Hello. You were elected within the bureau of the Young Démocrates for Europe during the last Congress in Bilbao in September. For your team, Europe has to show the face, then tell us who you are and what you are doing…
Can you introduce yourself and tell us in a few words about your background and your local political commitments?
My name is Miroslava (Mirka) DEMKOVA (but from January 2015 I will officially use my husband’s surname CALEGARI, as it is customary in my country once you get married).
My story has begun 29 years ago in a small provincial town in the “forgotten” corners of eastern Slovakia, where my mother and the world, in Sobrance hospital heard me crying for the very first time. For my whole life, I lived in the poorest parts of my country where I’m constantly facing the differences within European regions. Region of Kosice and Presov is only few kilometers away from Ukraine border, where Schengen area and European Union nowadays end.
I’m strongly linked to my roots, the ancestors of my father’s family moved to Kosice region from Chust (Xуст), city of Transcarpathian region, which today belongs to Ukraine. Until 1919, it was a part of Austrian Hungarian Empire, after Trianon treaty it belonged to Czechoslovakia.
Slovakia, however, throughout its history, was replaced by several States establishments and different political systems. The territory of present-day Slovakia after Kelts was once part of the historic Roman Empire, Samo’s Empire, Great Moravia, Hungary, the Habsburg Empire and Austria – Hungary. Threatened by Tatars, Turks, we have been part of Eastern block countries and under the strong influence of USSR. Nevertheless we freed ourselves from the yoke of servitude and, today, we have been on our way to build up freedom and democracy within the country for over 20 years.
I spent my careless childhood in Michalovce, a town with 40.000 inhabitants. It will always remain my home, the place where my family lives and where my first friendships will last forever.
I consider my catholic education as another milestone in my life. I experienced church doctrine and it was also an opportunity for making first confrontations. I think at that time I started my own fight against presumptions and various dogmas one can believe in. I was always interested in reasons of various results and searching to enlarge my general knowledge. I believe it is only one barrier in our lives… If there is something we do not know about, we are used to be aware of/have fear; in this way, we are building up the walls inside of us, on the long term accepted by society, but usually they are convenient only for small concrete groups of people.
My whole life linked me to crush down these barriers, discrimination, violence and haters.
I really did not care about politicians and politics at all until 2009 when I met Antonio Parziale who founded European Democratic Party in Slovakia at that time. I was amazed by the project, the values EDP is building on and I became the first face of youth platform within the party.
I’ve been the part of our European family within YDE from 2010 and this experience gave me the opportunity to know how European policies are made. I’ve been a part of EDP group MEPs and members’ work. This is when my European identity gain forces and until nowadays I am a proud European but I know and appreciate my Slovak roots.
Between 2009 and 2014, I ran in the different elections always with notable personal results. It pushed me to participate on this project and being active in youth politics, encouraging other young people not to be afraid to walk toward their dreams. I’ve been volunteer, candidate, a head of coalitions’ campaign, president of Young Europeans association and today I’m a leader of international, European youth organisation of European Democratic Party within the European Parliament.
Beyond your civic commitment, can you tell us what are your activities / leisure activities?
I love spending time by travelling, in the nature, in the middle of animals or with my closest family. My passions are charity, discovering different cultures and never ending broadening of my knowledge.
I am strongly oriented to move constantly forward the borders of my mind, to break my fears and possible presumptions. But my weakness still remains my health that I am not enough taking care of, which is hurting for the people who love me the most… And this is one of my next biggest challenges :)
The team elected, widely renewed around you, is working for almost 3 months. Can you indicate us the mission of your team?
I’m honoured our members put their trust in me to be their president for the next 2 years at the European level. Few years ago, I’d never had imagine I’d be the voice of thousands young Europeans today.
My task is to be the head of our Board and manage the continuity of work of our teams within the Association in line with a given global mission and strategy. Representing our work at the international level is one of my duties too. As European youth association with our representatives in the European Parliament, we have a possibility to work on European policy-making, and bring solid contribution within the processes. This is one of my most important aims.
Finally, according to you, what should be the priority of Europe and YDE for these next 2 years?
As I’ve been a part of YDE Board since 2010, I had an idea during last years of what the next direction of the Association should be. I said European project of EDP amazed me from the first time and until today I am proud of our values, based on European fathers’ principles, purity of ideas and independency. These are the ones every young person should to know. One of our most important duties is therefore to spread our European message and our MEPs, MPs and members work on that at home in all European regions. This message is for the young people, their friends, parents and family. For all European citizens.
On the other hand, on our shoulders, there is the responsibility, for thousands of young people living within the Europe that share our common values, to give them all the attention they need. In recent years, European project went through a lot of turbulences and it is constantly attacked by raising populism politics, mostly on national levels, as results of wide economic crisis we are experiencing. There are various needs of Europeans but what is dangerous is to let them believe Europe is something far they cannot have impact on…Young Democrats for Europe will be an example of being Europeans, proud but responsible ones. My aim is to give the guarantee that in next 2 years, we will be the eyes, the ears and the voice of all European people linked to our European values and beliefs.