ZARAGOZA: OUR LAST IMPORTANT STOP
Our stay in Burgos was nice indeed, but it was time to move again, this time to Zaragoza, where we would spend two nights. Our first day would bring some well-deserved free time, after the morning activities in Burgos, and this lifted our spirits visibly. Until now, our trip had been every bit adventurous as it had been busy, and after almost two weeks on the road, the accumulated tiredness began to take its toll on us.
The late evening found us dining in a place nearby, after an incident which turned out for the better: three of us were left without lodging after the hotel had made a mistake, and were eventually transferred to a junior suite, in a 4**** hotel nearby. When the night came, we went all together to the suite, and played some EU-themed games before going to sleep. It is difficult to look at those twenty something young people playing this game without thinking how far we have got. Fifty years ago, this would have been unimaginable.
The next day we began with our usual marathon: street actions and more street actions, followed by a long debate structured around three topics: environment and energy, social policy and the future of the EU. This time, the novelty of the street actions stood in the fact that besides promoting the elections, we would ask citizens to send the politicians questions related to the topics tackled, which we would pose during the debate. This approach was meant not only to make them aware of the elections but also to challenge them to think about European issues which are usually less present in their minds.
After a few successful hours of street actions, it was time for the debate. People were quite responsive and some questions we gathered were surprisingly good, showing that Spaniards are informed on a variety of topics such as environment or energy and not only preoccupied with unemployment and the financial crisis. In fact, most questions we got didn’t concern the social policy of the EU -as we would have expected- but the environment and the application of the EU sustainable policies in Spain.
The debate gathered -as usual- 4 different EP candidates and this time it was held in English, as it was not a public debate. This has encouraged us more than before to ask questions we were given and state our own opinions on the matter. It was indeed an interesting and fruitful debate which lasted more than three hours with a break in between. The conclusions were mixed as usual: while some answers were very good, other remained too general or even failed to answer the questions altogether. For us, however, it was good to have the opportunity to express our views on topics on which AEGEE has developed projects and activities such as environment or social policies, this time in a more private framework which allowed for a more intense interaction between us and our guests.
Finally, our stay in Zaragoza ended with yet another good dinner and a sangria toast, for all we have achieved and learned during the past two weeks. Tomorrow would be the last day of our inspiring journey and we were all waiting for it with a certain feeling of relief and sadness. All good things need to end at some point.
Darine Aboulezz, AEGEE Valletta – participant