warsaw – 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, 18 Apr 2018 09:33:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.15 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!


]]> The European miracle at the Vistula river /the-european-miracle-at-the-vistula-river/ Sat, 26 Apr 2014 07:43:38 +0000 /?p=5084

Taking Europtimism serious during fierce discussions in Warsaw

If there is one city in Europe that can rightfully be called a Fenix that has risen from its ashes, it is the city of Warszawa; the capital of Poland at the Vistula river. It has known a vibrant and often violent history, which climaxed during the Second World War when the city was totally raised to the ground. After the Warsaw Uprising at the end of the war and the Soviet liberation of the city, not much was left of what once was the proud capital of the kingdom of Poland. Today, the city has re-emerged from its ashes and it lives as never before. It’s filled with construction works, young people, businessmen and trendy bars. During our stay, we got to know some of the ambitious young people that represent the future of Poland and even very much the future of Europe.

Visiting the new veins of the city

Metro visitDuring our visit, we got the opportunity to see the change in the city with our own eyes. The biggest construction site in Warszawa at the moment and even one of the biggest in Europe is the second metro line project that will connect the Eastside and the Westside of the city. The metro can be regarded as a symbol of the new Warsaw: a city that matters internationally and the centre of one of the fastest growing economy in the EU. We had a presentation of the CEO of the Warsaw Metro who gave an overview of the current state of affairs and explained the importance of the metro for the development of the city. It was interesting to see how much details were involved in working on such a complicated and multi-faceted project. Moreover, it seemed also to be a great example of European cooperation while it’s mostly EU funded and brings together companies from Italy, Turkey and Poland in a joint partnership.

An optimistic view of the EU

WarsawWhile people in some of the older EU member states seem to be facing many years of crisis and at the same time develop a more pessimistic attitude towards both domestic and EU affairs, Polish youngsters seem to be very ambitious and positive. We have been discussing this during the workshop with students from AEGEE-Warszawa. Almost all the participants stated that they thought that the EU was a positive thing; either for creating peace in Europe, integrating different cultures or making it possible to move around between countries. On the other hand, it was also mentioned that the EU does connote with a sense of bureaucracy; with a feeling that a lot of rules are been imposed that are not necessarily positive. It was argued that the accession of Poland to the EU in 2004 was a very important step in recognizing that Poland was part of Europe and that this development has very much helped in creating the Poland of today.

One of the questions that were raised was whether it would be good to have a United States of Europe. While most participants agreed that it was not a good thing to compare Europe to the USA, many of them nonetheless stated that it would be good for Europe to have a federal state with a real government. It was argued that a federal Europe would be more capable of addressing problems that go beyond the nation state and that it would strengthen the position of Europe in the international playing field.

Playing the advocate of the devil

Debate WarsawAfter the general discussion, it was time to turn the opinions of the participants around. They were confronted with a “House of Commons” style discussion in which two groups had to debate either in favour or against a stronger EU. One of the groups had to defend the idea of a stronger EU in a federal form, while the other had to take a very Eurosceptic or rather Euro-negative position. Although the room was filled with Europtimists, the discussion became quite fierce and both sides came up with strong arguments. The Europtimists stated that a federal state was important for giving people more opportunities to move around and to get the right education. The sceptics, however, argued that a stronger EU and an increasing mobility of people caused countries and regions to loose valuable people and to lose on some of their important interests.

All in all, Warszawa was a great place on the route for our team to get the final input on the topic of Europtimism. We have heard the opinions of students from Mannheim, Berlin, Prague and Warsaw and seen some interesting differences between the participants. This morning, the 25th of April, we have left Warsaw by bus in order to travel to our next stop Riga, where we will have a very interesting meeting about the European elections!