The 48th Methodius Day in Ellwangen brought together young people from different European countries to discuss their aspirations for the future of the EU. Danube Connects was there and met the young people at a workshop. Seven members took part in our cultural journalism workshop. All young women, between 15 and 26 years old. They
The 48th Methodius Day in Ellwangen brought together young people from different European countries to discuss their aspirations for the future of the EU. Danube Connects was there and met the young people at a workshop.
Seven members took part in our cultural journalism workshop. All young women, between 15 and 26 years old. They come from Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Germany. Some participating countries are already members of the EU, others are not. The workshops also provide an opportunity to get to know other young people, such as the four likeable young ladies from Serbia or a young artist from Russia. No matter with whom we talk – all these young people have one thing in common – they want a peaceful and open cooperation, united in the EU. That sounds promising and actually simple – if exactly these young people had an audible voice.
Methodius Day is a great thing. The project is funded by the Baden-Würrtemberg Foundation in the progam Perspective Danube. Here many young people from different European countries come together for a few days. Ideas are exchanged through getting to know each other and workshops. They quickly notice that they are all ticking away with their desires and longings. Together they want to shape the cohesion in the Danube region, which is to be promoted through culture, education and participation. Such a meeting is the best basis to banish borders from people’s minds, which some politicians in EU and non-EU countries like to try again and again. But thanks to social media, the Erasmus programme and other projects such as the Danube Creative, young people are open and curious about other cultures.
In fact, MEPs should be grateful for this openness and use it to support young people. But the reality is different – unfortunately. One often hears: “In Brussels old men and women sit and talk what I do not understand. Politicians seem to be intelligent, but I don’t get it.” Young people want more transparency and above all uniform laws for both the EU and non-EU countries. For many young people not all possibilities of the EU come through. Like the Erasmus programme, for example. What is the reason for this? “We are too bureaucratic. Our problem is that we have states with a lot of rules and some without,” explains CDU MEP Dr. Inge Gräßle at the discussion forum. The Consul General from Ukraine and the Russian representation, who are also taking part in the podium, both agree that the EU is a peace project that never existed before. It is an economic and peace union that is capable of wiping out wars. “And yet, people want simple and short answers to complicated questions that don’t exist in this situation,” adds the Ukrainian Consul General. Really? Jana, a student from Serbia, is enthusiastic about the EU and would like to know her country as a member. She explains that the EU stands for peace and for her there is no better alternative. Unfortunately not enough information about the EU arrives in Serbia or even wrong information and therefore only 28% are in favour of the EU. It wants help from MEPs to change this. “As long as Serbia does not resolve the Kosovo issue, accession will be a problem. It is up to you young people to change that”, explains Dr. Gräßle. Seriously? Is that the answer, to give full responsibility to young people while they hardly have a voice in the EU Parliament? Especially at the discussion forum it became clear what the biggest problem is – the generation difference. Young and successful people are the most pro-European. In order to maintain this, the EU must encourage and listen to young people in order to be able to look positively into the future. Because only a united Europe is a strong Europe. The 15-year-old schoolgirl Maria from Germany explained briefly why the EU should exist: “Only together can we find sustainable solutions to problems”. European elections are scheduled for 26 May. May many young people cast their positive votes as far as possible!