During the third week of July in Topola, small place in central Serbia (44° 45′ east longitude, 20° 21′ north latitude), many young people from all around Europe were brought together to discuss, learn, exchange ideas and experiences, cooperate, create, improve, search, express one’s opinion, and all above mentioned for the purpose of making better and Greener Europe. One of the main thoughts concerning the whole programme and the seminar itself was to set up something substantial and noticeable in order not to make this gathering just a nice reminiscence.
Last working day (“Future cooperation day”) was anticipated for making concrete projects and therefore one of the workshops was designed to be starting point for the planned FYEG campaign. Because of the quite long list of current political, social and environmental issues we finally agreed that the question of minorities, migrants and multicultural society should be identified as our key priority for the next period. We are aware that the problem of national tensions, prejudices, lack of tolerance and compassion is deeply routed within people and in order to make friendly environment we should initially build firmer grounds for making friendlier society.
Therefore, during this workshop 15-person international working group started preparing the whole campaign that will run from spring 2003 until the elections of the European Parliament in the summer of 2004. In order to get rid of stereotypes and raise people’s awareness about these problems the campaign was meant to include number of activities in many different parts of Europe. Next summer in Bosnia FYEG will organize a seminar about minority rights in the Balkans. Countries of this region have a very similar and related history, culture and language, but still are culture, history and language different in many ways. Thus, we should encourage and support them with this initiation to understand all their differences, respect them and learn from them in order to avoid the same mistakes that were made in the past. The rest of 2003 will be marked with some other activities such as FYEG study seminar in Strasbourg about migration towards the EU, and hereby we aim to develop our political statement on migration, minorities and cultural diversity within Europe.
Final step of the whole project is going to take part in summer 2004 in Brussels or Strasbourg during the elections of the EU parliament, when young Europeans will symbolically build ‘fortress Europe’ and tear it down in order to show that Europe should be a cradle for all its citizens, not only the EU members. With this act on this specific destination we aimed to put emphasis on politicians’ and EU’s role to take positive stance on these issues. There were also some other suggestions such as organizing a solidarity traveling summer camp along the EU/non-EU borders or demonstrations on the same day in every European capital in order to draw more attention and spread the idea as much as possible. In support of all the actions and the whole project we will also produce all needed information materials, brochures and newsletters, as well as set up a regularly updated, own website in the beginning of 2003.
Learning about different cultures and their way of thinking is greatly needed in order to accept and respect all the differences and similarities between us. Therefore, it is our duty as young people to start thinking and acting differently in order to contribute to positive social changes and collaterally form our future, without forgetting the past.