"Europe! A Generation Ahead" - Federalism in the mainstream debate
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Athens, 12 April 2003
“European Identity is like pornography. You cannot define it, but certainly you recognise it when you see it”, Alison Weston, President of JEF Europe, pointed out yesterday evening at the official opening of the International Youth Meeting in Athens. This 3-day event is the second large-scale initiative of JEF under the project “Europe! A Generation Ahead”, run with the support of the European Commission.
In front of 200 young Europeans, who gathered in the historic building of the Old Parliament, Ms Weston presented the new “Convention approach” of the European Union, where decisions are not taken behind closed doors but with the active role of the citizens. She described the war in Iraq as a “ghost in the room” for European politics that brought forward the question of how to make Europe able to deal with crisis.
The debate started with the remarks of Paraskevas Avgerinos, member of the Convention and of the Greek national Parliament. In his speech he emphasized that the “Unification of the EU, is an endless procedure” saying also that the Convention may be the answer to many of the citizens demands. Mr. Avgerinos stated that we do not need to create new institutions for Europe, but try to use the existing ones in a more productive way.
The President of the Greek Council of the European Movement and member of the European Parliament Mr. Mihalis Papayiannakis, subscribed for JEF’s appeals and pointed out that this is the first time Europe is united in a peaceful way. “We may set difficult goals but we can make them happen”, he said, using as an example the launch of the euro and the enlargement process.
The Athens event continues today, Saturday 12 April, with debates in working groups and a major information activity on Europe and a street referendum on the European Constitution on Syntagma square, from 14:30 to 17:00.
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