AEGEE. Interrail – AEGEE-Europe | European Students' Forum AEGEE (Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe / European Students’ Forum) is a student organisation that promotes cooperation, communication and integration amongst young people in Europe. As a non-governmental, politically independent, and non-profit organisation AEGEE is open to students and young people from all faculties and disciplines – today it counts 13 000 members, active in close to 200 university cities in 40 European countries, making it the biggest interdisciplinary student association in Europe. Mon, 23 Oct 2017 14:20:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.10 More unity, more solidarity, more European identity /more-unity-more-solidarity-more-european-identity/ Mon, 09 May 2016 07:27:44 +0000 /?p=6507 By Hanna Polishchuk

During our stop in Hungary, we had the opportunity to ask young people what they think about the European Union, borders and the refugee crisis. We would like to share with you some interesting answers we received from Péter Sczigel, 22, Hungarian, Student and the President of AEGEE-Budapest and Màtè Bàlint, 24 ,Hungarian,  Analyst of the Central Bank of Hungary. They both have international experience, and travelled to other countries for different reasons. We asked them how easy it was for them to cross European borders.

Do you feel borders in Europe? If yes which ones?

Péter: Yes, both physical and mental. Outside the Schengen area borders are still very real, but I think that the biggest problem is that even inside Schengen most people still have a mental concept of borders between their country and the rest of Europe that really limits their thinking.

Did you have any difficulties crossing borders?

Màtè: I did not have to apply for anything, I could pass to other countries without borders. So, it was easy.DSC_9966 (1)

Do you feel European?

Péter: Absolutely.

Màtè: I feel Hungarian and European as well. It is a hard question, maybe more Hungarian than European, but I would need more time to decide that,it’s not a clear idea in my mind yet.

Do you think that the European Union should extend or decrease?

Màtè: Well, I can’t think about the size, I have read that it will be expanded a little, including the Balkans, and some countries will join. There is also a plan for Turkey, but it is not decided yet. However, as far as I know it won’t expand, especially to the East. Now the composition of the countries and cultural differences is very fresh, so it would be really risky to expand it more.

Accession negotiations of Turkey (about joining the EU) started in 2005. What do you think are the reasons behind such a long process?

Péter: Because European people are reluctant to have a country with Muslim majority in Europe. Also, regarding the culture, Turkey is very different from Europe and due to its enormous population, Turkey would get a big proportion of votes in the European decision-making mechanisms, which is something that no one in Europe actually wants.

Do you think there is a refugee crisis in Europe? What is the refugee situation in Hungary? Do you feel safe in your country?

Màtè: Well, I know that there is a fence, and that they set the border, which according to what one of the parties in the government says, has a gate, and people who come peacefully and who are proven refugees can come. But the opposition said that it is a closed gate, and no one can come in: there is a fence and people who come there should go home. It is really hard to decide which is the case because I have not been there.

Right now, there are no refugees in Hungary because those who came in passed through, and then the borders were closed. As far as I know, refugees stopped in Turkey and did not go further because there were some caps for them. The European Union made an agreement with Turkey about this issue. Right now no one comes, and even if they came, there is a fence in Hungary; it is like a double security.

DSC_0343 22 copy

From the Hungarian side, I think it is important to accept refugees in an organized way so that people could not come to the Schengen area and just travel inside. Europe is a very fresh alliance, and it should not expand more because it would be too risky. Another point is that the fact that people can travel and come in without any IDs tempers social security because they would feel that they do not have any supervision.

Péter: Yes, there definitely is. The situation is not very serious in Hungary, as most refugees do not want to live here but rather move through the country to get to Western Europe. However, the refugee crisis provided a great political capital to the government, which communicated the situation in order to achieve their political goals. I absolutely feel safe, but I wouldn’t feel threatened even if Hungary was a major refugee destination.

What would you wish for the future of Europe?

Màtè: I think Europe should not jump from one idea to the opposite one, exaggerating one point or the other. In my opinion, the answer for questions like these, which separate people so much, is somewhere in the middle. And if you look at the European history, you can see that extremist ideas obviously led to bad decisions.

Péter: More unity, more solidarity, more European identity, less nationalism, less conservatism.

]]>
Team blue: Europe on Prague! /team-blue-europe-on-prague/ Sat, 23 Apr 2016 17:24:33 +0000 /?p=6366 By Hanna  Polishchuk

 

The day began quite late for us, as we finally had the chance to get a normal sleep! After having a delicious breakfast made by Ksenia we went to see the city with Sasha. . It was very interesting to go back with her to the tour of the past, as she told us many interesting historical facts about beautiful Prague.

DSC_9434

 

The Old Town Square was full of people! However, it was really hard to find there Czech people, so the interviews were from Polish, German, Italian and Latin American tourists. People were easy-going and willing to be part of the project sharing their opinion with the rest of Europe. It was interesting to hear the honest answers to the provocative questions created by the EoT3 Project Team. Sometimes the answers even seemed like a cry from the depths!

DSC_9535Later on, we went to see the Prague Сastle, that impressed us with its gorgeous look, picturesque view, garden, cathedral and the interesting Presidential flag tradition that informs citizens whether their president is inside or outside the city. On our way to the castle we found a Czech student (finally!) who amplified our future documentary with his answers. Some people were too shy to give us the interview on video, some agreed to answer the short questions, and some were not willing to answer anything at all. Nevertheless, we managed to do a productive work, finishing one more day with a late night interview and a summary of the day at 3AM even though we had to wake up very early to catch the train to Warsaw!

The EoT session began in the evening at the Prague High School of Economics. Even though people were already tired after work and studies, they came to meet us and listen to what we prepared for them. Our main topic was “Where Does Europe End?” Apart from presenting our project and trying to strike a spark out of people, we asked them to define the borders of Europe themselves. Two teams were working on this task, discussing about whether to include certain countries in the European area.

DSC_9666-2

The biggest debates were about Russia, Turkey, and the U.K. Surprisingly to us, some very small countries were indicated with a very high precision, while others disappeared from the maps! After both groups presented their results, we compared their maps and showed the actual map of Europe. It caused more debates and suggestions from participants and the conclusion was that it is really hard to define borders and that they differ from one person’s perception to another and it is much easier without any borders at all.

This was our first stop and our first experience of this project. We sincerely hope AEGEE-Praha enjoyed it as much as we did, and that everyone who came learnt something new and asked questions to him\herself that were not arising before. We hope that our input in Prague will inspire young people to participate more in building our future European future together.

We also want to thank everyone for the participation, we enjoyed being with you all.

 

See you somewhere in Europe!

]]>
Europe on Track is back! /europe-on-track-is-back/ Tue, 22 Oct 2013 15:27:21 +0000 /?p=4098 After the success of the first edition of the project, AEGEE-Europe is happy to announce that the Europe on Track project is going to be one of the highlights of the year 2014 as well! With new topics, new faces, new cities to be visited, young people will once again become actors of the implementation of European policies that are affecting our daily lives.

But how exactly the project is going to look like and what is happening with the project at the moment?
Read the interview on The AEGEEan – AEGEE’s online magazine and stay tuned for more information to come!
http://www.zeus.aegee.org/magazine/2013/10/21/europe-on-track-is-back/

 

Written by: Cosmina Bisboaca, AEGEE-Torino

The award winning Europe on Track is back and ready for the second round. The Comité Directeur is working on finding the team for the second edition of the popular project and because of that The AEGEEan interviewed the president of AEGEE-Europe, Luis Alvarado Martinez about it. 

The AEGEEan: The second edition of Europe on Track (EoT) 2014 will be focusing on the European Parliamentary Elections of 2014. Can you tell us more about this?

Luis: 2014 will be the year of the European Parliamentary elections, so all the EU discussions will be related to them. It will for sure be the biggest event or activity related to Europe and therefore we thought it would be very important to connect Europe on track with it.

In the new edition, our travellers will be interviewing students again and young people around Europe, but this time they will be asking them to send messages of what they would like to change in Europe to the newly elected Members of the European Parliament (MEPs)

If you had a chance to be in front of the almost 800 MEPs who on a daily basis decide and approve legislation which affect each one of us, what would you tell them? This is the question that we want to ask young people around the continent.

One of the final stops: Team Blue’s visit to Sofia

Are there any improvements compared to the former edition of Europe on Track ?
One of the big changes for the second edition, is that we have already applied for funding from the Open Society Foundation. If this is accepted we will be able to ensure that our travellers have everything they need and they will have much better conditions than last time, but we will also be able to support AEGEE locals that organize events in their cities. Having the experience from the first edition will help us without a doubt. We will have a bigger coordination team from the very begining who will also be deciding much more about the content aspect, as well as all the logistics.

The fact that we also created a known brand with the first edition of Europe on Track will already give quite a lot more visibility from the start of the second one, as well as much more support and cooperation from other partners.

The period was changed from november/december to april/may. What are the reasons?
We have chosen these dates because they are close to the European Parliament elections in May 2014, but also because we though that maybe the travellers would enjoy some warm weather more.

Team Red’s stop in Genova: youth unemployment in the focus of the discussion

Will the routes stay the same as the EoT 2012?
The routes still have not been decided. Once we have selected the coordination team we will decide the route with them, and then we will also have to take into consideration the opinion of the travellers. For this you will have to wait a bit, but we will inform the people with enough time so locals that are interested in hosting EoT events can know and plan in advance.

Is it difficult to find lodging for the Ambassadors and antennae that are interested to cooperate?
This part of the project is of course always challenging, and this is why one person of the coordinating team will be just focused on this logistics aspects of finding places for travellers to stay and AEGEE locals willing to organize events. Of course if we get the funding from the grant, everything will be much easier.

But last time, the response from locals was amazing, as many of them really wanted to take active part in the project and host events in their cities! We hope that with this edition, participation will increase even more.

The Network cooperation with our project and our locals that was showed during the first edition, was clearly one of the success key actions that gave us the Charlemagne Youth Prize 2013.

“It couldn’t have happened without the support of the AEGEE Network. Literally everywhere across Europe!”

 

The Open Call for the Coordination Team of Europe on Track 2 has already been sent to the Network. The Comité Directeur is looking forward to your applications!

]]>
Competition Winners: How would you promote sustainable travelling! /competition-winners-how-would-you-promote-sustainable-travelling/ Mon, 14 Jan 2013 10:01:40 +0000 /?p=2703 In November, InterRail offered two locals the unique opportunity to win 1250€ sponsoring their project or event for their creative video or poster on how to promote sustainable travelling. After careful evaluation of many creative entries, the jury consisting of Willemijn from InterRail, Iris from the Environmental Working Group, and the Comité Directeur, has chosen the two lucky winners! Congratulations and thank you once again to InterRail for offering this opportunity!

1. AEGEE-Helsinki: “Sustainability is to Travel Green”


AEGEE-Helsinki says:

We would like to travel green whenever it is possible. Consequently, we find the competition really interesting, for it enables us to promote train travelling. This aspect, especially InterRail and using the vast track networks in Europe, is not so familiar to Finns than to other Europeans. This project would promote green travelling not just among our members but also among their friends and families. We believe that showing example to our other friends not just in AEGEE but in other parts of life would encourage them to use the train more in the future.

We are planning to organize our next Travelling Summer University in three different countries: Finland, Denmark and Sweden. Then, of course, how to travel between these three countries comes into question. We have to figure out how to travel between Denmark and Sweden, and then from Sweden to Finland. We could use the prize money for train travel from Copenhagen, Denmark to Stockholm, Sweden since there is an excellent railway connection between these cities. This way we could also emphasize the importance of choosing the green way of traveling whenever it is possible. From Stockholm to Helsinki we will travel by ferry because it is better option than flying when considering the carbon footprint.

2. AEGEE-Mannheim: “We would do anything for Green Travelling”

AEGEE-Mannheim says:

Our concept is designed to motivate participants to find the ‘greenest way’ to the Spring AGORA Rhein-Neckar. It will reward the ‘greenest travellers’ in a competition.We want to share the idea within the AEGEE network (mailing lists, Facebook, Twitter) before the EBM and AGORA and we plan to distribute the postcards during the EMB. We want to catch the network’s attention, make them aware of this very important topic.

This is the point where we want the participants to get involved themselves and suggest their own ideas on how to reach the Spring AGORA Rhein-Neckar in the ‘greenest way’. The two best ideas will be rewarded during the AGORA with 100€ each. Only those who put their ideas into reality will actually win the price money. Proofs can be videos or  photos.Furthermore we plan to invest the major part of the price money in the thematic structuring of a Green Spring AGORA in Mannheim, by using environmental friendly paper for all printings, reducing plastic waste to the minimum by making use of recyclable cups and eco-friendly packing for food.

AEGEE-Manheim - We_would_do_anything_for_green_travelling_postcards1 AEGEE-Manheim - We_would_do_anything_for_green_travelling_postcards3 AEGEE-Manheim - We_would_do_anything_for_green_travelling_postcards5
We will prepare signs to make the participants aware of the waste separation in Germany and its importance for society. We will actively promote Green Travelling by explaining on our webpage how people can reach Mannheim eco-friendly. We will encourage the EnWG and other reputable people or bodies to give workshops on Green Travelling and we hope to cooperate with the EnWG in all matters in order to realise an eco-friendly AGORA.

]]>