BRUXELLES Magazine of the 19th National Selection Conference of EYP-Europolis Belgium
hey say lightning never strikes twice, but that is a myth. It does not happen often, lightning usually gets it right the first time, but sometimes once is simply not enough. When you are hit with 30 amps of electricity, you feel it. It can make you forget who you are, burn you, blind you, amaze you. It can change your life forever. EYP has the ability to break myths which say that surprisingly similar situations happen to us only a limited amount of times. That is definitely not the case and this organisation gives us a chance to doubt the ability of lightning in a form of a grand session to strike just once. Coming to an EYP session for the first time can be an electrifying experience. It is like a cold rain shower after a hot summer’s day - perfect and desired. I know how much I appreciated all the wise and encouraging words at my very first session, but also tips and suggestions from other participants. That is why we, the Media Team, will be providing you with two issues of ‘Bruxelles’ and a couple of videos to guide you through this session, but also to not have you leave empty-handed, but with memories visible on paper, videos and etc. The Media Team of Brussels 2013 is here to take you back to the world that you should not forget even in years to come. Our journalists and video girls will show you that being a kid, enjoying the quirkiest ac¬t ivities, thinking outside the box, letting go of your everyday problems is exactly what you should be doing. If not every day, at least during the days you spend with us here in Brussels. Enjoy every moment of it and make sure that an EYP lightning will have struck you by the end of this session, so that you could come back for me.
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insideBRUXELLES 02 ‘CONSTRUCTING EUROPEAN CITIZENSHIP’ What it is like to be European and feel European.
06 A ONE SESSION’S RECIPE
Aspects of the session that should not be ignored
07 THE ROCKY ROAD OF FEELINGS The road to relationships is never an easy one to travel.. EYP offers a helping hand.
08 ‘ERASMUS FOR ALL’
Life of an Erasmus student describing why the program is actually that succesful.
10 LETTER TO BRUSSELS Aspects that make Brussels alongside with Belgium so incredibly special.
teamBRUXELLES ZUZANNA GIL MARIE-SIBYLLE FEYENS ANTONIA KERRIDGE & MAIRI SÕELSEPP
“CONSTRUCTING EUROPEAN CITIZENSHIP” Nowadays it is hard to imagine a Europe without European Union and the accompanying Schengen Area. It is fairly difficult to do so. Is it as hard to imagine a EU citizen who does not feel European? Zuzanna Gil explores the different understandings of a common European citizenship.
t is heart-warming to see that European countries cooperate with each other now more than ever. Our grandparents could not have imagined the existence of Europe as such years ago. Back then they were interested in their home-countries being accepted and respected by others. Nowadays, there has been a shift from personal interests to country’s being interest in being part of different international organisations and unions. We are brought so close together by economical and political ties as well as increasingly homogenised culture. We are all citizens of Europe, something broader than national. As a citizen of a country you are entitled to a number of rights and privileges. In the EU, for example, citizens are allowed to move freely and can influence country’s 4
decision-making process. There is also a civic side to the problem as almost everyone identifies themselves with their nationality, but it is not always the case when it comes to feeling or being European’. Of course, if someone is asked if they are, anyone would answer positively – but too often it is just a hunch. Even the answer to what does being European mean, is rather tricky. Does it refer to being born within the borders of the EU or is it associated with having resided there for a certain amount of time? Does it depend on social activism, interest or achievements in a particular field? Is it connected to participation, attachment and unity? There are numerous possibilities to reply to those questions and if those thoughts have ever crossed your mind, you are on the right track.
It is probably not that natural for us to feel European as it is to be Belgian, Polish or Estonian, it is in a way secondary. However, some might remember officially becoming a citizen of the EU when becoming a member of the aforementioned union, which could be seen as a big step for establishing a common ground of belonging. However, from a historic perspective, EU is a relatively recent institution, which is nothing compared to a country brought up on years of tradition. Additionally, EU does not equal Europe, as it leaves out several countries that are still strongly bound to the members of the union by borders and similarities in cultures and traditions. As every single person is aware of it, it is hard to see a sense of belonging shining through. Consequently, the European citizenship must
be ‘built up’. It is important to emphasise the need for constructing a European citizenship especially as low turnouts in European elections are a burning problem. Trust in EU is catastrophically low, general attitude towards political life leaves much to wish for. Engagement in European politics is not sufficient, both among the youth and the elderly. It is high time we realise it is crucial to fulfil our civic duties.
The most important duty of every citizen is to be engaged, force your opinion. Be an individual when it comes to thinking and consequently work out whom to vote for on your own. This is simple caring that creates a solid basis for European citizenship. Try to have your voice heard, among your friends, family and even a broader audience. Increase your knowledge, share your understanding, confront worldviews, exchange ideas, discuss. It’s
all about choices, different voices and being engaged. Europe invites you to have an equal say in creating a modern world. We should follow the concept of if others feel good, I feel good. Once that has been established, it is very hard to break off such bonds. However, united we stand, divided we fall. United, in diversity.
A ONE SESSION’S RECIPE What to expect from the 19th Brussels National Conference of EYP? Marie-Sibylle Feyens will tell you which aspects of the session you should definitely not miss out on during the next few days.
f you are a coffee-lover, a party animal, fancy foreign food and discussing European issues, you are already on the right path. But what else do you need for a thrilling session?
real world. As a team you are ready to start committee work and debate on various European issues. Do find a consensus within the team and a work towards a common solution.
COFEE AND SLEEP Knowing that the session might not be rich in terms of hours you get to sleep. Therefore, believe me, coffee will be more than of assistance during the next few days. However, even if the idea of sleeping does not sound too exciting, it is still useful to get a few hours of rest, but obviously not during the GA.
EUROVILLAGE Discover various cuisines from all over Europe in a few hours. Simply move from table to table and NEWSPAPERS enjoy amazing European delights. Read the newspapers. This way you will be up to date with everyBUILDING FRIENDSHIPS thing that is going on in Europe, Want to be the social butterfly of at the session and some revealing the session? Crucial points you stories from behind the scenes of should definitely follow to ensure this session. Moreover, the chanca high social status: forget about es that find a close-up of yourself your phone, be accepting, smile, are very high. laugh and listen. Avoid judging and definitely get to know as many GENERAL ASSEMBLY people as you can, in and outside This is the crucial moment where of your committee. your hard work will be paid off. During the General Assembly, EUROPEAN PUB QUIZ dare to stand up and voice your In order to detect the geniuses in opinion. Because you know what the crowd, the Press Team will be they say: “Once you start, you challenging your knowledge on won’t get enough of it.”
TEAMBUILDING AND COMMITTEE WORK Through various activities and exercises you get to know each other. Congratulations, you now form a well-functioning team. I advise you to leave your phones and technological stuff behind, social networking is much more fun in the
Europe and all that jazz. HUMOUR & GOOD MOOD The easiest way to make this session unforgettable and have a banter, is to have fun and make full use of your sense of humour or lack of it. To be used without moderation.
THE ROCKY ROAD OF FEELINGS The road to relationships is never an easy one to travel. There are the smoothest journeys, the near misses, and inevitably a few crashes along the way. Antonia Kerridge investigates why EYP can sometimes be the answer to all these troubles.
our eyes meet across the crowds during teambuilding. Your hands brush as you both reach for the same biscuit in coffee break. Your heart flutters when you notice that his tie matches the colour of your dress for the General Assembly. Now, you don’t want to be hasty, but is this meant to be? EYP is an experience like no other. Suddenly, you find yourself meeting people from all over your home county and across the entirety of Europe. There are new accents to contend with, stereotypes to test and a never-ending group of new friends to make. Sometimes, after many years of desperate and failed searching in your hometown to find the ‘one’, Mr or Ms Right could appear before you. EYP is about bringing people together; breaking down social barriers and unifying everybody in a mutual experience. One min-
ute you’re standing next to a complete stranger, the next you’re best friends after an intense set of ice breakers that you would never have dreamt of normally going through with a new person. There is an immediate and undeniable familiarity with these people that draws you into this EYP world. Well, maybe you’ve always had a secret thing for a Romanian accent or maybe the rich Italian cuisine has always caught your eye, but, whatever your preference, you’re guaranteed to find someone of interest in EYP. Never before will you have had the chance to learn about so many cultures so dismiss the nerves, ask many questions and get to learn more.
We are all here because we share similar passions: we enjoy sharing our opinions with others, we care about active European citizenship, and we embrace a high level of random craziness in our lives. You will meet such a large group of people during a session and many of these will remain great friends over the years. The EYP family is something very unique and largely incomprehensible to the outside world, so enjoy getting to know like-minded people. And who knows, perhaps an EYP marriage will one day be on the cards? If not, you will for sure get new fascinating acquintainces and friends for life.
“EYP is about bringing people together; breaking down social barriers and unifying everybody in a mutual experience. “
‘Erasmus for all’: Halfway through her own Erasmus year in the city of Munich, Antonia Kerridge explores the highlights of studying abroad and praises the EU’s decision to extend the scheme for the upcoming years.
rriving in a foreign country alone with an incorrect map, a giant suitcase and only a few ‘useful’ phrases of German such as “My car has broken down” and “My favourite colour is blue”, I began my Erasmus adventure rather unprepared, but with great expectations ahead of me. Those high hopes have certainly been met. The last six months have been by far the most challenging yet most hilarious of my life. Taking part in an Erasmus Year can be compared in many ways to an EYP Session: it is a random, intense, and totally an unforgettable experience. You never know who you are going to meet around the corner and your vision of the world is extended far beyond your own backyard. You are able to study your subject from a different angle, learn a new language, experience new
cuisines and traditions, and meet a country, but it is even more impresnever-ending flow of exciting and sive to manage abroad. An Erasmus dynamic people. I have swum in al- Year gives you the greatest practical pine lakes, I have explored countless skills to take forward into the fumuseums and palaces, I have expe- ture and the constant support from rienced my first other European Fasching, carnival “You never know and international as celebrated in students shares who you are going German-speaking the weight of countries, and I to meet around the the challenges. have even played corner and your vi- United through the flute in one of constant confusion of the world is the Oktoberfest sion and combands. extended far be- plete hilarity, you There is no are never alone yond your own doubt that you in your struggles. backyard.” experience a draThe people you matic learning meet will share curve while on your year abroad and a similar passion and enthusiasm the skills you acquire are certainly to enjoy a new city and the oppornot things you can learn in the class- tunities just keep on coming. Even room. Sorting out university mod- during moments when you think ules, finding accommodation and “What am I doing here and why understanding a new administration is this person speaking to me in a system is hard enough in your own language I don’t understand?” you
music to our ears
learn to adapt and embrace a new and completely independent way of living. Unfortunately, only half a year ago the future of Erasmus looked uncertain. The scheme, set up in 1987 and allowing people to study in 33 countries across the continent, had hit crisis point and seven member states were refusing the planned Erasmus budget for 2013, which saw expenditure increase by 6.8%. The big money issue was raising its ugly head and there were concerns that interest levels for studying abroad were not high enough. The finger of blame was unsurprisingly pointing to the usual awkward partner, Britain, who maintains relatively low numbers of students choosing to study abroad. Therefore, the headline “Future of ERASMUS guaranteed by EU” was, for once, a piece of news which was received with relief. The rebranded
“Erasmus for All” scheme is now guaranteed beyond the end of 2013, with a 50% increase in funds from 2014-2020 to allow 5 million people to study abroad during this time. The proposed scheme will be extended to include an Erasmus Master’s degree student loan guarantee so the world, at least Europe, really is your oyster. The official plans are to be announced around June 2013 so everyone is keeping their eyes peeled for future developments. It is highly encouraging to see that the EU is taking this matter seriously and committing to the scheme for a while longer. The long term future of Erasmus is of course still uncertain but while it remains to be considered as a positive step to overcome the financial crisis through proactive methods of education and training, there is hope. At the end of this EYP Session,
you will have had a taster of what Erasmus is all about. The theme of this Session is “Constructing European Citizenship” and there is no better opportunity to help build your European family, than to spend time abroad. If you take one piece of advice from this article: make sure you are part of the 5 million who benefit from this scheme. You would be mad to miss out.
“...and there is no better opportunity to help build your European family, than to spend time abroad. “
AN OPEN LETTER TO BRUSSELS
Dear Brussels, It’s not because I’m currently in Belgium that I’m writing this letter. You inspire me, Brussels, so close and so mysterious. You are an exotic destination in the heart of Europe. It’s only unfortunate that not enough people know what you are actually all about. Brussels, you are amazing and everyone should be able to see and feel that. You may ask why. Well, you have the European Parliament all to yourself. Considering the importance and necessity of that institution, I can only guess that you are more than honoured to be called the home of the European Parliament. How lovely of you to handle all of our brilliant politicians and offer them your delights and delicacies. Relatedly, I would like to emphasise other goodies you have on offer: your beer, your waffles, your French, as if, fries and your chocolate. The amount of excellent food per capita is just too high. Yes, this is unfair and strong legal action must be taken. People are craving for more and more Belgium delicacies with all the yummy calories to follow, even though all Belgians were created with a metabolism thrice as fast as the rest of the world. I am going to be ten kilograms heavier upon departure and I don’t mean due to my luggage. Another reason for loving you, Brussels, is because you’re the capital city of a arguably tiny land where everyone is close to everyone. Sometimes, however, it might take two hours to get anywhere in Belgium and take a crazy Tour de Belgium in one day. You shine bright like a diamond, Brussels. No other city is called the ‘Comics capital’. Keep being great and carry on, Yours faithfully,
il G a n n Zuza
THE PRESS: WHERE ARE WE NOW? The arrival of online media could be seen as an attack on traditional printed press. As a consequence, our reading habits have changed profoundly. MarieSibylle Feyens is discovering the pros and cons of new media outlets, and our move away from traditional print media.
he reading rate of the printed press is decreasing as the press that people pay for is continuously falling. This decrease is, as expected, even stronger among younger generations. Nowadays, many people are proud owners of a smartphone or an iPad with more and more applications, such as “Newsweek Global”, which was previously printed but now only accessible online, available for these devices. Why is it that there has been a shift from traditional print media to new, digital media outlets? Let’s analyse how the digital press attracts its followers. Firstly, digital press offers more interactive content, customisable reading formats and a wider selection of articles. For example international newspapers are now within the reach of a click of the mouse; a novel, yet exciting situation. Furthermore, online publication prices are actually lower than their printed counterparts. The industrial phase is vanishing, which represents a significant saving in
printing costs, paper and especially payroll. Another major asset is the immediacy and accessibility. The online availability allows you to react immediately and to disseminate information instantly. There is argument over whether the movement to a multimedia format of news presentation is actually superior to the previous text based issues. Whilst the insertion of images, sounds and especially videos adds a different viewpoint enriching the text based content, there are some that argue that literal depth has been sacrificed, and that articles are weakened by being too dependent on these ‘new’ medias. Some may even say that the revolution of digital media has negatively influenced their literal habits. Let’s take a look at the consequences of the transformation of traditional media under the influence of Internet. The first transformation deals with the physical format adopted by the newspapers, as before the size of the newspapers used to be three times bigger. Newspapers also took the
opportunity to add more colour. Moreover, more emphasis is put on photographs, imitating the new style of media made popular by the online outlets. These days, an ‘airy’ style, straightforward and convenient, and shorter paragraphs are the norm; let’s look at the huge success of Twitter in breaking instant news in just 140 characters. Finally, thanks to the Internet, information circulates faster than ever. However, despite the development of ‘real time’ news, it is still required to take the time to check the reliability of facts. Whenever paper-based press tries to adapt to this speed, factual errors are easy to appear. When newspapers wish to correct mistakes, they do it in the next publication unlike a webpage that can be corrected in a shorter amount of time. All in all, these are just some forms and examples of how journalism has developed over time. Will those changes in the printed press be enough for it to be saved from vanishing? Only the future will tell...
WORDS FOR THE PROACTIVE EUROPEAN CITIZEN In the impressive venue of the European Parliament buildings, the 19th NSC of EYP-Europolis Belgium was opened in style on Tuesday. Antonia Kerridge reports on the Opening Ceremony and Panel Debate on this day, and the positive impact they will have on the rest of the session.
here were many inspirational words to be shared during the Opening Ceremony which you can take through the rest of the session. As Lieve Lauwerens summarised, your time here demonstrates an ‘exercise in democracy’ where your ideas about European problems can be debated. It is worth remembering the uniqueness of your experience here in Brussels and to appreciate this session to the full, you must throw yourself into every minute. Now you have played ‘Big Fat Pony’ on the busy streets of Brussels, there is no need to feel embarrassed anymore! The calming influence of Kerstin Mathias as President of the Session should help to put you all at ease. As she mentioned in her opening speech, both officials and delegates feel some level of fear about the session. Conquering these fears allow us all to put a lot into the session and get more out of it. This message of engagement
can be echoed on a wider scale tinational and transnational govof the EU and remained a major ernment’ reminds us that we are theme during the Panel Debate involved in an expansive network with the MEPs Philippe De Back- of support which rests on values er (ALDE), Philippe Lamberts of freedom. And, as Mr De Backer (Greens) and Bart Staes (Greens). noted, the differences in religion European citizenship is not just the and language enhance the diversity responsibility of the EU, but also of the union to create a multi-laydepends on your own initiative. ered identity. There is a wealth of information The EU is a vast community and available about the by taking part in an EU at your finger- “Conquering...fears EYP event, we are tips so if you have reminded of the allows us all to the interest then get great group of peoresearching online, put a lot into the ple who are willing contact MEPs, and session and get to give up time to definitely attend making the session more out of it.” perfect. Officials, the European Parliament open day teachers and guests on 4th May. Mr Staes spoke out all work tirelessly to give you the against the use of commercials to best session and show you what promote the EU, as this becomes EYP is all about. Creating a Euro‘propaganda material’ to the public. pean citizenship starts within this Instead, the consensus of the panel EYP session, but does not have was that dialogue with citizens is a to end here. The power is in your more desirable form of European hands to continue your interest engagement. Mr Lambert’s state- and ensure European citizenship ment that the EU is the ‘first mul- remains real in your life.
THE WEALTH OF CHOICE AT EUROVILLAGE This year we were fortunate to be welcomed at the Yunus Emre Türk Kültür Merkezi venue for a traditional night of Eurovillage. After a little speech done by the President of the Session, the anticipated night finally started. Marie-Sibylle Feyens explored the different cuisines at Eurovillage and got a few accompanying impressions by the participants.
anging out, dancing, discovering, singing, savouring and enjoying – all that and so much more is Eurovillage. Let’s discover some specialities of the evening. First of, Finland with Salmiakki which is a very popular dark candy and
rye bread. Axel from AGRI explained that it is a traditional bread, low in calories, but rich in fibres. “If you eat 100g of it, you get all the fibres you need for one day. So that’s good if you want to lose weight.” Next up, Italy with their Montepulciano d’abruzzo, tiramisu and tartufo,
which is a chocolate desert. When asked which table people preferred besides their own and why, I received various answers. Heleen, chairperson of AFCO, definitely voted for the Swiss chocolate fountain, the French quiche and the Italian tiramisu. Additionally, the Swiss
table seemed to be appreciated by many participants as Lobke (ECON) and Emma (JURI) emphasised their jolly personalities, enthusiasm and the energy to keep everyone active. Nele (LIBE) loved the Swedish table the most as she has a passion for Scandinavians. “It comes from the fact that I have very blond hair and blue eyes. Because of that, I always stand out in every country while in Scandinavia I don’t.” Miss d’Harveng, Belgian teacher from Saint André’s Gymansium, chose Ireland for their bold use of colours and outfits. Also, they were definitely in a very cheerful mood and Miss d’Harveng pointed out how It’s important to give the itch to the assembly. Meanwhile
Charlie’s (AFCO) favourite was the Irish Guinness and the English muffins. Anke and Jolien, organisers, thought the Dutch delegation had put up the best show of the evening. “A girl was playing a song while the other members of her committees were sitting next to her on the floor, showing appreciation and support in silence. It was a really nice atmosphere.” Marlies (AGRI) enjoyed the stand of the Netherlands, as well as the Irish and the Swedish ones: “Furthermore, the conga line organised by the Swedish representatives was really fun.” The prize for the most original dish was awarded to the chocolate potato cake by Ireland. Prize for the most original presenta-
tion of food went to the United Kingdom for the Union Jack formed with scones, teabags, cookies, muffins, marshmallows, cheddar pancakes and wine gums. An (SEDE) fancies Eurovillage that much because everyone looks so happy and makes an effort to meet other people. Zuzanna, a journalist, stated: “You can try everything and learn things from people. Furthermore, the food is often homemade. You also get information of what you eat. Eurovillage is clearly more than just a dish. “