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. Wed, 15 Nov 2017 17:59:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.11 Open Call for Hosting Locals for EoT4 /open-call-for-hosting-locals-for-eot4/ Tue, 03 Jan 2017 12:12:05 +0000 /?p=6999 Dear AEGEE members,

Wishing you a happy New Year, we are presenting you an open call for hosting the 4th edition of Europe on Track

If you haven’t heard about us yet, here is a short description:

Europe on Track (EoT) is a youth-led project in which 6 ambassadors in 2 teams cross Europe (along 2 different routes) with InterRail passes for one month to inform and interview young people about their visions of a future Europe in relation to different topics.

At each stop, the ambassadors organize and participate in local events, generating content and creating spaces for dialogue and discussion. The journey can be followed on social media via blogs, videos and photos. At the end of the trip, a documentary and quantitative and qualitative data analysis will be created as a recap.

How can you and your local get involved?

If you are interested in being one of the Ambassadors, check the call here!

Your local can apply to be a hosting antenna, which would involve organising a local event where the ambassadors can present the project to a wider audience.

Imagine a one day AEGEE event with a group of 20-30 people (or more!), some sessions and discussions, interactive games, and an event that is also open to non-AEGEEans in your city. The EoT project team will fully support the locals and provide a toolkit on how to organise your perfect EoT event.

This year’s topic for Europe on Track will be Civic Education.

The hosting local is required to:

  • Support the ambassadors by providing them with accommodation and meals for one or two nights

  • Arrange a place/room for the presentation/discussions and print materials

  • Organise a local event/activity* – in cooperation with the EoT Coordination Team

    *Possible options:
    The more you manage to organise the better!

  • Workshop

  • Signature collection for the ECI

  • Ambassadors delivering civic education classes in high schools

  • Visit another NGO or local media

  • Panel discussion with stakeholders/externals (teachers, politicians…)

  • Any other interesting idea that you might come up with!

Unfortunately, as things stand right now, there will be no economic support for the locals but we have and are working really hard on fundraising, should we be successful we will communicate that to the chosen locals.

To apply please send the motivation letter of your antenna to europeontrack@aegee.org until the 10th of February.

Europeanly yours,

The Europe on Track project team
Nicola, Maria, Tola, Luca, Hector, Denno, Eleanor, Sofia, Benedetto, Ksenia, Alp, Luka

]]> All EU need is love! /all-eu-need-is-love/ Tue, 16 Aug 2016 18:08:20 +0000 /?p=6821 By Chikulupi Kasaka

Team Red of Europe on Track 3 arrived at their last stop, Verona, on 14th May. We were warmly welcomed by AEGEE-Verona, special thanks to Erika. The event that AEGEE-Verona organised was titled “ALL EU NEED IS LOVE”, a pre-event of AgoraBergamo, AEGEE’s General Assembly.

AEGEE-Verona event took place from 14th -17th May and it welcomed Team Red travelers as well as Agora participants from different antennas across Europe. More than 20 participants participated in the event. On the day of arrival, the hosts made the participants learn a little bit of Italian culture. They introduced everyoneverona_6 to Italian gestures, very useful when in Italy. The gesture exercise was exciting and funny; even some participants shared some gestures which resemble the ones used in their particular countries.

On the 15th day of May, the organisers prepared a trip to Garda Lake. Unfortunately, the weather was not the best, so the organizers successfully rescheduled the activities of that day, so participants learned how to make an amazing Italian ‘Tiramisu’.

On the 16th of May, we attended the indoor workshop at the University of Verona. In the morning, participants had a session on “Nationalism versus Europeanism”. The session was chaired by Erika and it gave a chance for the participants to discuss what they feel about Europe, Schengen and Mobility.

Then, Europe on Track 3 travelers conducted a session about youth Mverona_3obility and Erasmus Plus. We presented Europe on Track project and later on we discussed about youth Mobility, where the participants had an opportunity to share their experiences in terms of mobility, traveling in Europe or abroad as well as their experiences with exchange programs like Erasmus Plus.

The participants were given the assignment to draw the borders of Europe. They were given a blank map of Europe which has no borders and they were asked: “Where does Europe End”. After ten minutes, the participants had their maps drawn. It was very interesting for the travelers, who have been conducting the same exercise in different cities, to see for the first time, the cultural borders of Europe. Indeed, it was great to know different ways of understanding the term borders and the fact that one can draw it.

Finally, the participants werverona_1e given two questions to discuss and present afterward. One question was, “Should the Schengen Area be Expanded?” And the other question was “Should some countries in Europe be allowed to temporarily close their borders due to refugee crisis?”. The responses were; YES Schengen area should be expanded to some countries, so all Europeans can have equal rights regardless of where you travel in Europe. With regard to borders, NO border should be closed rather the particular countries should concentrate on migration policy to control and coordinate the movement of refugees.

On the same day, after lunch break, the participants parted Verona and went to the Garda Lake. At the Lake, the activities were to give “Free Hugs 4 Europe” and the second activities were to write their wishes for Europe on the Balloons. The participants were divided into 3 groups and were given a different direction to talk to people in the lake. The activities, in the end, encompassed the theme for the pre-agora event “All EU Need is Love” and people at Garda Lake felt the love from AEGEE participants across Europe.

 We are really grateful to AEGEE-Verona for being such a great hosts and an awesome antenna! Keep rocking and see you soon somewhere in Europe!

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What do Greeks think about a borderless Europe and the refugee crisis? /what-do-greeks-think-about-a-borderless-europe-and-the-refugee-crisis/ Sat, 16 Jul 2016 16:16:01 +0000 /?p=6684 By Hanna Polischuk

The next stop where we experienced the refugee problem and raised the question about the borderless Europe was Greece. We asked some students, whom we met in Athens and Patras, for their opinions. Most of our respondents have already been travelling around Europe either for holidays or for education and cultural exchanges. Many of them have gained international experience by being members of international organizations and studying in other countries via Erasmus amongst others.

Fly athens

On the question if there are borders in Europe, almost everyone said that they are, but only in our minds:

I think that borders are mostly in the European minds, because now with everything that has been happening, we have more prejudices towards what’s going on in Europe and the people who are coming to Europe. The government is following that mindset, which means that they create policies resulting closing borders.

Theodora Giakoumelou, 19

However, it is not possible to notice the border problem inside the Schengen area:

If we talk about the Europeans, there are no strict borders, but the other people outside of the EU have problems to visit Europe. I know it from the experience of my friends from Asia and Africa.

Dimitris N., 22

There are not really visible borders in most of Europe, but if you check better, you can see that in some countries there are completely no borders: you can go between countries just passing by, while in other countries it’s harder to do that, you have to follow some procedures or some paperwork, especially if you go from the West to the Eastern side of Europe. Nowadays, it is going harder and harder to realize that once we did not even care if there were borders, but now, with the refugee crisis, they are coming back to the reality. Many countries are even building a visual borders.”

Dimitris Bouloubassis, 23

For Greek people as well as fo13265980_615852725229035_4493971792193996963_nr other EU members it is very easy to cross borders and travel from country to country. In the world passport rating Sweden, Finland and Germany are ranked the country #1, for which most of countries are open (visa free). Greece is a bit lower in the list; however, it also has a high position. Many Greek students confirmed that it is not hard to travel for them.

When we went onto the streets, we met many refugees. As we understood from what we saw and heard from locals, the refugee problem is growing bigger every day and Greece accommodates currently more than 50,000 refugees at its territory:

Many refugees, especially in the Greek islands like Samos, Chios, the ones that are actually very close to Turkey. I believe the number is something like 50 thousand people or something, which is related to the population, it is low I guess. But imagine all those people have gone through this situation with women and small children, it is difficult. So, it is not so much problem for us as it is for them I guess.

Orestis Panagiotidis, 21

Greek youth feel mostly safe in their country, being able to understand the reasons why people moved there:

I feel safe because I do not think that these people want to harm us, Greeks. They want to find a new home and job. So, I don’t feel afraid, and I am fine with them.

Vasiliki Petrakou, 21

I think that it is difficult for them too, and I think th13237683_615852638562377_227857386974934013_nat we should have solidarity and help them to integrate here in Greece. Because there is a war at their home, I would be afraid too. It is not safe not only for me, but also for them. It is difficult; ok, I am afraid, but it is not only me here. I live with other people, so… If I had a war in my country too, I would go away, it is true.”

Yiota Mitropoulou, 20

Yes, I feel safe in Greece. I am very proud about the behavior that Greece shows to refugees, and I think that the other European countries do not have the behavior that they should have. So, it is important to inform people about the problems that refugees have, to be more open-minded about these problems, and to understand that we need to help to solve these problems.

Dimitris N., 22

I think that the refugees are the people who have a lot of problems in their countries and they come to Greece or to other countries because they want to find a better life. So, I think we must help them, because all of us, we are the same, we are people, and we should help people who have problems. So, in a lot of cases refugees do not make lots of problems to people who live in the places where they come; but in other cases a lot of them make problems because in such conditions in which they live, they have nothing to eat, they don’t have a house for living. So, it is possible that they will start robbing because they do not have money to eat. And so, it all feels strange: in lots of cases you feel safe, in other you don’t feel safe.”

Akis Tripolitsiwtis, 21

In the opinions of many Greeks, the European Union has failed to solve the refugee crisis. As the EU is trying to find a compromising solution, and it is really hard (almost impossible) to find a compromise between so many countries, the problem becomes bigger instead of being solved. The latest solution was an agreement with Turkey and Greece in order to stop refugees from going further. But even with huge efforts and the financial support, only two countries cannot cope with such a huge problem.

So, should borders be more open or closed at all? This question is difficult because on the one hand we all strive for the mobility, and at the same time we want to be secure and protected:

I think that the borders must be open, but in cases when people come from other countries, they should not create problems to people who live in the country they visit. For example, in Greece we have many economic problems, and many people don’t work, because they don’t have work. So I think when people want to come for vacation, is ok; those who come for living is also ok, but I prefer to take the work which they might take instead of me. This situation is very difficult for us.”

Akis Tripolitsiwtis, 21

13227200_613653185448989_3924533945965814428_nIn my opinion borders have to be open, but when you visit a place, you have to respect the local culture, traditions etc. You have to explain them not to implement them in your life, but you have to respect them. So, open borders with respectful physicals, let’s say. That’s my opinion

Orestis Panagiotidis, 21

When we talk about the Greek-EU relationships, what positive and negative points can you think of?

“Positive? Hmmm… Because we’ve been born and grown up in Europe and having all the privileges of the EU already, we do not perceive them as positive. But, of course, being able to travel around Europe without a passport is a great positive point; Schengen is great, as well as Erasmus and other mobility and educational programs. As for negative points, I think right now when the European Union is facing a great amount of existential problems, meaning that we do not really know what we are doing with the EU, how do we want to change it in order to be able to adapt to the new circumstances, both in economical and the social field.

Elena Panagopoulou, 24

What would you wish for the future of Europe? The most common responses are: being more united, open-minded and helpful. Here some of the responses:

13226936_613653178782323_5795814118772003586_nI would like to say something to be changing the European Union at the moment, because I think that Europe is not only the EU but it really affects the situation around Europe. So, I would like to say changing something in how the European Union is working right now.

Erifyli Evangelou, 21

They should understand that it is not only our problem, of Turkey and Greece, and the Eastern Europe; it is a problem that affects us all.

Vasiliki Petrakou, 21 and Yiota Mitropoulou, 20

I wish a more united Europe in terms of diversity, borders also, and understanding, because if Europeans cannot understand each other, there is no solid future for us. And there is no actually future for this generation. We need to understand our needs, and satisfy everything that needs to be covered. There are actually should be more reforms.”

Dimitris Bouloubassis, 23

To be more open-minded and to feel as European citizens instead of feeling the citizens of a single country that has borders, and to be more secure about economics, about technology. I think there are many people who have the abilities to succeed.

Dimitris N., 22

It was a big pleasure not only to discover this wonderful country, but also to hear the voice of youth, which gave us the insight about the situation and attitude in the country. We sincerely hope for the improvement of the refugee situation and rational, effective actions from the EU side. We would like also to express our gratitude to AEGEE-Athina and AEGEE-Patra for helping us with organization of our activities, for their hospitality and care. Moreover, huge thanks to Interrail for the opportunity to cross borders fast and with comfort!

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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.

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Poland Opens Its Doors to Team Blue! /poland-opens-its-doors-to-team-blue/ Thu, 28 Apr 2016 14:47:49 +0000 /?p=6411 By Hanna Polishchuk

Early in the morning we departed from Prague to Warsaw. This time we did not have as many stops as before, only one, in Ostrava, a small Czech city.dAY3 (1)

We decided to try to interview people in the train station but they were not very open for the conversation. Nevertheless, before getting on our train, we managed to talk to a girl who shared with us her views about borderless Europe. Inspired by her, we decided to continue this task in the train. There we found interesting people, mostly from Poland, but also from the Czech Republic and the U.S.A. We even managed somehow to make one interview in Polish, speaking with the participant in Polish-Ukrainian-Russian language mixture. It was quite an exciting experience, and we learnt many impressive facts. After work, and running from one wagon to another, we decided to rest. To our surprise, we got free snacks and soft drinks from Interrail. Everything that we had in our compartment made our trip comfortable and exciting.

DSC_0008-2When we went out of the train, the president of AEGEE-Warszawa, Marta, was already waiting for us. In the evening, we went out to relax before the important day. On Saturday we organized a workshop for the members of the the local representative of our organization. This time we did not have as many participants as in Prague but the discussion was deeper and more specific. Participants shared their worries about the problems with Schengen area and the threat of strengthening borders. During the debates and mapping workshop we all saw that each of us travels to various European countries constantly for different reasons, and setting borders among our countries is ridiculous.

DSC_9861-2On the next day, we went out to the city for more interviews. We met people near the public library, in the city center and other places around. All young people shared our idea of a borderless Europe and that the relationships between the European countries should be improved. In their responses, we see that people are demanding freedom, understanding, mobility, unity, less bureaucracy and more support for other countries. As for refugees, they are not ready to accept every economic immigrant but those who really have to leave their homes behind and ask for the shelter in other countries.

Our visit to Poland was productive because we didn’t only ask people’s opinions but also shared ours and talked about difficulties with which we live in our non-Shengen countries. In one of such discussion about European values with a German and a Canadian we gave them lots of shocking information that they did not think about before. This way, spreading as much as we can, more and more people will get informed.DSC_9744-2
Coming back to the host’s home we kept discussing about the outcome of our work and people’s opinions. Later, while eating true Italian pasta prepared by Benedetto, we were sharing our emotions and excitement from this visit. In the morning we will wake up and go to the Hungarian capital that either divides or unites its two parts Buda and Pest. Are they so diverse in their opinions about the European issues? We are going to discover it soon. Stay tuned!

DSC_9902

]]>  Team blue: The First Step Towards a Borderless Europe /team-blue-the-first-step-towards-a-borderless-europe/ Fri, 22 Apr 2016 18:18:31 +0000 /?p=6357 By: Hanna Polishchuk

 

Early Wednesday was our departure day from Brussels and at the same time the first day of the trip. At the beginning, it felt uneasy but as we hopped on the first train with our InterRail passes, all the doubts dissolved. After the previous sleepless night, we got the chance to relax in the train until our next stop, which was Frankfurt am Main.

Route day 1

The time passed very fast while we were in the next train heading to Dresden. One of our team members, Ksenia, found a big spacious room with a table that was usually for the mommies with babies. However, as there were not any moms with their little toddlers, we were allowed to use this place for the Europe on Track temporary headquarters. This room was the perfect place for teambuilding activities and discussions of our future mutual work and collaboration. We spent the time nicely together for the next four hours and suddenly approached Dresden. In our pursuit of the Wi-Fi, we were running from one side of the station to another, and at the end, the internet connection we found was so bad that we could not upload any picture!

The final train of that day was the best experience ever: fast, comfortable, with a good Wi-Fi signal and four sockets! We could not dream for more! This journey was so pleasant that we hardly noticed when we crossed the German-Czech border, it was indeed the experience of a borderless Europe! At some point we heard the train driver making an announcement in Czech and we realised that we were approaching Prague.

eot blue

 

When we left the train, we saw Karolina from AEGEE-Praha and Anichka from AEGEE-Kyiv, who came at the station to meet us. After a warm greeting and exchanging of our excitement, we went directly to our host’s home to leave the luggage. The apartment was just in the center of the city, and I have to say we all fell in love with this place! In the evening, we gathered for dinner and real Czech beer. Afterwards, we interviewed our first candidate. It was interesting to see how borderless Europe is for an Ukrainian living Czech Republic. We finished our day with a romantic city tour in charming Prague with Thomash and Sasha.
We are ready for more!

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Promote sustainable travelling – win €1250 for your local! /promote-sustainable-travelling-win-e1250-for-your-local/ Wed, 28 Nov 2012 13:03:06 +0000 /?p=2242 InterRail offers two locals the unique opportunity to win 1250€ for their projects or event. We would like to invite you to take part in a competition promoting sustainability
and environmental awareness offered by our partner – InterRail! The prize money can be invested in any project or event you are planning.

www.InterRail.eu offers train passes to Europeans to explore Europe by train.
Train travel is one of the most sustainable ways of traveling through Europe.

How can you participate?

The topic of the competition is: “Promoting Green Travelling – Sustainable Europe by 2020”.

Do you care about a sustainable future – and do you want others to get involved?
How would YOU promote sustainable travelling?

You can submit your video, poster or picture, presenting your project!

No individual entries will be accepted, only submissions from locals.

The winners will be chosen by a jury of Comité Directeur, Environmental Working group and InterRail. All ideas will be published on the Europe on Track page.

 

 

The criteria of selection are the following (by order of importance)

  • creativity and innovation of the idea
  • project or initiative you want to use the money for (just give us an idea)

Your local is only eligible for the prize if you

  • share the open call on your local’s website
  • share the picture published on AEGEE-Europe’s Facebook page and the link to the InterRail website on the Facebook page of your local.

 Deadline for submissions:

27th December 2012, 23:59 CET,
Send your ideas to headoffice@aegee.org.
Please make sure that you mention the name of your local in the subject line!

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Youth opinion on the future of Europe: AEGEE-Europe launches “Europe on Track” project /youth-opinion-on-the-future-of-europe-aegee-europe-launches-europe-on-track-project-2/ Fri, 05 Oct 2012 08:49:48 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=137 Where is Europe headed? What can young people expect from the Europe of tomorrow?

These questions have been of great concern for many young Europeans recently. In order to find answers, AEGEE-Europe (European Students’ Forum) is launching the “Europe on Track” project in the fall of 2012. In the framework of this initiative, six young Europeans will travel the continent by train at the end of 2012, and in the course of one month, gather the answers to these, and further questions, through photography, videos and interviews.

More information about the initiative: www.aegee.org and www.facebook.com/EuropeOnTrack

The “Europe on Track” project was launched to advocate for a better future for European youth, and to capture young people’s vision of the Europe of the future by the end of 2020, as well as provide a snapshot of AEGEE and its members. The main topic of the project is “The Europe I want for the future”, involving young people around the continent in discussing the current situation and their own prospects. At a time when the idea of European integration is being questioned, and young people’s future prospects have become hazy, AEGEE considers it fundamental to give voice to the young generation, in order to take their opinion, their realities and their wishes into account.

“We will give six young people the opportunity to travel the whole European continent. They will be reporting about their experiences through social media and blogging, channels used by youth as impartial loudspeakers, which allow them to communicate with greater audiences, and which provide them with the possibility to communicate with an independence from traditional media. This will allow them to promote and spread the idea of a common European identity among youth.” says Pavel Zborník, European Institutions and Communications Director of AEGEE-Europe about “Europe on Track”. After being present at Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, AEGEE puts emphasis on sustainability in this project as well, as the six ambassadors will travel Europe in a “green” way, by train. By documenting every detail of their journey, they will later enable others to reach conclusions and find ways to remedy the situation, and through creative and innovative approaches they will promote the vision of young people through the social and other online media.

Applications for taking part in the project as an ambassador – travelling and reporting about young people’s opinions – are open until 20th October 2012. More information can be found on AEGEE-Europe’s official website (www.aegee.org) and the project’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/EuropeOnTrack).

This initiative is possible thanks to AEGEE-Europe’s partner, Interrail.

 

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