Do not let violence dominate this historic moment
Today’s signing of the accession treaties, an event of profound importance in the history of European integration, signifying the end of the divide in our continent, must not be overshadowed by the violence in Syntagma Square in Athens.
"It is a major disappointment to see protestors venting their fury through violence" stated Alison Weston, President of JEF-Europe (Young European Federalists).
"More than 200 young Europeans were at Syntagma – which means Constitution in English - a few days ago welcoming enlargement with a range of festive activities and campaigns for a citizens Europe and a European Federal Constitution."
"In addition, over 85% of the people who took part in our street-referendum on the issue supported the idea of a European Federal Constitution."
"Yet more activists are at the border crossings today between EU Member States and the new members, welcoming enlargement and informing ordinary citizens about the benefits of EU membership in a symbolic demonstration of European Unity. The European Union has helped guarantee peace in Europe for more than fifty years – we must not forget that either."
"This is all a stark contrast to protestors’ senseless throwing of Molotov cocktails in Athens."
The street activities, held on 12th April at Syntagma*, were part of the project ‘Europe! A A Generation Ahead’ run by JEF-Europe. With more than 60 local debates and two major events, the project has involved many thousands of young people in the debate about the Future of Europe being conducted in the European Convention, and the enlargement of the European Union.
"The huge interest in our project has shown that young people are interested and engaged in peaceful and coherent work towards a democratic EU," continued Alison Weston.
"Let this day be remembered for its historical significance – the acceptance of 10 new member states."
"This enlargement is a great step forward, yet we will only be able to say that Europe is truly united if the European Convention drafts a true European Federal Constitution to ensure the rights of all the EU’s citizens are respected and the EU’s institutions gain full democratic legitimacy."
* Photos of the event can be found at: www.jef-europe.net/resources/
Website of Europe! A Generation Ahead: www.constitutional-convention.net