On 4th June 2015, UNITEE held New Europeans Forums at the European Parliament. The topic of the first panel was “A more inclusive Democracy”. Adem Kumcu, president of UNITEE, started the panel by indicating the long-term challenges EU is facing, globalization, pressure on resources and ageing, and indicated that immigrants could be a potential solution for these challenges.
Francois Foret, political science professor at the Free University in Brussels, started his speech by describing “New Europeans” and the positive effects singularizing ethnic dimension would provide to the EU.
Sukru Masmas, president of HOGIAF (Dutch Federation of Young Entrepreneurs), then took up the topic of education and integration. Mr. Masmas noted that civil participation is necessary and that this is achieved through organizations and education. Immigrants are still not well integrated into the society. Nevertheless, there are still black and white school areas, and there is still segregation among different ethnic groups. In order to address the challenges EU is facing, it is important to establish race-tolerant schools, and improving the education. Mr. Masmas also claimed that the value of New Europeans is underestimated.
Maureen O’ Neil, President of the SOC Section of the EESC, indicated that the people need to be better integrated, walls need to be torn down, the education system needs to be improved in order for EU to maintain its competitive role in the globalized world. The changes, however, need to start from bottom. Civil society organizations need to work with locals and brings about changes up to EU- level.
Philip De Backer, member of European Parliament, explained his awareness of the value of the New Europeans and mentioned that people need to take more action. Backer noted that people need be empowered and need grab chances given to them.
To summarize, there was a consensus that education plays a big role in easing the process of integration and participation of New Europeans. There is however not much mentorship efforts and many young people are not led to right paths. In order to create a more inclusive democracy, it is therefore necessary to cultivate young generations who are mentored well and are interested in taking their role in shaping society.
Author: Muhammed Kafi Cifci