The pros and cons of the membership

The network students in the debate over the European UnionIMG 20181112 141843a

On the first day of this year seminar representatives of the students from 7 countries who arrived here for the annual international workshop took part in the debate over the weaknesses and strengths of the European Union membership. Having thoroughly prepared and considered the pro and against arguments their astonished us with impressive and substantive  speeches.

“Europe is a community. Europe is unity. Europe is a chance. Just the fact that we have the possibility to sit here next to each other is an example that this international dialogue and relationship are working” - that’s how one of the emotional speeches started just to be a while later opposed with strong and firm:

 “- The EU means unification of its people.

- The EU means political, economical and social future but only for the countries that are already rich and stable.

- The EU is killing national identity and forcing its members to trade national heritage for economical existence.

- The EU does not leave enough space for the member countries’ own decisions.

- With the refugee crisis, member states are forced to accept and support the refugees with the money they simply don’t have. In the times of freedom, the EU, one of the biggest alliances, does NOT allow the choice.”

 

IMG 20181112 145826

All the criticism was well supported with examples based on the countrys’ own EU experience. However, these were not mainly the accusations that we listened to, advantages appeared in abundance and referred to many aspects of daily life such as possibilities of studying abroad due to the existence of educational programmes like Erasmus+, simplified travelling without visas or border passport controls that boosts the tourist industry and country economy just to start with a few. We were also reminded of development funds and direct payments received from the EU budget that help different countries improve their economy, not to mention free trade and common market opportunities. The speakers highlighted the sense of unity that they view as a crucial value and the cornerstone of the EU along with democracy guarding the citizens’ human rights, equality and freedom, nonetheless, Brexit posing as an example of the EU crisis, and the possible reasons behind it did not escape their attention either.

These questions were raised again and even more issues were discussed during  the group meetings that followed the official debate. The young representatives of the 7 nations discussed them and listened to each others’ opinions with excitement and great interest. Yet there are still some uncertainties that remain… Will  the EU citizens still keep their faith with the United Europe? Will The EU continue to stand for support, solidarity and teamwork? Will the EU continue to appear as a real chance or  will  it become a dream of the past? Time will tell.

archive seminar reporter

© 2019 Network-Marienthal