generation europe NEWS
The cradle of democracy debates EU elections
They asked our opinion...
generation europe PORTRAIT 06
Feyza Basar, GE Ambassador in Turkey
H.E. Ambassador Mimoza Halimi, Ambassador of Albania to the EU
Your World, Your Business
EP elections - Will cyberspace help?
A Coffee with Dirk Lange
Europa: en el cambio está la evolución
© Generation Europe 2009 Publisher: GE Vibes is published by Generation Europe. All rights reserved. We welcome your questions and suggestions on firstname.lastname@example.org. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of Generation Europe.
May 2009 //
///////////////////////////////// ‘We’re going to boycott the EU elections!’ some friends in Germany informed me this week. When I asked for their reasons, I learned that they disagree with certain very specific policies and with unwanted national politicians being sent to Brussels for no other reason than to get rid of them. Theatrically, they exclaimed that this is not the Europe they want, and: ‘How far does the EU still want to distance itself from its citizens?!’
Is that really the question? Or must the question rather be ‘How far do the citizens still want to distance themselves from Europe?!’ For the EU is not trying to be distant at all. Quite on the contrary, for many years, it has been trying to establish a closer link to its citizens and to communicate its successes. In 2004, for instance, the Commission chose as vice * president Margot Wallströhm, European Commissioner responsible for communication. Despite such efforts, the citizens seem to have taken on the attitude of ‘leaning back and waiting to be served’. And if no easy, wellprepared and sexy information is being delivered, they complain. Nobody ever asks how one can contribute to this unique project ‘Europe’, or how one can participate in it. It seems that nowadays many citizens forget that the EU was made by people who wanted to bring peace to the continent. And not only peace, but also a single market, a single currency, visa-free mobility for all Europeans… Now that EU citizens have all that comfort, many of them only focus on their personal interests. Who is aware that the European Parliament has gained power in order to give the citizens a say in EU affairs, and that EU enlargement offers European producers and traders bigger markets and new economic possibilities?! Unfortunately, the emotional distance of its citizens make Europe over-careful. Despite 2009 being the 5th anniversary of the biggest EU enlargement ever, this event is not very visible. Talking about unpopular policies has become a ‘no-go’. In my view, there is no reason for the EU to genuflect in front of its distant citizens. This is why in this newsletter we address the disputed enlargement policy and the contested EU elections. 2009 is a year that invites us to talk about Europe. Destructive attitudes won’t bring Europe further. Constructive criticism and participation is what we need! Annika GE Team
* Vote well, don’t vote at all! Act rather than elect
generation europe news
// The cradle of democracy debates EU elections //// In ancient Greece, Athens was the cradle of participative democracy – so what better place was there for a lively debate about Europe in order to raise awareness of the upcoming European elections? The role of the European Parliament, its history since the 1950’s and its future competences were a prelude to the conference organised by Greek GE Ambassadors at the Greek Parliament on 4 May. More than 50 students and professors debated the European Union’s role and ideals and the significance of voting. Acknowledging that the EU exists in an international context of bilateral relations and economic interdependence, debates also included topics such as the EU actions and policies to alleviate the current economic crisis and the increasingly positive expectations of people on both sides of the Atlantic towards EU-US relations.
GE Ambassador Irine Shinaraki , GE Partner in Greece Alexandra Ghika, GE Ambassador Maria Papageorgiou and Ioannis Kokallas, Depudy Director Representation of European Parliament in Athens – Greece.
Since the first EU election in 1979, the rate of participation has declined (from 63% in 1979 to 45.7% in 2004). Although participation in Greece has always been above the EU average (77.2% in 1984 and 63.2% in 2004), the country shows the same worrying trend. Fortunately, the Generation Europe Hellenic Foundation raised awareness about voting and general European issues and could hopefully urge some young people to the polls!
Professor Ioakimidis Panagiotis from ‘Ethnikon kai Kapodistriakon University’, GE Partner in Greece Alexandra Ghika, GE Ambassadors Irine Shinaraki and Maria Papageorgiou.
For its preliminary report on Young People’s Access to Culture, Interarts invited Generation Europe to participate on behalf of our community in a two-day meeting with experts of cultural policies in the EU. Commissioned by the Executive Agency of the Directorate General for Education and Culture of the European Commission for this specific study, the Interarts Foundation generally works as a cultural think-tank and observatory of cultural policies. Who are ’young people’? Do EU Member States focus on young people’s access to culture in their education policy, or in their cultural policy? What is culture? Are there differences between high- and low-culture or even pop culture? Does it include sports? Questions are many and as you can imagine, they call for 27 answers most of the time. The Interarts study is focusing on what each EU Member State does to facilitate the access to culture for young people. The data being processed is still confidential at this stage. However, we’ll certainly come back to you about this when the Report is published, probably in September.
+ generation europe news
// They asked our opinion... //////
Last but least, Interarts is not based in Brussels but in Barcelona. The Gaudi atmosphere embracing the city and literally surrounding us turned the two-day meeting into a pleasant cultural experience itself! If you’re interested: www.interarts.net Marie-Hélène GE Team
Snail mail at work! The week of May 18, Generation Europe was flooded with parcels from all corners of Europe! Given the way some of the parcels looked, it’s a miracle they even reached GE… Anyway, they all had one thing in common: they contained hundreds of surveys stating young people’s opinion about health policy-making! A big ‘Thank you’ to all busy contact people ‘on the ground’ who gathered all this input! The health survey in numbers: • 19 countries • 6043 surveys • ca. 1000 essays
generation europe portrait
GE Vibes: Hi Feyza, so what’s the news in Istanbul?! You were active in the political campaign lately. Did you like the experience? Feyza Basar: Istanbul’s agenda is quite intense as usual. After the World Water Forum, our city hosted another important international event just four days ago (date), which was the final match of the last UEFA Cup. The football stadium of the match is in the district, Fenerbahce, where I live in Istanbul and it was quite exciting to see so many Ukrainian and German fans around. Last week, we also heard Symphonic Toscanini under the baton of the world-famous conductor Lorin Maazel and highly-praised pianist Marc-André Hamelin in different concert halls of the city.
Feyza Basar GE Ambassador in Turkey
‘(...) even participation in the elections through voting is not enough to reflect our political views and choices. ’
Yes, I liked being active in the political campaign very much. I had an opportunity to meet lots of people from very different social backgrounds, age groups and education levels during the campaign. We talked about the current problems of our region and our fears for the future and exchanged ideas as to the possible solutions. I noted specific concerns, demands and claims of the local people to forward them to the candidate of the political party that I was voluntarily working for. Moreover, I learned a lot about the activities and operations of the local government and the district council that I’d not been aware of before.
GEV: For those engaged in party politics, would you recommend the experience of campaigning? FB: In Turkey, participation in local and political elections is usually quite high when compared to the other European countries. Despite that, during the 90s, well-educated and better-off people from the upper-social class have lost their interest in politics and became indifferent. This is partly due to the fact that people suffered too much from the military intervention in the early 80s and did not want to get into trouble again. However, this indifference of the educated people has had a negative impact on the democratic process and the profiles of the people elected to the government. Now, I believe that even participation in the elections through voting is not enough to reflect our political views and choices. We have to be more active in politics when some people with the authority but without sufficient quality are trying to shape our future.
GEV: In January (GE Vibes 009), you told us that organising public debates was difficult and that young people preferred to stay anonymous. Did the situation improve? FB: Actually, the situation has not improved at all. On the contrary, after the local elections, leading civil society organisations and educational foundations were raided by police forces and their leaders were arrested under the allegation that they would remove the government by force. Some of those arrested people were very old and sick and one of them, who had dedicated her whole life to the education of poor young girls living in the Eastern Part of Turkey and received many international awards for her efforts, died
GEV: Feyza, you are a Turkish citizen and you have spent time studying and traveling abroad. How ‘European’ is Turkey, in your opinion? FB: It is a very difficult question that I have had to face many times and which I have frequently asked myself already. For Turkey is a huge country spreading over two continents, with a long history (including previous Turkish states and empires) embracing people from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. It is impossible to talk about a single Turkey but many Turkeys perhaps within the same official state borders. The cultural structure of Turkey shows great diversity according to the geographical locations of the regions and the social/economic opportunities offered to the people.
‘We want to fight against prejudices that keep people apart both in Turkey and in Europe.’
To begin with: I live in the Asian part of Istanbul- which is located on the coast of Marmara Sea, surrounded by beautiful beaches with a magnificent view of Prince Islands. It has a busy yacht harbour, a concert hall, an opera building and numerous cinemas, art galleries, amazing gardens, social clubs and sports facilities within walking distance from my flat. The inhabitants of this part of Istanbul are usually well-educated, well-mannered, open-minded, having respectable jobs, appreciate European values and live lives according to Western European standards. Therefore, when I think about this area I can say that it is definitely European, even more European than some of the countries in Europe, which I have visited so far. On the other hand, when I think of the regions in the Central and Eastern parts of Turkey, where people live conservative, religion-based lives in irremediable backwardness under the command of feudal leaders, forcing their daughters to early marriages and killing each other for some ridiculous traditions, how can I say “Yes, Turkey is European?” I cannot put the blame on those people who are not lucky enough to have been born in the West, for this is only the result of bad governance and negligence lasting for ages. Nevertheless, I will be able to claim a place for Turkey in the EU when democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights- the fundamental European or universal valuesare better respected throughout the country.
+ generation europe portrait
of cancer last week. This tragic event caused frustration and anger in the society and the people who had already lost their belief in democracy also lost their trust in law and justice. Now, everybody asks the same question: “Who will be next?”.
GEV: You have been a GE Ambassador since 2007 and you’re active in other civil society organisations too. Is this your way to contribute to Turkey’s EU integration? FB: Yes, it is. I have been studying EU law since 1999. I have already had two master degrees in EU law, one from Turkey and one from the UK and am still pursuing my PhD in the same field. Acknowledging that Turkey’s integration to the EU would be very difficult, I wanted to contribute to this process with my knowledge about the institutions, fundamental freedoms and policies of the EU and I decided to get involved with certain civil society organizations working on the legal harmonization, such as TUSIAD (Turkish Businessmen and Industrialists’ Association), YASED (International Investors’ Association) and the Istanbul Bar. As you mentioned, since 2007 I have been a GE Ambassador, which has broadened my vision beyond law and legal arguments and given me a chance to get into contact with the young university students again. Two weeks ago, we founded the European Forum Association, which is very closely linked to the European Forum Alpbach based in Austria. The main purpose of the Association is to provide a platform where especially young people can get to know each other, discuss and exchange their ideas about themselves, their countries and the future of Europe. We want to fight against prejudices that keep people apart both in Turkey and in Europe. In the near future, we will start organising public events, seminars or workshops and collecting funds for the financial support of the Turkish students who want to participate in the annual Forum convened in Alpbach.
Thank you very much, Feyza!
+ EU portrait
GE Vibes: Mrs. Halimi, last month (28 April), Albania took an important step in the accession process: your country officially applied for EU membership. How did the EU receive it?
H.E. Ambassador Mimoza Halimi Ambassador of Albania to the EU
H.E. Mimoza Halimi
MH: Relations of Albania with the European Union date from 1992, when Albania signed the first agreement on trade and cooperation with the EU. The process of the accession of Albania to the European Union started in January 2003 when Albania was the first of “Potential Candidate countries” to start the negotiations of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA). I would like to bring to your attention that in Albania European integration is a priority that enjoys the consensus of all political spectrum. In this spirit, on January 29, 2009, the Parliament of Albania unanimously adopted a Resolution “On the submission of the application of Albania for membership into the EU”. Albania formally applied to join the European Union on 28 April. The submission of the application was not a one-side step. It was undertaken in consultation with the European Commission, the Czech Presidency and the Member States. It came as a logical result of the developments and reforms in Albania, after successfully implementing for two years the Interim Agreement, after finishing the process of the ratification of the SAA, followed by its entering into force on April 1, 2009. I have to say that the month of April was marked by two unforgettable events in the history of our country: Albania joined the USled NATO security alliance earlier in April and applied for EU membership later. The Commission welcomed the application of Albania for EU membership considering it as a historical milestone marking the country’s important engagement to common European values and fundamentals. As a matter of fact, the actual state of play is that the Commission stands ready to prepare an ‘opinion’ about Albania’s application, when the the Council invites to do so, and we are confident that this moment will come soon.
GEV: In your opinion, why is it important that Albania and the other Balkan countries become EU members?
‘(...) the month of April was marked by two unforgettable events in the history of our country.’ /08
MH: People of our region are already tied to Europe in terms of history, culture and economy. European integration has already become the common language of all the countries of our region. Regardless of individual achievements or slowdowns, these countries have in front of them the same and sole way of reforms to be aligned with standards of other European Union countries. The European model is very appealing to our countries. Becoming a member of the EU would benefit both sides. On one side, it will anchor our countries to the harbor of European values and standards. It will consolidate peace and stability in the region and will offer more opportunities for the economic prosperity of the countries of the region, including Albania. On the other side, it will offer more possibilities for the investments and goods of the EU Member States to flow in our markets. Even now, for Albania the EU is the main trade partner.
GEV: When you grew up, Albania was under communist rule and isolated from the rest of Europe. How was your first encounter with ‘Europe’? What impression did it make on you?
‘Albanians are proud bearers of an old tradition of harmony and understanding among the neighbors in the Balkan region.’
+ EU portrait
The unobstructed movement free of administrative barriers and inter-border restrictions in the region and with the EU is very important. Besides encouraging the economic, trade and tourism development, it would help to facilitate and enhance people-topeople contacts, help them better know the mentality of eachother in the region and the European mentality.
MH: For the first time I was abroad in 1989. At that time I was a student at the Economic Faculty at Tirana University. I remember the day when all students of the Faculty came together to chose one of them to represent their Faculty in the delegation of the Albanian students, who for the first time participated in a Pan-European Students Conference, in Trondheim, Norway. I remember very well that day, because for the first time the selection was done through an open voting. After being qualified in the short list and feeling the emotions of a fair competition, I was happy and proud to enjoy the support of my faculty fellows to represent them in this Conference. What impressed me during the first contact with my colleagues from different European countries was the way European students expressed themselves, freedom of thinking and speech, the communication among each-other, their mode and orientation in everyday life.
GEV: Once Albania becomes an EU member, what elements will it bring into the EU? MH: Albania is a European country with geographic, historical and cultural bonds with the other European countries. That is why our interest on EU membership takes no one by surprise. Our Membership to EU enriches Albania’s European identity, as a country of Western Balkans. On the other side, looking ahead to the day that Albania will join the EU, I think that Europe would be enriched by our old history, traditions, culture and religion, features of the identity of a country. Citizens of the EU member countries will enjoy in depth the beauty of our nature and our hospitality. Albania is considered to be a model regarding the peaceful co-habitation of religions and Albanians are proud bearers of an old tradition of harmony and understanding among the neighbors in the Balkan region. Thank you very much.
+ Ever thought of being an entrepreneur? Should your business only do well, or can it do good at the same time? How can young people become the kind of entrepreneurs who care deeply about social and environmental issues? And by the way... what does it actually mean to be a responsible entrepreneur? These were some of the questions tackled during the “Your world, your business” reception on 7 May at Wolubilis, Brussels, where we had the exclusive opportunity to watch the new film “Your World, Your Business” and meet with some young exciting responsible entrepreneurs.
// Your World, Your Business /////////////
Despite surveys showing that, in global comparison, young Europeans are not very entrepreneurial, we had the pleasure to meet some very prominent exceptions: Kresse Wesling (32), Karoli Hindriks (25), Xavier Noriega (35) and Oscar Lundin (20) were some of the brave young Europeans who have recently created their own businesses. How did they manage to do so? And why did they even bother? – Learn more and get inspired by watching the movie at http://ec.europa. eu/enterprise/yourworldyourbusiness/videos/videos_ en.htm! More than anybody else, we, the young people can change the world. We have the ideas, the motivation and know-how to use all the means of modern technology. We want to encourage everybody to think outside the box, to focus on small problems they want to solve – and to make it happen! (Oscar Lund, 20, Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2009) Politicians, Commission officials, motivational speakers, employers and employees came together, both young and old, to discuss possibilities of creating an entrepreneurial attitude amongst the young. If you had not been convinced of the young’s potential yet – by the end of the evening you believed that anything is possible! Listening to the success stories was very inspirational and lit many sparks of imagination in us!
Ten basic rules to create a business (according to Nick Jankel, expert on creativity, collaboration and change): 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
Identify problems: What really affects you? What drives you crazy? Find your passion: What do you love to do? Develop ideas: What can you do about it? Network: Whom can you bring together (to make it happen)? Create win-win-win situations. Ensure sustainability. Dream further… What could you do next? Don’t listen to cynical voices. Check out the market: Who is already doing it and can you do it better? The only failure is giving up. Everything else is part of the game.
More information: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/csr/index_en.htm http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/yourworldyourbusiness/index_en.htm
// EP elections Will cyberspace help? ////////////// ‘Come on, another blog about Europe? Yes... but a first look will convince you! Pascal, Pierre, Lefteris, Florian and Fabrice argue. They created this new website with the aim of providing better information on Europe to a wider audience. Concerned by the misleading way European current affairs are presented by both the media and politicians, they believe that simple yet targeted action can halt this trend. Prior to the EU elections, the latest posts focused on the common (mis)perceptions about Europe. Since a blog is an interactive space, they are looking forward to your comments, critique and contributions. Visit the blog at http://europeandyou.blogspot.com and say whatseuropinion!
Who has not heard of the upcoming EU elections? one might ask. And yet it seems that the communication efforts of all political parties and of the EU institutions combined do not manage to convince Europeans that electing their European Parliament is of much importance. Some see the EU as that bad cop far away in the distance; some can’t be bothered with politics at home, let alone at EU level; some will use abstention as a tool to express their lack of trust in EU institutions or will make use of their EP vote for national politics motivations. Despite this rather bleak picture, GE Vibes highlights here interesting initiatives paving the way to the latest European dream, a European public sphere: a new blog run by young graduates, a pan-European press project, and the EU… Profiler!
Presseurop That’s it; Europeans finally got their first multilingual website offering a pan-European press review. It’s called Presseurop. You can read the foreign press in your own language. A team of freelance journalists monitor about 250 titles everyday and ten full time journalists work at publishing the selection of articles on presseurop in ten languages within 24 hours. For the moment, Presseurop works in Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian and Spanish. Eventually they target the 23 EU official languages. Presseurop was launched thanks to the European Commission and a consortium led by Courrier International with Internazionale in Italy, Forum Polityka in Poland and Courrier Internacional in Portugal. They already are working on further partnerships, particularly with EuRaNet (the European Radio Network) and the upcoming UE TV Net. And for the question worrying the press circles since the project is backed by the European Commission… Yes, Presseurop has full editorial freedom! www.presseurop.eu
EU Profiler Confused about the EU political parties landscape? In that case, or just for the fun of it, you can take the test on EU Profiler. No less than 160 experts worked on creating this impartial web tool to inform voters and other interested users about the political landscape in Europe ahead of the European Parliament elections in June. Also, it answers the questions: Which parties are running? Where do they stand on the important issues? Where do I stand in relation to the parties? All you need to do is choose your country and press the Start button on http://euprofiler.eu
+ Mr. Lange, you have already had a long career within DG Enlargement. How did you initially become interested in this field? Well, I first became interested when I started in DG Agriculture in the 90s. At that time, there were the accession negotiations with Austria, Sweden, Finland and Norway. They were looking for a native German speaker to explain the Common Agricultural Policy to Austrian farmers. That was actually the first contact I had with accession negotiations and enlargement. Later in 2001, when I was asked to take on the negociations with Estonia, I accepted the challenge with pleasure. You have supported Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and now Croatia on their way to the EU. What strikes you when you travel the Balkans? When talking of the ‘Balkans’, we should rather say ‘South Eastern Europe’. And if you go to ‘South Eastern Europe’, you clearly feel that you are in ‘Europe’ and not in a different part of the continent. When you talk to the people there, they feel that they are ‘Europeans’ and deserve a European perspective. I think one aspect is very interesting when you go to these countries: you experience a different kind of hospitality. This is certainly something one should experience one day.
// A Coffee with... //////////// Dirk Lange European Commission, Head of Unit for Croatia
Croatia is the next state to join the EU. Can we talk of a ‘smooth’ integration process? One has to understand that Croatia has to undergo quite some unpopular reforms. And this is very tough. Nevertheless, the objective for us is a smooth transition. And I think we have quite a good track record. If you look at the 2004 accession: What happened on 1 May 2004? There had been lots of concerns in those countries that food prices would go up very sharply and in the ‘old’ Member States that millions of migrant workers would come from Poland. None of this has happened. This is a very good example of what we had done to really ensure that there would be a smooth transition: that actually on 1 May 2004 not a lot happened. And it is also our objective with Croatia that, the moment they enter the EU, there is no ‘big bang’. Part of the European population is against further enlargement. In light of the upcoming elections, several Member States’ politicians openly challenged Turkey’s membership perspective. Do you think that this is the right message? The Commission message is clear: we support Turkey’s aspiration to join the European Union and remain fully committed to this process. It is in Europe’s key interest to integrate a strong, stable and democratic Turkey which respects human right standards and the rule of law. Turkey can become a member state if – and this is very important – they implement the necessary reforms to meet our accession criteria. So as long as they continue to work on this, we will be able to make progress in the negociations and to close negociation chapters accordingly.
This year is the anniversary of the 2004/07 enlargement. Do you think that the EU does enough to communicate the effects of that enlargement round? Let’s say, quite openly, we are trying to communicate well. We see from most of the economic and social studies that enlargement was a success both in economic terms and in peace and security terms, both in the East and in the West. But the challenge is: how can we communicate this during an economic recession? This is very difficult. But what I would hope is that the younger generation sees the opportunities this enlargement had for them, both in the ‘old’ and ‘new’ member states, and communicates this to the wider world. I think this is much more effective than information campaigns from Brussels. The young people need to experience enlargement and take advantage of the opportunities. Thank you very much, Mr. Lange.
// Happy birthday! ////////////
2009 marks an important double anniversary for the EU’s enlargement policy: Twenty years since the fall of the Iron Curtain, and five years since the Eastern enlargement, the biggest enlargement in the EU’s history, which brought a total of 12 new countries into our Union. Time to deal with its shortcomings, time also to celebrate its successes, and time to look ahead!
Learning from Bulgaria and Romania Meeting the EU criteria for accession is a huge challenge for the new applicants. But they can learn from other countries, like Romania and Bulgaria, that it is possible. The EU itself, however, is learning from Bulgaria’s and Romania’s accession, too. According to an article in the Financial Times (4 May, 2009), the EU will set strict benchmarks, notably about crime and corruption, as the 2007 accession shows ‘these issues must be tackled before entry.’
Discuss now, decide later Turkey’s accession does not occur in a ‘revolution’ logic, but rather in a slow but steady ‘evolution’ logic. Without a regime change context, reforms are likely to take much longer than in the post-communist states. Turkey’s EU membership is therefore well twenty years ahead. At this point, negotiations should keep Turkey on the reform track. When deciding about its membership, one needs to bear in mind that the country that will join the EU in twenty years will be totally different from the Turkey we know today.
Current state of play: • Potential candidates Montenegro and Albania have already submitted their membership application. • Potential candidates Bosnia & Herzegovina and Serbia have not applied for membership yet. • Accession negotiations with Turkey and Croatia are continuing. • FYRoM applied for membership, but the EU has not started negotiations, as it does not yet fulfil all necessary criteria. • Kosovo’s statehood is not recognised by 5 EU Member States.
+ La ampliación de la UE constituye sin duda uno de los acontecimientos históricos más importantes de la reciente historia de la integración europea. Sin embargo, el largo y riguroso camino hacia la Unión no siempre ha sido como lo es hoy, sino que se ha ido perfeccionando a lo largo de sucesivas experiencias. Desde que fuera fundada en 1957, la UE ha afrontado cinco transformaciones sucesivas, de sus seis fundadores hasta los actuales veintisiete Estados miembros. Cada ampliación fue única y trascendental y con cada una de ellas se ha ido tejiendo un proceso sistematizado cada vez más mejorado. Toda evolución de la Unión se instala en el matiz, constituyendo un momento distinto en términos políticos, económicos y sociales. En estos momentos, la Unión mira hacia el Sudeste, buscando su estabilización como requisito básico para la transformación de una región convulsa y así impulsar la expansión de la paz en la democracia hacia los Balcanes occidentales y el Mediterráneo oriental. La cooperación regional aparece como novedad en esta práctica y la sociedad civil surge como pieza clave en el puzzle balcánico, pues se trata de un elemento dotado de poderes integradores. Del Danubio a los Cárpatos, del Báltico al Mar Negro, pasando por la cuenca del Mediterráneo, la ampliación aumenta la variedad de culturas e identidades nacionales dentro de la Unión. Cuantos más Estados miembros, más crece la
// Europa: en el cambio está la evolución //////////// For the full version of this article, and its English translation, go to www.generation-europe.eu.com, section ‘Your Articles’
diversidad, planteándose nuevos desafíos fruto de la pluralidad de territorios y del efecto estimulante que producen las diferentes maneras de ver el mundo. Por esta razón, es fundamental afrontar la diversidad cultural en la convergencia europea, estableciendo vínculos a largo plazo y relaciones sostenibles entre sus gentes para reforzar la unidad del continente europeo. El proceso de ampliación se perfecciona al fomentar las relaciones mutuas entre los países de los Balcanes occidentales y, contribuir a su reconciliación; pero además de promover los contactos entre los pueblos de la región, también es igualmente importante fomentar el diálogo entre los Estados miembros y los países candidatos, lo cual indiscutiblemente, nos va a ayudar a conocernos y entendernos mejor. De este modo, el diálogo con la sociedad civil aparece como ese telón de fondo sin el cual no se podría proyectar la transformación económica, ni el alineamiento de los sistemas legales, ni el resto de exigencias para ser aceptado en el club europeo. Sin prisa, pero sin pausa, el camino de la historia europea es un proceso a largo plazo que se cimienta con la suma del esfuerzo de todos y con la aportación de un sinfín de manifestaciones que consagran al continente como un fecundo crisol. Y para finalizar, pongo mis palabras en boca de uno de los padres fundadores, al expresar esa idea de que “Europa no se construirá de una sola vez, sino a través de pequeños pasos”1. Guiomar Payo 1
Declaración Schuman de 9 de mayo de 1950
Prague, 1 May 2009 // Commissioner Olli Rehn
The EU must keep moving... At the conference ‘From the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 to the Enlargement of the European Union in 2004’, European Commissioner Olli Rehn spoke about the impact of the biggest enlargement in the EU’s history and his visions for the future. While many Europeans tend to ‘look inward’ during the economic crisis and to put enlargement at the bottom of the agenda, Rehn said that we ‘must not make EU enlargement a scapegoat for a problem it did not create’. Underlining both the gains from enlargement and the risks of wavering, Rehn argued strongly in favour of maintaining the European perspective in Turkey and South East Europe, with the ultimate goal of EU membership.
We don’t have to move at speed of a bullet train, but we must keep moving. The journey itself is at least as important as its destination. +
Every day hundreds of children go missing in Europe. Fortunately, most of them are found within 24 hours of their disappearance, but some are never found. Since 25 May, help is just a phone call away: the 116 000 EU Missing Children Hotline will make it easier for parents to report a missing child, for the public to provide information on a missing child and for a missing child to find its way home. 116 000 is a free phone number that is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week in ten EU Member States so far. Following the advocacy of Missing Children Europe, the European Commission introduced the hotline in February 2007 and determined through an EC Decision that Member States must reserve the number 116 000 for emergency services for missing children.
116 000 /15
+ See the world through a difference lens What? A film competition There will be five award categories. Requirements: • All films in the Festival should seek to represent some aspect of human dignity in a unique way, according to the vision of the director and participants in the film. • Films should be made and completed before the director’s 30th birthday. • Short films are limited to 10 minutes maximum.
Films should be independently produced and financed (no major studio, but support by film/art institutes and schools is acceptable).
For whom? Directors under the age of 30 Until when? 2 October 2009 Prizes: An international audience for the young directors’ work at the WYA 10th anniversary Film Festival 2009, during which it will showcase films from all parts of the world, to present a truly global perspective on people and development through the eyes of youth. Organised by: World Youth Alliance (WAY) More info: http://www.wya.net/ourwork/ filmfestival2009.html?catid=231
EU Organic Logo What? Create the new EU organic logo The EU is looking for a fresh new logo for organic products that will be compulsory introduced for all prepackaged organic products, throughout the European Union, in July 2010. For whom? EU young artists, designers or art students, over 18 years old, registered at an academy, university or college in one of the 27 EU Member States. Until when? The designs must be submitted by 25 June 2009. Prizes: The winner and the two runners-up will receive prizes with a value of: • First prize 6,000 € • Second prize 3,500 € • Third prize 2,500 € They will also be invited to the official competition awards ceremony taking place in Brussels in the summer of 2010. Organised by: European Commission More info: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/organic/logo/index_en.htm