CDN Youth Exchange “EU and the Balkans – Visions and Perspectives” – Project

24. – 31. July 2005, Novi Sad, Serbia5 ns exchange


Role of EU in International Parties 🙂

By Alexia Nappa

The project’s main topic was about the EU playing an important role in the Balkan region and Balkan states interest in joining the EU. The exchange was aimed to enhance the knowledge of young people in Europe. This exchange has gathered young people from established EU member states, new EU member countries, and countries that are still outside of EU (The Balkan countries) in order to discuss, learn and exchange ideas about the future of Europe.

For this exchange there were people visiting from various different countries such as Albania, Belgium, Serbia and Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ireland, Germany, Netherlands, Germany, Cyprus, Finland, Czech Republic, Moldova, France and Malta.

Arrival at Hostel Bronkovo Kolo at Novi Sad was on 24th July. After registration and settling our luggage, the group met at the Hostel Plenary and had an Introduction session with ice breaking games, which were really fun. The aim in these ice breaking games was to get to know each other better and feel more at ease within a new group.

The second day which was entitled Co-operation in Europe was quite packed. We started off with a lecture by Gert Boel from Belgium. The Lecture was very interesting as this guy really had a good grasp of History of the EU, Cooperation in Europe including past and present issues and how countries cooperated with each other. Following this lecture we had working groups in which we further discussed the topic. All groups came up with the topics which were of interest and presented flip charts to pinpoint the main points. In the evening we had an International Evening during which participants from different countries presented their country through music, food, clothes and drinks.

The next day was also very interesting as each delegation presented their positions regarding what EU is all about including issues such as ideas and visions of each delegation, Structures and institutions, EU and the Balkans and Future of EU. Following this we had a guided tour around the city of Novi Sad and we did some sightseeing

27th June was the Balkans Day and after breakfast we travelled by coach to Belgrade. While in Belgrade we visited the ancient fortress Kelemegdan. This was a beautiful piece of land enriched with flora and beautiful as well as historic monuments. Later in the day on behalf of the FYEG together with the locals we held a peaceful protest at 5th park which was in danger of being destroyed to make place for a ‘monster’ as the locals called it. A Car Park Project was being planned and trees were to be cut down and park instalments like a basketball court and children’s playground were to be removed. We made our way to the park carrying banners representing FYEG and protest sheets from every country and some of us also wore the Serbian Young Greens shirt to show support. Although it was a bit hard to sustain the constant heat we were proud to hear that the project at 5th park was cancelled temporarily, also thanks to our efforts. After this activity, some went sight seeing while others went for a refreshing swim at Ada Lake. We all had a great time relaxing under the Serbian sun and afterwards we all had dinner at a restaurant near by.

The next day was Europe day in which we had a very interesting panel discussion. Input was given by Albania, Malta, Cyprus, Serbia and Netherlands. Here the local Serbian television followed this activity and interviewed some of us as well. During one of the working groups we discussed new Social Policy for the EU, Human Rights, Environmental Policy and Immigration. Many interesting issues were discussed and after discussing separately, we all shared our views by doing presentations of our ideas. Each and every group proposed a new social policy that could be implemented, while the other groups had the opportunity to vote by showing of hands.

In addition to this as the eve approached each and every group presented their organization, this included Albanian Young Greens, Jong Groen ,CDN, DEM Mladi-Youth of the Ecologists Movement, Dwars, Zelena Omladina Srbije and Alternattiva Demokratika Zghazagh.

Another excursion which we really enjoyed was at Lake “Lednicko” were we all could sunbath as the weather was beautiful. Later on we have had a good time at a friends place in the village where we prepared our selves dinner, barbecue and enjoyed music and sun. Several small working groups were discussing the possible future actions that we can do together in the afternoon.

Youth Action Day was the last day during which we organized workshops. We had the opportunity to choose which workshop to attend depending on our interests, some of the work shops included volleyball, basketball and hitchhiking. In addition to this we did an evaluation exercise on the whole exchange and on the evening we had a goodbye party at the fortress which was a beautiful discotheque in the heart of an actual ancient fortress.

Apart from the “formal” discussions and presentations, we had a lot of free time too during which we all took the opportunity to get to know each other well. Sometimes important issues were discussed even during free time and one could observe different groups discussing issues, debating , sometimes getting to an even point and at other times challenging each other, however all this was done in a friendly manner, while taking a drink or having lunch together. During our free time we really had fun playing volley ball and basketball and this really helped to break the ice and make new friends. In the evening we all were eager to go out and visit pubs and discos. Something which I will never forget are the “extra” hours we spend after we came back from clubbing, were those who resisted the tiredness of the whole day went to the second floor of the Hostel to continue to discuss and have a drink together.

In my honest opinion I can say that this really helped me in having more confidence in my self and while challenging my thoughts and views I can say that I really learnt a lot and it was an opportunity of a life time which I wouldn’t hesitate to repeat. Certainly if I will have another opportunity I would go for it and encourage my friends to attend. Most of the nights we went clubbing together and stayed late; we went to a bar were there was Serbian music and this was really beautiful. Goodbye party was at the fortress disco and we really had a great time. We are all going to miss each other but we promised to stay in contact by emails.

On behalf of Karen, Jean Claude, Adriana, Matthew and myself, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made this event possible. We’d like to thank ADZ, FYEG and CDN in particular for the wonderful experience we shared with them in the Balkans

By Alexia Nappa
The Green Party
10 Manwel Dimech Street, Sliema, Malta
Tel: +356 21314040
Fax: +356 21314046