Resolution on Identity, Culture and Education (YDE Congress 2018)

Strengthening European values and shared identity through culture and education

We, Young Democrats for Europe, see growing populist movements and Euroscepticism as a threat to European values and democratic societies. We consider the best way to address those challenges is through Education and Culture to improve open mindedness and develop multicultural comprehension.

Strengthen European shared identity

Our modern European societies are the result of a common history and not the result of a sum of single national narratives, we feel it is necessary for young Europeans to become aware of this reality. And what places would be more appropriate than schools to ensure a historical transmission and a citizen awakening?

Inexpensive and symbolic, history textbooks co-constructed between European countries may be an appropriate response. Recognizing the specificities of each culture, this manual may develop a transnational perspective of the relations between countries in order to propose a common and enriched History to high school students who could then better understand each national vision.

Now in a context of renewed internal tensions on the continent and in the face of the emergence of populist political forces, it is more necessary than ever to carry out this project.

In line with school education, Europe Day must be a crucial moment in the education of young Europeans. We propose to make this Day special in European schools in particular with special events on European History and values.

Improve mobility across Europe

Geographic mobility rates within EU countries and between EU countries are around one percent, which is twice lower than mobility rates in the US, Canada or Australia.

We know however that geographical mobility can be a powerful tool to fight youth unemployment and reinforce the European cohesion. We should also notice that today young people moving to another EU countries are rather well-educated and come from wealthy origins, which are less likely to suffer from long unemployment periods. Our challenge is therefore to develop geographical mobility for all young Europeans.

In past decades, Europe launched several programs to ensure Young Europeans are able to get education or work experience abroad. Former Leonardo program, current Erasmus+ and Comenius actions managed to increase awareness on intra-European
mobility for a short period of time, and lowered barriers to move abroad to study or work. But more should be done.

We advocate for new initiatives to be launched Europe-wide. We aim first at increasing support from the Erasmus program to associations. Young Europeans are engaged in many associations to lead and carry out projects in different fields from sport to poverty mitigation. Those young leaders should benefit more from EU action to foster youth commitment across the continent.

Second, we would like to set a common framework for secondary school’s final exam in order to initiate convergence in Europe for access to higher education and professional education.

Third, we think time has come to launch a renewal of the so-called “European classes” initiated by public authorities. More Europeans should take part in such classes and spend a semester in another European country before they turn 18.

Build a common cultural policy for young people

Since 1992, culture is a European competence. It is therefore very important in the process of European construction: it makes it possible to think of it as a global project and not only as the addition of national perspectives. Art and culture have a prominent role to increase the sense of belonging to a community, and ensure social integration, economic development, equity and inclusion. That’s why it makes sense to promote it at the European scale.

It is necessary to make culture accessible for as many people as possible. For that, on one hand, it could be interesting to connect territories in which culture is not always accessible.

First, like the European capitals of culture in terms of selection, we could imagine traveling exhibitions from the largest European museums in medium-sized city areas that do not have internationally known museums and thus give a new impetus to the local artistic community.

In parallel, long-term partnerships can also be created between different urban areas and more rural ones, thus bringing internationally renowned artists to areas that would otherwise not have had access to that, and reciprocally publicizing works that would not have been otherwise. For this, an European impulse would be relevant.

On the other hand, we have to admit that Eurovision is currently the only time of the year when Europeans find themselves side by side around their television. That is why we could imagine the creation of a European media dedicated to youth, which would raise awareness of our common membership while showing the richness of the diversity of our different nations.

Finally, a third proposal could be the creation of a European “culture voucher” that could be distributed to 18-year-olds through a system of partnerships with different cultural institutes allowing them to access a cultural offer for free. This would promote access to cultural practices of various kinds for all young Europeans: opera, theater, but also cinema and concerts.

These three proposals are therefore intended to raise the European public’s awareness of culture, even outside large urban areas, and also to sensitize the youth to the awareness of the richness that exists within the European Union.

Back to our June’s event on European Borders in Paris

The Young Democrats for Europe organised a seminar in Paris on “European borders” on the 12th, 13th and 14th of June. This event mobilised members of the UDI Jeunes and Jeunes Démocrates to work on three different issues: European and international cooperation, cultural identity and education, as well as defence and security.

Young Democrats for Europe Board members welcomed the participants Friday evening at the UDI office. Antoine Carette, President of Jeunes Démocrates, in his remarks explained the importance of Europe for our future, the necessity of joint work between the MoDem and the UDI, and the Alliance of Democrats and the Liberals in the European Parliament where our MEPs sit. He described the debate that occurred at the EDP Council early June on migration.

Pierre Bornand, Vice-President of the YDE presented the organisation, explaining the structure and the different events, and recalled that the YDE welcome new motivated members to work on communication and other projects. . Sarah Robin, Deputy Secretary General of YDE, described the program of the seminar and how the participants should proceed to share their ideas and end up with contributions for each of the three commissions.

Saturday morning, all participants gathered in EstEnsemble agglomeration (local administration in charge of some public services) offices. The Mayor of Bobigny, Stéphane de Paoli, welcomed the audience in the room of the community council. After explaining that the European multiculturalism was in our veins, he reminded us that himself, born in a family of Italian immigrants, was a child of Europe. Then, participants split into three groups and join their respective committees to begin their work.

Olivier Cadic, French Senator representing French citizens living abroad, started with the first hearing. For him, there is a considerable lack of Europe in the development of companies & SMEs. Despite the existence of a European business model, it is not enough put forward by the Member States. He also addressed the question of the job of the future: the slogan should be “No people, no paper”. He already practiced this method in his company already, allowing it to benefit from flexible hours and make calls for specific skills at the right time.

Audition d’Olivier Cadic lors du séminaire… par JDE-YDE

The second person to be heard was Sophie Auconie, Governor at the World Water Council and French MEP from 2009 to 2014. For her, the existence of a European sense of belonging and a European culture depends mainly on the teaching of history and knowledge of European countries. She suggested that the history of the 28 EU countries should be reinforced at school. Moreover, she noted that the EU does not send the right signals to the youth by naming a Hungarian commissioner for education and citizenship, country where we can see an authoritarian drift during the past months.

Audition de Sophie Auconie lors du séminaire… par JDE-YDE

After a convivial lunch with Sophie Auconie, it was the turn to our last guest, General Perruche, to speak.

General Perruche was the Director-General European Union Military Staff from 2004 to 2007. Since 2012, he is the President of Eurodident -France, an association gathering 14 countries and specialised on European defence issues.

According to General Perruche, Europe’s fundamental problem is that the European nations transfer the skills they lose or have already lost. It should also be remembered that the last French White Book on defence was issued in 2013. It has a chapter on what Europe can do for France, but not on what France can do for Europe. This represents well the current situation of European cooperation and problems of national selfishness.

Audition du Général Jean-Paul Perruche lors du… par JDE-YDE

The three committees continued their work during the late afternoon. In the evening, participants gathered around a dinner offered by the EDP.

On Sunday morning, at the MoDem offices, the rapporteurs of the three committees presented the first written proposals of their commission. They also answered many questions from members of other committees.

The weekend ended with a brunch offered by the PDE. Participants were able to complete their exchanges in a friendly atmosphere and share their contacts in order to finalize the work of the commissions, which will be sent to MEPs during fall to contribute to the current debate within the EDP and ALDE group.

Young Democrats for Europe (YDE)
Jeunes Democrates Europeens (JDE)
YDE is the youth wing of the European Party.We embrace the key role of democratic principles, underlined in the Lisbon Treaty and shrined in our political belief: democracy, freedom, equality, participation, sustainability and solidarity.

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