On 25th March we will be celebrating the sixtieth birthday of the Treaty of Rome, one of the most important symbols of the European Union. However, it seems almost controversial to celebrate it during the toughest time for Europe: economic crisis, migration and terrorism are weakening its basis, while nationalism, populism and protectionism are taking over. This phenomenon can be analyzed almost in every country throughout the world, such as in the United States, but it is a real and unsolved problem in Europe too.
Nowadays every European country has to deal with the threat of Eurosceptic parties and their supporters, who are against the European Union, seen as an economic, political, financial, social and cultural institution. Both European and national elections showed that this feeling is increasingly shared and that if Europe doesn’t wake up, the consequences will be huge.
However, there is still hope and it is called “Erasmus generation”. This generation includes all those people who can really benefit from all the advantages that the European Union can offer. The post-Maastricht generation can actually do things that once used to be out of reach or very hard to fulfill: mere things such as a common currency or the requirement of an ID-card only, instead of a visa that goes with the passport, to cross borders are just some the elements that made free circulation possible. This helped remove all these walls that had been created in the past and that seem to appear once again today.
The Erasmus generation, which includes not only students spending a semester or a year abroad, but also doing an exchange or an internship within the European borders, has experienced and knows all the benefits of the EU, especially of the Schengen Area. The Erasmus students have a lot to share and teach, without even being aware of it, since most of the privileges we have now are being taken for granted.
This generation wants to build bridges, rather than walls. These exchanges represent both hope, for those who want to leave their country in search of better chances, and enrichment, for those who need different perspectives. That’s why their projects and ideas deserve our attention.
And this is what is going to happen on 9th March at the European Youth Work Convention in Strasbourg, where 150 citizens from 38 different countries will be working at different missions, especially the one of providing Europe with a constitution. The text will be then spread to the candidates to the presidential elections in France and Germany, and to the other countries’ ambassadors. Young and pro-Europe people’s voice will be listened to also at the March for Europe, taking place 25th March in Rome, where 60 years ago the namesake Treaty was signed, creating the European Economic Community, the first step towards Europe.
Nowadays, the number of young people wishing to live an experience abroad is endless and keeps on increasing, showing that the Erasmus program is one the best achievements of the European Union.
Let’s start from this.