Team Red – 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 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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To Schengen or not to Schengen, that’s the question! /to-schengen-or-not-to-schengen-thats-the-question/ Mon, 15 Aug 2016 17:12:48 +0000 /?p=6810 By Chikulupi Kasaka

From the 11th to the 13th  of May 2016, Team Red from Europe on Track 3 occupied Udine land in Italy. The team had quite a good experience despite the rainy weather. On the 11st May, upon arriving at Udine train station, we received warm hugs from Davide and the team of AEGEE-Udine, that made us feel at home.

On the 12th May, Team Red had one mission: to find out the views and opinions of the youth in Udine concerning Youth Mobility. AEGEE-Udine prepared an amazing event where Team Red facilitated a wonderful session that many participants attended. At 5:30pm, the workshop started with Europe on Track travelers explaining and presenting the project. It was quite interesting to see one participant interested to know more about how the Interrail Pass works, since the stops of both routes are connected through it. Our team explained that Interrail is an European company that sells Interrail train passes online to travelers from all over Europe. Interrail.eu is the joint Interrail webshop of 32 European railway companies.In some countries, one needs to reserve seats at some costs, but many of them are free and had enabled Team Red to cross the Western European countries starting from Brussels.udine_2

At first, Team Red conducted a Quiz about Youth Mobility and Schengen Area. In discovering and experiencing borderless Europe, participants were given another exercise to draw the borders of Europe. Participants were divided into two groups and were given blank maps of Europe to draw borders on them. The question put forward was “Where Does Europe End? The exercise is geared toward finding how many youths are aware of what Europe is and where it ends. At the end of exercise two different European maps were presented.Afterwards, we asked participants to share the mobility and exchange programmes they have attended. Many had benefited from youth Exchange programs and enjoyed mobility within Europe. In terms of mobility, many participants have enjoyed traveling within Europe with school programs, conferences, internships, AEGEE-projects, etc.

After knowing that participants have enjoyed borderless Europe and traveled within the Schengen zone, the next session was a group assignment. We divided them into two groups, that were given two separate questions: “Should the Schengen Zone be expanded?” and “Should the Schengen countries be allowed to temporarily closeudine_1 borders to refugees?” After a few minutes of group discussion, one member from each team had to present their responses to all participants.

To the question: Should the Schengen zone be expanded? The group said: Yes, it should be expanded to countries like the United Kingdom. Because the youth in Europe needs to enjoy mobility. Also, if the Schengen zone is expanded, it will make it easier to increase youth opportunities for employment. Lastly, the group suggested that, if the Schengen zone is expanded, it will enhance the “European Spirit” to all youth and make them feel as one. On the other hand, to the countries which are unstable and face wars like Turkey, there needs to be a special criteria for them to meet before they can be included in the Schengen zone.

Should the Schengen countries be allowed to temporarily close borders to refugees? The youths in Udine were uncertain due to the serious contemporary challenges that Europe is facing. According to them, on the one hand, some countries should be allowed to temporarily close their borders for security reasons as well as to manage the refugee flow. On the other hand, those countries should not close their borders because of the risk that restricting mobility in Europe poses to the European project. There might be a risk of not being able to restore the previous borderless Europe.

Do you agree with these opinions from youth in Udine? Share your opinion with us!

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Team Red in Barcelona exploring youth mobility! /6536-2/ Wed, 25 May 2016 17:31:49 +0000 /?p=6536 By Chikulupi Kasaka

Team Red arrived in Barcelona in the wake of Monday 9th May 2016 from A Corña through the overnight Interrail train. Upon arrival, our hosts Aegee-Barcelona came to pick us up and took us to our accommodation at St. Christopher’s’ Inn Hostel. In the evening of the same day, the team had a workshop with youth in Barcelona. Participants had the opportunity to learn about the Europe on Track 3 Project, a “Where Does Europe End?” exercise and ended by discussing youth mobility and their experiences with traveling abroad, exchange programmes as well Erasmus programmes.

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With Youth mobility session, participants were told to share their experiences concerning traveling abroad or within Europe and with regard to exchange programs or European voluntary service. We all discovered that, many of them have experienced youth mobility in one way or another. Many of them have enjoyed borderless Europe and the freedom of movement, either through touring with family and friends, through the Erasmus program, through AEGEE or through internships and placements. Some of the participants have been in more than 20 European countries. The exercise inspired other fellow participants who have little exposure to mobility to apply for similar kind of opportunities in future.

After realizing that many participants have crossed many borders within Europe through their youth mobility experiences, Team Red gave them a more challenging exercise. The team divided participants into two groups and gave them blank maps of Europe and asked them “Where Does Europe End?” At the end of the exercise, we had two different versions of European maps. Doina Volcu from Moldova seemed to be well knowledgeable of the history and the borders of Europe. She took the liberty to explain to the rest of the participants about the borders she and her team drew. She explained more about Ural Mountains, which for many people borders Europe and Russia. She talked about the Ottoman Empire and its influence in Turkey. Indeed, the exercise was more challenging and educating to many participants.

A short presentation about Youth mobility followed. The presentation was more centered on Erasmus Plus and its goals. Erasmus Plus is the EU programme for Education, Training, Youth, and Sport 2014-2020. It is a new approach towards maximizing youth mobility and exchange programmes through a single integrated programme. Erasmus programs run through centralized activities at the European Union level and through decentralized activities at the National level, for example, the Erasmus Plus-UK.IMG_5419 (1)

Erasmus plus widens opportunities for youth mobility by making it sustainable. More than 2 million higher education students will study and train abroad. 650 000 vocational students will spend part of their education and training abroad. 200 000 Master’s students will benefit from a new loan guarantee scheme and more than 25 000 scholarships for Joint Master Degrees. 500 000 young people will volunteer abroad and take part in youth exchanges and 800 000 lecturers, teachers, trainers, education staff and youth workers to teach or train abroad.

Participants were of the opinion that, despite existing massive opportunities for young people, and a genuine intention to enhance mobility, there is a dire need to disintegrate information about the Erasmus Plus programme at the grass root level. Most young people are more aware of the former Erasmus programme but not of this new approach. Otherwise, they think Erasmus Plus is a great deal for fostering youth integration and mobility within Europe.

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The workshop ended with participants filling in a short questionnaire about Europe. Europe on track team is thankful to AEGEE-Barcelona especially to Claudia, Jordi, Bruna and Catalina for their hospitality. See you somewhere in Europe!

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Team Red in A Coruña: United in Diversity? /youths-in-coruna-debate-whether-the-refugee-crisis-unites-or-divides-europe/ Fri, 13 May 2016 08:15:12 +0000 /?p=6517 By Chikulupi Kasaka

Team Red of Europe on Track 3 arrived in A Coruña, Spain at 11am on 7th May 2016 with the best train experience. Thanks to Interrail for making it a real once-in-a-life experience!

AEGEE-A Coruña warmly welcomed the team and offered us a nice time to relax and get ready for the sessions. Our host, Alejandra, took the team for lunch to boost their energy before going to a workshop. This revived the energy and enthusiasm of the team to go and discuss the Refugees and migration crisis in Europe.

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AEGEE-A Coruña organized an event under the name “Whole of Europe is a theatre”. Isn’t it a curious title? Yes, it is! And the team was curious to find out what A Coruña youth thinks about Europe.

The workshop was organized into 5 mini sessions. The first session was about the introduction and presentation about Europe on Track 3; then, we presented and explained our personal experiences with mobility and travelling abroad and within Europe. The third session was an exercise on “Where does Europe End?”; the fourth session was a presentation about “Refugee Crisis in Europe: Do refugees pose a threat to Europeans?” which was followed by a critical debate. The last part of the workshop was a short questionnaire about Europe.

Mobility and traveling abroad. We realized that many youths in A Coruña have not benefited a lot of from exchange programs like Erasmus Scholarships or European Voluntary Service (EVS). On the other hand, many of them have enjoyed travelling within Europe through AEGEE programs. To them, AEGEE is really important in enhancing youth mobility and integration in Europe.

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Where Does Europe End? This exercise was really fun, critical and worth doing. Each participant was given a map to draw a border on where he/she thinks Europe ends. Each participant came up with different borders on their maps. At the end, we all came to the conclusion that the borders to where Europe ends are not really known. Some of them were confused over the members of the European Union and those within Europe. At some point, participants were discussing if Luxembourg, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina they were part of Europe or not. The exercise was enjoyable and all were happy eventually to learn more about Europe.

Refugee Crisis in Europe and whether refugees pose a threat to Europeans. The presentation analyzed how someone can become a refugee and the process one goes through from being an asylum seeker to being accepted as a refugee. The youth in A Coruña was familiar with some refugees’ experiences in Turkey and Greece. Participants were shown the data on the number of refugees arriving per day in Greece, which is from 0-4500 and that Turkey has the largest number of refugees, over 2 million people. Finally, the presentation showed the amount of money already spent on the refugees. At the end of the presentation, a question was asked to all participants; do refugees pose a threat to Europeans?

The question led the participants to debate over the new topic, whether “Refugee crisis unites or divides Europe”. One side held the opinion that refugee crisis unites Europeans, especially when they came together to help other countries like Greece and Turkey and when the European civil society stood up for refugees with the Refugees Welcome movement that quickly spread through European society.DSC_7309

On the other side, some participants were reluctant to the acceptance of refugees into Europe and said the crisis divides Europe, because some countries do not agree on accepting refugees resettled in their own countries. Other topics related to this issue that are influencing some parts of society are Islamophobia, xenophobia, security  protection over one’s national culture, and fear of the downgrading of the living conditions.

The workshop ended by neither party win nor another lose. All participants agreed that Europe has the political will and financial power to assist and help refugees. Finally, the questionnaires with short questions were distributed to the participants and all shared their answers to the questions asked and what can be improved for a better European future.

The workshop was successful due to the teamwork and great preparations of AEGEE-Coruna. Special thanks to Alejandra Pérez and Paula López, main responsibles of the local event, for making the ambassadors’ experience in A Coruña warm despite of the rain and very much worth it.

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Our next stop is Barcelona. Stay tuned!

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Team Red in Lyon taking part in Nuit Debout /team-red-in-lyon-taking-part-in-nuit-debout/ Sat, 07 May 2016 12:15:30 +0000 /?p=6499 By Chikulupi Kasaka

In the evening of the 3rd May, Team Red arrived in the place where the Nuit Debout protests and meetings in Lyon are held. This is the second time team red is experiencing the peaceful protests called Nuit Debout, which means Up All Night, made by people showing up in one place from 6pm to midnight to discuss their concerns towards the government.

AEGEE-Lyon introduced Europe on Track 3 in front of the crowd and we all invited participants to join us in a discussion about Schengen area, refugees and migration crisis in Europe.

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A group of 12 people was formed under a tree where the Europe on Track flag was hung. In the beginning, we played a game as an icebreaker to create a safe space for everybody to feel comfortable to express themselves. Lucille from AEGEE-Lyon explained a sign game in order to introduce everyone. 5 minutes later, everyone was motivated, engaged and connected with others in a group.

Larnell from AEGEE-Lyon presented AEGEE, Europe on Track and its aims to the rest of the group. He further elaborated the cross-cutting and burning issues across Europe right now: Refugees and migration crisis, as well as issues concerning Schengen Treaty. Then, he welcomed members to share their views and opinions.

Here you can find some of them:

Schengen area benefits and encourages young people to study across Europe. It has made easy travelling without visa and border check-ups. All these made free movement possible, so for them Schengen area is very important.

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For some people, European identity and citizenship are more prestigious than their own national citizenship. However, this statement created quite an intense debate as some other people disagreed, arguing that due to the EU, national governments lose part of its sovereignty. For example, if the EU passes a law, it needs to be integrated into their national laws. People holding this opinion feel that the EU has a superior status.

On the other hand, people supporting the first idea stated that the EU is only powerful when it comes to economy and other issues related to it, but that it has little powers in political affairs, because the EU only uses its political powers to legitimize its economic affairs like the free market.

They further disagreed with the statement that, in the end, not so many laws made by national parliaments come from the EU, as it mostly works within its different institutions and through its council. Since 2007, the EU is trying to take its power back but despite its competencies, its powers remain limited. There are some discussions within the EU managed by politicians and economists off the record, which shows a lack of public involvement and transparency.

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Concerning Nuit Debout, youngsters felt that the movement and its protests are an important thing to do, despite the fact that they seem to have no immediate impact or pressure on the government. Still, it brings them back unity, togetherness and closeness by sharing their concerns over Europe and their government. By talking together, they are creating a network where they reflect about their ideas and current political issues, contrasting opinions in a respectful way,

Indeed, AEGEE-Lyon and Team Red established new networks and met many interesting people in its participation in Nuit Debout. The discussions were alive and participatory. We ended the discussion and left Nuit Debout feeling like we had an impact in raising youth voice concerning Schengen opportunities and EU functioning.

Thanks to Interrail for making team red arrive safely and on time in Lyon. All these would not be successful without the commitment and support of AEGEE-Lyon team. Special thanks to Marine, Larnel, Lucille, Christine and Clement.

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Red Team in Manchester: Is it BR-EXIT or BR-IN? /red-team-in-manchester-is-it-br-exit-or-br-in/ Thu, 05 May 2016 00:04:57 +0000 /?p=6470 By Chikulupi Kasaka

Team red arrived in Manchester, the United Kingdom, on a mission to understand people’s views on the possible Brexit and the upcoming referendum. Team red prepared a number of activities to pursue this aim, including conducting a mock referendum, workshops and interviews. Let’s understand what BREXIT means in the first place before we discuss about youth views on it.DSC_7033

BREXIT is an abbreviation of “British exit” which refers to the possibility that Britain will withdraw from the European Union (EU). The referendum is expected to be carried out on June 23 and the big question is “Whether the British people want to leave or remain in the EU”. The Yes and NO vote will determine and shape the future of Britain and the whole of the European Union. There was an important need for the red team to get youth voices towards the referendum.

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On 29th April the team entered the Manchester University Students’ Union and settled a platform for conducting a mock referendum on BREXIT, where students were able to vote. In the end, the majority of young people that voted were in favor of Britain remaining to be part of the EU. Only 2 votes were not going to vote at all and 1 vote was for the British to leave the EU. The mock referendum shows that young people are in general in favor of remaining part of the EU due to its benefits like free movement, exchange programs, jobs, culture, and diversity. They don’t want Brexit to affect all these. However, we have to say that many students passed by the voting poll but did not want to vote, reflecting some political apathy.DSC_6969

The workshop was more intense and engaging in terms of Brexit awareness amongst the people that took part in it. Some ideas that came up during the session were that, for many people, the  referendum does not come at the right time and that it is not done for the right reasons: it is rather a Labor Party agenda since 2013 by David Cameron to retain unity within the party. The United Kingdom has no need for a divisionism agenda right now; people need their government to focus on substantive issues to foster European Integration.DSC_6951

In general, the conclusions of the debate pointed out that Brexit lacks vision and coherency to what the European future should be. There is a lack of civic engagement from the first place. The government should have educated its people earlier on rather than now, when the agenda is dominated by the media. Eventually, it is made hard to convey the right information in the public sphere because media in the UK has become selective in what they report. Amongst lots of information laid out by the government, they choose one or two elements for headlines which pose a conflict or challenge to people.

In the end, Brexit referendum is not a democratic tool for engagement or integration. “If you don’t know the answer, you are likely to support what you already know”, said one Jury who was one of the participants.

Interviews, on the other hand, were conducted in Cardiff, Wales. However, they were not very successful in terms of getting youth views concerning Brexit. Many seem to take noDSC_6995 interest in political affairs to the least extent of not understanding “What EU is”.

Team red is very thankful for the warm hosting by Pablo Palazón from AEGEE-Manchester and all the people from this amazing antenna. All the work of Europe on Track 3 would not have been possible without them all!

Stay tuned for more information from Team Red, see you somewhere in Europe!

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No Artificial Borders for Refugees in Europe /no-artificial-borders-for-refugees-in-europe/ Tue, 03 May 2016 00:28:18 +0000 /?p=6454 By Chikulupi Kasaka

Team red from AEGEEs’ Europe on Track 3 Project arrived safely in Heidelberg, Germany on the 25th April. In collaboration with the local antenna AEGEE-Heidelberg, they delivered a workshop about the Refugee Crisis in Europe. Team red had the opportunity to interview local youth as well as a refugee. Their opinions were honest enough to raise the voice and awareness for a better Europe and better refugee crisis management.

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Arman Turma is one among the youngsters the team interviewed. He is 19 years old, from Hungary, studying Philosophy and Psychology in Germany. Arman came to Germany in 2015 and at that moment he had little experience travelling abroad except for tourism.

As a Hungarian citizen, Arman doesn’t see himself as a European citizen. However, he perceives Europe as being borderless for the fact that there are no checkpoints across borders, as well as free movement of people is made easy. “Europe is more democratic, has cooperation between its nations, lots of freedom and a wide culture which is modernized in terms of ideas and organisations”, said to Europe on Track. Refugee crisis is the eminent crisis that the European Union is facing currently. Xenophobia is another problem in EU, which is a growing problem that needs to be addressed.

The way forward for refugee crisis management within the EU would be to receive more refugees and to put no artificial borders. The EU has the capacity to accept more refugees, and this can be achieved by being united and representing one voice towards managing the crisis. Politicians should be less populists and opportunistic, ended Arman.

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Team red had also the opportunity to interview Ebrahim, who is a refugee in Germany. Ebrahim is a Gambian citizen who fled his country for fear of persecution towards his life. Gambia became no more safe for him and he had to flee.

Ebrahim’s journey from Gambia to Germany was not smooth neither easy. He initially didn’t know that he will end up in Germany, but the odds were in his favour. These did not happen overnight. He left Gambia in 2013 through a bus to Senegal, then to Mali, to Algeria, and to Libya. The security situation was not good in Libya and he needed to take a boat to Italy. Nothing would stop him. It was a scary choice but to him, it was either being dead than alive in Gambia.

Ebrahim was rescued in Italy by the Italian officials in 2015. He stayed there for two months and fled to Germany because the environment and life were not favourable. In Germany, he was caught by the police, who took him to a controlled Karlsruhe Emergence Camp. He stayed there for a month before being moved to the village where he stays to date. He feels safe being a refugee in Germany and he likes it there. The process to make his stay in Germany legal has started and the police had taken his fingerprints. He is now waiting for official papers and later on documents to be issued. He will be happy if he is accepted to be a German citizen.

As a refugee, Ebrahim thinks that nowadays mostly Syrian refugees are in the centre of public attention, however less is done to assist refugees from other countries, like his one, Gambia. To the decision-makers, Ebrahim is grateful for their job in refugee management even though he would like to see further improvement. He is open-minded and willing to be interviewed by decision-makers in order to improve the condition of refDSC_6894ugees’ management in future.

 

The future is brighter for refugees in Europe as it is in Ebrahim’s heart. Youth envision for more freedom and free movement. With no artificial borders, borderless Europe is way possible.

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Team red in Paris: Nuit Debout, the beginning of a social movement /team-red-in-paris-nuit-debout-the-beginning-of-a-social-movement/ Thu, 28 Apr 2016 11:08:44 +0000 /?p=6406 By Chikulupi Kasaka

Red Team Travellers from “Europe on Track 3” went to Paris to understand the French Clichés, taking part on the AEGEE-Paris event Voulez-vous Clicher avec moi?

On 23rd the team arrived at the famous Place De la République, where the so-called Nuit Debout protests are held. Nuit Debout is a French word meaning “Rising Up All Night”. Travellers had an opportunity to interview a few people from the crowd participating in the “Nuit Debout” and had this to tell.

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What is Nuit Debout?

Nuit Debout started as a movement with protests against the government for their new project on Labour Law Reforms. It started as a small idea and grew bigger to other cities in Europe and especially in France with bigger and different ideas and perspectives. We conduct peaceful demonstrations and we have legal permission to do it.

We are allowed to be here and stay here from 4pm to 12pm (Midnight) every day. When we arrive, we arrange everything to be ready for our discussions, and when we leave we take all our things with us until the following day.

What is it for?

We question if our parliamentarians and representatives are really representing the people and people’s interest, the common interest. People want freedom of speech as well as freedom of expression over the things and topics the parliamentarians are discussing.

With new reforms, the government wants to change the current protective labour laws to make it easier and less costly for employers to lay off workers. We want to be able to discuss and have a say. We are against how the electorates and parliamentarians represent us and our agenda. We are not against the electoral system.

What kind of people participates?

We want it to represent all kinds of people. We want it to be as representative as possible, we welcome all those who can join us, we aim to represent the French society, the people. There is a great and peaceful atmosphere around here. People are happy and cheerful. I can say that we are working really hard to keep this peaceful and full of hope spirit.

Is it the only agenda?

Nuit Debout started as a protest against labour law reforms by the government, but as I said before it grew bigger and now we discuss about many different kinds of topics. The protestors are many, we have a great varieties of ideas and perspectives. Within our discussions, we always try to reach a consensus.

How long will it last?

It is the 3rd week now since we started but we want Nuit Debout to last longer, not only weeks but months and become sustainable. We have a working group for arranging different activities including votes.

Do you all go home after mid-night?

It is not always the case. There are other people with different agendas who want to stay behind. There are those who want to sleep there and the police fight to remove them and cause violence.

Have you contacted other protestors in other European citiesor other similar social movements?

I haven’t done so personally, but other colleagues have done so.

What are the future goals with Nuit Debout?

We want to overcome the challenge of having different ideas. We want to harmonize ourselves and come up with common ideas and express them to our representatives, to explain them that we are not happy in the way it’s working now . We believe that in future more people will join us.

 

Being able to presence the beginning of this interesting social movement has been an amazing experience for us, team red travellers! We want to thank AEGEE-Paris for organising such a great event and for helping us with translations and interviews 🙂

See you somewehere in Europe!

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Team red in Maastricht interviews Zack, from Canada /team-red-in-maastricht-interviews-zack-from-canada/ Tue, 26 Apr 2016 20:56:10 +0000 /?p=6396 By Chikulupi Kasaka

Team Red of Europe on Track 3, led by Madgalena and Hemmo, travelled to Maastricht in pursuit of Borderless Europe and got a chance to collect opinions of the people from there. Why did they visit Maastricht in the first place? Well, you cannot conduct a Europe on Track Project leaving Maastricht behind due to its history. Maastricht happens to be the birthplace of the European UnionEuropean citizenship, and the single European currency, the euro. It feels like a right place to be.

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Team Red came across a Canadian citizen there named Zack and used the opportunity right away to interview him about Europe. Zack wanted to know some things from Europe likewise EoT wanted to know his opinion over Europe and his Canadian Experience over similar issues. After almost 45 minutes of interview, the main points can be summarized below.

Which are the main positive points that you see in Europe compared with America?

The EU offers free movement of people and has open borders, free movement of goods and commodities. People enjoy better international trade, better salaries, better prices of groceries and easy access to travel and do tourism.

The use of “Euro” as a common currency within the EU is one of the advantages to boost economic growth. Unlike Canada and its neighbor countries, United States and Mexico, where Canada uses “Canadian Dollar”, US uses “US Dollar” and Mexico uses “Peso Mexicano”. This shows that integration is important for economic growth.

What do you know about Schengen area? What’s your personal opinion about it?

Schengen area covers more than 26 European countries that have abolished passport and any other type of border control at their mutual borders. It mostly functions as a single country for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy.

After the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, a number of countries have temporarily reintroduced controls on some or all of their borders with other Schengen states. As of 22 March 2016 Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, and Sweden have imposed controls on some or all of their borders with other Schengen states.

What do you think about the current situation Europe is facing nowadays?

I think that the recent attacks in Paris and Brussels leave a huge security dilemma within the European countries.

Europe is able to support the refugees coming in. Xenophobia exists over refugees in Europe. Refugees prefer to go to the rich countries for better lives and better jobs. Europeans citizens are faced with fears over security in their jobs. Canada is fairly xenophobic as well. They have accepted more than 25,000 Syrian refugees recently. Xenophobic threats are there in the local citizens.

 

Do you agree with Zack? For us, it was very interesting to get to know the opinion of someone from another continent! 

Next stop: Paris, Facing French Clichés: Voulez-vous clicher avec moi?

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Is Europe on the right track? – Not at all! /is-europe-on-the-right-track-not-at-all/ Thu, 20 Dec 2012 22:02:50 +0000 /?p=2631 In Madrid after a lively discussion with AEGEE-Madrid about the problems of youth in Spain,
we attended a meeting with Ricardo Ibarra Roca, head of the Spanish Youth Council and
Marco Dosantos, a representative of a Spanish organisation for LGBT-Rights.

They explained the political situation from their perspective, stressing out the difficulties
the youth organisations are facing. On the one hand there is a problem of visibility and
recognition for these organisations by the officials and by the public. On the other hand
recently the government cut their funds up to 50%, which makes their work very difficult,
as well as tackling the issue of visibility.

Right now the Spanish Youth organisations rely mostly on European funds, like Youth in Action
money, but it is not sure what will happen with these in the new EU budget from 2014 to 2020.
So the situation looks a bit precarious. Yet there is hope since people start realizing their problems
and slowly start fighting them.

The political apathy that grew in most parts of society seems to be on the retreat,
yet people don’t know how to act and how to use their frustrations constructively,
which might be some reason why so many protest on the streets. Regarding this
the importance of educating children to become active citizens was mentioned,
to already teach them in school to find others sharing their interests and show
them all the associations that already exist, waiting for their contribution. Obviously
the new school subject of „Citizenship“ had been introduced for several years,
but was turned down due to protests by the church and conservatives, since
it also educated children about gay-rights.

In Spain this problem is also a structural one, because the sector of Youth organisations
and active citizenship is only growing for 30 years and before during the dictatorship
this mindset didn’t exist at all and was not promoted, which makes Education an even
more pressing issue.

In the end Ricardo admitted: „We can not make big changes as national Youth council,
but we can introduce small ones here and there.  As young people are not as important
as voters as for example retired people they need to lobby even harder and this is
one of the tasks of the Youth Council.“

Do you have an example for political measures you are promoting?

„As well we promote political actions, like the Youth Guarantee, which will be tested in a pilot project
in the region of Murcia. So we can proof that it works.“

So is Europe on the right track?

„No, not at all, right now we are on the middle of the road and if we dont move we will be hit by a car. Europe can move forward or backwards, but it can not stay like this. I think we have to move on to a more federal Europe with a strong European central bank, to take back the sovereignty over our money. The situation in Greece, Spain and Portugal can not stay like this, because the money goes to the banks and the people are suffering.“

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