Centenary of 11 November

A hundred years ago, the bugles called on the front and the bells rang in the rear to announce the armistice. The European youth had paid the highest price in its history. Of the 9 million dead and more than 6 million injured, most were under 35 year-old. Let us salute those who understood early that only the friendship between our two peoples, based on a common organisation of States, would bring lasting peace to the European continent. The 1925 Locarno Treaties, under the leadership of Gustav Stresemann and Aristide Briand, were an almost unique attempt to allow French-German reconciliation, before the rise of nationalist dictatorships. It was not until the end of the Second World War, the creation of the European community and the signing of the Elysée Treaty in 1963 that the German and French youths finally recognised themselves as brothers.

A hundred years after the end of the First World War, our generation bears an immense responsibility. Knowing the value of the union between our two peoples, we will do everything we can to strengthen it instead of letting it weaken. As a tribute to the young Europeans who died on the battlefield, we commit ourselves to keep fighting so that the friendship between our two nations will never be extinguished.

This op-ed was co-signed by our French and German members – Jeunes Démocrates and Junge Freie Wähler.



Welcome to Junge Freie Wähler from Germany

The Young Democrats for Europe have the pleasure to welcome a new member: Junge Freie Wahler from Germany. We are particularly happy to extend our reach in Germany, the most populated EU member state.

We were also very happy to be invited to the JFW founding Congress last January. Since 2014, JFW members have been very active within the YDE and EDP and we are very glad they join us officially.

For YDE president Antoine Carette: “We warmly welcome JFW’s application as the result of a two years process of informal work together. We share a common concern for building a more democratic EU. Indeed our organisations strive to empower citizens and to give them the role they deserve in decision making at both a European and national level. For this purpose we need to gather all Democrats across Europe and strengthen our cooperation.”

As Michael Schultheis – JFW Chairman – highlights: “We are so thankful that we are now a part of the YDE. In times when populism is growing again, it is important that we as pro-Europeans work together and fight for a Union that is beneficial for all of us.”

The faltering Franco-German relationship

On the 7th of April was held the 18th Franco-German Cabinet Meeting in Metz, a city located in a territory at the heart of the Franco-German relationship, the Alsace-Moselle, a long disputed land today symbolising the reconciliation between these two countries.

The issues at stake were particularly key to the migrant crisis and the terrorisme risk in the background: two issues on which the two countries have divergent views. The advancing of their cooperation for growth, employment, cultural and linguistic exchange and youth mobility was also discussed.

A symbolic rather than an operational meeting

Despite the importance of the topics on the table, this Cabinet Meeting did not pave the way for significant progress to be made. On the migrant issue, no complementary solution to the EU-Turkey agreement was discussed, although the migrant influx in Europe is far from being hampered. A solution would be the establishment of a European Corps of Border and Coast Guards, to regulate the arrival of migrants in respect of the asylum right, a value that should be commonly shared by all EU Member States.

On the crucial question of terrorism, even though the recent adoption of the PNR directive, a somewhat lighter version to the one defended by the ALDE group, is a notable progress.   France and Germany, along with the other Member States, do not go in-depth to design a common and efficient response to the threat. The reinforcement and extension of Europol’s prerogatives was not put on the table, although weaknesses in intelligence and police cooperation bear a clear responsibility for the attacks of 2015 and 2016.

Even if France and Germany pledged for further cooperation in various domains and if a Franco-German Council for Integration will be set up to answer to the refugee integration challenge, no serious commitment were taken on youth cooperation, a crucial topic for the next European generations. A misunderstanding seems to remain after France’s negative signal sent to its neighbour with its decision to suppress bilingual classes, which enable pupils to study both English and German.

This is time for France and Germany to defend the common necessary responses

It would be a mistake to see in the stagnation of this bilateral relationship a problem only for France and Germany. Their demographics, economics, politics and their statutes of Founding Members make them the engine of a still largely – unfortunately – inter-governmental Europe. Their disagreement or, worst, their lack of reciprocal interest, are particularly detrimental to Europe at a moment where it faces existential crises. This is time for national governments, especially for France and Germany, to take responsibility and defend the common necessary responses. With national elections looming in both countries, that remains an unlikely move.

Tristan ATMANIA (@ATMANIATristan)

Photo: Présidence de la République

Germany moves to the right!

State elections in Germany: right-wing-populist-party AfD enters three parliaments

During the past weeks, Germans have often made fun of the Americans. “How can they vote for someone like Donald Trump?” German people would ask. And they cannot be blamed. The Republicans’ presidential candidate wants to forbid the entry in the United States to Muslims; he wants to bolt the Mexican border with a wall and describes himself as “the best president God has ever created”. Regarding his statements and demands, we are stunned and also about the Americans’ electoral behaviour. But with the last state elections in Germany on March 13, the situation in Germany turned out to be as worse as in the United States.

24.2% is the score the right-wing party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD, Alternative for Germany) did receive in Saxony-Anhalt at its first election! This result is frightening and dangerous. In Baden-Wurttemberg (15.1%) and Rhineland-Palatinate (12.6%), the situation is hardly better. After this electoral Super-Sunday, the political map of Germany has changed. A party that wants to allow shooting at refugees, to dissolve the EU, to abolish social benefits and to prohibit Muslims from practising their religion is now represented in eight of the 16 federal state’s parliaments. “The AfD confesses to the traditional family as an example” and rejects state kindergartens. Men should work; women should educate children and stay at home to cook. Every vote for the right-wing populists is a retrograde step.

UKIP in the United Kingdom, the Front National in France – and now the AfD in Germany. The biggest reason why parties like these could get that popular is the refugees’ crisis: hundred thousands of people fleeing from their native countries from war,  to Europe, to Germany. The AfD takes advantage of this, rushes and shrinks back from nothing; and gets votes – alarmingly many votes. The AfD gets voters from the established parties; however, non-voters give primarily their votes to the right-wing-party. Besides, three of four voters indicate to have chosen the AfD not because of their manifesto, but to teach a lesson to the governing parties.

Already once in German history a right-wing-party scored such a great success in such a short time! It should not only be a German effort, but also a European one, that this will not happen again. Established centrist parties must take the citizens seriously, their demands, worries and fears. They must not give them a reason to vote for a right-wing party only to teach a lesson. This is the only way to maintain our democratic and pro-European values. However, the AfD is not one thing for sure: an alternative.

By Bettina Schwarz (@betti_schwarz)

Photo: Túrelio

Zum 25. Jahrestag der Deutschen Einheit

[English version below]

Am 3. Oktober 1990 ist nicht nur Deutschland wiedervereint worden. Ganz Europa ist an diesem Tag zusammengewachsen. Nach dem Fall des Eisernen Vorhangs und der Einigung hat sich die Europäische Union in den Osten ausgeweitet, von zwölf auf heute 28 Mitglieder. Ehemals kommunistisch regierte Staaten wurden in die EU integriert, was für die alten und neuen Staaten eine große Herausforderung, aber auch eine große Chance war. Und Deutschland lag von nun an nicht mehr am Rand, sondern in der Mitte Europas. Die Bundesrepublik ist seiner Verantwortung und seiner Möglichkeiten in Europa bewusst. Der damalige Bundeskanzler Helmut Kohl sagte am 3. Oktober 1990: „Die Einigung Deutschlands ist untrennbar verbunden mit der Europas. Mit der gleichen Beharrlichkeit, mit der wir unsere Einheit angestrebt haben, werden wir uns weiterhin entschlossen für die europäische Einigung einsetzen.“

Seit der Gründung der DDR am 7. Oktober 1949 versuchten etwa drei Millionen Menschen aus dem Land zu fliehen und in die Bundesrepublik einzureisen. Heute ist das vereinte Deutschland Ziel vieler Flüchtlinge. In Erinnerung an die Flüchtlingsbewegungen von 1949 bis 1989 ist Europa, eine Gemeinschaft für Frieden und Freiheit, heute in der Verantwortung, Menschen aufzunehmen, für die ihre Heimat kein sicherer Ort mehr ist.

Für Deutschland ist die Wiedervereinigung ein Meilenstein. Zu verdanken ist er vor allem den Menschen, die der staatlichen Unterdrückung trotzten und ihre Freiheit forderten. Von nun an haben wir eine Flagge, eine Nationalhymne, ein Parlament, eine Hauptstadt, eine Fußballmannschaft und vor allem – ein gemeinsames Volk. Daher feiern die Menschen jedes Jahr den 3. Oktober und erinnern an die Nacht im Jahr 1990, die zwei Länder vereinte.


On the 25th anniversary of German Reunification

On 3 October 1990 not only Germany was reunited. Europe as a whole reached together a new step. After the fall of the Iron Curtain and the reunification, the European Union has expanded eastwards, from twelve to 28 members. Former communist ruled countries got integrated in the European Union. This was a major challenge but also a great opportunity for the old and the new countries. And Germany was no longer on the edge but in the middle of Europe. The Federal Republic is aware of its responsibilities and its possibilities. The former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl said on 3 October 1990: “The unification of Germany is inextricably linked with that of Europe. With the same tenacity with which we pursued our unity, we will continue to work resolutely for European unification.”

Since the founding of the GDR on 7 October 1949, about three million people tried to flee out of the country and to enter the Federal Republic. Today the united Germany is the destination to many refugees. In memory of the refugee movements 1949-1989, Europe, a community for peace and freedom, is today a responsibility to take people for whom their home is no longer safe.

For Germany, the reunification is a milestone. It is mainly due to the people who braved the state repression and demanded their freedom. From now on we have a flag, a national anthem, a parliament, a capital, a football team and most importantly – a common people. Therefore, people celebrate every year October 3 and remember the night in 1990 that united two countries.

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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