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eypvoice ISSUE#3 // FEBRUARY 2013


Editors: Fanny Cohen (FR) Giada Benfatto (IT) Randolf Carr (DE) Layout: Konstantinos Kyranakis (GR) Robin Janásek (CZ) Sigrun Fagerfjäll (SE) Leo Kaindl (DE) Tim Keegstra (NL) Karolina Koleńska (DE) Felix Makarowski (SE) Anthony McKee (UK) Andreia-Gemma Moraru (RO) Daiva Repečkaitė (LT) Fabian Sommer (AT) Şayen Tokyay (TR) Guest contributors: Manfredi Danielis (IT) Tom Molenaar (NL) Coordinators: Giada Benfatto (IT) Randolf Carr (DE) Robin Janásek (CZ) Benoit Viault (FR)

DOSSIER: Europe in 2013





Academic Quality and Regional Balance in EYP


Moving Forward










Where Are we today?






Gender Equality in a Cup of Coffee







Dear readers, fellow EYPers and Europeans,

vations are only scratching the surface of more deeply rooted issues.

You are looking at the third issue of the EYP Voice magazine and the first of this new year. Technically, one could say that 2013 is now the second calendar year of its existence, but although the idea for it was indeed conceived about a year ago, EYP2 really has only been around for a bit over 4 months. But enough of this retrospection – of course EYP2 is still a diamond in the rough, a work in progress – but that’s good as long as we make progress. And that is what 2013 will be about for us: Validating our expectations, facing new challenges, reaching for higher goals.

The “dossier” section of this issue looks at where Europe stands in 2013 – and what it has to look forward to as the year progresses. You will read some optimistic voices about Europe’s achievements up to this day – and you will also read the word “crisis” a lot. The financial crisis is also the theme of Felix Makarowski’s economics series, the first part of which you can find just after the “dossier”.

So it’s only logical that we have also dedicated this issue of EYP Voice to looking forward at what still lies ahead for EYP and Europe in the rest of 2013. Where EYP is concerned, a lot of opportunities await: Two newly founded advisory councils, Governing Body elections, the probably most remote International Session so far – and of course the usual hundred-plus events bringing EYP to thousands upon thousands of young Europeans. Andreia Moraru conducted a comprehensive interview about some of the Governing Board’s new plans for 2013. Meanwhile, Tim Keegstra asks if those inno-

Other highlights of this issue include: Anthony McKee on renewed unrest in Northern Ireland, Sigrun Fagerfjäll on how men working less can further gender equality, as well as an article by Şayen Tokyay and a featured article from Joensuu 2013 National Session on two different art forms that are both frowned upon by critics, but highly popular. We hope that this assortment has again caught your interest and sparked your curiosity and that you’ll stay with us throughout the rest of 2013 as EYP Voice continues to bring you news from EYP and Europe. Enjoy!

by Randolf Carr EYP2 Coordinator

EYP: Exceptional Young People

Academic Quality and Regional Balance in EYP

Fighting Windmills? by Andreia-Gemma Moraru (RO)

Some of the recent decisions of the Governing Body (GB) have sparked discussions among European Youth Parliament members. Andris Ĺ uvajevs from Latvia, 21 years of age, holds the Human Resource and Social Inclusion portfolio on the GB, which means that he is responsible for ensuring fairness and openness of our organisation. He joined the GB with a strong belief that EYP unconsciously employs exclusionary practices and he wishes to unearth all of them. Outside EYP, he is pursuing a degree in Social Anthropology at the University of Glasgow, although he is currently teaching English and Philosophy at a high school in Spain.


The GB seems more determined than ever to improve the academic quality of sessions and to solve the problem of the regional imbalance at International Sessions. What are your main strategies and aims for this year? Andris Šuvajevs: From my perspective the approach taken with regard to the academic quality is pragmatic – reviewing the existing means and reinforcing the emergent measures. There is a bar as to how smart our delegates can be and largely it is a matter of maximising and optimising our current efforts. My main aim for the coming year regarding the regional imbalance is breaking down the bad news to the community that there is a price to be paid for altering the status quo. We need to remember that solving the regional imbalance is not one man’s job; the GB needs the understanding and cooperation from all stakeholders.

This month the GB will create Academic Advisory Council and the Human Resource and Social Inclusion Council. How do you plan to use the activity of these bodies in achieving your aims? Do you plan to grant them the status of permanent advisory bodies? Yes, the Councils are something that EYP needed a long time ago. They will primarily work for the benefit of the GB and ultimately for EYP, assuming tasks that have been laid out in individual GB member work plans. Moreover, they will also work as a consultancy body – now I will have the chance to discuss my ideas with a set of appointed people before proposing anything to the GB. Everyone should consider applying. We need the Councils because there is a clear absence of direct feedback to the GB. I hear that many people are discussing some of the decisions taken by the GB, but only four to five people have contacted me

to voice their concerns. Largely I am unaware of the dominating sentiments because these discussions take place on platforms to which the GB is not invited. The Councils will serve to bridge that gap, to create a form of “EYP civil society”. By the way, if you are reading this then you should consider applying – in my view these bodies are here to stay, but any talk of inscribing them in policies will take place only in September after we have trialled them.

The future Members of the Board of the Munich 2013 International Session will not be chairing any committee. Even though the board will have more time to focus on their main responsibilities, the delegates will not have the chance to work directly with some of the most skilled Alumni. What kind of results would convince you to turn this into a permanent policy? Yes, an idea I am truly excited about! However, I highly doubt we will ever discuss mandatory committee-less boards as that would be an inflexible decision. I disagree that the delegates will not have the chance to work with these highly skilled Alumni – in fact, if it all turns out as intended then the effect will be the opposite. Lately, Presidents have already refused to chair committees in order to be closer to the whole session, not just one particular committee. Furthermore, skilled Alumni who spend more than half of their time outside the committee is hardly what I would call “working directly” with them. In the Munich format we give Vice-Presidents the chance to approach the session holistically and if they do their job well then they will leave the session having engaged with more delegates than they would have chairing a committee. Moreover, three more chairs will go to Munich!

Probably one of the most controversial moves of the current GB is that everybody will be able to apply as a journalist for Mu-


EYP: Exceptional Young People


nich 2013, regardless of Recommendations. How do you answer the criticism that this change does not address the main core of the regional imbalance – the different academic and training level of the National Committees (NCs) – and opens the door for positive discrimination, threatening the academic quality of International Sessions?

for becoming more inclusive. If we need positive discrimination to strengthen and expand our human resources, then I am ready to bite the bullet. However, to believe that currently no discrimination takes place is naive. We are less professional than we think we are.

This is an example of how the GB does not get feedback on its decisions. Some label it as controversial when only three or four people have publicly voiced their concerns – in a way that the GB can see them. If critics want their opinions to matter, it is time they get in touch with the GB. I agree that this decision does not tackle the core of the issue, but it was never intended as a panacea. My Council will work with NCs on collecting information, structuring and distributing all that is related to the Human Resources (HR) practices. We want to harmonise them and yet create tailored solutions to the problems faced by NCs in their efforts to develop their HR. The decision to allow everyone to apply to Munich 2013 is concerned with quality control – we want our events to be of high quality, but I do not think that people without Recommendations are stupid. I do not believe that someone who has potentially never been a journalist can successfully evaluate someone else’s suitability for the role. EYP needs to enlarge its means of quality control; we need to accept that our pool of applicants is narrow. The issue has various dimensions – that some NCs do not prepare their people is hardly the core issue. The differences begin outside of EYP – there are structural and national barriers which EYP cannot break down on its own. While many might frown upon positive discrimination, there is a price to be paid

There have been several new elements added to the past International Sessions in regard with the academic preparation. Do you plan to keep them, change them or add some more? What is the current status of the policy of having a Member of the Board from the Pool of Trainers? The fact sheets and position papers are the only elements I can think of that have been added lately. We certainly plan to keep them and we carry on implementing and evaluating this practice. I personally believe that at the moment we are lacking a clear idea of whether they are directly increasing the academic quality of sessions. We should be cautious about rushing in and potentially adding new elements – perhaps we need to get rid of some of the existing means? I have always questioned the usefulness of topic overviews. Regarding the policy on the Pool of Trainers – 2013 is the year when having two board members with training experience is a requirement. Yet if no one applies, the panels are exempted from fulfilling this policy. I remember the outrage it caused last year; I wish more of our decisions would be discussed as passionately and openly.

Thank you for your time, Andris, and good luck with realising your ideas.


EYP: Exceptional Young People

Moving Forward by Tim Keegstra (NL)

Has the European Youth Parliament made major progress over the past five years? Not really. At least that was commonly the initial sentiment apparent from conversations with a number of Alumni. However, at second glance they were able to dissect and evaluate what has developed. Linking these insights to discussions on the Alumni Network with last year’s Governing Body (GB) candidates leads to a clearer overview of the opportunities for developing our organisation. Firstly, it is important to take a look at this seemingly unchanged environment, followed by an evaluation of possible roads ahead, concluding with the progress paradox of democratic structures. At first, the EYP organisation may seem an entity that is static and, more worryingly, failing to move forward. But what element causes onlookers to reach this befuddling conclusion? The main reason is the repetitive nature of the core structure of most sessions. In that regard it is not just the fact that the programme elements at sessions have been left fundamentally unchanged, but also the reality that it becomes ever harder to be creative due to the established systematic ways of implementing these programme elements. As put by Andris Šuvajevs of the GB, “We argue that a circle is the best way to be standing in and they [the next generation] accept it and [they] after a couple of years tell that to other newbies.” Even though some may argue that variation does exist and creativity is attempted on a


large scale, the unflattering reality seems to evidence the contrary. Imaginative teambuilding games still presuppose that games need to be a central part of EYP activities and innovative brainstorming methods presuppose that brainstorming is the best frame for producing ideas. As a result, issues inherent to the current session structure are not tackled – for example think of the inability to provide the growing experience that EYP promises at International Summer Sessions to second- and third-time delegates. Hopefully, the instalment of new GB members means that discussions can now move on from the futile bickering over the necessity of “Imagine” as a theme song at our sessions to truly constructive and necessary changes for actual innovation. Yet, concluding that this is the entire reality is highly limiting the view of what progress is actually made within our organisation. In recent years, the discussion within many National Committees (NCs) was whether it is better to select individuals or delegations to International Sessions, which has led to changed selection procedures in many countries. Additionally, the recent GB elections showed what is at the forefront of currently ongoing discussion – for example the benefits of the Chairs Academic Training (CAT), the inclusion of people from less privileged socio-economic backgrounds, or the accessibility of events for delegates with disabilities. Beyond that, an evergreen discussion is the question of democracy as an integral

element to the internal structures of our organisation within NCs, but also the GB and the International Office. An argument frequently put forward is that, as an organisation that insists on the principles and functionality of democracy, it should be functioning democratically itself. This has led to widespread discussions and quite a few organisational changes within NCs along the way. However, the debate on this issue should consider the fact that EYP assumes that democracy is the best suitable option for political debates and processes – but not necessarily for running a youth non-governmental organisation (NGO). EYP should not, in assuming that democracy should be omnipresent, fail to acknowledge the suitability of an ‘undemocratic’ and more business-like solution.

raison d’être, yet it may fail to accommodate long term strategy. Back in 2008, the need for a long-term strategy for EYP was recognised, however, this idea faded into the background quickly. Recently, that very idea emerged again and the BNC Working Group has been elaborating a proposal for a long-term strategy for the EYP and on EYP Governance Reform. Nonetheless, the question remains whether a democratic governance structure is able to execute a five-, ten-, or twenty-year plan. Within a democratic organisation, tides can change quickly and voting is more of a popularity contest than a ‘meritocracy’ of selection by competence at specific positions. Moving away from grassroots popular decisions may accommodate the longed-for foresight to realise long term objectives.

Still, one could interject that the EYP Compilation of Policies suggests democracy in paragraph 6.2.4.viii, by stating that each NC is obligated to “conduct their activities in an open and transparent manner allowing participation in the decision-making process by its members;” However, open unbiased applications for board membership or for an NCs strategy committee led by board members could still allow for participation in an undemocratic way, whilst allowing a possibly far more suitable institutional structure for our youth NGOs.

In conclusion, the variety of ongoing discussions is extensive and thorough, yet progress is not always achieved as the contrasting ideas are often deeply rooted within preconceptions of what our organisation could be and should be. Therefore, the sways of democratic decision-making affect our ability to move forward. Those institutionalised barriers need to be addressed – raising possibly a whole new discussion. Finally, let us keep in mind that progress for the sake of progress is not a solution without a clear idea of where that progress should lead us, and therefore we must choose our actions wisely when moving forward.

Why is this debate so important at all, when both approaches could have equal merit? The democratic approach does seem suitable to represent our organisation in its


“The dossier”: Europe in 2013


A tape of random snippets from 2012 news broadcasts in Europe would almost certainly not be a feast for the ears or a mind looking to filter the noise. Possibly because Psy would be represented merely as far as he featured in the news – and more so as the appeal of ‘Gangnam Style’ rather lies beyond the listening experience. If hypothetical snippets could be of any possible length from milliseconds up to the longest news feature that aired last year, only few of them would give even a single word, idea, or single piece of news. The share of these fragments concerning Europe would not induce happiness in an extraordinarily patient, but unexceptionally cynical listener. What conclusions shall be drawn from the dynamics of interest rates on government bonds or the credit-worthiness of financial institutions? What consequences may derive from a changed rating of the European Stability Mechanism or enacting different recipes to save the common currency? Who can gain valuable knowledge from all the summit agreements, up-to-date indexes, economic activity numbers and any information surrounding the term ‘crisis’? The world we inhabited in 2012 must have been diverse if there was a point in these news, apart from the atmospheric noise of words like ‘crisis’, ‘stability’, ‘rescue plan’ or ‘debt’. Together with the fragmentation noise, this would let the abovementioned patient listener have quite a rough time.


Europe would not look like a place of happiness to him or her. However, a lot remains unheard, indicators that prove the existence of a Europe unmentioned in the crisis, a Europe that is rather intact. According to the British newspaper The Guardian, “Europe is still the closest thing to paradise on Earth” : The United Nations Human Development Index lists six European countries among the ten most developed nations, measuring life expectancy, literacy, education levels, and standards of living. Although the European Union is often bashed as a welfare state, its national debt of 83 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is far smaller than the United States’, which is ranking significantly above 100 per cent. The United States’ average income may be higher, but merely due to a widened gap in income. In the words of The Guardian’s author Remi Adekoya: “If Warren Buffett strolled into Stamford Bridge in the middle of a Chelsea game, by average income calculations, everybody in the stadium would be a millionaire.” Greece, the European sick man, still ranks higher than most Asian countries and all of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) in an International Monetary Fund GDP per capita comparison after four years of recession. While the 24 per cent of the country’s workforce that is unemployed might not consider themselves too lucky to live in Europe, the kind of poverty many BRICS citizens suffer from is unimaginable in Europe,

“The dossier”: Europe in 2013

a continent with a history of integration that is unequalled. The open borders in the Schengen Area simplify international travel and lowered visa hurdles have made it more comfortable to travel around the continent. Moreover, European citizens have the right to access healthcare in the EU countries, which makes their stays abroad safer, while regulations of roaming tariffs make them cheaper. Furthermore the free trade zone and the common currency contribute extensive economic benefits. It is those flows of travellers, tourists, calls, ferries, trains, plains, buses, cars, cyclists, students, invoices, goods, mail, information, and culture that hold Europe together. However, these achievements are overshadowed today, with a cornucopia of crisis news hitting in and filling the news tape with its ambient noise. It is in this atmosphere of growing scepticism towards and neglecting of the European project, as well as the upcoming 2014 European Parliament elections, and the economic downturn, that 2013 brings the European Year of Citizens. Under the theme “It’s About Europe – It’s About You – Join the Debate”, the European Commission aims to explain EU Citizenship as a concrete status with a number of attached rights to the Europeans. Vice-President of the Commission Viviane Reding launched the series of events in a Dublin City Hall debate on January 10th. In an interview for a German radio programme the very same day, she was asked what tangible elements were on her agenda for the European Year of Citizens. As two priorities, she named reminding the European citizens of the European success story and making sure they know that many elements of our everyday life are actually fundamental rights accomplished by the EU. Her concluding remark, “The Citizens often have more sense than politicians,” may be taken as a popular term inspiring to listen to a real ‘Ode to Joy’ playing very gently in the background of the European news tape from 2013 onward.



“The dossier”: Europe in 2013

In light of the European Union’s Year of Citizens in 2013 – a look at the struggles that ensue when national policies conflict with the fundamental rights of the EU. Like so many others before him, François Hollande promised to change France: He promised not just to improve the country’s economic situation, but to guarantee France’s historic role as a protector of human rights by putting an end to the ‘repatriation’, or deportation, of Roma and Sinti to Romania and Bulgaria. But when Amnesty International reviewed his policies in December 2012, they found that Hollande’s government had made no significant changes compared to the deportations of the Sarkozy period. Rather, the new socialist Interior Minister Manuel Valls continued to exercise the same tactics. The deportations of Roma and Sinti by France are reminiscent of plays by the great absurdist playwrights of that same country: The deportees are given money to return to their native countries, mainly Romania or Bulgaria – however, due to the fact that the majority of deportees are also EU citizens, they are guaranteed the right to free movement and residence within the European Union. Thus, once the plane lands in their country of origin, they do not even have to unpack their bags and are legally free to make their way back to France. In addition to the humanitarian controversies and economic absurdities that these deportations lead to, they further pose a question for the entire European Union: How should situations where national laws or policies conflict with EU rights be dealt with? Theoretically, EU laws always have legal supremacy over national laws. Practically, however, when the two clash, it is not rare for European legislation to hold the short straw. In Hungary, for example, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz Party are further testing the limits between the EU’s Fundamental Rights and national laws. In

2010, his party passed a controversial media law that amended the Hungarian constitution, as critics allege, to suppress negative reporting about the government. The EU subsequently requested that these laws be repealed, threatening with economic sanctions, which Orbán dismissed as the “colonialist attitude” of the EU. The conflict reached its climax when Hungary needed to apply for funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the EU, and the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso threatened to withhold support. In the end, Hungary received the loan in exchange for repealing some parts of the laws in question, while the European Commission proceeded to take legal action against those laws that could constitute a violation of the Fundamental Rights. As both Hollande, who is generally seen as favouring the EU, and Orbán, who is, mildly put, an EU sceptic, show, the position on the political spectrum does not matter when national priorities conflict with EU rights. From Václav Klaus in the Czech Republic to David Cameron in the United Kingdom, politicians are under pressure from their electorate and their parties to champion the best interests of their respective country, even at the risk of disregarding EU law. Therefore, generally, Member States have been able to follow through with controversial policies irrespective of the Union’s disapproval. Thus, in this European Year of Citizens, the question arises: How can Europe best deal with these conflicts? Is there a balance to be found between the European Union having to assume more power, with losses in sovereignty possibly ensuing for Member States, or accepting these conflicts as the necessary consequence of democratically elected governments trying at all costs to implement their national will?



A CASE FOR OPEN BORDERS During hard times it is easy to blame immigration as the root of most problems in the EU, and closing up borders becomes tempting. What Europeans easily forget, however, are the advantages that open borders bring with them.

does not necessarily lead to mass migration from less to more wealthy nations. As long as economic prospects and living standards in impoverished nations are set to improve, people are usually not willing to take the risks associated with migration.

Unrestricted travel: the opportunity to study abroad, the possibility to work almost anywhere on the continent. These are luxuries enjoyed by EU citizens and members of the Schengen Area. Twenty-seven years ago, however, Europe faced a very different reality – a reality that many Europeans still deal with to date.

In bad times it is very tempting for wealthy nations to close their borders and fall back into nationalistic and protectionist policies. Such policies and attitudes are dangerous. Not only are they a shortcut to xenophobia and discrimination, but a sure means of ending globalisation. Although critics claim that globalisation is a force of oppression, exploitation and injustice, it remains the most effective means of pulling people out of poverty. European leaders realised this a while ago, and today most Europeans are free to travel, study and work where they want on the continent. There are still, however, European countries that are not included in the Schengen Area. Unfortunately, the clear trend is that these states are among the poorest – and most autocratic – nations in Europe.

The Schengen Agreement was first signed by five central European countries in 1985, eliminating all internal border controls and creating a common external border. By 1995, that free travel area had been expanded to include 13 EU Member States and by 2007 it had been enlarged to its current size: 26 countries. Since its implementation, the open border policy, which allows free movement of people, has led to increased economic output and an influx of ideas flowing across borders. It is often claimed by the far right that immigration is the root of most problems we face in Europe today. Problems ranging from soaring crime rates to mass unemployment and rising budget deficits are attributed to those coming to Europe in search of better lives. This is, however, nonsense. Although there is a strong historical correlation between low rates of employment and high crime rates, the evidence to suggest that unemployment is caused by immigration is lacking. Further, as the 2004 expansion of the EU teaches us, opening borders


by Felix Makarowski (SE)

In the 1980s, before the Schengen Agreement and before the fall of the Iron Curtain, travel across national borders often included endless bureaucracy aimed at preventing illegal immigration. In effect, however, borders were often used to keep people in or restrict their movement. As we have witnessed the economic advantages of opening up borders and considering that travel within a nation is already a human right, I dare ask these questions: What would happen if all borders were eliminated? And with all the evidence considered, should free movement across borders be a human right?

“The dossier”: Europe in 2013

As the Euro crisis continues to linger for yet another year, experts predict that this could very possibly be its last. While the exact outcome of the crisis is not easily predictable it is very possible that 2014 will not witness another arm-wrestling contest between the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Athens government. It all ends now, in 2013, or more precisely in the period of time that goes from the September 1st to October 27th. Why is that? The EU is after all a democracy and like any other democracy it is shadowed by the pressure and the outcome of periodic elections. Well, for the single currency’s future nothing casts a larger shadow then the Bundestagswahl, the German parliamentary election, of autumn 2013.

What will happen until then? When I had the opportunity of asking former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi this question at a university conference, the answer was a quite clear, “Nothing – as in nothing significant.” Surely there will be moments of crisis due to Spain’s upcoming massive liquidity shortcomings, moments of hope due to some promising ECB announcement, the interest rate for government bonds may rise or fall with time, but, considering the big picture, the situation will keep some sort of balance for the next nine months. Limbo would be a perfect word for Europe’s future – only minor decisions inflated by the press. The Bundestagswahl will be the tiebreaker. The significant variable of this D-Day is represented by the possible coalitions that could form the next German government. It is apparent from current polls that incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel will likely triumph. The new ‘Iron Lady’ is on the rise again. After all who could blame her for her

2013: AN END AND A BEGINNING? by Manfredi Danielis (IT)


“The dossier”: Europe in 2013

success; she has shown personal integrity along with the wisdom of quickly leaving behind nuclear energy when public opinion demanded it. Whether Germany’s towering stability in the crisis is Merkel’s merit or whether she is just “in the right place at the right time” is an open question, but she is undoubtedly getting a lot of the credit. However, even with more than 40 percent of votes that pollsters prognosticate in her Christian Democratic Union’s favour, Mrs. Merkel cannot rule without a partner, so who will be her next ally? Will the Free Democratic Party (FDP), the ailing liberal faction, recover enough votes to make up the difference and form another centristliberal government? Or will the Chancellor need to seek an uneasy Grand Coalition with the Social Democratic Party (SPD)? Liberals or ‘socialists’? Another CDU-FDP alliance would most likely intensify Germany’s already strong austerity stance, while a CDU-SPD co-government could soften it in

favour of more debt subsidies and cooperation with the PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain). The result of the German parliamentary election will lead to consequences that reach far beyond the mere constitution of one national government; it will significantly determine the Eurozone’s course for the next four years. Its importance for the financial markets and for the overall credibility of the Euro will be paramount. Once the uncertainty of the elections is cleared up, the current limbo will be resolved, the dice will be rolled, and our future will be, comparatively, crystal clear. So, whatever the outcome, one thing is sure: By this time next year, 2013 will be over, and we will have our answers.


The Financial Crisis One Divided Europe Where are we today? by Felix Makarowski (SE)

Europe is in trouble. It is currently dealing with low growth rates, unhealthy financial institutions, and an acute sovereign-debt crisis. However, before we reach for solutions or act, it is important that we answer three key questions: Where are we today? How did we get here? And, what are our options for the future? It is vital to keep one thing in mind when analysing Europe’s current economic woes: Different nations face different problems. These problems range from extreme poverty to colossal public debts. In order to look back on and move forward from the crisis it is imperative that we understand what is happening in different parts of Europe today.


Five countries have dominated European news feeds during the past few years of crisis. The so called ‘PIIGS’ – Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain – are currently trying to stave off public debt defaults while simultaneously dealing with stagnant economies. In Greece, the public debt amounts to roughly 160 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP). The numbers are astonishing. How can a country with less than €44 billion in annual tax revenues have a debt that handily exceeds €300 billion? Spain, meanwhile, is the most recent recipient of EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF) emergency aid. Its crisis, however, has been years in the making. The country has faced high unemployment rates since 2008. Unemployment peaked at 25 per cent as recently as in October 2012. Further on, the European Commission estimates that roughly half of all Spanish youth do not have a job. As a result, the Spanish economy is shrinking. Making the crisis worse is the threat of a Catalonian secession from Spain. The semi-autonomous region currently contributes 20 per cent of the country’s economic output. Problems abound for all the PIIGS states. Spain and Greece face fierce anti-austerity protests and riots, in the wake of attempts at tough spending cuts. Portugal was well on track to become the next Greece. Portuguese bond yields – the interest rates due on long term debt – were soaring for most of 2012, though they have recently stabilised at a sustainable level. Its economic output is, however, steadily shrinking. Italy is battling excessive bureaucracy, inefficient labour laws and government corruption. Transparency International, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that monitors and publicises corporate and political corruption, ranks Italy just ahead of China and behind countries such as Cuba and Saudi

We Care About It: Decoding and Analysing

Arabia on its 2011 corruption perception index. At the other end of the Union, Ireland’s economy remains stagnant. We should not, however, limit our attention to the PIIGS. The situation in other parts of Europe is no less dire. France and the UK do not gather as much media attention as the PIIGS – although the French elections were in the media spotlight in April. Much like Barack Obama did in the USA five years ago, socialist president François Hollande inherited an economic chaos from his predecessor. France’s public debt exceeds 90 per cent of GDP because it has been unable to balance a single budget since 1981. To curb its budget deficit, which currently sits at 4.5 per cent, the new government is focusing on growth and increased taxation. Its 75 per cent tax rate on top income earners is, however, deterring investment and causing businessmen and artists to leave the country. Further on, the French government is in for a rude awakening. The Economist reported in a November 2012 article that alone the Netherlands, with about a quarter of France’s population, is currently exporting more than the European giant. The UK meanwhile faces a different behemoth – private debt. The UK has been engulfed by the credit card era, and the average British adult reportedly owes €35 000. Even more astonishing is the total debt owed by individuals in mortgages, bank overdrafts, loans and on credit cards: €1.8 trillion. As of October, Britain’s public debt adds up to 68 per cent of GDP while its budget deficit is well above 6 per cent. Additionally, the LIBOR scandal has the UK banking sector reeling. Much focus is currently being placed on saving the Eurozone from collapsing. If EU

member states were to default on their debts it would lead to lowered living standards, more nationalistic economic policy and very likely widespread poverty. There are, however, regions in Europe where that is already a reality. Eastern Europe – mainly Ukraine, Belarus and Russia – and the Balkan states are struggling. For example, Albania is among Europe’s poorest nations. By 2008 estimates, roughly 12 per cent of its population lives under the poverty line – less than €1.25 a day – and 2011 estimates indicate that more than 13 per cent of the country’s population is unemployed. Croatia on the other hand is one of the region’s wealthiest nations in terms of economic output, even though it has faced high unemployment rates since 2008. Roughly 18 per cent of the country’s working population is currently unemployed while close to one in five people live under the poverty line. Similar numbers have been recorded across the region. Ukraine, Belarus and Russia face different issues in regards to the economy. Stifling bureaucracy and widespread corruption have led to a largely unfriendly business environment. Living conditions in these countries are generally poor. Due to the authorities’ hostile fear of progress and innovation, many of their brightest minds attempt to emigrate to the EU in hope of being given an opportunity to succeed. To conclude, the European continent is in a deep hole. It’s important that we understand where we are we are today, how we got here and what our options for the future are. We shed some light on the first of those questions here. In the next issue we will look into what led us to our current situation.

A NEW ENERGY PLAN FOR EUROPE? by Karolina Koleńska (DE) 22

We Care About It: Decoding and Analysing

It’s not the “dawn of the 21st century” anymore, but Europe still has to deal with a bunch of new challenges brought on by the new era. They may not only be of ecological character, but also social, demographic, as well as economic, like for instance the current Eurozone crisis. In this context, the Confederation of German Trade Unions (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund – DGB) created a position paper entitled “Marshall Plan for Europe – Proposal for an economic stimulus, investment and development programme for Europe”, alluding to the American investment programme to rebuild European economies after the Second World War. The DGB’s “Marshall Plan” comes down to a long-term future programme for all EU Member States for a 10-year period from 2013 to 2022, focusing on a modernisation of the economies. The draft should be considered as a starting point for a debate across Europe, in which input not only from the political sphere but also from the civil society is very welcome. The proposal underlines that to stabilise the situation and secure the future we must act now to ensure long-term growth and employment perspectives. This includes, among others, measures such as investment in sustainable energy sources, a general reduction of the energy consumption level, education, as well as research and development. The position paper concentrates on developing a concept for economic transformation, so that natural resources can be preserved and energy can be saved, an independence from foreign fuel supplies can be achieved, and further greenhouse gas emissions will sink. In December 2011 the European Commission published a so-called “Energy Roadmap 2050” aiming to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 80 to 95 per cent below 1990 levels until 2050. The DGB expresses the will to support this roadmap with its concept. Moreover, it suggests a “European turnaround in energy policy” calling for a discontinuation of nuclear power, as it is planned in Germany. 

The whole ambitious plan cannot be managed by one country alone, which is why it requires the European Union to join forces and realise it on a supranational level. The annual financing amounts to approximately €260 billion, which is about 2% of the EU Member States’ total combined gross domestic product (GDP). The idea is to use this to create a “European Future Fund”, which should provide the financing for the investments by emitting interest-bearing bonds. To cover the interest obligation, the proposition is to introduce a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT). Additionally, a oneoff wealth levy on private assets could be introduced to provide starting capital for the Fund, but the concrete implementation should be left to the individual Member States. The control over the Fund should be held by the European Parliament, assessing all possible cash outflows. Furthermore, the Confederation of German Trade Unions stresses that it is well possible to combine dynamic growth with sustainability and that we are also able to finance it. Concerning the aforementioned transaction tax, it is clarified that the burden will be principally on highly speculative transactions, thus on the market players mainly responsible for the actual crisis rather than on small-time investors. In addition, Europe’s eventual fuel independence is illustrated as positive on different levels: not only by reducing CO2 emissions and therefore profiling Europe as a model role in this field, but also by the creation of new domestic employment. The draft underlines that public investment will also mobilise private spending, helping additionally to overcome the crisis. In theory, it sounds like a convincing concept underscored by concrete data and propositions. But as so often with good proposals, one can only hope for a successful implementation. [The complete “Marshall Plan for Europe” can be downloaded in different languages on the website of the DGB: http:// ]



It would be easy to question how far the Northern Irish peace process has come after seeing the truly despicable images of protesters and the police clashing on the streets of East Belfast and across


Northern Ireland. Since the removal of the Union Flag from Belfast City Hall at the beginning of December, street blockades and ‘peaceful’ protests, usually evolving quickly into destructive riots, have been

happening on an almost nightly basis – some involving children as young as eight years old. But with politicians on both sides of the political spectrum in Northern Ireland scrambling to different

We Care About It: Awareness Raising

conclusions as to who is responsible for the recent trouble, there seems to be no end in sight for the violent uproar. Since the Belfast City Council’s decision to restrict the number of days the flag is flown from City Hall on the 3rd of December, a move which reflects legislation that all public buildings across the rest of the United Kingdom follow, violence has been incessant. The protesting has reached a critical level, to the point that several police officers have been injured, with one policewoman almost losing her life after escaping from her car, which had been petrol-bombed. Meanwhile, Loyalist paramilitaries have issued death threats against several politicians, mainly Alliance Party Councillors who maintain the balance of power between Nationalist and Unionist parties in the Belfast City Council. Theresa Villiers, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, described how the protests themselves were “damaging the cause they claim to support.” The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and other Unionist parties have been quick to call out who they think are the culprits, criticising the left-wing Sinn Féin, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and Alliance of “unsettling” the peace of Northern Ireland – despite the fact that the

DUP and the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) riled up the sentiments of the protesters in the first place, with a mass campaign against Alliance regarding the vote on the flying of the flag. With an election distantly on the horizon, a ‘dethroning exercise’ has quickly spun out of control, with the Unionists now unable to catch up with the community they thought they could depend on for the majority vote. There is more to it than political games, however. Throughout the ongoing furore, the Ulster People’s Forum (UPF) has been set up to address fears of a ‘forgotten Protestant community’. What has evolved from this forum suggests a new awakening of Unionism – more rightwing, more extremist, and calling for a closer Britain. So far, the UPF has called for the resignation of Peter Robinson, First Minister of Northern Ireland and leader of the DUP, and the return of direct rule from London. What these requests, albeit outlandish, represent is a Loyalist insurgence within Protestant communities, clashing with the image of acceptance and equality illustrated by the peace process. Astonishingly, the reason the protesters rally on the street conflicts with how the flag was restricted through democratic means – what is

quintessentially accepted as fundamentally ‘British’. Meanwhile, the state they long to take pride in suffers the longer they carry out their protests: For the past several weeks, shops, bars and clubs have taken a severe beating, as well as the availability of emergency services, with the police being stretched to the limit of their capacities. Throughout the past tension-filled weeks, which could be described as a crisis for the peace process, the Union Flag row has been repeatedly referred to as the “straw that broke the camel’s back” – however, we must look closer into how Northern Ireland has evolved since the Good Friday Agreement. Although we may mask the past of the Troubles with the ideals of working towards a ‘shared future’, problems like these and many others have continued to breed in the shadows of our stillstanding peace walls. To this day even, 90 per cent of Roman Catholics and Protestants live in a single community area, and the figures are similar for the attendance of our schools. With this in mind, it is possible that this wasn’t the final straw for the process – but that the process itself had already collapsed.


Gender Equality in a Cup of Coffee by Sigrun Fagerfjäll (SE) In the last couple of years a new phenomenon has emerged in Sweden. Suddenly the streets are populated by casually dressed men in their thirties pushing technically advanced strollers of the latest fashion. We call them the “Latte Dads” – the men on paternity leave who meet up with their male friends and their children at trendy cafés to discuss ‘slow food’ and the latest gender-neutral toys. “Gender equality begins at home” is an increasingly used slogan that gets over two million hits on Google; many claim that women will not be able to contribute equally in the economy until their husbands contribute equally at home. Paternity leave is on the rise, not just in Sweden but all over Europe. Is this the key to achieving equal conditions for women on the labour market? Is the seemingly harmless Latte Dad in fact a revolutionary? Research shows that when women get home from work their stress level increases while it is the opposite for their husbands. This shows that even though Europe has progressed a lot when it comes to gender equality the traditional roles still linger. The woman is still the one who feels most responsible when it comes to taking care of the household and of children. The man is


still considered the main breadwinner of the family. According to many statistics, divorce is more common in marriages where the wife earns more than her husband and thus challenges the norm. Changing these norms and the division of responsibilities would be a great step towards a society that is fairer to women. The importance of paternity leave is increasing in Europe: In Germany two out of the fourteen months of parental leave are reserved for the father since 2007. Within two years this increased the level of fathers taking leave from three to twenty per cent. In Iceland three months are reserved for the father while another three months can be split between the parents. So how do a couple of months or weeks change the situation for women on the labour market? A study published by the Swedish Institute of Labour Market Policy Evaluation in March 2012 showed that a mother’s future earnings increase by seven per cent on average for every month the father takes leave.  Not only does paternity leave minimise the interruptions in a woman’s carrier, it also increases the father’s feeling of responsibility for the children. This is a very important

We Care About It: Awareness Raising

factor when trying to achieve a society where men and women are equals. Carlos Rojas is an entrepreneur who runs a fathers’ group campaigning for more paternal say at home in Sweden. In an interview with the New York Times he asks, “How many dads cut their children’s nails? I know that she is going to do it and so I don’t bother. We have to overcome that if we truly want to share responsibility.” He sees paternity leave as a way to change the norms so that both the mother and father have equal say when it comes to raising the children and establishing routines in the household. This way, women can also focus more on their careers. Daniel Erler, author of “The Politics of Parental Leave Policies” agrees with Carlos Rojas. He claims that paternity leave is the first policy in Germany that “unambiguously aims at reducing female career interruptions and increasing men’s involvement in the child rearing domain.” He sees this as an important step to leave the model with a male breadwinner behind.  Family affairs may seem to be miles away from issues such as women’s salaries and increasing the number of female entrepre-

neurs, but norms have a greater impact on the labour market than we might think. In many ways society is a mirror of the family and norms that children are raised with will affect their decisions in their working life. If we stop thinking of the household as a female domain and the labour market as a male one we have already made a significant change that will have an impact on society. In a decade when we look back and try to trace what really solved the problem of gender inequality, paternity leave might very well come up as an example of a catalyst. Perhaps the Latte Dads are in fact revolutionaries, forerunners not only when it comes to Italian coffee trends, but also in the shaping of a more fair future society.



From January 11th to 31st, famous British artist Damien Hirst will have thirty-one precious works on display in an exhibition called Spin Paintings, in Portakal Art Center, İstanbul, Turkey. All works, chosen from various collections, will be hanging on the walls for curious visitors and tasteful collectors. Now, knowing this exhibition has been long anticipated for 2013 in the art world of Turkey, one does eventually wonder about Damien Hirsts’ oeuvre, and his understanding and perspective of art. Before being mesmerised by his works in İstanbul, or after being mesmerised by his works at Tate Modern, UK, in late 2012, this is just a timid step to enter Hirst’s world.

“Union Jack”: It’s the gargantuan work in the stadium of the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics. “For Heaven’s Sake”: It’s a diamond-studded platinum infant’s skull – one of the most expensive contemporary pieces of art. “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living”: It’s a preserved tiger shark being displayed in a five-meter aquarium of formaldehyde. “The Butterfly Effect”: It’s an exceptional experimental art project including live butterflies, which ended up with the


death of over nine thousand butterflies. It’s Damien Hirst and four randomly picked past works. Hirst, having started his artistic career by the 1980s, has an impressive portfolio and an extraordinary story of creating a fortune. He is now undoubtedly one of the most prominent artists of British contemporary art and is widely considered a genius artist with brilliant achievements. Yet,

What’s On Your Mind?

his million-dollar fortune made from these brilliant artworks drew a lot of criticism, from within and outside the art world. He does admit to commercialising his art pieces and thus people reckon his perspective to be balancing art and money – or gaining the title of the wealthiest British artist alive. Hirst’s style of making art also sharply divides the opinions. His solo exhibitions, splashy paintings, odd sculptures, retrospectives including human and animal bodies, drew stark criticism. On the one hand, he is referred to as being absolutely brave and successful, and on the other hand, he is considered cruel, outrageous, and focused only on profiteering. Especially his abovementioned piece “For Heaven’s Sake” was thought to be highly disturbing. Hirst, quite confidently, said, “I don’t think it’s shocking at all; it’s beautiful; it creates wonder.” One way or another, he succeeds in taking a profound place in the media coverage, having his paintings and artwork in the extraordinarily valuable collections of collectors, being highly praised by art authorities, and becoming one of the pop icons of today’s contemporary art. Hirst’s fancy exhibition in İstanbul consists of many of his comparatively less controversial works. It predominantly exhibits Hirst’s collection “Spin Paintings”. This collection is highlighted as having a special meaning for Hirst, since he claims to make these ‘spins’ one after the other, without being able to stop himself. Hirst defines this series as “childish... in the positive sense of the word,” and has been continuously making these spin works since 1992. The beautiful spins are usually consisted of a tempting composition of colourful patterns, presenting the viewer an imaginary rainbow world, absorbing the viewers’ colour senses. One of the catchiest characteristics of the works is that all of their names begin with the word “beautiful”

and end with the word “painting”, which are quite self-explanatory. The dizzying “Beautiful, pop, spinning ice creamy, whirling, expanding painting”, a work of 1995, is one of those which will be on display and for sale in the exhibition in İstanbul as well. Another outstanding piece in the exhibition will unquestionably be “Beautiful Windmill of Hypnosis”. The curator of the exhibition admits that even convincing the owner of this painting to let it be put on display was extremely difficult, as the collector was reluctant to be separated from the painting. In fact, the composition really gives a sense of attachment to the viewer. Looking at the painting, with its entangled figures, it may not surprise with its creativity, but enchants you somehow. I guess already making the viewer feel uplifted and letting them get caught by the spell of the colours has been the aim of Hirst. He, being more a pop artist figure, does not seem to be aiming to keep you thinking for hours, but just to abduct you by the beauty of the moment. From a very humble personal perspective, I need to get one thing straight: It’s that Hirst needs to be glorified for his obvious success and remarkable creative mind. Yet, constructing the works principally for their value in the art market is not an easily acceptable idea for every viewer. For the collectors, unquestionably, that is an inevitable aspect, but for a regular viewer, feeling, touching, and being deeply connected with the work is more of a priority than thinking of its on-paper value. Other than that, Hirst’s bizarre preference for materials, such as preserved animals or live butterflies might disturb some viewers. Still, there are many others thinking that these outlandish combinations do create a harmony in his retrospectives. So I do suggest not turning backs to Hirst, but to bear in mind this crazy style, accept his perspective for art, yet reset the mind each time looking at these works. Because even the idea of discovering a “Beautiful, cataclysmic pink minty shifting horizon exploding star with ghostly presence, wide, broad painting” is purely tantalising.




In June of 2012, Swedish House Mafia announced they were going to stop working together. The last reward for their devoted fans was “One Last Tour”. As soon as the tickets went on sale, many of the servers crashed. The three young men from Stockholm did the unimaginable: When the smoke finally cleared, it became apparent that they had sold over a million tickets in ten minutes. The electronic dance music (EDM) scene had its big break in the last few years. And it will transform music in the same manner and extent that The Beatles did in the 1960s. DJs represent a new generation and were raised very differently compared to their predecessors. Instead of using instruments, they are using their computers to create the tunes so many adore. Young musicians are taking the world by storm and the pace at which they are doing it is enviable. Developing EDM up to where it stands today has not been easy. The process has been long and must be continued. It started in the late 1990s, when continental Europe was hit by the raves. These large parties and festivals started gaining in popularity and more and more inhabitants of the countries


were eager to take part. The Netherlands has been on the forefront of EDM since its origin. Five Dutch artists are featured in the DJ Mag Top Ten. Furthermore, many Dutch groups have used their experience in The Netherlands to create an amazing export. Consequently, the playing field was changed for EDM; its rise had begun. All across the world people started partying to 128 beats per minute. Ibiza has been known for its amazing clubs, one of them being the largest club on earth. The number of people visiting the island has risen substantially over the past years. Even though many other parts of the Spanish holiday coasts suffer from the sovereign-debt crisis, Ibiza remains largely unharmed. The popularity of EDM actually saves the island from poverty and unemployment. The musical heroes of tomorrow grew up in a world filled with technology and computers. This allowed them to experiment more freely. Programs such as “Fruity Loops” allow them to use every instrument. Thus, DJs are able to surprise their fans in many manners. What is even more surprising is their generosity. While most of Hollywood and major music labels are lobbying for stricter anti-piracy laws in order to protect their already astronomical profits, DJs are literally


What’s On Your Mind?

encouraging our generation to mix, edit, or bootleg their songs. The results are generally quite good. This not only allows new talents to make a name for themselves but also creates a community of young people interested in the same topics and sharing experience. Social media have contributed to the rise of EDM as well. The success of artists like Hardwell and Avicii would not have been possible without Facebook and Youtube. Both used these platforms to reach their intended audience. The popularity of EDM has slowly but steadily also transformed other genres of music. The collaboration between David Guetta and many rappers and singers is the perfect example of this phenomenon. Together, the artists were able to reach new highs. However, apart from the realm of popularity and profit, music remains a form of art. Music is one of the means by which people can express themselves. However, in contrast to making it into the news, producing films, and giving speeches, anybody can make music. The accessibility is what makes it special. In the past, lyrics were able to tell stories. Predominantly, EDM tunes do not have many lyrics. In spite of this, the songs are able to tell a story; grand DJs are able to create a symphony. Beethoven and Mo-

zart did not use lyrics and their renowned compositions tell a tale as well. The expression of music has more to it than just lyrics. Moreover, the response music evokes is one of the main factors behind its power. In EDM, the crowd – the people who truly appreciate it – is right in front of the DJ booth. This creates a very intense and familiar atmosphere. Club nights in particular can evoke this feeling. The music critics will never be able to take that feeling away. Their voices might be harsh, but they will have to adapt their opinions once they see the reactions. New generations are always criticised. Elvis and Michael Jackson survived it and so will Tiësto and Alesso. Tomorrow is a mystery, but it is certain that EDM will become even more prominent within the music industry. With sixteen year-olds already performing before crowds of 1500, talents are being uncovered everywhere. Until now the House subgenre has dominated the charts, but it seems likely that Techno and maybe even Dubstep will become more commonly accepted. The unlimited freedom provided by EDM gives any teenager the chance to become an artist. The nerds of the past are the heroes of today.


EYP Voice Issue 3  

Third issue of EYP Voice.

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