Per un’Europa democratica e tollerante. European Youth Debate, Milano

di Ornella Darova.

European Parliament by What Europe means to me

Dal 20 al 22 aprile scorsi si è tenuto a Milano, tra diverse prestigiose sedi – il Palazzo Clerici, il Palazzo Giureconsulti e il Palazzo delle Stelline -, la seconda edizione di European Youth Debate, organizzata dall’associazione di studenti Bocconi European Generation, con il patrocinio del Parlamento Europeo. L’iniziativa ha ricevuto il supporto di molte istituzioni, tra cui l’ufficio informazione del Parlamento Europeo di Milano, l’ufficio di Rappresentanza della Commissione Europea, la Camera di Commercio di Milano, l’ISPI, l’ICE e così via. Il tema di questa edizione era “Europe 2030: beyound boundaries”, in linea con le celebrazioni dei 60 anni dei trattati di Roma. All’evento hanno partecipato 80 studenti da 18 diversi Paesi europei. Alla conferenza di apertura, sono intervenuti gli europarlamentari Brando Benifei e Elly Schlein, Ersilia Vaudo, head of policy office e chief diversity officer della European Space Agency, Antonio Villafranca, head of European Programme, Marco Piantini, consigliere del Primo Ministro italiano per gli affari europei, e Ornella Darova, membro de iMille e presidente dei Jo Cox Laureates (associazione istituita da iMille in memoria di Jo Cox). Ecco il discorso della nostra Ornella:

IN THE BELIEF that the European Union of today is unfit to face the major challenges of our time,
IN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT that the European future is in the people’s hands,
IN THE CONVICTION that European unity, rather than division, is the best way forward,
we, as young Europeans, have come together 60 years after the signing of the Treaty of Rome to stand up for Europe. We believe that it is our duty as the next generation to contribute to the shaping of our common destiny, and we invite every European to join us in this endeavour.

This is how the Rome Manifesto begins. The manifesto project was organised by the German-Italian Centre for European Excellence Villa Vigoni and the non-profit association United Europe, a pro-European initiative headquartered in Hamburg. The authors from Italy, Germany, Croatia, the Netherlands, Britain, Austria, Greece and other European countries, all in their twenties and thirties, were chosen by both organisations for their intellectual strength and their commitment to the European idea. I had the honour to be selected in this group, and it’s a great pleasure today to present this project in front of this young, enthusiastic and politically engaged public.

With the Rome Manifesto, a group of leading young European scholars and professionals has put forward an ambitious proposal for the renewal of the European project. The 18 authors have presented the Manifesto at the Residence of the German Ambassador in Rome as part of the official celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the signing of Treaty of Rome. The project gained the support of many Universities, Foundations, think tanks and associations. In the document, we propose the founding of a European Federal Union based on more democratic and transparent institutions as well as a clear definition of competences. In our vision, the Federal Union would be headed by a single European President with an executive branch evolved from today’s European Commission. For the implementation of our plan, we propose that delegates from all European countries should assemble and draw up a constitution for the European Federal Union.

“We, the young generation, see it as our duty to not only uphold Europe’s legacy, but to strive for its urgent renewal,” the manifesto says. We have made a brain storming and tried to think about the most remarkable achievements that Europe has conquered. The ones that today are mostly taken for granted. The ones that could make an anti-European meditate again on his beliefs. We immediately pointed out a common citizenship, open borders and easy traveling; a single and stable currency; a long lasting period of peace; Erasmus and education exchanges; a new boost to innovation through the European patent and funds to R&D; actions on climate change; human rights’ protection and many many others. We believe that all these aspects have allowed us to meet other Europeans and concretely enhanced our conviction of belonging together.

If we wish to live together in peace, prosperity and solidarity under one roof, and here I cite the manifesto again, we must understand what it means to be European. We, the authors of the manifesto, believe that we can take pride both in our own country and feel at home in the rich diversity of other European countries, cities and regions. These components exist in harmony and are not mutually exclusive, being part of a mosaic called European identity. As the Greek myth of Europa shows, migration flows have always been a part of it, both challenging and enriching our identity. Everyone can be European regardless of one’s place of birth, as long as he or she shares Europe’s culture and values, and can contribute to the shaping and to the future of the European project.
Being European means to be an active part of a broader community, facing common problems and embracing a common destiny. After World War II, Europe embarked on the path of integration because nationalism had brutally failed. Freedom and democracy constitute the foundation of European societies and cannot be unbound from respect for the rule of law. As outcomes of modern European political thinking, liberalism and human rights have provided the ground for the post-war reflection on equality, social justice and peace.
And I will conclude reading the last words of the manifesto.
As the young generation of Europeans, we are convinced that change is necessary and possible. Standing on the shoulders of giants, we are not afraid of claiming that the true European spirit is democratic, tolerant, pluralist and cosmopolitan.
Now, not tomorrow, is the time to show that we can build our house on stones so solid that it can withstand any storm. – Direttore Raoul Minetti

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