A pan-European 9th of May

, by Ingvil Louise Nürnberg

A pan-European 9th of May

On the 9th of May, JEF members and supporters all over Europe will organize and participate in a large variety of activities aiming to give a pan-European touch to Europe Day.

As a pan-European organization with active sections in most European countries, JEF has a unique opportunity to let its European transnationalism be reflected not only in the belief in a common European project, but also in major activities such as the celebration of the 9th of May.

Local, regional and national levels of JEF will participate in Europe Day events in their village, town or city and give visibility to what JEF believes are crucial values for Europe and for the European Union.

Local, regional and national levels of JEF will participate in Europe Day events in their village, town or city and give visibility to what JEF believes are crucial values for Europe and for the European Union.

What makes Europe Day 2010 even more special is the fact that it will be the 60th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration. On the 9th of May 1950, Robert Schuman changed the course of European history. Schuman was bold and visionary, yet also down to earth. He presented his proposal for an organized Europe as an indispensable tool for the maintenance of peace on the continent. This proposal led to the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community which immediately provided for the setting up of common foundations for economic development between France and Germany. The forefather of the EU was founded.

Earlier this week, JEF issued a joint statement, “Taking the next steps in the federation of Europe”, together with the Union of European Federalists (UEF). This statement stresses how the Coal and Steel Community was a very important first step, not only for the foundation of the European Union but also as a foundation for a European federation which is indispensable to the preservation of peace. Today, after many successes but also several failures, our goal of a European federation has come closer. Not least thanks to the declaration of Schuman sixty years ago, sovereignty is pooled to a great extent in the European Union, whose constitutional architecture has many federal characteristics. The recent entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty has widened the competences of the Union and strengthened the powers of its institutions. However, building a federal Europe is still work in progress. Much remains to be done. Consequently, it is our job as Young European Federalists to continue to call on the institutions of the European Union and on national parliaments to recall the motivation behind the Schuman Declaration and to confirm the Union’s mission to peace, solidarity and enlargement, as these are the next important steps towards the building of a European federation.

On the weekend of the 9th of May, therefore, thousands of JEFers and JEF supporters will get together and engage in innovative, fun and interesting activities to celebrate, not only the Europe we have today but also the future of Europe and the European Union.

On the weekend of the 9th of May, therefore, thousands of JEFers and JEF supporters will get together and engage in innovative, fun and interesting activities to celebrate, not only the Europe we have today but also the future of Europe and the European Union. Here are some of the Europe Day activities you may join in on or experience all around Europe in the days before, on and after the 9th of May:

JEF Albania organised “Can you hear me Europe”, a seminar on the topic of the 9th of May and the Schuman Declaration together with several other NGOs. Several politicians, diplomats, NGO members and other participants from the public as well as media representatives were present.

In Azerbadijan, JEF supporters organised a slide show about the history of the 9th of May, distributed information about JEF, and convinced people to sign a statement to make Europe Day an international holiday. Furthermore, there were banners with the logo of JEF, the EU flag and the Youth Club of Azerbadijan on display, in addition to live music, exhibitions and food fairs and distribution of star shaped stickers.

JEF Belgium held an event in cooperation with the European Movement Belgium. The event had a big colourful stand with an EU quiz (mostly about Schuman and the Belgian presidency) and a Sjoelbak game (a typical game from Flanders adapted to a JEF context as faces of Belgian MEPs were stuck to round objects used to play Sjoelbak and the public had to slide these into the right political party hole) with a t-shirt as a price for the one with the best score. Saïd El Khadroui (Socialists), Frieda Brepoels (EFA), mark Tarabella (Belgian MEP) were also invited to play the Sjoelbak game. JEF Europe and the Union of European Federalists were also present, involving visitors in discussions and presenting the organisations.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, JEF together with the EUROPLUS organisation and a drama section from the local high school, organised a EURObus which toured with the actors who made symbolic performances with flags of all EU countries. Young Euroepan activists shared promotion materials and talked with local people about their feelings towards the EU. The bus visited 5 towns in one region.

In Finland, JEF Finland and JEF Helsinki set up a tent in Esplanadi Park on the 7th of May when Europe Day was celebrated this year in order not to interfere with Mother’s Day. Together they created a “overthrow the Commission” game. Passers-by were invited to throw tennis balls at tin cans with the photos of all the EU Commissioners on them. The political message behind this fun activity was that we want a politically accountable federal government for the EU instead of today’s technocratic Commission. All those who tried their luck were rewarded with euro coins made of chocolate. Among the participants were the prime minister of Finland Matti Vanhanen, MEP Anneli Jäätteenmäki as well as a number of Finnish MEP’s. JEF Finland also announced the Young European of the Year during the Europe Day celebrations. This year’s winner was figure skater Laura Lepistö who has medaled at three European Championships in a row and been the best European lady at both the Olympic Games and World Championships this year. She was given the prize as she is a great role model to young people everywhere in Europe.

JEF Hungary participated in the Europe Day street festival (stands, concerts, theatre, faires) in the centre of Budapest with a JEF info desk providing information about the organisation, our political programme, the Schuman Declaration and other EU-related topics.

In Italy, several partner organizations joined in organizing and contributing to the JEF events on Europe Day. The activities ranged from stands with distribution of flyers, public debates and debates in high schools, seminars with guest speakers, concerts, competitions, round tables, collection of signatures for a European Federation, historical readings, expositions, information stands, meetings with young political leaders, participation in local city council meetings, speeches on the Schuman Declaration and the future of the EU, to model European Parliament, which took place in Turin, Pisa, Florence, Forlì, Ferrara, Bologna, Parma, Cesenatico, Modena, Reggio Emilia, Genoa, La Spezia, Gallarate, Milan, Desenzano del Garda, Erba, Brescia, Como Pavia, Monza, Verona, Padova, Trento, Elmas, Sassari, Rome, Urbino, Lanuvio, Pescara, Bari, Faenza, Lugo, Savona, Ventimiglia, Napoli and Taranto. On the 9th of May in Prato, the section placed European flags in the streets of the city. In Torino, on the other hand, the JEF section collaborated with the City of Torino in the organisation of a Concert for Europe, which took place in front of the town hall. The concert saw an intervention of a representative for the City of Torino and a speech from Stefano Rossi, secretary of the JEF section of Torino. Around 150 signatures were collected and JEFers distributed some brochures and info material about the event and about federalism. As Torino is the European Youth Capital this year, JEFers distributed info material also on the occasion of the Student Performing Festival, one of the events organised by the city for the young people. These events took place on 8th, 9th and10th of May. On the 21st of may JEF Torino will have a conference for high school students , with an intervention of Lucio Levi, President of UEF Italy.

The 9th of May in Latvia was celebrated by JEF Latvia in cooperation with the youth club ”Club the House” and several embassies and other organisations that inform society about the EU. They all participated in a European Garden Party in one of Riga’s parks.

In Madrid, JEFers organised a seminar on “Democracy in Europe! (Give Europeans a voice!)” in the University Carlos III on the 6th of May with several prominent speakers (Carlos María Bru, President from the Federal Council of the European Movement in Spain and Carlos Moreiro, Professor specialized in EU-issues) talking about the ECI and the democratic principle in the Treaty of Lisbon.

JEF Malta will celebrate Europe Day by organizing a European wine and film night on the 9th of May, showing the film “Goodbye Lenin” and distributing EU and JEF related material.

In Moldova JEFers participated in a street action in the city centre on the 9th of May, offering booklets and leaflets to the public. Furthermore, if you were lucky you could catch hold of a 9th of May t-shirt, lay a puzzle in the shape of Europe, or visit an informal Europe party in the evening.

JEF UK organised three conferences in London, Leeds and Bristol respectively, in cooperation with the European Movement UK. The topic for discussion was various aspects of the Schuman Declaration.

Furthermore, there were different activities organized in Albania, Belarus, France, Norway, Switzerland and several other countries.

JEFers taking part in the events shot pictures or a short film of their activities in the framework of Europe Day. All contributions will be compiled into one presentation, which will be published online. Furthermore, there will be a competition between all contributions and the winner will receive a small prize.

To be sure, the Europe Day 2010 with its variety of inventive, interesting and fun activities will be a day to remember. And hopefully, it will also be the start of a yearlong tradition in JEF to celebrate the Europe we as young, European and federalists believe in and work to realise.

Image: 9th of May - Europe Day. Source: European Movement

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