BullsEye Febâ€™15 / 53nd year / No. 59 / ISSN 2033-7809
The newsmagazine of European Democrat Students
Current Affairs 04 Donald Tusk 06 Democracy or Independence 07 Greek Elections. Against or with Europe? 08 Internet Governance
Dear Readers, I am glad to present you to a new issue of BullsEye under the title “The Digital Century”. We all rely on this new digital world, whether it be the two hours of free Skype talk with your best friend in South Africa, checking the layout of Tokyo via Google Maps or visiting online courses to gain a degree without ever having seen a university or college from the inside. Opponents of the trend to live and work through the internet have long argued their case: for them the internet is distracting, has had a negative impact on our ability to concentrate and causes our real identity to blur or even disappear. On the other side of the debate, proponents often argue in favour of the technological progress and global networking it brings. For many people both positions are understandable. The digital transformation has become one of the key challenges for business, science, society and politics. The almost complete digitisation of the world’s stored information has taken place in less than 10 years. The massive collection, storage and transmission of digital data has created a new reality in which we are easily and continuously monitored. This represents a massive intrusion of and threat to our right to privacy. But, the potential dangers created by the digital revolution were unknown for a long time. However, the re is also a huge potential for our economy, society and lifestyle. In this issue we try to answer some of the questions raised by the digital transformation. One thing is clear: few other processes bring such radical change to our society as digitisation. Also those working in politics are beginning to realize this. I hope you find this an enjoyable read.
10 European Digital Rights 12 Digital Sovereignty 13 Peer-to-Peer 14 Digital Tools in Electoral Campaigns 16 The Digital Economy
Universities 20 Start-Ups 22 University Placement 3.0 23 Apolitical and Depoliticised?
Reports 24 The City of Tomorrow 26 E for Estonia 27 Geopolitics of Cyber Security 28 Portraits
Council for Europe 30 We are the Youth
ISSN: Print: 2033-7809 Online: 2033-7817 Editor-in-chief: Silvie Rohr Editorial team: Mindaugas Liutvinskas, Stefanie Mayrhofer, Julien Sassel, Dietmar Schulmeister and David Vaculik Contributions:Tomasz Kaniecki, Ivan Shyla, Syrila Makarezou, Viviane Reding, Joe McNamee, Dr. Peter Tauber, Juha-Pekka Nurvala, Julien Sassel, Günther Oettinger, Stefanie Mayrhofer, Dietmar Schulmeister, Linas Skirius, Ingrid Hopp, Silvie Rohr, Mindaugas Liutvinskas and Ivan Burazin Photos: Balázs Szecsődi, Tobias Koch, 123RF and 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: email@example.com 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
Welcome to Brussels! We are proud to present the third edition of the EDS BullsEye. We would like to set the EDS agenda for the upcoming months: growth from innovation and the Digital Agenda. These two topics certainly go hand in hand – and are a core necessity to sustain the level of welfare in the European Union that we have built on in the past. During this Winter University we will have a close look at the Digital Agenda of the European Commission. Together with MEPs and experts, we will argue how e-learning can be a part of it and how we as EDS can support the plans of the Commission. One of the biggest challenges that lies ahead includes EU’s changing demographics whereby we need to reform and adapt our societies. To be in shape for future adjustments, we must make full use of the potential on hand. We must embrace it so that investors will want to invest into technological advancement in the European Union. Increasing trade is part of the solution in order to generate growth. This is why we in EDS believe in the importance of the Transatlantic Investment and Trade Partnership (TTIP). Despite the increased measures to increase transparency of the negotiation process of the TTIP, the criticism does not stall. It is time for the EPP family and for us to point out more drastically, what is in the TTIP deal – and also how the young generation can benefit from growth though trade and investment. We need to address TTIP criticism. Investor-state-dispute settlements (ISDS), are described as a core ‘threat’ by TTIP opponents, which they try to corroborate. However, ISDS clauses are part of more than 3000 agreements worldwide and element of 1400 bilateral agreements of EU member states. ISDS clauses are ordinary practice and exist even between EU member states. Investors must believe that they can invest – and that these investments are worthwhile and safe. While politics can only do a fair share to trigger investments such as e.g. through the investment plan proposed by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, there need to be elements to ensure investment protection such as implementing ISDS. Now, that the future seems at stake with populist movements arising and strengthening, the whole EPP family with all its capacities, including our student voice, must insist and struggle again for rule of law. Rule of law will originate the necessary trust. Trust in a future we can build together, spiked by economic growth arising from trade and investments in digital change. The Digital Era we will live in.
Dear friends of EDS!
With best regards from the entire Bureau,
Eva Majewski, Chairwoman
The former Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk took over the responsibilities of his predecessor, Herman Van Rompuy, on 1 December 2014. The east European perspective and prudent policy style of the new President of the European Council looks to breathe new life into Brussels and the European Union. HOW CAN THE NEW EC PRESIDENT BE DESCRIBED? Quiet, pragmatic and tenacious. Tusk came to Brus-
out the most important challenges lying ahead of the former Polish prime minister.
sels from a country that deeply believes in the sense of a united Europe. This can become a very important
Firstly, the most important task for the European Union and Tusk alike is to keep a cohesive line against an aggressive Russia’s policy. Europe must defend its borders and support neighbours who share its values.
source of energy, the EU needs and will need in the future more than ever before. Donald Tusk is a man with an open mind and open heart. He is the son of the great Polish nation, which now would become the father of the European Union - said Herman Van Rompuy, giving responsibilities to the new European Council President. The main task of Donald Tusk is to continue to build compromises and coherent positions. However, the powers of the president of the European Council as indicated in the Lisbon Treaty, define the job as chairing and preparing EU summits and representing the bloc at head of state level with third countries. WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR EASTERN EUROPE?
The election of the first eastern European leader to a senior EU job is an important moment in European history. The success of Donald Tusk to secure one of the top jobs in Europe marks a coming of age for his native Poland. The poll, undertaken by IBRiS for the Rzeczpospolita - polish daily newspaper, finds that 50 per cent of respondents pointed to former PM Tusk’s election to the top EU post as the most important event of 2014. The approval of Donald Tusk as president of the European Council is also a great success for the cooperation and solidarity of the Visegrad countries and also confirmation of the strength of the V4 as a European actor.
Europe needs good leadership and political unity in these difficult times. This is the reason why I deeply believe in Tusk’s promise of strong leadership in foreign policy and ruthless determination to end Europe’s economic crisis. According to Donald Tusk’s first months of work as the president of the European Council, I singled
Another key issue to address is avoiding a “Brexit” which would weaken Europe geopolitically and, in the long term, also economically. It could also become a bad example for other EU members and lead to erosion of the achievements in European integration. Last but not least, Tusk will have to secure a robust economic growth to reduce unemployment. At the next EU summits, he will also have to defend the budgetary discipline stipulated in the treaties but currently undermined in France and Italy, which argue that austerity measures stifle economic growth.
of the Cold War is over. If you look at what was discussed at the NATO summit in Wales- on the one hand, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, on the other, the threat of Islamic radicalism. The variety of issues must be addressed by the European Union along with the President of the European Council. Thus, it is really special time and a unique role to play. Donald’s personal history, and the broader history of Eastern Europe are highly symbolic. For those who have missed his personal story, it is worth watching a 15-minute video released by the European Council. Billed as a biography in Donald’s own words. The interview turned out to be a fascinating glimpse of a life lived at the heart of Eastern Europe’s journey from communism to democracy. In surprisingly good English, Tusk recalled his upbringing in Gdansk on the Baltic coast, describing how he gained his first taste of politics after witnessing riots over food prices.
Finally, the coming year will be crucial for relations between Europe and the United States, with the world’s two biggest trading blocs negotiating a free trade agreement named the TTIP which faces opposition on both sides of the Atlantic. The game is played for high stakes. European interest is a major challenge for Donald Tusk who will represent not only the EU as a whole, but also east and west, the smaller and larger, richer and poorer countries. If Tusk succeeds in all mentioned areas he might become, just like his predecessor, Herman Van Rompuy, a midwife of key compromises in the EU.
Will the election of Tusk have an impact on the EU’s political direction? We will see. Donald Tusk is to be
congratulated, but will have a hard job. The world is in a difficult time; a period of enthusiasm after the end
Democracy or Independence? Elections in Belarus have never been a predictable event. However, the next election campaign claims to be the most difficult to predict in the history of the country. Whilst the victory of President Lukashenko is always more or less clear (the question is whether he will “receive” more than 70% of votes or less), it is not known how other key players will behave: the opposition, Russia and the European Union. A year ago the balance of power was fairly simple and standard: the EU remained faithful to the sanctions it had introduced against the regime and sought the release of political prisoners who had been imprisoned during previous elections. The opposition saw in Lukashenko their number one enemy while Russia saw Lukashenko as an ally. The electoral campaigns of the last 15 years have almost all looked like this. Perhaps 2010 claimed to be an exception because for several months before that year’s elections we observed liberalisation, a soured relationship with Russian leaders and frequent visits of European ministers to Minsk. But afterwards everyone returned to where they started: the opposition rally dispersed after the election, more than 700 people were arrested and 63 criminal cases were brought. Seven opposition candidates appeared behind bars. Then there were the EU sanctions, Russia recognised the elections and a new five-year term began, which brought Lukashenko back into the fold of the Soviet rulers. Now it is his twenty-first year in power. Now the events in Ukraine have changed the position of all the key players. Firstly, Lukashenko has become one of the main actors in the peace process and the so-called “Minsk” meetings. The EU leaders are ready to talk with the Belarusian leader, despite the fact that political prisoners are still in prisons and free elections are not even discussed. Stability, a quality which was quite attractive for internal voters, has now become an aspiration Belarus has exported abroad. Peace in the region, stability and a predictable leader – European leaders appreciate these things more than democracy and its principles. Some time ago such a position of the European Union would have caused confusion among the representatives of the Belarusian political opposition, no longer is this the case. The fact is that the opponents have also changed - too many see Lukashenko as a guarantor of independence and an experienced politician, the only one able to negotiate with the Kremlin. Many of them think that the country needs such kind of a leader at this time. This is a unique situation. Lukashenko started his career as a pro-Russian
politician and was decried as an enemy of independence, but now it seems like his principle opponents have suddenly changed their minds. At the same time Lukashenko has repeatedly condemned the actions of Russia in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Admittedly this has only been through unofficial statements – Belarus formally supported the occupation of Crimea during the voting in the UN. Nonetheless, today Lukashenko has more opponents in the Russian Federation than ever, both ordinary citizens and politicians. Both countries have reproached the other. Russia has banned some Belarusian products whilst Belarus has moved towards the restoration of its border with Russia. Will Russia support Lukashenko? Will Lukashenko become a new kind of pro-Western leader who must be protected to Moscow? No one could expect it, but it is now possible. Opposition parties are not so popular in Belarus nowadays. Their every step requires the support of voters but the people now support Lukashenko. He gives them peace, even if he cannot give them stability after the sharp collapse of the national currency. Sociologists say his rise in popularity is a direct result of the crisis in Ukraine. The fact that there is no war in Belarus gives additional kudos to the Government. Thanks to Belarus’s pro-Government mass media, people make the following association: election protests and revolution equal war, just as they do in Ukraine. What message can Belarusian politicians bring to the people in this situation? No one wants war. Consequently protests after the election are not desirable. Even European politicians make hints to this effect. But how is it possible to participate in the elections and not raise the issue of electoral fraud? How can we not defend our values after the elections? To make this clear – going to the streets is the only major political event allowing genuine opposition in the country’s five-year electoral cycle. Usually opposition meetings are small, illegal and pointless. Elections are rigged, but people are able protest every five years. In this sense participation in elections is some kind of victory of con-
science, the protection of our dignity. What if you do not participate in the protests after the elections because you don’t want to rock the boat? Then you can’t speak about a moral victory. Such a fear would prevent opposition activists participating in elections, and even then opposition candidates would likely still be arrested. If you’re to be thrown in gaol anyway, it might as well be for having actively protested rather than for having done nothing. To protest is an achievement in itself and allows the opposition to draw on international support that otherwise might not be as forthcoming. The situation is nevertheless complicated meaning one of the options is to boycott the elections altogether. Even here, though, the Belarusian opposition cannot agree. There are too many disputes; time passes. The fundamental questions are eternal: what is more important, democracy or independence? Can there be democracy without independence? Is it worth it to compromise and sacrifice something? I do not have answers to these questions, though I can state it is difficult to build democracy without independence. 20 years of Lukashenko’s rule has led to a situation, where only he can defend the country. There is no army, no civil society, no cultural boundaries. For the future we need to understand that dictatorship cannot be an effective way to protect independence.
CURRENT AFFAIRS Greece held snap elections on the 25th of January Pasok won just 13 seats in the Parliament. cil’s statement on Russia, breaking the line of solidarity after some132 out of 300 MPs - some of them being Regarding the coalition, the lack of communication the and unity of statements amongst the Member States, members of the radical leftist party Syriza and the ex- two parties have is striking. It is hard to believe that this disrespecting the vision of European Union and trying to treme neo-nazi party Golden Dawn - voted against the government will stand for long. In the past the two par- act unilaterally. It is not surprising that “Golden Dawn” candidate for President, a process that involved three ties refused to countenance future cooperation due to released a statement that embraced this eurosceptic separate votes as per the Hellenic Constitution. Imme- the fact that they belong to completely opposite ends of move and the decision to freeze the privatization of the diately after the dissolution of the Parliament, the Presi- the ideological spectrum. Indeed the only position they Piraeus port. Regarding the new minister of Finance, share is their opposition to the bailout. What brought it is hard to explain how someone can be considered dent of the Republic called for national elections. open minded and at the same time Despite the efforts made for the truly unwilling to negotiate with achievement of stability during this Greece’s international lenders. crucial time for Greece, the leader When it comes to the Greece’s of Syriza achieved his aim of bring youth, there are reasons to be opabout early elections, before the completion of the previous govtimistic. Syriza attracts a far higher number of older voters, while young ernments four-year term,. “Nea people continue to support Nea Democratia’s” main goal had been Democratia as seen by the number to maintain stability and attempt to of members of its youth organizaseparate the President’s election from Syriza’s for ambitions for powtion “ONNED” and its student or“Now is the time for Democracy! And Democer. However, this did not happen ganization “DAP-NDFK”. Students racy means truth and responsibility. No more and the country went to the polls. continue to elect “DAP-NDFK” as slander, no more lies, no more broken promises, After the nightmare of 2012, when the ruling political organization in no more populism and “fireworks” and no more all Greeks were worried about the universities across Greece with a blackmailing through elections”. These were the future of the country as a member majority exceeding 40%. Greece’s words of the President of Nea Democratia durof the Eurozone, it was certainly youth believes and strives for a a calculated move on the part state with values and at the same ing his statement following the Parliament’s failof Syriza and other parties, who time is ready for any necessary reure to elect a new President of the Republic. claimed a place in this coalition, to forms by pushing aside reputational force Greece into elections. Greeks have suffered pain- them to the coalition was just the political stance they costs, demanding the evaluation of civil servants and by fully over the last six years and their efforts should not had against the austerity measures. Syriza, which is fighting for better Universities, which will always be acbe wasted. In 2012, when Nea Democratia came to radically left wing, completely differs from its euros- cessible to all students. Greece’s young people support power, the party successfully negotiated financial sup- ceptic right-wing partners in areas such as foreign pol- the European Union and its vision as it is part of their port for the Greek economy. It also managed Greece’s icy, education, migration and even the economy. Many culture. No one can take this vision away from us. re-entry into international money markets and its first members of Syriza, who come from different strands sale of government debt since 2009, demonstrating the of the left, remain unhappy and disappointed with this beginnings of the recovery. Despite all the sacrifices the coalition, as they believe that the party of Independent country could at last see a light at the end of the tunnel, Greeks holds extremist beliefs. Focusing on the new finishing the bailout programme and recording positive Cabinet, everyone is wondering how the leader of the growth in the economy. Independent Greeks can head the Ministry of Defence The electorate came to a decision that was not unex- given his views on immigration, with certain statements pected. According to the results, the nearly 64% of the being clearly xenophobic. To make matters worse, the electorate cast their ballots. Syriza appeared to be the new government publicly rejected the European Counruling party with a rate of 36% and 149 seats in the Parliament, but without a clear majority a coalition with Syrila Makarezou another party was necessary. “Nea Democratia” was elected as the main opposition party with 27%, of the vote and 76 MPs. As with the European elections, the neo-nazi Golden Dawn came third with 17 seats, illustrating the need to solve the phenomenon of extremism and nationalism in a difficult time for Greece. The moderate social-democratic party To Potami and the Communist Party of Greece accounted won 17 seats and 15 seats respectively, while the eurosceptic party of “Independent Greeks” won 13 seats and entered into a coalition government with Syriza. Finally, the former governing party
Greek Elections. Against or with Europe?
Internet Governance The Digital Revolution Calls for a Data Protection Revolution Using the computer, the mobile or devices linked to the internet - the internet of things is only at its initial stage we create and feed our “digital twin”. He is not our identical twin, but he certainly says a great deal about our personality and discloses behavioural patterns. Companies understood the value of these data. Collecting, aggregating and analysing personal data became an essential part of economic life. Data is a new currency. It is not only about an evolution of technical details and features. There is a silent revolution taking place. Europe’s time for adapting to this digital revolution is running out. We are lagging behind, while the USA and Asian countries take the lead. In this light, the new President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, emphasizes the digital single market is his top priority: the EU must secure an EU-wide digital single market in order to make the EU more competitive. A series of legislative measures are to be taken in order to introduce an EU-wide digital single market. The European Commission have taken steps such as updating individual copyright rules to adapting e-commerce legislation. There is a simple maxim to be followed: bring down borders and build trust. I acted upon this maxim already three years ago when I presented the data protection package. Bringing down borders means to put an end to legal fragmentation, to replace 28 national legislations by one European law for the whole continent. The data protection package will deliver tangible results for citizens and businesses alike. It will improve the means for individuals to exercise their rights by strengthening data protection. Additionally involved parties will be subject to judicial courts when data protection rights are violated. At the same time, less administrative burdens will lead to net savings for companies of approximately €2.3 bn a year. But first and foremost, the data protection law ought to build trust. Therefore it sets high standards. Even before the surveillance revelations, 92% of Europeans were concerned about the way their data is used without their consent. Big data linked to e-health or smart cars are even more sensitive than ‘normal’ data. Therefore engagement to restore trust in the digital economy is imperative. The digital revolution calls for a data protection revolution. The European Parliament
understands this and backed the data protection package with a large majority. The protection of personal data, enshrined in article 8 of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, is a central fundamental right. Hence, new collection of data by law enforcement agencies, like passenger name records for example, require sound and reliable European data protection standards. Security and privacy are not in opposition, but two sides of the same coin. When addressing challenges of the digital revolution, we must ask a crucial question: Do we want to create the digital standards in today’s globalised world? Or do we want somebody else to impose weak standards on us? Personal data is transferred across virtual and geographical borders and stored on servers in various countries. Expansion of cloud computing services is accelerating these transfers. It is imperative that steps are taken to facilitate necessary data transfers to third-world countries. Appropriate safeguards must secure a high level of data protection. Legal certainty for companies and protective certainty for citizens should be the line to follow. The definition of standards for the digital world is still on-going. We Europeans must have the ambition to shape these standards. They are at the heart of our future. High European standards in data protection could become the gold standard of the digital age. Reunited we are able to achieve it!
Viviane Reding, MEP and former Vice-President on the European Commission
European Digital Rights The debate about “net neutrality” is at the intersection of most policy discussions around digital rights. The huge value of the internet for our societies and for our economies comes from the fact that it is open and flexible. Because it is open, we can communicate with everyone. Because it is flexible, the same network can be used to carry any digital content, whether it be video, pictures, e-mails, music or whatever. From the early days of the internet as a mass phenomenon, this openness was facilitated by internet access providers and web hosting services. They needed to provide their core services without being crippled by the cost of trying to police their customers. Their goal was to provide what the customer needed, nothing more and nothing less. European and American policymakers saw this at the end of the nineties and both adopted legislation to protect internet companies from liability for content that was on or travelling over their networks. At the same time, policymakers in Europe acted effectively to open up telecommunications markets and, importantly, to reduce bureaucracy as much as possible. The Licensing and Authorisation Directive (Directive 2002/20/EC), for example, prohibited unnecessary licensing of telecommunications services and radio spectrum. This also helped make it easier to provide services, helping open access services to grow. This article looks at what the choices are, why the net neutrality debate has gained momentum recently, and what ultimately is at stake, both in Europe and globally. The “net neutrality” discussion boils down to one simple question – should internet access companies be allowed to restrict or promote particular online content? THE CULTURE OF TELECOMS COMPANIES In the “old” telecoms world, phone companies receive a payment to receive calls onto their networks. This is part of the reason why mobile phone calls are often so expensive. Imagine if you’re on T-Mobile and your friend is on Vodafone. If you call your friend, TMobile has to pay Vodafone to receive your call. So
Vodafone is deciding (partly) how much your phone call costs. However, it is unlikely that your friend will have checked how much it costs other people to call her when she was choosing Vodafone. As this (how much it costs other people to call you) is something that people do not check when choosing a phone company, competition does not prevent bad behaviour. As you can imagine, a market of this kind where prices can be raised without needing to worry about competition is a very appealing one for telecoms providers. Of course, these days this area is very carefully regulated but a huge amount of money was made before the regulators caught up with the problem. So, all in all consumers generally only care about how much it costs to make calls and not how much it costs to call them – as a result, competition does little to push down these prices. One study in 2008 estimated that these “calling party network pays” charges led to a cost of €10 billion per year in spurious charges for European consumers. In the above example, the fee that Vodafone charges to T-Mobile is known as a “termination charge”. Technology now permits internet companies to filter traffic from different sources more efficiently. They now have 1
the capacity to impose the same types of “termination charges” on internet traffic that are so profitable in the telephony market. Indeed, the European Telecoms Network Operator’s Association (ETNO) publicly called for such payments to be introduced in for internet protocol traffic. Abandoning net neutrality, therefore, is an experiment to replace internet traffic payment systems that have been the basis of the internet since its inception with a system that is expensive and resistant to competition. So, due to the fact that this model has proved very profitable and resistant to competition in the telephony world, the large internet companies want to bring the same model into the internet world. THE NEW BUSINESS MODELS OF TELECOMS COMPANIES Whereas internet providers were previously interested mainly in providing access to the internet, faster speeds, new technologies and new markets allow the possibility for the larger internet providers to expand into the content market and to prioritise their own services or those of their partners. Therefore, many big internet access providers have chosen to expand into the lucrative online TV, sport and music markets.
By restricting access to services that compete with their own services or those of their partners, they can control the market. They can also sell access to their customers to online services. A key fundamental right is the freedom to receive and impart information. Through the traditionally open internet, the right to impart information was expanded – you could communicate with the whole world. The proposal, therefore, is a non-neutral internet where this amazing function of open communication disappears. SHORT-SIGHTED POLICYMAKERS The new business model issue is compounded by the short-sightedness of policymakers. Politicians frequently have difficulty coming up with – or passing laws on – solutions to deal with unwelcome or potentially illegal online content. From their perspective, simple slogans based on demands for internet companies to solve the problems are often an easy and popular option. This approach is reckless as it is not designed at solving the problem in question, but simply foists it on internet companies. These generally react by doing whatever is necessary to avoid bad
publicity or, in the case of companies opposed to net neutrality, to engage in the blocking and filtering of content in order to normalise the concept that the are – and should be – interfering in the private communications of their customers. UNDERMINING PRIVACY AND TRUST In order to be able to filter, restrict or block traffic, it is necessary to be able to examine the data travelling over individual networks. As a result there are huge privacy implications to non-neutrality. More concerning still, in order to inspect content they need to be able to read content. And, to read the content, it doesn’t need to be encrypted. This generates a huge new lobby against effective security and privacy protection for private communications. Communication without privacy means self-censorship or incurring risk.
ers; it is about whether or not the next generation of innovators will have the world as their marketplace; it is about whether campaigners, bloggers and journalists will need the permission of a world of internet access providers to communicate their message; it is about whether our communications will be policed and filtered by private companies; it is about whether our security will be undermined by restrictions on encryption. It is about our digital rights.
Joe McNamee Executive Director of EDRi
CONCLUSIONS “Net neutrality” sounds like a dry policy issue of little importance in the real world. In reality it is about the competition and innovation of internet access providFor more information see: https://edri.org https://savetheinternet.eu http://thisisnetneutrality.org
Digital Sovereignty – Media competence is decisive! Or as Yoda might put it: “Much to learn you still have” It has been more than a year since the socalled whistleblower Edward Snowden alarmed the world with his exposure of the NSA’s activities. Many users of digital media are still worried to this day. The discourse on internet policy has also changed due to Snowden’s revelations. In the past security policy existed only in the fields of internal and defence affairs. New policy fields have arisen with the digitalisation of the entirety of our economy and society. Today there is also the matter of digital security policy; but it is also the “digital sovereignty” of the users that matters. I admit the current debate still lags far behind today’s technology and we must to much more to ensure it catches up – both on a national and an international level. It is absolutely necessary that we as a society tackle every aspect of this discussion – whether it be on the political, economic, cultural, technical, legal and societal level. That is what we must do right now. Today there is one issue pertaining to digital sovereignty where much more progress must be made. The keyword here is media competence. An independence handling of digital technologies and media is a basic requirement if citizens are to deal competently with the digitalisation of their lives and to surf the internet in full sovereignty. On the political stage we have for many years intensively and often emotionally discussed at a local, national and European level the issues of media competence and youth protection. Accountability here rests primarily with nation states. National governments, Germany especially, need to reform the law in the field of youth media protection in order to ensure it is adapted to technological developments. Notwithstanding this, and this is a point that must be made explicitly, youth media protection should not be a purely national matter anymore. There must be Europe-wide minimum standards, following the example of those that already exist in Germany for instance.
Yet it is not enough to rely solely on prohibitions and legal measures. We need to actively accompany children and teenagers as they discover digital media for themselves. Parents and schools therefore have a duty too, similar to that of politicians. Despite many great projects and initiatives, also Europe-wide, it still seems to me that much more needs to be done. Indeed, from my point of view there are urgent questions we have to face, not only as politicians but first of all as users ourselves: How do we each deal with digital media? For instance, do we behave sensitively enough with our data? What does the digital sovereign user even look like? What is media competence able to contribute? How can we competently prepare our children and teenagers for the digital world? Do our schools and universities do enough to prepare young people for the digital world? Where should the state step in to give its assistance? The list of questions could go on forever. Until now we have too few answers. It is clear that the internet has arrived in everyday private as well as professional life. Especially for children and teenagers it is a matter of course to use computers, mobile phones or other electronic devices as part of their daily lives. For example already 75% of the six to thirteen aged children are online according to the “KidsVerbraucherAnalyse 2014” in Germany and 97% of those aged ten to thirteen. In the EU, two-thirds of nine to sixteen year olds are online during the week; in 2010 was only around 50%. As such, our young people need to be able to deal competently with digital media. This applies not only to the technical usage of tablets, PCs, SmartPhones or TVs. Rather children and teenagers must be able to deal with the huge amount of information available to them whilst being aware of its risks. They also need the ability to engage with services provided by the state’s E-Government and Open-Data-Strategies framework. We need
our young people to responsible digital citizens. It is essential not to try to shield children and teenagers from the reality of life but to accompany them when they discover the Internet for themselves. We need to ensure that the tools available will allow them to move safely and determinedly in the digital sphere. Therefore we need a precocious and cross-linked media education, with parents, teachers and politicians needing to act to concert. Parents and schools are especially important. First, they are in direct contact with the adolescents. Secondly, calls for purely legal solutions to these issues are unlikely to succeed The Internet shows us the limitations of governmental intervention quite plainly if we seek not to curtail
people’s freedom while deliberating about youth protection. When talking about competence with digital media, parents are my target audience. They need to prepare their children for the new world in which they live. Besides the use of child protection software, it is key that they speak with their children about what they could possibly see or already could have seen online. We’re not only talking about the portrayal of sex and violence. Parents and children are faced with new challenges in the digital age, including Cyber-bullying grooming, identity theft and much more. Therefore parents need to have an understanding of all these things. However like teachers, the media usage of their children can be totally alien
to most parents. Targeted parental advice needs to be strongly enhanced, especially with easy to access services. Information evenings in day-care centres and schools can serve this purpose but also special technical training for parents could be provided. Teachers are the second important target audience. According to a EU-wide study of the European Schoolnet by the University of Liege in 2013, teachers are keen to discuss issues related to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) during their lessons. This positive attitude of teachers is a crucial factor according to this study in helping students to develop digital competences. Indeed the positive attitude of these teachers may be more valuable than having modern equip-
ment to hand. Admittedly ICT-training is rare, requiring most teachers to sacrifice their free time to acquire these competences. We as politicians have to take care that teachers are trained appropriately. It starts with educating teaching staff and ends with continuous professional development for teachers. Teachers are confronted daily with the smart phone use of their students. Chatting takes place under the table, photos are taken and lessons interrupted by those taking a call from friends. Very often they are perceived being simply a nuisance. However the devices’ potential to become a teaching tool is more profound than one would imagine. A Smartphone can “transform” to become a microscope or be used in sports class by applying a suitable App. However still too many teacher feel overwhelmed by digital media, often due to the fact that they themselves rarely use it. It requires an alignment of teachers and students in handling digital media. Moreover considerable differences in Europe exist in technical equipment in schools. North-European countries are comparatively well equipped while in Poland, Romania, Italy, Greece, Hungary, and Slovakia appropriate equipment is most likely missing. In Germany there is a backlog in requests for equipment. It is important that in Europe technical equipment is not dependent of the goodwill and courage of the head teacher, financial power of the municipality or the ministry of education. Finally, we should aim to provide either a laptop or tablet-PC to each student. Last but not least the state will have to act legislatively. For instance the youth media protection treaty (Jugendmedienschutzstaatsvertrag) in Germany needs to finally be brought in line with current developments. This is not easy task but it must be done. The competence rests with the federal states, but it is true that 100%-control will not be possible. Yet we have to seek using available resources at its best. Ultimately, I stick to my conviction that the media consumption of children and teenagers at home is not a concern of public authorities. The state will not be able to provide a higher closeness of child care and it is just up to the responsibility of parents – this correlates deeply with our Christian Democratic understanding of a family – to provide their children with everything they need to have good a start in life. It cannot be done completely without the state, but we have to strengthen voluntary self-control and individual responsibility.
Dr. Peter Tauber, MdB Secretary General of CDU Germany
Peer-to-Peer People-to-People Economy and new service models
Let me start by saying that I disagree with the term ‘sharing economy’ and ‘on-demand’ economy to describe the new service production models that utilise the Internet for matching demand to the supply of services. There are two reasons for this. First, neither of the terms describes in an accurate way the transaction that takes place. Second, I think that in Europe we have to develop our own model of the new service economy, because it will require far-reaching changes to our labour legislation and social security systems; hence the title ‘People-toPeople Economy’ (P2PE). I am unequivocally of the opinion that P2PE is the model through which most services will be offered in the future. The unfortunate fact is that I still have to say ‘in the future’ when we are talking about this in the European context since this is the present state already in the USA and the model is gaining ground with a really rapid pace. So what do I actually meant with P2PE? Essentially, all services that are provided through Internetbased matching platforms where private individuals on a self-employed basis, not companies, offer services in exchange for payment. To give you a few examples of such companies and what they do; Handy (small jobs at home), Instacart (buying and delivering groceries), Washio (clothes washing), Fancy hands (personal assistant services), Eden McCallum (business consultants), Medicast (doctors), Business Talent Group (executives to solve business problems) and Tongal (video-making). Some of them employ some of the people they offer on a permanent basis but most of them are self-employed and all just a push of an app away (if you are in the States). Essentially, we are in the beginning of seeing how the Internet is removing, or at least drastically reducing,
transaction costs. Through this more people can work, contribute to society, support themselves and resources can be more efficiently allocated that will lead to overall economic gains. As a whole we will benefit from more efficient use of resources. It’s often stated that only lowskilled work will be transformed by this development but it is not that simple. Most of the low-skilled services will probably eventually be provided through this service model but as the examples show, this will also transform some sectors that require really high level of skills. Sounds good so far, no? Using underutilised resources in a more efficient way can only be positive, how could that be negative? However, we have to recognise that the pace of economic transformation is only getting quicker and we are only in the beginning of the probably most drastic economic change we will witness during our lifetime. Digitalisation and the Internet are not new but only now are we slowly starting to see how ground shaking their impact will be on our lives. What does this mean? This means that we are witnessing disruptive innovation at work. And that means that many people will lose and have to adapt to the changing situation. That is a fact and there is no getting around it. As someone of the centre-right, I have always believed that we combine our support for free markets with social responsibility. Hence, the EPP’s economic model is called Social Market Economy. We cannot and shall not forget to take care of people facing hardship. In the context of P2PE that is disruptive innovation, we have to rethink our social model. We have to find the model that makes it possible for people to work in this new sector on selfemployed basis, whilst, at the same time recognising that the number of self-employed citizens will increase in a dramatic fashion and that job security is consider-
ably different compared to the current situation. More people will become de-facto entrepreneurs and as we know, in many countries social security systems are not the best or most supportive of entrepreneurs. Flexibility will benefit us but we also have to understand what kind of changes that will entail in terms of citizens economic behaviour. Social security systems need to become such that people can work whilst receiving benefits. The next decade will require a complete overhaul of our social systems and labour legislation. The alternative to that is to fight against the tide and the more efficient economy that this transformation will bring with it and become less competitive and poorer as a continent. We should embrace the change and steer it the way we see best. As the official student organisation of the EPP, EDS should be in forefront of developing our response. I fully count on the students to come up with innovative solutions that allow us to change our systems and benefit to the full from the new service production models.
Digital Tools in Electoral Campaigns In the past few years, new tools have been used in order reach potential voters. New social media tools namely Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on, are present in many aspects of our everyday life. These social media tools serve as an advantage to the more traditional tools such as TV, radio or newspapers. We will see how these new digital tools in the political context emerged and what their characteristics are. After that, we will try to grab their effectiveness in some important events of the beginning of the 21st century.
THE LATEST REVOLUTION IN POLITICAL COMMUNICATION SINCE THE ADVENT OF TELEVISIONS The preceding era in electoral campaigning is often described as born on the 26 September 1960 in the United States when John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, then candidates to the US Presidential election, launched the television debates. These debates spawned an era where image was to be considered as important as political agenda. The next decades were going to be full of TV-debates and political TV-advertisings, some of them reaching high-levels in aesthetics and symbolism (a good example can be found in the Reagan-Bush ticket spot “There is a bear in the woods” aired during 1984 US Presidential election). While television became the crème de la crème in electoral campaigns, a then-insignificant tool was being developed by the military and nobody could imagine that tool would become an essential part of our times: the internet. The faster and faster development of the World Wide Web connected every part of the world and the hardware decreasing costs make the internet access affordable to billions. An important advantage of the internet consists in the reciprocity, every user is now active, receiving and spreading information on the web, while TV spectators are passive. If the first web pages were usually static, poor in media contents, lacked of connectivity with the rest of the Web and the most important mean of communication at that time was the electronic mailing, the development of the Web 2.0 starting with the new millennium was going to create a true virtual community, enabling the spread of social Medias. FROM THE SIMPLEST TO THE MOST COMPLEX TOOLS Digital political communication has evolved where it all started with blogs, useful as campaign diaries, to the most modern tools such as Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. These social medias share some characteristics: they are far less expensive than traditional media outlets (a single 30 seconds spot can cost several thousands euros per projection) and able to reach the
youth, who are usually more connected than their elders but also more disenchanted with politics. The two most-influential social medias are certainly Facebook and Twitter: While Facebook has proved to be useful for the transmission of a large panel of contents and enables an easier contact between the candidates and the sympathizers and militants and the Facebook users can easily react to these contents, Twitter can sometimes be very difficult and many politicians have faced criticisms for their tweets or their use of Twitter. These criticisms often find an explanation of the Twitter limitations: the 140-character rule. This barrier, as it makes impossible to bring on constructed arguments, condemns the political leaders to the use of slogans that can leave the place for misinterpretations. Many of them had to erase some polemic tweets described as racist, sexist and so on. The abuse of tweets can sometimes be criticized by part of the population, especially the elders. For instance, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, one of the prominent Twitter user in Italy, is often caricatured as a politician lacking of contents trying to compensate it by the use of tweets. However, Twitter has managed to establish itself as a news-provider, taking a place that used to be exclusive to journalists. TWO RECENT EXAMPLES OF HOW SOCIAL MEDIAS INFLUENCED THE ELECTORAL CAMPAIGNS The electoral campaign that can be considered par excellence the best example of the use of social medias is certainly the 2008 Obama’s campaign for the US Presidential election. During the campaign, Obama’s team led by “spin-doctors”, the most famous of them was David Axelrod, invested the Web and the social medias, using methods that were considered fit for the “Internet Age”. Axelrod employed tools such as catchwords that we all remind such as “Change” or “Yes we can”. These words went viral on the social medias and were particularly helpful to Obama’s campaign
because they were underlining a substantial effort of fundraising. Contrarily to what has been done for ages in the run for the presidency, Obama relied on fundraising by the people instead of the common practice of relying on PACs (Political Action Committee). The goal was simple: funding would come from many individuals giving a few instead of coming from a few PAC giving a lot. In the end, Obama was able to mobilise many funders that would become voters in the next months. Another interesting example comes from the 2014 European elections campaign. In this case, the reliance on social medias was actually more a necessity than a choice. As the Spitzenkandidaten principle was totally new and not necessarily well understood by European-level media outlets, the candidates could not expect significant coverage over their political campaigns. Moreover, the nature and the capacities of the European political parties prevented them from the possibility of running a traditional electoral campaign as national-level parties could. In the end, the social medias appeared as the best way to reach the hundred millions of European electors. That’s why except a few number of debates between the candidates and tours by the party campaigners, the most important part of the confrontation happened on the social medias, hashtags such as #withJuncker or #Ska4Europe were intensively used. The effort proved useful as the spreading of the concept of Spitzenkandidaten in the traditional and social medias helped exert pressure on the reluctant national leaders in the days following the elections. THE FUTURE OF POLITICAL COMMUNICATION AND THE SOCIAL MEDIAS What we see is a constant increase of the social medias weight not only in campaigning but also in everyday politics. Politicians need to use social media in order to reach voters and the growing number of specific social medias leads them to rely on professionals able to transmit a coherent message on all the platforms. It is now obvious that social medias as a mean of communication have an important influence on campaigning, as Radio and Television had when they appeared. In the same time, it is difficult to predict to what extent Facebook, Twitter and the future social medias will have an influence on the votes and the policies.
GÜNTHER OETTINGER EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER FOR DIGITAL ECONOMY AND SOCIETY
The Digital Economy There are few business sectors emerging as fast as the digital economy. Just a year ago almost no one has ever heard of the taxi company Uber or the hotel substitute service Air B’n’B but now almost everyone knows about these two online services. Greater efficiency, the ability to adapt more quickly to the needs and wishes of consumers, and the absence of almost any additional costs when connecting to new customers are the decisive market advantages of this new model. Digital services, once established, are unstoppable – even if you wanted to. But it is possible to influence their de-
velopment to ensure their sustainability. To seize the chance to influence the digital newcomers of tomorrow, Europe and Germany will have to play a far more active role. We have to improve and develop Europe’s domestic digital society. If we fail to do so, progress will happen abroad and we have to deal with inventions and developments tailored to the needs of others, without necessarily taking into account our needs, perspectives and wishes. If Europe wishes to influence these developments and ensure online services in Europe remain sustainable, it
needs an active policy – a digital agenda. The need for innovative digital services to fit into legal frameworks and to pay taxes is self-evident. From the European point of view the two following aspects are of major importance. First, we have to make sure that anyone, old or young, employed or not, has the chance to benefit from the digital evolution. This requires competitive internet connections to be available regardless of where a person might be and for digital skills to be as commonly held as the skills of reading and writing.
Without access to a fast enough internet connection, a huge number of European citizens are and will continue to be unable to access the full benefits of digitalisation and will remain unable to profit from them. As a result we are willing to spend a share of the Commission’s newly introduced €315 billion Investment Plan on schemes to extend broadband access. Several quality standards, such as a minimum internet speed, will be implemented as well. The other vital requirement is to ensure Europe’s citizens acquire adequate and sophisticated digital skills.
This is not only important for citizens and consumers, for whom a basic digital knowledge is a must if they are to participate in today’s digital world, but also from the point of view of businesses. They need workers to show a level of practical knowledge whilst also employing digital professionals with specialised knowledge if they are to succeed over the longer-term in the global market. These points in particular need a lot of attention from the European Union. While the demand for digital professionals is rising faster and faster, the number
of entrants into this profession continues to stagnate. Despite the fact that Germany has over the past few years been the positive exception with regard to this problem, its future demographic hurdles mean it must not lose its focus on digital development. Secondly, there is an urgent need to complete the Single Market in the digital economy. It is no longer acceptable that, despite more than 20 years of the Single Market, European citizens must still navigate a multitude of websites in order to order goods, simply because many websites refuse to deliver goods to cus-
THEME tomers living in another EU Member State. The creation of a real and efficient Single Market in the digital economy is of major importance for both businesses as well as our own competitiveness in the global market as well. Without a completed Single Market in the digital economy, the success of many newly invented technologies will be greatly muted. The remote supervision by medical staff of a patient with heart disease who is on holiday in a foreign country remains a luxury because of exorbitant roaming fees; a remote monitoring system for fixed industrial machines and facilities can only broadcast with unacceptably long delays over foreign networks; and cloud computing providers are forced to open data centres in each and every one of the European Union’s 28 Member States so to ensure they abide by each country’s privacy laws – these are just three examples of how innovations are slowed down and will continue to be slowed down without a competitive Single Market in the digital economy. The long established manufacturing sector, which even today is still the main pillar of the European as well as German economy, has a central interest in upcoming digital technologies too. The European Union has recognised the importance of the industrial sector and seeks to increase this sector’s share of the gross value added to the economy up to 20 per cent. This can only work by using and implementing new technologies, not by returning to old fashioned ones. 3D printers are one impressive example of how digital technologies may help manufacturing businesses enter their own renaissance. Implementing new technologies has even a higher importance for middle class people: only 14 per cent members of the middle class sell goods on the internet and even a lower percentage sell to an international market. Middle class people have a high potential to profit from the internet by reaching new markets and make savings in production and other processes. Because of this, under the name “ICT Innovation for Manufacturing SMEs” we encourage projects teaching digital skills to participating enterprises. If we can achieve a real, working Single Market in the digital economy by extending broadband coverage and ensuring people possess the digital skills needed to navigate the modern world, all of us in Europe will profit from the “industrial internet”, the next step in the digital revolution, perhaps even to a greater extent than we have already profited from the development of the digital internet before. The “Digital Economy” and “Industry” are no longer opposing terms. Today they are compatible. Tomorrow they will be inseparable.
Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society
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Start-Ups Young entrepreneur from university to economics
Since the world economic crisis, start-ups and young businesses have reached the public spotlight. The ability of the European Union to successfully meet the challenges of competitiveness and growth depends on dynamic entrepreneurship. For the European society itâ€™s important to reflect the role of start-ups and think about their capacity to contribute to local economic development. The total business start-up rate in Europe is 4,00 %. This rate of entrepreneurial potential is far from being exhausted. Studies show that besides entrepreneurial culture, education also plays a significant role in developing entrepreneurial activity. How many people can be identified as potential entrepreneurs? What contributions can be made for them by universities? To answer these questions the Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) program of the OECD was started in 2004. The aim of the program is to analyze policy challenges and options in enhancing entrepreneurship and to offer inspiration for new ideas. The key driver of success for business start-ups is the individual manpower but providing the necessary infrastructure is also a key element to creating successful businesses. Start-up support services by Entrepreneurship Centres and technology transfer units help entre-
UNIVERSITIES preneurs and those already in the start-up process. One goal of the LEED program is the international exchange of information. The LEED program has led to the development of a criteria list which allows universities to self-assess and reorient their strategy in supporting entrepreneurship, their pool of financial and human resources, the support structures they have established, their current approaches in entrepreneurship education and start-up support, and their evaluation practices. This criteria list for good practice in entrepreneurship support in universities is directed to those who are designing strategies and infrastructure for academic entrepreneurship support. The criteria are not only for them but also for the ones who are working in entrepreneurship education and start-up support at universities and other partner organizations. University graduates have enormous potential for innovation and economic development but a big problem is that entrepreneurship is often not a part of the syllabus in schools or in universities. When entrepreneurship is part of the curriculum the speakers are to often no contractors themselves and their lectures do not prepare students for the real business world. Since 2006, the European Commission has attempted to encourage entrepreneurship towards pupils from primary school through to university. To fulfil these recommendations, based on best practice observed in Europe, to create a more entrepreneurial culture in Europe, are presented. It’s important to improve the role of universities, and to start new, effective initiatives in encouraging those with a viable business idea “into business”. The benefits of entrepreneurship education are not limited to new companies. Entrepreneurship is a skill that is useful in personal and social aspects of everyone. Young entrepreneurs who are coming directly from university often criticize that the administrative barriers to become a founder are too high. Too much net capital is needed, to many forms have to be completed and the administrative stuff to start with your business takes too long and cost too much. Another problem is that there is too little exchange and cooperation between the faculties of a university. Students of business administration often do not interact with students from technical fields. This strict division is no longer useful. Nearly every company as a result of the internet, requires a society based on the needs technicians. In some countries new initiative to change that, set in motion. For example in Finland the campus for business and the campus for technology are fold together to a common one. In most countries special service centres for founders exist. Many of them provide not only consulting but also infrastructure like offices, conference
rooms and so on but the one thing which is usually the most difficult, is to arrange the funding for the necessary investments. Caused by the economic crisis, the bankruptcy of banks in the last decade and associated stricter rules for lending (Basel 3, etc.) it’s nearly impossible to get a loan from a bank with out personal securities. Which student between age 20 and 25 or even younger come up with these financial securities? Nearly no one! The problem in Europe is that other sources of capital are not as common as other countries such as the USA. Europe has fewer venture capitalists, namely Austria. There should be more tax incentives to attract start-up investments. In Great Britain for example venture capitalists will receive up to 200% tax credit for start-up investments. Another solution is that tax law will allow the write off of debts arisen from investments in young companies. Additionally, public funds are scarce and ineffective especially in areas, which need many resources, expensive equipment and research. Beside all the regulatory changes, we should create a new spirit of entrepreneurship. Many of the most famous and prosperous founders quit school or university and many of them failed with their first companies but they stood up, learnt from their mistakes and tried to learn from their past. A great example for this mentality is Max Levchin, he failed with four companies before he founded PayPal. The spirit to fail, stand up and make it better we have to teach our children! In order to find the next Silicon Valley in Europe great efforts from the public sector and all European countries are required and we need change quickly before more and more countries will overtake us. We should look to countries with successful start-ups like Israel, South-Korea and the USA. We can try to understand why these countries are so successful and create our own vision as soon as possible.
University Placement Back to the future
Who has not struggled with the German system of student placements? In Germany there is no central system for the assignment of a placement for most subjects, with the exception of medicine. So if you want to become a physician, you are the lucky one when referring to your place of study – if of course you get one. However, there is a collocation of universities in the Eastern part of Germany which united for one campaign – the WhatsApp study placement. Launched two years ago under the advertising motto “my University in the far east” the campaign has received a lot of public interest. How does it work? First of all the student has to choose the subject he or she wants to study. Then the student can send his suggestion to a special number of the “dateline” in order to get some information from the universities about the availability and conditions of free study places in the region. Secondly the staff of the campaign, which is located in the Ministry of Education of Saxony-Anhalt, merges your proposals with the capability of the universities located in the federal states of Brandenburg, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thüringen.
All in all 15 universities are taking part in the student placement campaign. After the merging you can get in touch directly with the local placement body via WhatsApp, email or telephone. In sharp contrast to the “German way” of registration, you do not have to send your curriculum vitae, a letter of interest or provide your certification. This bureaucratic barrier restrains one of the most important qualities of our time: flexibility. This new WhatsApp tool allows just that. Since the reunification of the German Federal Republic, the former GDR and now the Eastern Part of Germany has had to deal with the consequences of its economic and social factors. These structural problems have led to the migration of people to the Western Part of Germany where the standards of living are markedly higher. From my point of view this “dating campaign” will create a great chance for the higher education in the eastern federal states. On the one hand a higher number of students will lead to both social and economic enrichment and break the vicious circle of low employment and social depravation. However, one can say that this campaign holds in itself a danger. Considering the fact that the universities are
trying to allocate more students, it totally ignores the specialization of the educational infrastructure. This extraordinary characteristic was and still is the fundamental strength of the German educational system. It may still work for spontaneous decisions and last minute choice, but it won’t take the old fashioned and approved registration’s place. Perhaps that’s the price you pay for modernity: embracing the new and bidding a fond farewell to our well-known, but always cheerful, formality.
Apolitical and Depoliticised? In the past few decades, political scientists pinpoint a trend of lower electoral turnout and voting, which is considered to be the cornerstone of the democratic political process. Lower electoral turnout rates were indicated over the last decades in almost all European states and other democratic countries in the world. For example, the EU elections of 2014 were claimed to be the biggest trans-national elections in history. However, only around 43% of the electorate chose to cast their vote, making participation (together with 2009 election) the lowest in the 35 years of EU election history. The EU has witnessed youth turnout at elections at levels that are even consistently lower than that of older voters. Empirical data proves that in general young people are not interested in politics. Low turnout rate together with decreasing faith in general politics has launched a debate on civic apathy and distrust. However is this a correct assumption? Is it a complete truth? I will try to argue that political participation of youth is changing and adopting new instruments and changing its classical shape.
Even though there is a low rate of youth political participation (i.e. voting during elections, serving as a member of a political party), young adults do express their political ideas through various forms of unorthodox political activities. It seems that they do care about certain political issues, especially when the problem touches them directly. For example, we can remember 2011 when Egypt has witnessed the Arab spring where people, who demanded systematic changes, overthrew two presidents from their office. Mass protests forced dictator Hosni Mubarak to resign in February 2011,. He was convicted of complicity in the deaths of 846 people killed during the uprising. Additionally, the second president was unsuccessful. Mr Morsi was deposed by the military in June 2013 after millions of protesters took to the streets. Dissatisfaction with the rule of local governments, including issues such as dictatorship or absolute monarchy, human rights violations, political corruption was visible especially among youth and students. They were simple fed up with a situation that directly impacts their future and that is why they were the driving force of those protest. Even it started four years ago, students in Egypt did not forget what was the reason for it. In November 2014 student protests have erupted again around the Egypt amid anger over a court controversial decision to dismiss charges against former President Hosni Mubarak over the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising against him. Students still remember the goals of Arab Spring and they act slogans like: “Down with the military regime, retribution, and achieving the goals of the revolution…The revolution is dying so we have to
mobilise, otherwise the regime will annihilate the revolution”. It clearly shows that young people have their political vision of the country and they are ready to fight for their goals. I remembered events in Egypt with a particular purpose. Arab Spring is important, because it was marked with the beginning of new “digital agora” for political participation for youth. Social media played an undeniably important role during the Arab Spring revolutions in 2011. In our days almost everyone agrees that the rise of Internet and with it connected new forms of communication is remarkable. We can see that we are entering into a new kind of society, society that change many our daily habits. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter were used to call and coordinate protests, and also for sharing information on issues around the pro-democracy movement and they main users of social networks are youngsters. Now social networks and has become as a new instrument for modern political participation. In this way freedom of internet is becoming even more important. Importance of internet freedom can be proved in Hungary. It seems that Hungarians are ready to defend internet freedom at all costs. Just couple of months ago, tens of thousands of protesters have marched in Budapest against a plan by the Hungarian government to tax internet use from 2015. The ruling right-wing coalition’s party, Fidesz made their proposal public on October 21, which was meant to extend the existing telecommunications tax to Internet usage. Despite huge numbers in the streets, young people expressed their opinion about this issue in the “digital agora” as well. For example they created on 21 of October a Facebook page
named Százezren az internetadó ellen (“Hundred Thousand Against the Internet Tax”), A week later, on the 28th, the page had more than 225,000 “likes”. So can we call it as youth political apathy? It is clear that not only conventional forms of participation is important for democratic state. Unconventional forms of participation – protests, demonstrations, boycotts, political strikes, occupations, street blockades, and nowadays digital participation – are an essential part of the democratic process as well. Moreover these kind of action-oriented participation are becoming more popular and unorthodox participation is becoming a regular form of political action in democratic societies. Modern processes of individualisation and new digital technologies have resulted in not a general withdrawal from political participation, but rather a more lifestyle based approach to politics. In order to measure real political engagement and political participations in our modern digital world we have to look at it from unorthodox perspective as well.
The Cities of Tomorrow Each day, our cities across the world are developing from their modest beginnings. Some of these cities were founded thousands of years ago with the Ancient Greeks and Romans, and some were founded more recently in the 20th century. They continue to grow now to the extraordinary metropolises, which exist today. In addition, new cities are being founded, and developing their infrastructures and layouts using entirely new methods and systems to their older counterparts. The cities of tomorrow, wherever they are, whoever populates them and however old they are, will face some similar challenges as they struggle to meet the everyday necessary realities of modern life in a cosmopolitan hub.
Each week about 1 million people are moving into cities. Although cities comprise only 2 percent of the Earthâ€™s surface, they accommodate nearly 50 percent of the population. It is projected that there will be nine billion people on Earth by 2050, and 70 percent will live in cities. China is the spearhead of global urbanisation and is leading the way for those countries that are facing a massive rural exodus and raging economic development. This is especially true for emerging economies with booming megacities, such as India and Africa, who are searching for technological solutions to their problems such as traffic jams and smog, food supply, shortage of energy and waste. Smart cities have therefore developed as a consequence of the demand for digital solutions for citizens, both in Europe and the rest of the world. But what is a smart city? A smart city is one that has digital technology embedded into all city functions. They are defined as cities that use digital technology to enhance performance and wellbeing while reducing cost and resource consumption. At the same time it encourages effective and actively engaged citizens. A smart city will contain; smart economy, smart mobility, smart governance, smart environment, smart citizens, and smart living, where all have technology based digital solutions. So what should be the main concerns for
tomorrow´s urban challenges? And how can we “smarten” our cities in order to prepare for urban infrastructure? You may say that technology to smarten our cities is close at hand, but the distance to implement it is long. You may also argue that the debate should shift from technological inputs to citizen-centred output and benefits. In London for example the electronic ticket, the “Oyster Card”, was introduced to the public transport system in order to make it more user-friendly and easier for citizens. The system also provides data that reacts to rush hour, so that prices can be raised at peak hours. Additionally, a computer controls the entire underground service in order to maintain service at an optimal level. Another example is the crossroads at Oxford Circus, which 30,000-40,000 pedestrians cross per hour. A consulting company was hired from the City Council to make the pedestrian system flow more smoothly. The company observed all movements and digitally mapped the intersection and simulated happenings. Using these measurements, the consulting company was able to improve the situation by making minor changes. They introduced so-called “purchase points” which allow pedestrians to cross the street at each point. In addition, traffic stops every 2 minutes, so you can easily cross. Data shows that 50 seconds could be saved using such opportunities. Another arising phenomenon is newly founded
and developing cities where planners wanted to create entirely new metropolises. However one of the greatest disadvantages is the lack of identity citizens feel for the city´s location and structure. In 2005, the megaproject of King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) on the Red Sea was announced and the first part of the city was opened in 2010. The city is one of five planned special economic zones that Saudi Arabia hopes will bring diversity to the Kingdom’s industrial landscape, and it is projected that it will become home to 2 million inhabitants. However so far it has only reached approximately 300 families. The total area is approximately 180 million square kilometres and is comparable to Washington DC. This is also true for Songdo City in South Korea. The city has 6 square kilometres reclaimed from the Yellow Sea, and building began in 2001. Sango City is located in a free trade zone to attract as many entrepreneurs and investors as possible. Everything in the city is connected and controlled by a central computer. The computer coordinates the majority of public services in order to save resources. Data sources also include video recordings, readings, the weather and data on crime prevention. All data is collected in real-time. The construction of such new cities requires huge investment. This is funded through partly public and partly private means due to limited resources, which are available via public financial markets.
For example, King Abdullah Economic City was developed by the state and funded by private individuals, a construction project that will cost $100 billion. The question still remains; are new cities viable? Currently they have a very clinical and idealised image, but most are still largely uninhabited. We do not know whether new cities will be the future or whether our existing cities are adaptable enough to be modernised into the cities we demand and require. But one thing is for certain: the cities we populate currently cannot meet the every day conditions, which are necessary for modern living.
E for Estonia Estonia, one of the most advanced digital nations, pursued a swift and successful transition period since 1991. The Tiger Leap of 1996, kick-started the storm towards embracing the latest solutions in information technology, and by the end of the decade, banks introduced online banking. The government elections are held via SMS or web since 2008, access to the Internet is guaranteed by law. All schools are in and around the network and Wi-Fi is free. Now the government goes a step further: Citizens of all nations can benefit from a system called “E-Residency” - for an €50 administrative fee. The creation of the worldwide first Digital Citizenship was adopted by the end of 2014.
The northern European country is the first state, which makes an independent citizenship possible. Interested applicants can obtain a digital ID that will let them use Estonia’s digital services online around the world. Here, it is important to distinguish that the e-residency card does not equal with the Estonian citizenship. The e-residency card does not carry a person’s photo and is therefore not an identity card. The card cannot be used to vote or secure residence in Estonia and the EU. The benefit of the e-Residency are rather more the official digital services. The e-residency permits signing-off official documents. E-Residents receive a chip card on which their biometric data are stored and read out via a USB card reader. In this way, the file encryption, online banking and the opening of new company should be made safe. The founders of e-residency want to encourage foreign investments along with attract students and tourists to Estonia. One would hope to conceive that digital citizens could start e-businesses. Due to the fact that all necessary documentation and processes are available digitally, it wouldn’t be necessary to be in Estonia physically. The service is expected to attract mainly foreign entrepreneurs and investors - for non-Europeans, the E-Residency in the future have an easy way to establish a business foothold in the EU. The E- Residency is a creative way to further boost the business activities in Estonia. The managers behind the
e-residency project have admitted it is a “state start-up” – it is not entirely clear the prospects of E-Residency. The Estonian government expects 10 million e-Residents by 2025. They hope to double the number of currently 80,000 companies in the ideal case. But making e-residency into a reality entails some inevitable risks – criminals will start searching for ways to launder money and hackers will take a greater interest in breaking in Estonian e-systems. The security of E-Residency, like the risks of handing the digital ID over to others or tax fraud, have been discussed in the Estonian media as well. The government assures that the risks of improper use have been already taken into account in the development process and will be improved further: applicants need to pass a background check and the state has the right to invalidate the E-Residency when necessary. But it cannot be ruled out that there could be court cases in connection with incorporation of companies by e-residents. For the Estonians “e-Estonia”, the digital portal for the public task management and citizen services, a part of their daily lives. Here they will gain insight into all sorts of public tasks, from legislation on police communications to population and trade registers. In elections, they can make their voices digitally deliver - from anywhere in the world. Within a short space of time, about 12,000 people showed interest in the E-Residency Project, mostly from the United States, Finland, the United Kingdom, Canada and India.
To start with, the prospective E-Residents will have to physically travel to Estonia, to collect their E-Resident ID card during the beta phase. By spring 2015, it should be also possible to apply through Estonian embassies and consular offices around the world. All in all one thing is for sure – Estonia continues to attract positive media hype from around the world for its tech-savvy initiatives. Additionally the small country started the debate whether this is the beginning of the end of the nation state, but that’s another discussion. It remains to be seen whether the e-residency project will succeed but however Estonia shows that the contry is looking into the future and presenting that governmental e-services can be secure and transparent. More information on the Estonian “E-Residency” project can be found on e-estonia.com.
The Geopolitics of Cyber Security The 2014 NATO Wales summit heralded a game changing decision in the domain of international cyber security. After several years of academic and political level discussions, Western allies have finally managed to agree on a framework of applying Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, which indicates that an attack on any NATO ally will be treated as an attack on all allies, to cyber assaults. This paves the way to the interpretation of cyber strikes as traditional physical attacks and places the issue amongst the top priorities of the organization, making it a genuinely geopolitical concern. This important development took place, to put it mildly, in an uneasy international context – an escalating military conflict in Ukraine, the advance of ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq, increasing unrest in Afghanistan and a wide arrange of other “hot points” across the globe.
This abundance of traditional security threats has not overshadowed concerns of cyber security. On the contrary, they have been rightly interpreted as an integral part of any contemporary geopolitical confrontation and lead to efforts to evaluate NATO’s ability to act when faced with such a scenario. The precedent of a cyber assault is clearly visible – a representative example is the 2007 attack on Estonia’s online government, banking systems and commercial media sites. A full-scale cyber attack was launched following the Estonian government’s decision to relocate the so-called Bronze Soldier memorial from the centre of Tallinn, which caused extensive civil unrest among ethnic Russians living in the country and became a pretext for Russia’s involvement in the story. This case was the first in the history of the alliance when the suspected direct involvement of a foreign government was employed to use cyber attacks against a NATO member state in order to achieve political objectives – limiting Estonia’s political autonomy to implement policies that are seen as hostile by Moscow. Talking about more conventional conflicts, military ac-
tions supplemented by cyber attacks is not a new phenomenon either – the 2008 Georgian-Russian war was marked by profound usage of cyber warfare, employed particularly for the disruption of Georgia’s internet communication and government systems, while at the same time spreading anti-government propaganda before and during the conflict. Bearing in mind these precedents and the mounting levels of geopolitical tensions, NATO’s willingness to put more emphasis on cyber security and thus improve its defensive capabilities in this domain seems legitimate – the geopolitics of cyber security are here to stay as they constitute an integral part of conflicts in the 21st century. In other words, NATO is redefining its mission from being a traditional military-based international security regime to an entity efficiently dealing with unconventional security challenges, which are in fact becoming more and more conventional. With the Ukrainian crisis further escalating and becoming a new status quo in relations between the West and Russia, it is just a matter of time when methods of cyber warfare shall be employed to disrupt the functioning of the newly elected Ukrainian government and its military forces, currently engaged in clashes over territories in Eastern Ukraine. The NATO Wales summit took place in an international context that poses significant challenges to the future and solidarity of the alliance with external powers aiming to undermine its unity. Understanding this, NATO used this rather harsh and categorical statement concerning the application of Article 5 to cyber security as an instrument to demonstrate that the allies remain united, while at the same time demonstrating its preparedness to efficiently deal with unconventional threats, stemming from remerging Russian imperialism on the European doorstep, Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East and any other external actors. Even though this is a welcome and long awaited development, it should be understood that a great part of this statement is still rhetorical and used more as a tool to deter external enemies from undermining NATO’s unity than as a real instrument to genuinely combat cyber security threats. The reference to Article 5 of the Washington Treaty does not indicate that any cyber attack on a member state shall be interpreted as an act of aggression, consequently evoking the clause of collective defense and re-
sponse – defining what constitutes a “cyber attack” is of critical importance. It is quite common to conceptualize a cyber attack while emphasizing that it causes death, infrastructure disruption (mostly internet-based communication networks and data storage facilities) or results in severe economic loss to a particular state. However, the declaration of the Wales summit allows a broad interpretation of concepts such as the “use of force” in the cyber domain and indicates that all virtual attacks shall be interpreted on a case-by-case basis. Defining cyber attacks is not the sole problem that NATO is facing while actively turning to this domain. A crucial element for any collective response to cyber threats or assaults is attribution – identifying the enemy behind a cyber attack is a complex task, more difficult then finding the ones to blame for conventional military actions or even acts of international terrorism. What is more, issues of coordination among the allies are also essential, due to uneven financial resources attributed to national defence, NATO member states have varying levels of competence and capabilities to secure themselves from cyber attacks and aid their allies in need. This is due to the lack of efficient defense funding in most of the countries belonging to the alliance. Another significant problem, undermining the rhetorical unity of NATO concerning cyber security, is a lack of sharing cyber threat related intelligence among the allies and a deficit of trust to provide national security information to competent supranational bodies within NATO (unsurprising in light of the recent German – US spying case), needed to efficiently manage and coordinate responses to possible cyber attacks. It is true that the Wales summit reaffirms the determination of the alliance to defend the cyberspace of the member states and foresees the possibility of taking coordinated retaliatory actions, which had not been the case before 2014. This is definitely an important development, affirming NATO’s increased concentration on unconventional threats. In practice however, the indicated problems of defining cyber attacks, issue identification and a lack of inner coordination mean that in the case of a cyber attack against a member state, a response by NATO will not be automatic and may not be done in a timely and efficient manner. What is required is a common effort to overcome the aforementioned problems so that the cause of collective defence in cyber security would not be limited to rhetoric that vanishes in face of first serious challenge.
Eva Paunova Eva Paunova (28) is a Member of the European Parliament for GERB Bulgaria and is Vice-President of European Movement International. Before her election to the European Pariament she was Executive Coordinator of the GERB-EPP Delegation and Senior Policy Advisor in the European Parliament. Eva’s main political areas of interest are the Digital Single Market, SMEs, Entrepreneurship, Education and Youth Policies. She is very active in all the policy issues listed above, but for her everything starts with education. “If we create a well-educated young generation with the right skills, capabilities and mindset, we will be able to progress in every sphere”. Supporting the European digital agenda is another key project for her and to that purpose she advocates, amongst others, universal access to the internet, coding lessons at schools, better data protection and online safety regulations. Eva would also like to see e-government fully operational in her
country and so she is working with the Bulgarian government to bring about its implementation. Her journey into electoral politics began with the passion for history and international affairs she developed a child. Her curiosity and drive for social engagement motivated her to get involved in various extracurricular activities during her school and university years – Eva was president of the Student Government at John Cabot University and became one of the first Bulgarian representatives in the European Youth Parliament and the Model United Nations. The person Eva most admires is the Bulgarian tennis player Grigor Dimitrov who, at the age of 23, is 11th in the world singles ranking. She is not only impressed with his tennis skills but, more than anything, with his persistence, determination and impeccable discipline. Her favourite activities are swimming, skiing, playing tennis and going for long hikes in the mountains. She also enjoys exhibitions and performances.
Marijana Petir Marijana Petir (40) is a Member of the European Parliament and ViceChairwoman of the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) . She graduated in Biology and Ecology as well as in Theology from the Faculty of Catholic Theological Studies of the University of Zagreb, where she also finished Master’s degree in Management of Non Profitable Organisations and Social Advocacy. Petir was a Member of Croatian Parliament for two terms (2002-2003 and 2007-2011), during which time she was Chairperson of the Croatian Parliament’s Deputy Club of the HSS and Chairperson of the Committee for Environmental Protection. She was also a Member of the Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and of the Croatia-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee, and also served as an external member of the Croatian Parliamentary Committee on
Human and National Minority Rights as a representative of the Croatian Catholic Bishops Conference. In 2014 Petir became a Member of the European Parliament. In the Parliament she is a member of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI), the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) and the Delegation to the EU-Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. She is also a substitute for the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), the Delegation for relations with Israel and the Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean. Marijana Petir is well known for her campaign against nuclear plants in Croatia and her campaign for Croatia to be a GMO free country.
Tom Vandenkendelaere Tom Vandenkendelaere (30) is a Member of the European Parliament for the Belgian centre-right party Christen-Democratisch & Vlaams. He is a member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, and a substitute in the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. In the European Parliament Tom wants to be an advocate for the younger generation. In his eyes young people have had to pay the price for the economic and financial crises Europe has endured over the past five years. That is why the EU has to make a stand and take up its responsibilities towards us as young people in terms of educating us, providing jobs and helping to invest in everyone’s future. Another topic which is dear to him is the agro-food industry, not only because of the economic significance of the agro-food sector in his
home region but also because of the specific needs of young farmers across Europe. Tom’s political instinct was first triggered by the effects of the economic crisis, especially on his generation. He wanted to do something and speak up for young people. What better place to do so than in the political arena? As a Christian Democrat he believes in the benefits of our welfare state, in the role that each citizen can play in his or her community, and in our personal responsibility to preserve our world and pass it on to the next generation in a better state than we found it. The person whom Tom most admires is Helmut Kohl. He was one of the greatest European post-war leaders. As the main architect of German unification and as one of the fathers of the Maastricht Treaty, he was an extraordinary force for co-operation and integration in Europe.
Mihaela Spătaru Mihaela Spătaru (25) is one of the founders of the Liberal Democratic Youth of Moldova (TLDM), the youth organisation of the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (PLDM), the main governmental party. Since the elections of november 2014, she has served as the youngest MP in the PLDM parliametry party. Being a student, she was one of the leaders of the anti-communist movement in Moldova, leading and being a part of protest meetings, requesting the protection of the human rights and freedoms in the Republic of Moldova. She started by leading a Liberal Democratic Students Club, then she became the vicepresident of the youth organisation. In March 2014, she became the first vicepresident of TLDM. She was an parliamentary candidate at 4 elections, in april 2009, july 2009, november 2010 and november 2014.
For the 4 years of her mandate, she plans to implement the party’s political program called “PLDM 2020”, which is the main party’s vision for the year 2020. She is also focusing on the implementation of the Association Agreement with EU in the next years. Together with colleagues from TLDM and PLDM she has already produced some initiatives for youth, like changing the admission process at universities, equiping all univerity dormitories with internet access and computers and promoting a new law addressing internships. Her mission in politics is bringing Republic of Moldova in the European Union family.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE
WE ARE THE YOUTH Interview with European Youth Forum President Johanna Nyman
relations with the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission in order to be effective in the advocacy work that we are mandated to do by our members. THE YOUTH GUARANTEE – HOW DO YOU SEE THIS AS A TOOL FOR TACKLING YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT? The youth guarantee can be a great tool for making sure there is a smoother transition into working life for young people and to make sure young people are not marginalised. The implementation of the youth guarantee is lacking in many EU countries, especially when it comes to funding, outreach and the active involvement of youth organisations in the implementation and evaluation of the youth guarantee. EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE SHOWS THAT IN FAR TOO MANY CASES WORKERS ARE NOT WELL MATCHED TO THEIR CURRENT JOBS. DO YOU THINK THERE IS A SKILLS MISMATCH IN THE LABOUR MARKET? IF SO, IS IT ONE OF THE CAUSES OF THE HIGH RATE OF YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT? I see the question of youth unemployment to be made up of many different issues, one being a skills mismatch. This is one reason why there needs to be more investment in the education of young people. 2015 IS THE EUROPEAN YEAR OF DEVELOPMENT. HOW WILL YFJ PROMOTE THIS FROM A YOUTH PERSPECTIVE IN AN INTERNATIONAL CONTEXT? The 2015 Year of Development is important for young people and YFJ will work to promote youth issues onto the international development agenda.
WHAT WILL BE YOUR PRIORITIES DURING YOUR TERM AS PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN YOUTH FORUM (YFJ)? My priorities will be youth unemployment, participation and strengthening the role of youth organisations. I also want to work for the improvement of YFJ’s communication and advocacy – two areas that require constant development. DO YOU THINK THAT OUR GENERATION IS DISENCHANTED WITH POLITICS OR IS IT APOLITICAL? No, absolutely not. The forms of participation are maybe changing but this does not mean that our generation is apolitical. I believe that their needs to be more effort from decision makers and institutions to raise issues that are relevant to young people. It will be through this that young people’s interest and participation will increase. At the same time, we as young people also have a responsibility to raise the questions that matter to us. WHAT COULD BE THE BEST MEASURES TO TACKLE YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT? First, it is important to recognise that there is not one quick
fix for the high youth unemployment that we are facing in Europe. There needs to be a mix of different measures to tackle this issue. This mix should include further investing in and developing the youth guarantee, making it easier for young people to become entrepreneurs, and working towards making the transition from education to employment smoother. At the same time we have to improve the quality of jobs for young people, working against discrimination and degrading working conditions.
FINALLY, WHAT IS YOUR VIEW OF THE GROWING PROFESSIONALIZATION OF YOUTH WORK IN EUROPE, KEEPING IN MIND THE ERASMUS+ PROGRAMME, AND WHAT SHOULD BE THE ROLE OF YFJ IN IN THIS RESPECT? YFJ needs to continuously build the capacity of its member organisations. In order to create strong youth organisations there needs to be a balance between volunteering and professionalised youth work.
HOW CAN WE BREAK DOWN THE BARRIERS BETWEEN DIFFERENT EDUCATION PROVIDERS? It is important to make sure education is available to all and that there are continues investments into the quality of education. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST STRENGTH OF THE YFJ WHEN IT COMES TO THE QUESTION OF CHAMPIONING YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE EU? The European Youth Forum is a platform of 99 youth organisations and this is by far our biggest strength. The YFJ represents millions of young people, which means our voice is loud. The YFJ has continuously been building
EDS Executive Bureau 2014/2015
Eva Majewski is Chairwoman of EDS. She holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration, Management, and Economics. Within EDS she oversees and manages the work of the Bureau and represents EDS externally. Eva is responsible for the setting the overall strategy for EDS, policy development, and liaising with member organizations.
Ingrid Hopp is EDS Secretary General. She is pursuing a Master’s degree in financial economics. Ingrid runs the EDS Office in Brussels, and takes care of all the day-to-day work. She is also responsible for EDS’ daily communication schedule, with a particular emphasis on the Website and Social Media channels. She also represents EDS externally.
Georgios Chatzigeorgiou was born in Larnaca, Cyprus. He studied Law at the University of Lancaster in the UK and became a Barrister at Law. Georgios is currently undertaking a Master’s degree in Corporate Law. His responsibilities within the Bureau involve fundraising, amendments to statutes and youth entrepreneurship.
Ivan Burazin lives in Split, Croatia where he studied National Security at the Faculty of Forensic Sciences and holds a Bachelor’s degree in administrative law. In the bureau he is responsible for fundraising together with Vice- Chair Chatzigeorgiou and he works as the head of the Social Media Team.
Virgilio Falco is Vice Chairman of EDS, StudiCentro national spokesperson and coordinator of the education committee of the Italian Council of Young. He is studying law in Rome. Virgilio is responsible for updating the website, coordination of the newsletter and all membership enquiries. He is also a member of the Social Media Team.
Mikkel Wrang is studying for a Master’s degree in Law at the University of Copenhagen and has been International Secretary of KS since 2011. Within the EDS Bureau he has responsibility for the permanent working groups, EDS Erasmus, evaluating events and managing the work of the culture and educations committee.
Jacob Dexe lives in Stockholm, Sweden. He studied Political Science at Lund University and currently works at Fores Think Tank with responsibilities for digital society issues. In the Bureau he is responsible for output strategies as well as the Policies for Europe working group.
Vassilis Sakellaris was born in Thessaloniki, Greece. He is studying Mining and Metallurgical Engineering in Athens. Vassilis is serving his second term as EDS Vice-Chairman. Within the bureau he is mainly responsible for the conference resolutions together with Vice-Chairman Gueorg Danielov and for the alumni club.
Georg Danielov was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. He graduated in Political Science and is studying for a Master’s Degree in Economics. Gueorg is is responsible for the Input policies of EDS and prepares the Conference Resolutions for the EDS Council Meetings. Gueorg is also Chairman of MGERB and a Member of the Bulgarian Parliament.
Anna Masna was born in Ternopil, Ukraine. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Marketing in 2006 and in Political Sciences in 2007. In 2014 Anna was nominated as International Secretary of Ukrainian Youth Forum. As EDS Vice-Chairwoman she is in charge of the events, EDS Alumni club and BullsEye.