Addressing Europe’s Unfinished Business 2015 http://www.caux.ch
Europe

Having a team of over 20 young ambassadors from different countries starting with the UK and finishing with Azerbaijan, the conference definitely secures the environment of ‘all countries involved’ approach and ensures the representation of as many “Council of Europe” members as possible. 

Four seminar days have exceptionally emphasized the understanding of common issues and values and how those impact the European society. It not only strikes to have a negative burden on Europe, but also hampers the way it works and operates freely and easily. Considering massive migration, ethnicity, ideology and open-conflict area issues those all tend to weaken the cohesion within the European Union and even the cooperation with members of the Council of Europe. As it has been stressed by many keynote speakers economic, social and political situation are at stake where politicians seem to lack a constructive argument and miss a chance of focusing on opportunities same as managing the issues, e.g. highly stressed unwanted migration is not necessarily seen as an issue but rather as an opportunity, especially considering the number of young migrants. Europe, as a matter of fact, is undeniably developing on two speeds in all terms which might be an obstacle regarding crucial aspects. 

Due to raised issues and instabilities, Europe is gradually missing its common goal and becoming slow when it comes to acknowledgments. More people are concerned about their identity where the notion of fear is escalating due to the inside wars, traumas, perceptions of a stance, conflicts between migrants and local population, the lack of sharing the information and establishing the conversation first with no historical prejudices. In fact, media, education and the mind-set ended up being the main key areas underlined. Media was seen to have a more negative impact rather than positive, shaping individuals’ idea of the issue and forming already biased opinion on the matter. In fact, the fear created by politicians using media is an outcome of the lack of knowledge where media is evident to be manipulated and accelerated for personal use. Here education is the following key issue since many individuals do not understand what the European Union can do. What the main values and interests it endorses. Not only the young generation has to be better educated in terms of European Union history, values and ideology, but also older generations especially in Eastern parts of Europe where individuals should learn and understand fully in order to criticize and discuss the matters to maximum. 

Finally, crucial to this is a mindset. Every citizen of the country has the right to decide how he/she wishes to think and see the issue. However, only by changing the mindset and getting rid of unnecessary prejudices – people may actually reach an agreement and notice to have common values, interests and ideas. Hence, history, politics, military, external actors and economy interference is the element that stops nations to reach agreements and creates a vacuum which is very well sealed. In addition to all this, the seminar has exceptionally concentrated on coming back to common grounds and identifying the sense of belonging where people are put first with a big emphasis on apology, avoiding prejudices and securing solidarity.              

To conclude I would like to share a (bit modified) quote ‘Choose solidarity, tolerance and distinctive European approach where only healthy identity and healthy relationship with neighbouring countries will ensure harmony and the promotion of shared values’.

Any of you interested, who would like to explore and read more about the conference click here, and here.