Democracy requires involvement – Report from European Parliament simulation

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In the European Parliament simulation, that was held during the Erasmus+ youth exchange “Democracy requires involvement!”, organized by iDemo Institute for Democracy, collaborating with Lithuanian NGO “Unique Projects” and three more organisations from Slovenia, Romania and Portugal, participants were asked questions about resolving the current migrant crisis; the legal nature of the EU-Turkey Statement of 18th March, the Greece context, as well about the social integration of refugees and economical measures regarding this achievement. As a result of the project, participants designed the following report, where they propose possible solution to the crisis.

 REPORT

on the situation regarding migrant crisis

 The European Parliament,

– having regard to the Geneva Convention of 1951 and the additional protocol thereto, and in particular the right to non-refoulement,

– having regard to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,

– having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

–  having regard to the Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989 and to the European Parliament resolution of 27 November 2014 on the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,

–  having regard to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982, the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea of 1974 and the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue of 1979 as amended,

– having regard to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all migrant workers and members of their families of 1990,

– having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

– having regard to the Commission Communication Action Plan on Unaccompanied Minors (2010-2014)(COM(2010)0213) and to the European Parliament resolution of 12 September 2013 on the situation of unaccompanied minors in the EU,

– having regard to its resolution of 29 April 2015 on the latest tragedies in the Mediterranean and EU migration and asylum policies,

– having regard to its resolution of 10 September 2015 on migration and refugees in Europe,

State the following:

The 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees has created a system for providing protection to people at risk of persecution in their own countries.

Asylum seekers are drawn to particular countries by a range of obvious factors: proximity, family and ethnic community networks, employment opportunities and wage levels, generosity of welfare systems, levels of tolerance within existing societies, and the accessibility of determination systems.

Reforming the on-shore asylum system to bring more transparency, equity and consistency into our refugee responses is likely to win the support of at least the general parties of our EP simulation.

Members of the European Parliament have carefully considered how  to provide best assistance and protection to refugees.

After thorough discussion on the issues stated above ALDE (Liberals) group proposed:

  • EU with open borders
  • 2 billion Euros to integrate refugees
  • Accepting quotes proportional of the dimension/population/conditions of each EU country
  • EU intelligence service
  • Increase the military service
  • Security system implementing the “blue card” system and finger scanning in the borders.
  • Implement intercultural education in the European countries.
  • Social integration by giving intercultural education at schools.

This proposal aims to complement the existing substantial EU aid resettlement programs.

It was clear for all the parties that more military action should be taken in accordance to expand the security of the host countries.

At first, the Socialists considered agreeing on this proposal but they required the creation of fully secular states in the EU where any religion sign should be forbidden. However, after discussion they agreed on the Liberals Proposal.

The Right Wing had a really strong position towards the refugee’s crisis. In their opinion Europe should not receive any kind of asylum seekers. They proposed the construction of fences in the borders of European countries. In order to help on the resolution of the conflict they proposed sending military help to Syria. Afterwards, they agreed on the proposal only if each country had the possibility to choose whether they desire to be part of this measure or not.

When it comes to the Conservatives they were in favor of all the statements proposed by the liberals.

So, Liberals, Socialists and Conservatives succeeded to a settlement, as well as the Right Wing but the condition beforehand reported.

Democracy requires involvement!

iDEMO Institute for democracy has successfully implemented its first youth exchange – „Democracy requires involvement!”, supported by European Commission through Erasmus+ Programme.

The project involved 32 participants coming from 5 European countries – Croatia, Lithuania (association “Unique Projects”), Portugal, Romania and Slovenia. The participants were accommodated and had workshops in My Way hostel Zagreb – we would like to thank its staff for the hospitality and service provided.

The motive for implementation of the project was the worrying trend that the needs analysis showed: a low level of youth participation in the democratic process and civil society in general. The reasons lie in poor understanding of democracy and the process of political decision-making, lack of trust in government and non-governmental institutions, and most importantly, the fact that young people feel helpless and do not perceive opportunities to initiate change.

In order to achieve the project objectives, the exchange has been designed as a combination of workshops, panel discussions, lectures, group work, simulations and exercises related to the topic, involvement in the democratic processes and engagement in the civil society. The main focus was set on developing a sense of initiative and involvement, and identifying opportunities for development initiatives in the local community.

During the exchange we were hosted by the city administration, and the participants received information on how the City of Zagreb meets the needs of young people and encourages the involvement of young people in the social life, as well as how it cooperates with NGOs in creating programmes that are relevant for youth.
A reception in the House of Human Rights was also organized, where participants learned from real-life examples how they organize actions in order to address and solve issues that the community, or even society in general, is facing.

At the end of the exchange an evaluation workshop was held. The results showed that the participants were truly satisfied with the quality of the program and its implementation.

We would like to emphasize that the project is not finished yet, since we are in the dissemination phase. In order to put into practice knowledge and skills acquired our participants got the task to implement civic actions in their local community, and each of the partners is currently working on these.

We believe that the implementation of this project encouraged our participants to actively participate in the society and create better opportunities for themselves and for others and to the benefit of their communities.

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Winter break with Erasmus+ and “Think, work, create!”

“January is the time of the winter break. Everybody grabs their skis, snowboards, and googles and races their feet towards the nearest mountain or hill to go crazy in the white fluff. Instead of immersing in this snowy scenario, I was to spend my winter break in a city. Studying. Honestly, not for a minute had I suspected I would have had fun. As is turned out, fun was far too little of a word to describe that Erasmus + youth exchange.
Right at the start, on a bus to Kaunas, I met my first exchange companion. From the very first moment Ania and I got along, and the full of laughter and chattering journey was a clear sign that my winter break was going to rock. Later, it turned out it was out of this world.
It must have been outwordly great, as all 28 of us were willing to work hard and play even harder. Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Italy together broke the ice in a snap and then on cracked business cases and challenges one by one in the sweat of our brows. Even though we could only learn a few words in our languages from each other, with English as our official language and “we are awesome people” as our official motto, we had more than enough to create a glorious team.
And our Polish-Lithuanian-Latvian-Italian teams were smashing. Especially, we showed it in the finale when we were presenting our business start-ups to people in Kaunas. Even though it was at least -10, with our Spike Shoes project we heated up the city! It was amazing to have walked the main Kaunas avenue and discuss our project with locals. I was awed how perfectly we all got on with the project and how people in the streets motivated us to make our shoes real.
Even though we did not manage to create real Spike Shoes, real was the friendship we made in Kaunas. We instantly became close. I don’t know whether it was the power the Vytautas water gave us or the charm of Kaunas’ alleys, but we all created one big Erasmus+ family. We got to know each other and our cultures, we found out how wonderful it is to be so close in united Europe. All of us laughing, working, singing and dancing together – once we even managed to make the front office guy to dance with us! We had tears in our eyes when it came to say goodbye, so we chose to say “Arrivederci, Do zobaczenia, Uz drīzu tikšanos, Greitai pasimatysime!” – see you soon instead!
The Erasmus+ experience I had makes me sure we really will see each other soon. Together, through rich national evenings and hard out-of-the-comfort-zone tasks we learned how diverse, yet how similar we all are. We proved that there are no mountains high enough to stop us when we are together. Next winter break, don’t tell me about skis or snowboards, I am on Erasmus+!”

– Agata, participant from Poland in youth exchange “Think, work, create!” sharing her experiences.