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.
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.
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.
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.