suggest one very simple change which could play a big role in how European elections, and Parliament, are perceived: make the Europarties contest the European Parliamentary elections under their own names, rather than the names of their member parties. The present situation is fairly ridiculous, if you stop and think about it. Take my own country as an example. The United Kingdom is one of the largest and more influential of the member states. It possesses the Union’s premier financial centre, one of its strongest and most advanced armies, and a web of historical connexions that spans the earth. If the EU were to be a real, US-style federation, Great Britain would be a California or a Texas – and imagine how ridiculous it would be if one of America’s biggest parties wound up, because of a single act of local political expediency, wholly unrepresented in such a state. We’d think they were mad. Is now a good time to mention that the UK has no EPP representation at all? There was no momentous schism, or anything so deliberate or exciting. Rather, during the last leadership election of the centre-right Conservative and Unionist Party, David Cameron was forced by candidates to his right to pull out of the ‘federalist’ EPP (we were actually in the affiliated European Democrats, but few made the distinction). Eventually he was forced to honour that pledge and we found ourselves in the ECR
group instead. That’s fine, in and of itself – no organisation can be reasonably expected to remain in the EPP against its will. But, with our only other centre-right party being the Euro-separatist UK Independence Party, it left British voters with no opportunity to vote for the largest party in the European Parliament. Not that they are aware of that, of course. European elections are taken as opportunities to pass judgement on our parties for domestic problems, or simply reflect domestic tribal loyalties. I vote Conservative in European elections because I am a Conservative, whether I really want to vote ECR or not. Besides, I can’t campaign for a different party in the European elections without breaching the terms of my Conservative membership. Aside from a small number of the politically committed, nobody knows or cares which European groupings our various domestic parties are part of. Nor do we much care what goes on in the European Parliament, which has no separate identity of its own. So why not pass a simple reform to have European elections contested by the European
parties themselves, rather than their proxies? At a stroke, this would achieve several things. First and most important, from the angle of ‘incubating European unification’, is that it would dramatically raise the profile of European politics in the member states. Instead of being simply another, unpopular bout of domestic political wrangling, the elections would become a real pan-European event. The election campaigns would bring the European dimension into focus, both by introducing the parties and personalities to the public and by publicising the European policy issues handled by the parliament. Convinced that the European Parliament had a genuine purpose, turnout might well increase. Second, if the Europarties had to contest elections themselves it would require substantial institutional growth on their part. They would have to go from being relatively elite institutions, the preserve mainly of politicos and bureaucrats, into being genuine parties with members, conferences and policies of their own. This would do much to lend maturity to the European political system. Such a move would also allow for a decoupling of the automatic connexion between which domestic party someone is a member of and which Europarty they support. This would have some immediate benefits, not least of which is that every citizen of the Union could be given the opportunity to make a full and informed choice at the ballot box. By stripping away the names of domestic parties, it would remove the veil of ignorance which presently prohibits millions of Europeans from being properly informed participants in the elections, as they are not aware of which European bloc their favourite local party is a member of. It would allow Europeans a full choice by making sure that every party was on the ballot paper everywhere. Organising themselves for the first time, the EPP would not allow a major member state to go without a local EPP organisation. Thus the options available to the European voter would cease to be decided by the political manoeuvres of a handful at the top of their local parties. Finally, it would be a challenge for those who, for whatever reason, have historically proven incapable of cooperating with or inside Europe. Without a Europarty they would be anonymised, as they would appear as independents or non-inscrits on the ballot paper. Thus where the current arrangement favours those who are hostile to the European process, the new arrangement would favour those of all political persuasions, from the ECR to the Nordic Green Left, who at least took the elections and the parliament seriously.
OPINION Anette Thoresen
Europe needs a Common Abortion Policy
Abortion is hot political potato and huge disagreements exist, especially among the European member states. Although the world sees us as the liberal continent overflowing with joy and the hippie lifestyle where all bets are off, concerning abortion we’ve got long ways to go.
Malta have banned abortion overall, as have Ireland and Poland, unless its serious health issue that could result in death of the mother. The Netherlands and Belgium require a few days between consultation and the abortion, in order to offer the woman a view of other alternatives. In Finland, most women are granted an abortion up to twelve weeks if wanted and the social situation in strong enough to justify the situation or the mother already have at least four children. Norway and Denmark allow abortions up to week twelve, and up to week sixteen if needed after an evaluation made by doctors or a board summit. Eastern European countries have among the highest abortion rates in the world, but as contraceptives have become widely available, the numbers are decreasing. However, the differences among European member states are huge and have a great effect on women. Poland has been reprimanded by the European Court of Human Rights twice for breaking their own abortion laws. In 2010 a woman was denied an abortion even though it would cause her blindness, and in 2012 a fourteen year old girl was denied abortion after a gruesome rape and her personal details was revealed to the media.
The EU has had unrewarding attempts to seek a common abortion law throughout the last decade. A common law for all European member states will ensure the same basic human right for all women, regardless of geography and financial status. The standards for medical care would be equal and would not depend on a woman’s resources to sue her home country in the European Court of Human Rights. Open borders gives European women access to abortion clinics despite the strict laws of their home country. It’s estimated that 20,000 Irish women flock to the UK alone every year, and the French journey to Spain where there is no terminal limit. It is a basic human right according to the European Union to receive proper medical care in one’s home country, but with strict laws regarding abortions, women are forced to cross borders and seek help elsewhere (which, according to Irish laws of 1992, is completely legal) or seek illegal backstreet doctors which could cause serious problems and infections. These are just a few of many examples proving that the current system is not functioning properly. With open borders and the ability to seek abortion and needed help in a neighboring country, the current laws in some European
countries are limiting abortions to those who can afford to travel, whilst others with limited funding must either go forth with the pregnancy regardless of their situation or seek illegal, and in some cases dangerous, help. The most common arguments against abortion in Europe are based on morals and the notion that human life starts at conception which makes abortion murder. Many also oppose abortion due to the aftermath; abortion can in some cases lead to medical and psychological complications later in life. A common abortion law would set standards for the advice and counseling before and after an abortion. The majority of European countries offer little or no psychological help after an abortion, which can be especially hard for the women of countries where abortion is illegal. And with an equal abortion law across Europe later medical complications, which occur in roughly 0.5 per cent of abortion patients, can be treated by a doctor in the patient’s home country. Abortion itself is a safe medical procedure. The arguments for abortion on the other hand, says that because the majority of abortion occur during the first trimester when the fetus is unable to exist outside of the mother’s womb and depend solely on her, it cannot be considered a separate human being. Abortion is not a form of contraceptive, as the majority of women used some form of contraceptive and gives other reasons for choosing abortion. Lastly, it’s a human right to decide over one’s own body, regardless of one’s social situation, finances or the ability to travel. Ideologically, conservatives value the individual and the individual’s right to choose what is best for one’s life. With a common abortion law and establishing equality for all European women across the continent, we carry on our ideology. Each and every one can make an informed decision based on their life situation and what is best for them. They will not have to travel abroad, prove that they are in social need or financially troubled, but simply consult a doctor or medical center, get the information and help they need.
REPORTS Elisabeta Ungureanu
Turkish Accession to the Union
With population of 74,724,265, Turkey is one of those countries which actively contributes to the world’s economic engine. With a gross domestic product (GDP) that ranks 15 in the world, Turkey is a founding member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the G20, established in 1999 to bring together both major economies of the world and emerging economies. It is also an active member of North Atlantic Treaty organization from 1952. In the first quarter of 2011, Turkey was the country with the highest economic growth in the world. This increase was moderated by the huge current account deficit. However, even taking this fact into consideration, presently, Turkey’s GDP expanded 2.1 percent in the second quarter of 2013 over the previous quarter. Based on such figures, it is no wonder that this country was the main partner and investor of the European Union in terms of trade in 2011. In this respect the figures speak for themselves again, as the trade flows in 2011 amounted to €94 billion. Although the roots of the EU partnership with Turkey are placed in the 1960s, Turkey has announced its intention to join the EU (then the European Economic Community) only in 1987. I previously mentioned the Turkey-EEC partnership. Turkey first applied for associate membership of the EEC in July 1959. The EEC responded by suggesting the establishment of an association as an interim measure leading to full accession. This led to negotiations which resulted in the Ankara Agreement on September 12, 1963, which required the creation of a customs union between Turkey and the European Economic Community, and concluded with a first financial protocol to such agreements. It was carried on by the Additional Protocol and the second financial protocol concluded and signed at Brussels in 1970. This paved the way towards preparing customs union with Turkey, which was achieved in 1995, after the TurkeyEU Association Council assembly. Although this economic partnership fostered the relations between the two entities, the subject of Turkey’s accession to the European
Union has always been a thorny issue. Turkey was recognized by the Helsinki European Council as a candidate country only in 1999, more than 10 years after applying for membership. Accession talks, respectively the supervision process over the analytical examination of the acquis communautair, were launched in October 2005. Between 2005 and 2012, 13 chapters out of 33 were opened, with only one chapter closed by the time of writing What is the reason for this gridlock? The EU stated that Turkey failed to align to the Copenhagen political criteria which states that candidate countries must achieve “stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities”, a principle reiterated by Article 6 of the Treaty of Amsterdam: “The Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law, principles which are common to the Member States” and “Any European State which respects the principles set out in Article 6(1) may apply to become a member of the Union” (Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union). The negotiations on the political criteria come to a standstill when it comes to the minority rights, freedom of expression and Turkey’s relations with Cyprus. On one hand, Turkey has several foreign policy and strategic positions which are common with the ones that EU has: prosperity around the Black Sea area, stability in the Caucasus, and energy security in Central Asia. On the other hand, it seems that Kemalism, the statist and nationalist doctrine of the Turkish statem comes into conflict with core
REPORTS European democratic and human rights norms. Moreover, the Kemalist elite perceive the EU demands as eroding the foundations of its power and endangering the internal security of the Turkish state. In 2012 the “positive agenda” was launched; it was adopted jointly by Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy and Egemen Bağış, Minister for Business European Turkey, and Chief Negotiator for Turkey’s accession process to the EU. With the release occasion, in May 2012, Štefan Füle said: “This positive agenda should bring fresh dynamics and a new momentum into our relations. Our aim is to keep the accession process alive and put it properly back on track after a period of stagnation, which has been a source of frustrations on both sides. Let me stress again that the positive agenda is not to replace, but to complement and support the accession process of Turkey. At the same time it is not an abstract concept, it is not window-dressing. It is about a new way of looking at the accession negotiations. It is the new way we communicate and interact with each other. It is the way how we look at each other as two equal partners. It is positive not only in the name, but first of all in the intention and in the content. The positive agenda is not only to support but to go beyond the accession negotiations. It covers all important elements of our relationship. We have new goals and new determination to deliver results. It is a joint determination that will require efforts from both sides”. The positive agenda comes to promote reforms in areas of common interest like alignment with the EU legislation and cooperation on political reforms and fundamental rights, visa, mobility and migration, trade, energy, the fight against terrorism and alignment with the acquis, including on chapters where accession negotiations cannot be opened for the time being. Moreover, Štefan Füle called for more efficient public diplomacy, suggesting that beyond the formal negotiations, many agenda items are concerned directly with Turkey’s inhabitants: “That is why we try to make the positive agenda as interactive as possible and go even beyond the contact with the government and officials. The positive agenda is also the way to engage and interact with the civil society and I will meet representatives of several dozens of organisations later today. [..] The citizens of Turkey look forward to reforms in this area, and are hopeful that the future new Constitution, for which work of substance has started, will meet their expectations.” In July 2012 Cyprus came to the EU presiden-
cy, and between July and December last year the efforts of revitalising the accession process came to a standstill again. Moreover, Turkey decided to boycott the 6-month EU Council Presidency of Cyprus. Taking advantage of the delicate economic crisis the EU is facing, Mr. Egemen Bağış, a skilled negotiator, said that “while EU countries are struggling in crisis, our country is experiencing the most democratic, prosperous, modern and transparent period in its history. [..] The sick man of yesterday has got up and summoned the strength to prescribe medication for today’s Europe”. But even after such statements, 2013 came with an unexpected approach from France. French President François Hollande proposed opening a further negotiation chapter on regional policy in January. While some European officials support the EU future of Turkey, some others would prefer to set up a privileged partnership between EU and Turkey. Such is the case of Germany. In February 2013, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel went to Ankara. She stated that ‘a long path of negotiations lies ahead’. The representatives discussed the situation in the region, co-operation in fighting terrorism, human rights situation in Turkey and establishment of a Turkish-German university. Even though the volume of trade between the two countries is approximately €30 billion a year, Angela Merkel remains skeptical about Turkey’s accession to the EU, reiterating that the inclusion of Cyprus in the Turkish-EU customs union is a condition for the full resumption of EU membership negotiations. So far, Turkey has staunchly refused to expand access to a customs union to the 10 latest EU members – including the Republic of Cyprus, which Turkey has yet to recognize. For Turkey, Germany is a key political and economic
partner. Not only do almost 3 million Turkish emigrants live in Germany, but Germany is the main trading and investor in Turkey. Economics, human rights, geography, international relations and democracy all play an important role in the debate over Turkey’s candidacy. Turkey is a key regional power with a large economy and the second largest military force of NATO, but still has to learn the European democracy lesson (see Article 301 which states that “it is a crime to explicitly insult the “Turkish nation”). As for the EU, it needs to better define its “united in diversity” motto, since according to some statistics 78 per cent of its citizens stated that they do not see Turkey becoming a EU member in the next 10 years. In a study dating back to 2006, Elisabeth S Hurd pointed out that “even if economic and political obstacles to Turkey’s accession are lifted, even if Turkey is deemed to be in unambiguous conformity with the Copenhagen criteria, European opposition to Turkish membership will persist ... the Turkish case is controversial in cultural and religious terms, as it involves the potential accession of a Muslim-majority country to an arguably, at least historically Christian Europe”.. I think that this theory changes several perspectives on Turkey’s accession to EU issue. More than that, it explains the European scepticism on the matter. Even with the unlocking of the regional policy chapter, Cyprus and France are still blocking 12 chapters. As I was saying at the beginning of the article, Turkey’s accession to the European Union has always been a thorny issue. Turkey has a lot to offer to Europe these days, especially when it comes to economics, but is Europe ready to import the unsolved issues that Turkey has?
REPORTS Teele Holmberg
CYBER HYGIENE GIVES MORE CYBER SECURITY
Turkey has frequently been on the receiving end of criticism from many organizations, such as the Human Right Watch and Amnesty International, when it comes to their approach to the Human Rights. But in addition, both the European Union and the United Nations have requested that the government in Ankara improve its approach. Since the protests at the Taksim Square, these tensions within Turkey haves once again risen to the surface. Talking about cyber security we mean information security, which is the practice of securing information against unauthorised use. Today most information is stored in computers. We are online practically all the time – the internet and online services play a huge role in our lives. We share our personal information by using numerous digital services like e-mail accounts, Skype, banking, shopping, e-health, e-school and so on. An average person often shares information without thinking, by uploading photos or sharing personal data via services like Facebook, and writing whatever comes into mind on blogs and so on. Over time these activities can give yield detailed personal information about a person that might be used against the user or their friends and family. Both by hostile organizations and individual hackers. Nowadays, when everybody has smartphones, the amount of data shared and uploaded is growing enormously as it can be done instantly without giving a thought of the consequences. Regarding that there are three points to bear in mind: 1. The internet does not forget 2. The idea you find great today might not
be that great in five years 3. Employers and voters always make do a quick bit of background research (including social networks) to get the first impression Regardless to the security measures, 21 per cent of adult podcast users e-mail or social media accounts have been hacked, 11 per cent have experiance of stolen personal or financial information, 12 per cent have been harassed on the web, 6 per cent have fallen victim to fraud and lost money. Six per cent admit that their reputation has been damaged because of the information carried out on the web, and four per cent are in physical danger because of what has happened in the Internet. Comparing to the surveys of 2009 and 2013 the measure of personal information have grown by 33 per cent. The most well-known webpage for uploading personal data is Facebook. Why should we talk about this? Because it is about protecting ourselves. We are not asking why we shouldn’t scream on the streets or run around half naked, but unfortunately many people do it on Facebook and it is displayed to a bigger audience than they could have on the streets.
The next generation can be followed since their birth, when parents upload the photos of their babies. Would you like to be tracked till the day you were born? I call everybody to think a second if they want to give such personal information to their neighbours, not to mention criminals, future employers or the state, before posting it to their wall. The information that is online is public – that needs to be remembered every time while uploading or posting something. If citizens pay more attention to the cyber threats it also helps to push the private sector to be more careful. There are countries that already take such risks seriously, but there are many countries lacking almost any the cyber hygiene. I live in the country where e-services have been part of everyday life for more than a decade. Due to everything from e-government, e-taxation, e-police, e-school, and e-medicine to e-voting in elections public awareness is quite good, but this still not enough. Therefore it is being also taught in schools for the future ’online generations’. With the growing dependence on online services the opportunities for criminals are also growing. Cyber-security incidents are increasing in frequency and magnitude, becoming more complex, and knowing no state borders. These incidents can cause major damage to security and to the economy. Efforts to prevent, cooperate against and be more transparent about cyber incidents must improve. Previous efforts by the European Commission and individual Member States have been too fragmented to deal with this growing challenge. Due to the growing fear based tracking and data theft, the people in United States are taking more and more steps to remove or mask your digital footprints from the internet. This trend started after the Snowden case, which shows that the level of understanding has been poor. Every state needs to be aware of cyber attacks and it starts with awareness of Internet users. Therefore EDS has formed a motion on increasing co-operation and information exchange in cyber security. On the privatisation level this motion calls on Member States to create programs within the education system providing information about cyber threats affecting social networks. And on the international level EDS calls on the EU to encourage all Member States to create clear cyber strategies at national and local government levels, including providing for public-private sector cooperation, and to adopt harmonised legislation in respect of minimum common standards in cyber security. The whole text is available on edsnet.eu.
Resistance and Repression in Belarus Ivan Shyla
On 28 August, Zmicier Dashkevich was released from Belarus’ jail Number One. The youth leader spent 986 days behind bars, most of them in solitary confinement.
Dashkevich, chairman of the Young Front, was arrested on 18 December 2010, the day before the presidential elections in Belarus. He and another activist, Eduard Lobau, got charged with “hooliganism.” According to authorities, Dashkevich attacked two people and started a fight. At the trial it wasn’t possible to identify the “victims” – their names were not called, and they testified from a separate room. According to the information provided, these citizens have never worked, never registered, and never used mobile phones. According to human rights organisations, the arrest of activists of the “Young Front” was intended by the authorities to prevent them participating in protests. The case was immediately recognized as political, and the arrestees as prisoners of conscience. Zmicier was sent to penal colony in the city of Gorky, near the Russian border. In the first few months, lawyers were not allowed to visit him, and information about his conditions was almost not available. The only thing that was reported was that Dashkievich regularly located in a punishment cell. It is a cold, small room where prisoners cannot read, listen to the radio, send and re-
ceive messages, or meet with friends. There are no walks, they are forbidden to contact with other prisoners, and it is impossible to receive parcels or post. Prisoners have no mattress, blanket or pillow. This led to action near the walls of the prison. More than forty activists arrived in Gorky. About 30 of them were detained and placed in temporary detention for various periods – including Dashkevich’s wife, Nasta. She got 12 days in prison, and the trial was held on her 20th birthday. The writer of this article also spent 20 days in jail for taking part in that action. As a result of the public fallout from this, layers got the chance to meet with Zmicier, which was a success. After a while it started to redirect to different penal colonies in Belarus. He continued to serve his sentence in the punishment cells. With only a few months to go until the end of his term, the government organized a closed trial in the colony in Mozyr. For minor violations Dashkievich got another year in prison and was placed in solitary confinement. This was not Zmicier Dashkevich’s first time in jail. During activity in the Young Front he was arrested dozens of times. In total, he
spent behind bars for about six months. In 2005, the Criminal Code was amended. According to changes, the penalty for acting on behalf of an organisation not registered in Belarus was a two-year prison sentence. This amendment was clearly directed against the “Young Front”. Just a few months after the changes in the Code, the KGB initiated a criminal case against Dashkevich. The court sentenced the leader of the youth to 18 months in prison, of which he served sixteen Initially his parents did not support the activity of their son, but changed their mind after the process. Three days in a row they were in court in Minsk, where there was unceasing action in support with hundreds of young people fighting for freedom for Dashkevich. After talking with colleagues, Viachaslau and Volha Dashkevich realized that he was engaged in a “right” and moral movement. They already supported him in 2008, when it was a closed trial in the colony in Shklou. Dmitry claimed that he refused to testify against me – I also faced a criminal case for taking part in “Young Front”. But it is very difficult to be the parents of the youth leader, whom the authorities fear so much that he always sits in prison. The mother’s heart broke in spring of 2011, when Zmicier was in the detention centre during the third criminal case. She was 54. Dashkevich was brought to the morgue under police escort, and was given 15 minutes to say goodbye to his mother. He had not met his father during his last three years in prison, and was not given the opportunity to do so even then. Zmicier wife, Nasta, was arrested the next day after the night of 19 December. She was one of the organisers of the protest rally in the evening of the presidential election. She was detained for several months in the KGB jail after the court sentenced her to two years imprisonment. Zmicier was regularly blackmailed by the fact that Anastasia could be punished with 15 years in prison, the maximum she could get for crime of “organizing mass disorder” with which she was charged. After Anastasia was released, they decided to get married. However, the passport of Zmicier was in the KGB. The officers did not want to give it back, for no better reason than to deny him the chance to get married. Anastasia took almost two years of writing complaints, until Zmicier got his passport back. They were married on 27 December, 2012. During these two years, that was their first date – and the last. They saw each other only on the day of Zmicier’s release.
REPORTS Silvie Rohr
Young politicians - We ask the questions
The 2014 European Parliament elections will be held on May 25th. Even young people are running for the European Parliament. For this reason we interviewed the Bulgarian MEP Monika Panayotova (of GERB) and the Swedish candidate Arba Kokalari (of the Moderates) and asked for their opinions on different topics. HALF A YEAR BEFORE THE ELECTIONS EVERYONE TALKS ABOUT EUROPE, THE EURO, THE CRISIS – BUT NO-ONE TALKS ABOUT THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT. MS PANAYOTOVA, AS AN MEP, WHAT DO YOU THINK WENT WRONG? Panayotova: Actually, a study conducted in Bulgaria for the months January-March 2013 shows that there is an increase in media coverage for MEPs of 9.5 per cent and for the European Parliament of approximately 90 per cent. So the situation in Bulgaria is different. According to the latest Eurobarometer data more than 50 per cent of Bulgarian citizens support European integration. European institutions also enjoy a high level of trust, sometimes
higher than the national ones. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL VISION FOR THE NEXT TERM? Kokalari: My vision is that the EU protects the core values that bring us together as Europeans. I want the EU to improve the work on defending human rights and democratic principles in Europe, the EU to become more open and transparent to the citizens and to continue the enlargement. Panayotova: At the moment my focus is on the current mandate and I hope that the launched projects will develop in a sustainable way. My vision has always been related to policies that foster the unbreakable spirit of self-initiative, entrepreneurship, and European-ness in those that now many label as the “lost generation”. I have always been in close contact with a lot of young people, with the Youth Organization of my party at home which I have the honour to chair and also with the Youth of the European People’s Party and the EDS. As our voice matters, it should be heard and I am always glad to be of help to increase its visibility. HOW DID YOU COME TO POLITICS? WHICH INSPIRATION DO YOU HAVE? Kokalari: I became active ten years ago in the Moderate party and our youth organisation, MUF. For me the choice was easy since the Moderate party was the best political force in Sweden that protected the freedom for the individual and the idea of Europe. Those values are crucial for my political engagement. One of my biggest inspirers is my father’s aunt. She was one of the first first female politicians in Albania and she was a dissident fighting against the communist regime in Albania. She sacrificed her life for the freedom of speech and for demanding democracy. Panayotova: As a graduate in the field of international and international economic relations, it has been my dream to become involved in politics. I started out in the nongovernmental
sector though and my political journey did not commence until the point when I met the wonderful people with whom we founded the Youth Organization of the Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria. Ever since, their belief in changes for the better of their country and for its European future is what keeps my batteries charged. As I said, I strongly believe that young people should be active in the formulation of youth policies, not only as beneficiaries but as a catalyst for change in the direction they see most suited. WHAT DO YOU EXPECT: HOW HIGH WILL BE THE TURNOUT FOR THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT? Kokalari: It’s a disappointment for the EU that the turnout is so low in the European Parliament elections in many countries. All politicians in EU member states have a great responsibility to encourage the citizens to vote. On the last elections in 2009 the turnout in Sweden actually increased with 7.68 per cent. I hope the turnout will continue to increase in 2014. Panayotova: This is an area I would prefer not to give any predictions on. All I can say is, we can hope for the best. Nowadays, everyone is concerned with the peril of low turnout but the scenery in Central and Eastern Europe is a bit different. In our countries, on the one hand people from older generations still hold the dreadful memories of the times when they were shut off on the other side of the Iron Curtain. HOW DO YOU WANT TO MOVE THE CITIZENS TO VOTE AND WHICH STRATEGY DO YOU HAVE TO MOTIVATE YOUNG VOTERS? Kokalari: It’s important to tell the voters how much the decision making in the EU actually affects the citizens in the national and local level. We need to have a bigger debate about the possibilities with the EU and in what way the European cooperation is good for the citizens. By having a European cooperation we can solve the big issues that we can’t solve alone in our own countries, as reducing unemployment by strengthening Europe’s competitiveness, tackling climate change, promoting peace, democracy, human rights and free trade. I’ll work day and night during the election campaign to encourage as many as possible to vote. Panayotova: As a Bulgarian MEP, for me it is most important to motivate people in two ways: by showing them that there are concrete tangible results from the work of the European Parliament as a whole and the Bulgarian MEPs in particular. In terms of communication strategy, since the current government of socialists and liberals did real harm to media pluralism in the country, the options are limited. The two
REPORTS main channels of communication will be: the social networks, Facebook in particular, and the direct contact with citizens so as to draw their attention to what has been achieved and what lies ahead of us. WILL THE ELECTIONS ONLY PROVIDE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR EUROPE’S CITIZENS TO EXPRESS THEIR OPINIONS OVER THE HANDLING OF THE EUROZONE CRISIS? Kokalari: I think the Eurozone crisis have raised citizen awareness of how much the EU can affect your life. But also how much the economies in the member states are depended on each other and how vulnerable we are if we don’t cooperate. I hope more citizens will take the opportunity to vote next year and make their voice heard. Panayotova: The crisis is part of the current debate but given that Europe is coming out of the recession, I hope that the focus will be increasingly more on ideas for growth: fostering entrepreneurship, conducting necessary reforms and creating more jobs through innovation. Still, the main purpose is to move from growth to sustainable, smart and inclusive development. This is the only way to have more Europe which we certainly want. WHICH ROLE WILL THE SELECTION OF THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION PLAY DURING THE ELECTIONS? Kokalari: The Swedish citizens are not aware of whom the persons in the European Commissions are and I don’t think that it will have an impact in our elections. But I hope the next President of the Commission will come from the EPP family. That person will be a crucial person for setting the EU agenda for the upcoming years. Panayotova: The early nominations will allow for a focus on the expertise, the background and the charisma of the candidates, leaving aside whether they come from an old/new or small/big Member State. The new President of the Commission should have the personal qualities to ACT courageously, REACT duly to developments and thus have a real IMPACT on the work of the EU. WHICH TOPICS WILL BE CRUCIAL FOR 2014? Kokalari: Jobs, improving the credibility of the EU and I hope we can have a bigger debate on situation of human rights and democratic principles. All over Europe extremist forces are getting bigger and challenging our core values. The EU can’t shut its eyes or compromise when it comes to our European values. Democracy, human rights, free market and cooperation is our core stone that we should
always defen, especially now during the crisis. Panayotova: Youth employment, economic growth through innovation and competitiveness, targeting SMEs and young entrepreneurs, the MFF for more investment in European regions and the achievement of Europe 2020, as well as the level of EU ambition on the international stage - all those will be important topics in 2014. The key question, however, is what the EU stands for and once we have the answer to that, all these issues will become much easier to deal with. SOMETIMES THERE IS CRITICISM THAT MEPS ARE NOT PRESENT ENOUGH IN THE NATIONAL PUBLIC. WHICH OPINION DO YOU HAVE ABOUT IT? Kokalari: I agree. If the Swedish voters give me the trust to become a MEP next year I would, if possible, spend half of the time in Brussels and Strasbourg and the other half in Sweden meeting people. Politics is not only working for making a difference in the society inside the buildings of the European Parliament, but also to communicate to the citizens what you are doing and listening to the opinions of the citizens. Panayotova: Sometimes Brussels seems quite distant for local constituencies. For this reason, when I was a member of the Bulgarian Parliament I worked to facilitate the translation of the European agenda to the national level. I also had the opportunity to organize a number of new initiatives, aimed at making the national parliament a “territory for European debate”, such as European Talks in the Parliament, an Information Corner on the EU, etc. Currently, my information offices in Bulgaria ensure that citizens have a constant direct point of contact with me. I am in continuous interaction with citizens online, especially via the social networks. 2014 THE PARLIAMENT WILL BE REDUCED TO 750 SEATS. DO YOU THINK THAT THIS REDUCTION WILL HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE WORK OR THE ATMOSPHERE IN THE PARLIAMENT? Kokalari: I don’t think so. I hope the reduction will make the Parliament to work more efficient. Panayotova: From a national viewpoint, the loss of any seat is not pleasant because the number of seats is what determines the influence of the national delegation. From a European perspective, the balance wouldn’t be shifted because the Parliament does not function on the basis of fixed majority. THE LAST QUESTION TO YOU MS PANAYOTOVA,
MONIKA PANAYOTOVA AS A MEMBER OF THE COMMITTEE ON CULTURE AND EDUCATION. MOST OF EUROPEAN COUNTRIES ARE RECENTLY FACING AN OUTSTANDING ISSUE IN THE UNAVAILABILITY OF LABOUR MARKET TO MEET THE DEMANDS OF HIGHLY QUALIFIED GRADUATES. HOW WOULD YOU ASSESS THE BRAIN DRAIN PROBLEM INCURRED TO THAT ISSUE? Panayotova: This is an aspect I am constantly engaged with in the context of my work on youth unemployment. Brain drain is a reality and it is rooted in structural causes that need to be urgently dealt with. On the one hand, the job market needs reform in the sense of more flexibility, less administrative burden and more incentives for employers to hire young graduates in terms of tax reductions, etc. On the other hand, we ought to mention that despite the high rate of youth unemployment, there are still around 2 million positions in the IT sector and in the fields of engineering, mathematics and the natural sciences that remain vacant because there is no qualified labour to fill them. The education systems should make more use of innovative education methods, dual education, student mobility and informal learning to ensure the realization of graduates on the job market.
REPORTS Silvie Rohr
During the Summer University in Berlin we had a great discussion on the presentation “Digital Future - E-Learning, E-Teaching across Europe” by Marcus Riecke, CEO of iversity. Here I will give you will get a brief overview of the huge online phenomenon of massive open online courses, called MOOCs.
Pro: Gathering and sharing our own learning material can be interesting and proves more informative than some of the course-related material provided by the instructors. If one chooses to follow the instructor’s plan, participants help each other interpret the material, seek out different or related sources, and use social networking to share their experiences and interpretations. Con: Navigating through the MOOC and getting the right course material can be like finding a needle in a haystack. If you don’t use the social network like Twitter or Facebook, you can miss an important or informative discussion thread.
MOOCs: A revolution in learning?
WHAT IS A MOOC?
MOOCs are online lectures on global internet platforms. Unlike the traditional e-learning, not only filmed lectures or prepared material collections are available. Most online courses are a combination of lecture and interactive exchange of the content. Usually, all the work within the course is shared with everyone else: readings, discussions, repurposing of material, and so on. The idea is that the more you engage within the course the more you will learn. The network itself is one of the biggest gains. MOOCs allow mass education and individual learning at the same time. Anyone can determine their speed of learning themselves.
every learner. To get an impression you can find some collective interpretations from the student’s point of view below. PARTICIPATION IS OPEN TO ANYONE…
Pro: In a MOOC learners can connect to people from all over the world. To get a good understanding of the topic you need to closely connect with around 50 other participants. It’s important, because you can get many different points of view. Con: It is impossible for an instructor to interact with all participants of the class or even manage to address what is posted. The size of the MOOC might work against the “connectedness” the facilitators and participants often seek.
WHAT IS BEHIND THIS PHENOMENON?
In autumn 2011 the German Stanford professor Sebastian Thrun launched his first online course on “Artificial Intelligence mass”. He started with 160,000 participants. For comparison, Standford has a total of 15,000 students. Just like Amazon and iTunes revolutionized the book and music market, MOOCs could revolutionize the international higher education system. This is why some prominent US universities like Harvard and MIT (edX) or Standford (Udacity) began offering free college classes over the Web. Though MOOCs, high quality university education is now being delivered online effectively to millions of students by top universities and professors. But MOOCs aren’t for
Pro: The access to a MOOC is free, but if you choose to take the course for credit it will charge a fee and requires a few extra assignments. With access to private webinars and other course meetings you will have a better opportunity to develop stronger connections with other learners. Con: Credit-receiving students are offered meetings and activities with the facilitator, which non-credit learners are excluded from. To exclude some in a course specifically advertised as “open” seems contrary to the MOOC philosophy. By the way many elite US universities, including Princeton, refuse to accept the certificates of the mass courses.
Pro: Most of the MOOCs have weekly synchronous forums. A guest presenter will be included and other “live” events like recaps, Q&A sessions, or project help sessions. Students are able to use the chat feature while the facilitator talks and getting the feeling like it’s a face-to-face class experience. Con: It can be difficult for the lost or struggling learners to directly interact with the facilitators. Although the participants and speakers usually speak on interesting topics, the chats can be rapid and filled with so many users that you could lose the overview. CONCLUSION
Due to technological progress and widespread broadband Internet access, the digital provision of teaching materials via online-platforms of higher education institutions is inevitable in future. The MOOCs give students the possibility to get a more independent and individual configuration of studies. MOOCs are also very useful because you do not have to complete all courses of study. You just attend the course you need. Students have the possibility to learn flexible and individualized. Even the teachers have an advantage. They can reach a huge number of students in one single course. The fact that the material is available for all at any time, the time gained can be used for research or other areas. All in All the MOOCs are really great as a supplement to the normal university courses. As a replacement for a face-to face study it’s unthinkable at the moment. After the MOOC hype in the US it is very interesting to see whether a similar phenomenon in Europe begins with the start of European MOOC platform iversity on 15 October 2013.
REPORTS should be set as a priority of the state and individuals concerned. 3. BUSINESS INCUBATORS, VENTURE CAPITALS AND ZERO BUREAUCRACY FOR YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS
Jobs, not social programmes
Today’s youth is a generation of highly educated, well informed, and relentlessly motivated young people who are ready to work. Yet today’s stagnant environment has limited opportunities for young professionals who are eager to enter the labour market. We feel, more than any other social group, the great mismatch between our educational skills and the actual needs of today’s jobs. We cannot ignore the main concern of youngsters in Europe, which is to live in an environment that offers opportunities to create and be productive. To tackle that, we have launched the “Job Creation” campaign, which centred on the following three-step proposal to tackle youth employment by enabling youth entrepreneurship. 1. LOWERING TAXATION FOR COMPANIES THAT EMPLOY YOUNG PEOPLE
We strongly believe that the private sector can fuel growth, and we want to live in an environment that encourages the individual to be proactive and productive in their area of expertise. In order to do so, we call on Member States to lower taxation for companies employing people under the age of 30, to encourage the hiring of young professionals. The standards for such a tax relief should be set according to a set percentage
of employees younger than 30 years, depending on the standards of each member state. We propose a tax-neutral system, so as the lost tax income due to the relief is not higher than the cost of unemployment to the state for the same number of unemployed persons. 2. CLOSING THE GAP BETWEEN HIGHER EDUCATION AND THE LABOUR MARKET
Recognizing that the mismatch between education skills and today’s jobs needs to be fixed mainly from the side of education institutions, we call on EU Education Ministers and higher education institutions in the EU to add apprenticeships and traineeships as mandatory parts of the curricula of all relevant studies. This will enable young people to graduate with working skills, not just knowledge. We strongly believe that the updating of departments and curricula
Our third proposal is an ambitious project that calls on a Europe-wide business incubator project. Young start-ups can stimulate growth by operating in segments of the market that are not being served today. The main problems faced by start-ups, especially young, is mostly funding and bureaucracy. In order to tackle this, we suggest creating business incubators for young entrepreneurs. This will give them access to accounting, legislative and research facilities that could difficulty be accessed otherwise. A friendly environment will enable young companies to harmonize with legislative requirements while producing their product or service. This will require harmonization of legislation between EU Member States in terms of venture capital, so as to increase cross-border investments and offer tax incentives for ‘angel investors’ to close the ‘equity gap’ at the early stage. A businessfriendly environment for incubators will allow European start-up ecosystems to focus on innovation, production and profit; instead of funding procedures and bureaucracy for their early funding needs. Part of the financing opportunities should come from the European Investment Bank and the €6 billion allocated in the MFF for youth employment measures, in a programme for public-private partnerships for entrepreneurial companies with a young workforce. The ever-increasing cost of unemployed and inactive young people reaches up to €100 billion annually to our economy; which means that we have no other alternative but to start creating jobs for young people. Bearing in mind that the ‘Youth Guarantee’ is just a social policy to tackle social exclusion and inactivity, and not designed to create new jobs, it should not be advocated as an employment policy. Our political movement should be the frontrunner in the debate for Job Creation. We express the will of the youth of Europe who want to work and be efficient; they don’t want to rely on expensive social programmes. Furthermore, we do not want youth employment measures to impact on the lives of pensioners, we do not want to rely on state funding or numerous social programmes, we just want bureaucracy and excessive taxation not to stand as an obstacle for job creation.
Constantine the Philosopher University
Tucked away under the mountain Zobor, the city of Nitra is well known for its old Slavonic education and the culture of Great Moravia. It is also the seat of Constantine the Philosopher University (UKF), named after one of the most important personalities of Slovak history, Constantine the Philosopher, who with his brother, Methodius, came to Great Moravia more than 1,000 years ago on behalf of the Byzantine emperor Michael III. Having brought Christianity and the Cyrillic script, Great Moravia soon became a centre of culture and education. UKF is the successor of the Cyril-Methodian tradition and, similarly to the brothers from Thessaloniki, UKFâ€™s mission is to provide higher education in social, human and natural sciences. 22
ABOUT THE UNVERSITY The University degree system is based on the new Higher Education Law adopted by the Slovak Parliament in 2002. It consists of Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree and Doctoral Degree (PhD) study programmes. UKF has been accredited to confer degrees of associate professors and professors. Research activities of UKF meet national and international standards in selected areas of research. Both national and international projects are developed at UKF as well as published works of UKF teachers and researchers are recorded in the university information systems. The data serves as a review about the results of scientific and research activities of the involved individuals, departments, and faculties. The ambition of UKF is to make the study courses more flexible and challenging for its students and to respond to the vital needs of society, while providing applicants with different ways and forms of undergraduate, postgraduate and life-long study.
HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT Despite being a young university, UKF has undergone some major changes during its existence. The foundations were laid in 1959 in form of a pedagogical institute, which provided primary teacher training. As the only institution in this field it also provided training for teachers of the Hungarian minority. The Faculty quickly developed in size and number as a consequence of the Project for the Development of Education from 1976. In 1992 the Faculty developed into an independent University of Education, which consisted of three faculties: of Education, of Arts; and of Natural Sciences. Four years later, UKF was established by the Nation Council of the Slovak Republic. Since then, it has five faculties: of Education, Philosophy, Social Studies and Health Care, Central-European Studies, Natural Sciences.
STUDENT LIFE By student population – more than 14,000 full-time and part-time students, UKF belongs to the larger Slovak universities, and it provides an incentivising environment for its students. They can be a part of student organizations of different kind and interests. For example there is the Student Parliament, which organizes leisure activities and serves as a voice of the students of UKF. There is also the Christian Students and the Union of Hungarian Students, which is one of the biggest organizations of Hungarian students studying in Slovakia. UKF supports both individual and collective sport. The most successful sport club at UKF is the volleyball club. Every year a hockey match between UKF and the Agricultural University in Nitra takes place. SUMMARY Over time, UKF has secured its position in the Slovak higher education system while transforming itself into a university, an advanced educational and research institution meeting the criteria imposed on European university institutions. The university has defined itself as a comprehensive university with faculties providing education not only in traditional teacher training programmes but also in many other scientific and professional study programmes at all levels of study.
Summer University 2013
The XXXVII EDS Summer University took place in Germany from 28 July to 2 August, under the title “Education as an Incubator of European Unification”. Around 120 delegates from over 35 countries gathered in Berlin to participate, and the event was hosted by German EDS member RCDS.
After the arrival of the participants was a dinner at the popular Bavarian restaurant called “Hofbräuhaus” on Sunday. The official programme began on Monday with the keynote speech on “The Necessity of Political Commitment of Young People” by Elmar Brok, a German Member of the European Parliament and the current Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs. After the first discussion on motions during the Permanent Working Groups (PWG), the day ended with a big welcome party. For which RCDS ordered a professional barbecue master. The atmosphere was better than great, and even the summer rain did not stop the participants from dancing and celebrating the official start of the Summer University. The second day started in the Academy of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation with a presentation on the “The Digital Future of Europe” by Marcus Riecke, CEO of iversity. His presentation
EVENTS focused on e-learning and e-teaching platforms as an additional offer to the traditional face-toface teaching programmes. In this context, iversity wants to develop world-class courses that allow students to take classes from the best professors around the globe. After a fruitful discussion about the digital future the participants convened five working group panels. The panels were dealing with different political issues such as the “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between EU und USA”, the “European Elections as an Incubator of European Unification” or the “Future University: E-Learning, E-Teaching across Europe”. External experts of different institutions moderated the panels. The highlight was the boat trip on the river Spree across Berlin later that day. Here it was our honour to welcome Günther Oettinger, EU Commissioner for Energy. He presented an overview of the upcoming European elections and the role of the political youth. After his speech there were time to have some face-to-face talks with the Commissioner and by the time Mr Oettinger had to leave, the participants were allowed to enjoy a delicious dinner accompanied by some light jazz music and a short dinner speech given by the head of the organisers. On Wednesday the long expected annual meeting of EDS took place, and finally the holy day and the elections of the bureau for the working year 2013/2014 had come. There were two female candidates for the position as chairman, and ten candidates for the positions as vicechairmen. On that day there was such a high
tension in the air that the participants were almost able to cut it with a knife. Before the election started the plenary appointed Tim Arnold, former EDS Chairman, as returning officer and the organisers thanked the outgoing Chariman, Juraj Antal from ODM Slovakia, for his efforts during the last two years. After two impressive speeches and minutes which felt like an eternity the result was settled: with a clear majority of votes Eva Majewski from RCDS Germany was elected as new chairmen of the EDS. A few minutes later Ingrid Hopp from HSF Norway became the new general secretary. The newly elected vice chairmen were the following: Ivan Burazin (SOHSS Croatia), Teele Holmberg (IRLY Estonia), Giorgos Hadjigeorgiou (FPK Protoporia Cyprus), Florian Weinberger (AG Austria), Anna Masna (USA Ukraine), Viktor Wollstad (YCEG United Kingdom), Andrey Novakov (MGERB Bulgaria), and Vít Voseček (MK Czech Republic). In addition to the elections, the application of ‘Youth Forum of Democratic League from Kosovo’ (FR-LDK) for full membership drew the special attention of the delegates. After a secret vote our friends from Kosovo were finally accepted as EDS Full Members. And in the end after 14 hours of discussions on motions and elections the plenary session ended by midnight. Unfortunately the discussion on the higher education and research programme had to be postponed to the Council Meeting in Belgium. A very short night was followed by an excursion on the next day. First stop was the former prison Berlin-Hohenschönhausen. It was opened in
1994 on the site of the main prison of the former East German Communist Ministry of State Security, the Stasi. The prison was not stormed by demonstrators after the fall of the Berlin Wall, allowing prison authorities to destroy evidence of the prison’s functions and history. Second stop was Schloss Cecilienhof, a palace in Potsdam. Cecilienhof was famous for having been the location of the Potsdam Conference in 1945, in which the leaders of the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States took important decisions affecting the shape of postWorld War II Europe and Asia. Last but not least the participants gathered for a sunny walk through the Sanssouci Gardens. Sanssouci was the former summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. It is often counted among the German rivals of Versailles. While Sanssouci is in the more intimate Rococo style and is far smaller than its French Baroque counterpart, it too is notable for the numerous temples and follies in the park. The Summer University official ended with the farewell party on Thursday. For this the organizer rented a club called “Asphalt” and used the dance floor as a banquet floor. It was a pretty cool and cozy atmosphere. In this context we would like to thank the organisers as well as the participants. It was a wonderful Summer University with many unforgettable moments. Now we are looking forward to see you all in Belgium for the 1st Council Meeting in this term.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE
The Union We Wanted: a UK perspective on the Council of Europe The European Union is often the subject of controversy, particularly in the United Kingdom. Although obviously not confined to the one Member State, it is here that euroscepticism is increasingly becoming a mainstream position to hold. The irritating truth in this problem is that the institution that so many eurosceptics would like the European Union to be already exists, in the form of the Council of Europe. This is distinctly different to the EUâ€™s European Council and the Council of the European Union, but there is such confusion caused by these three incredibly similar sounding institutions that the significance of the Council of Europe is lost. The Council of Europe is far more extensive and inclusive than the European Union and its myriad affiliated institutions, comprising 47 countries, as opposed to the EUâ€™s 28 Member States (Croatia joined very recently). This makes the Council much more representative of the continent as a whole, with nearly all countries except Belarus represented and included in debate and deliberation. Where the European Union is, often on the admission of its proponents and leaders, a project to create a supranational state in its own right with shared laws, currency and government, the Council of Europe emphasises cooperation, working through drafting international agreements and treaties which are debating at length and signed up to (or not) at the discretion of national governments. This respect for national sovereignty, em-
phasis on pluralism and flexible approach is much healthier promotion of Western and European values than a top-down organisation. If the object of the EU is to promote stability, tolerance and cooperation, then the Council of Europe should have been the chief international institution of the continent following the conclusion of the Second World War. As the current crisis demonstrates, excessive integration without full political union leads to serious problems. The common currency deprives the Eurozoneâ€™s diverse countries of the ability to remedy their differing economic problems with the tools available to countries in control of their own countries. Instead of kratokleptically micromanaging the minutiae of day to day governance in Europe, the Council of Europe aims to promote the clear liberal values of rule of law, human rights and democracy with more aplomb and finesse than legislation. These are the values that should really matter Europe and that are most vital to continental harmony and stability.
There are several notable successes of the Council of Europe and its approach. The first of these I would like to examine is the Convention on Prevention of Terrorism, signed by 44 states, ratified by 30 of those, which criminalises incitement, solicitation, and provision of training to commit terrorist offences. This international convention has been ratified by well over the number of Member States in the EU, it has had a far-reaching impact on expanding the scope for prosecuting terrorists and those who support them and was actually the first international law that attempted to define incitement to terrorism. This would have likely struggled to get through the bureaucratic machine of the EU in anywhere near as effective a law as was produced by the Council of Europe. Another notable success is the Convention on Cybercrime, again the first such attempt to internationally establish ground rules on cybercrime. This convention sought to harmonise signatories domestic laws pertaining to cybercrime, change domestic laws to better empower investigators to fight cybercrime and setting up an international cooperation structure, to tackle cross-jurisdictional cybercrime. This Convention attracted such interest that four countries outside of the membership of the Council of Europe signed up: the USA, Japan, Canada and South Africa. This demonstrates how the Council of Europe not only safeguards and promotes liberal democratic values at home in Europe, but also beyond the continent. The EU on the other hand, is almost exclusively focused on itself and on the recent occasions where it has attempted to engage on foreign policy matters it has been proven to be ineffective. Take the example of Syria: because it insists on having one foreign representative in Baroness Ashton, it finds itself struggling to put across 27 or 28 different opinions coherently and a 12 hour meeting on Syria proved completely fruitless in terms of any common opinions or calls for action being carried out. A Council of Europe approach would have been to put forward a clear motion for action which could be debated on by all members and signed up to by those who agree, whilst those who disagree are under no obligations. The Council of Europe model is precisely what the political dimension of the European Union should have been. It allows for flexibility and for members to participate at their own pace and on their own terms without delegated any sovereignty to a supranational organisation. It embodies the very spirit of human rights, liberalism and democracy that is characteristic of the West and should certainly be given a lot more attention and focus from its members as we face the challenges of the 21st Century.
EDS Bureau 2013/14 EDS has elected a new bureau for this working year during its Summer University which was held in Berlin Germany.
Eva Majewski (27) is Chairwoman of EDS. She oversees and manages the work of the Bureau and represents EDS externally towards the EPP, all Brussels-based institutions and other third parties. She is responsible for the strategic agenda setting, policy development, and liasing with member organizations.
Ingrid Hopp (25) is EDS Secretary General. She runs the EDS Office in Brussels, and take care of all day-to-day work. She is also dealing with the EDS communication daily, through the EDS website and Social Media channels. SecGen Hopp also represents EDS externally, both in Brussels and in Europe.
Ivan Burazin (24) ViceChairmen lives in Split, Croatia where he studies National Security at the Faculty of Forensic Sciences, and he holds a bachelor’s degree in administrative law. In the bureau he holds responsible for the entrepreneurship project together with ViceChair Chatzigeorgiou.
Teele Holmberg (31) lives in Tallinn, Estonia. Teele has graduated at the University of Tallinn with an BA in recreation and is graduating as MA at University of Tartu in Social Sciences and European Studies. She is in charge of social media and also in charge for events, a responsibility she shares together with Vice-Chair Masna.
Georgios Chatzigeorgiou (23) was born in Larnaca, Cyprus. He studied Law at Lancaster University in the UK is currently accomplishing his Barristers’ course. Within the Bureau he holds responsible for fundraising together with Vice-Chair Burazin and he is in charge of any statutory questions.
Florian Weinberger (26) lives in Vienna, Austria where he studies the graduate programme agricultural economies. Within the bureau he is responsible for educational policies and he helps Chairman Majewski with the representation of EDS towards the EPP and its working groups.
Anna Masna (30) was born in Ternopil (Ukraine). She studied at the Institute of Economics and Entrepreneurship. She is in charge of the Ad-hoc working group on Eastern Partnership
Viktor Wollstad (22) lives in Edinburgh, United Kingdom where he is currently studying towards a Master of Laws (LLM) degree in International Law. He is in charge of the coordination of the permanent working groups and he also signs responsibly for the newsletter.
Andrey Novakov (24) was born in Pazardjik, Bulgaria. He studied at South-West University in Blagoevgrad where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Public administration. He is a constant contributor to BullsEye and he signs responsible for policy input.
Vit Vosecek (19) was born in Hradec Kralove, but now he is studying in Prague at the University of economics. He is responsible for BullsEye magazine and for membership questions.