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Youth UPF

Youth UPF-Europe Hosts Conversations about a Greater Europe

Vienna, Austria - About 40 people joined Youth UPF Europe's “Conversations about a Greater Europe” in Vienna on June 3, 2014. The event was organized in cooperation with ACUNS, the Academic Council of the UN System Liaison Office in Vienna. ”Identity, borders and peace” were the three themes the young gathering tackled.

Lukas Wank, founder of Shabka, expressed concerns that European democracies are dissolving due to the strong entanglement of economy, EU politics and the capital market. He invoked the necessity of a “counter-democracy” and “push from the public.” He stressed that Europe should be a “conflict project,” meaning a space of public debate.

Carina Autengruber, European youth delegate of the Austrian National Youth Council, stressed the importance of the European Union and young people being actively involved in it for the future of the continent. She emphasized that “Europe is a historic event, that we are part of” and that “youth is part of the solution, not a problem that needs to be solved by others.”

Katarzyna Winiecka, artist and activist with the Transnational Forum on Refugee and Migrant Struggles, gave an overview on the development of the movement and her involvement; she brought up the issue of non-citizenship, people living in Europe but facing severe limitations in their civil rights and freedoms. She reported on the upcoming protest march to Brussels by refugees and supporters from all around Europe.

After these inputs that were partly concerned and partly hopeful, participants discussed the following questions in a World Café Style:

- How European am I?
- How am I European?
- What is not European?
- Where does Europe end?
- (How) Does the EU contribute to peace?

Although the topics and questions raised were serious, participants felt that through the conversations in small groups and by taking an active look together, some progress could be made.

After one hour of discussion, people were invited write down their ideas, further questions and statements on a sheet of paper. To read those and later comments, and to contribute to the ongoing conversation, click here.

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