On March 29th 2019 at the “Day Centre Iasis” ( Kentro Imeras Iasis), Athens, was held the event: “European Election 2019: Vote for the Future” by Balkans Beyond Borders, Connect Your City and Hellenic Youth Participation. These three youth oriented organisations joined their forces and coordinated an alternative event for the European Elections through the perspective and the needs of the youth of the EU. The aim of this activity was to raise awareness to young people about the European elections, to exchange ideas about the future of Europe and get informed on different European political positions.
The event started with an interactive game powered by Hellenic Youth Participation, in which the audience had the chance to be informed about the function of the EU and to learn more about the upcoming elections. Afterwards, the candidates took their places for a very interesting debate where all the participants expressed their voices democratically . Five candidate MEPs representing Greece: Dimitra Anagnostopoulou (Educator- DiEM25), Yannis Androulakis (Lawyer- New Democracy), Eric Miltiadis Edman (Sociologist- DiEM25), Stelios Kympouropoulos (Psychiatrist- New Democracy), Gerasimos Papadopoulos (Seismologist- TO POTAMI) and one greek candidate MEP representing Austria: Katerina Anastasiou (Activist- KPO Plus) discussed about the present and the future of Europe. The debate was coordinated by Marianna Skylakakis, founder and editor of A8inea.com which was the communication sponsor of this event.
The first round started by asking the candidates to give examples of one positive and one negative outcome in the EU. Mrs Anagnostopoulou (DiEM25) took the podium and talked about the “brain drain” and the depopulation which has a huge impact in Greece during the last decade. However, she referred to the increased budget for Erasmus+ programmes for the 2021-2027 period. Mrs Anastasiou, who leads the ballot of the political party KPO plus in Austria, mentioned as positive the importance of the ability to travel, work, live and study inside the EU using minimal bureaucratic procedures. On the other hand, she noted the democratic deficits that exist in the EU. Mr Androulakis (New Democracy) cited that the upcoming proposal of the Eurogroup for a common budget among the Member- States of the EMU will lead eventually to consolidation and to a federal EU. He highlighted the lack of European innovation in the competitive global market, as a field that should be immediately developed. Mr Edman (DiEM25), stated that as a politically progressive young man believes in a United Europe in which can envision a political, social and economic future. Mr Kympouropoulos (New Democracy) declared that he supports the idea of a more social EU, a Europe of values, of new ideas and closer to its people. Last but not least, Mr Papadopoulos (TO POTAMI) mentioned that despite some mistakes taken by the decision-makers in the EU, he strongly supports the development of Research and Innovation according to the declaration of the French President, Emmanuel Macron, as well as the importance of Security towards the Member-States.
All the participating candidate MEPs agreed on the necessity of a United Europe against the nationalistic attitudes, which have developed in recent years. The debate continued in the topics of immigration, the gap between North and South, environmental crisis, the rule of law, competition and economic policymaking. The audience had the chance to pose their questions to the candidates, closing the event with a fertile dialogue among the attendees.
The event was implemented in the framework of the project European Youth Together: “Road to the future” Erasmus+ Programme and the “I Choose Europe” campaign run by JEF Europe.
see the event’s photos here