< SWITCH ME >

Friday, 14 June 2013 16:09

The things we do for Europe

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Remember the "Agora" that took place about a month ago in Mannheim? Let us show you some of the fun, interesting and diverse topics which were covered during the event – from healthy eating habits to fighting xenophobia, from entrepreneurship and start-ups to nationalism in school books, the Agora covered a diverse range of subjects through workshops and actions. Have a look at some of them below.

Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:51

"This should have happened a long time ago"

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Over the past weeks Turkey has seen a great number of street protests and demonstrations in its biggest cities, from Istanbul to Ankara, Izmir and Antalya. Starting from a small demonstration the protests have grown significantly in size and structure with passing days and have been violently repressed by the police force according to sources on the scene. E&M author Siri Warrlich interviews a young European who has experienced the incidents in Istanbul at first hand.

Two years ago Heidi Hart came as an Erasmus student to Istanbul. Today, she still lives there – and since last weekend, a mask and swimming goggles belong to her everyday attire.

The house was completely contaminated with tear gas, so I am now staying with friends.

"İstanbul'u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı. I listen to Istanbul with my eyes closed.&quot; That is the first line of a famous poem by Orhan Veli Kanik, Turkey's Shakespeare. Istanbul on Wednesday night, 5 June 2013, not with closed eyes, but via skype, sounds like this: Cars honking, singing, whistling… are those cooking pots the people are banging against each other? My friend Heidi Hart, 24, holds her computer through the open window. "Soon, I will join them," she says and shows me her mask and swimming goggles. A little more than two years ago, the two of us together started our Erasmus journey from Mannheim, Germany to Istanbul. Heidi stayed – and recently became part of the protests.

&quot;Latvian culture and language are in the happy position of having a state which protects 'Latvianness' and helps it to survive&quot; - said Ints Dālderis, Latvia’s former Minister of Culture in an interview with E&M. On 18th of February, 2012, 74.8% of Latvian voters rejected Russian as a second official language. Christian brought together four young Latvians to discuss the result.

Kristina, Beāte and Laura agree that there should only be one official language in a country. Kristina says to her personally speaking Russian or Latvian does not mean a difference, Beāte deems it important to preserve the independence Latvia has finally achieved, and Laura, who has lived in Germany for almost nine years, states that she is proud of the majority in the referendum.

Marija, Russian by nationality and a Latvian citizen, also says "no": she appreciates Russian language and culture as well as Latvian, but she thinks that the lack of integration of the Russian population cannot be simply reversed by making Russian the second official language. Instead, she proposes establishing Russian as an administrative language on the municipal level, and to embark on a long-overdue integration policy.

Topic switching at MEU Strasbourg on the third day: after the Council of the European Union has passed a favourable resolution on the accession of Croatia, it now rests on the Parliament to deal with the issue. At the same time, to keep everyone busy, the heavily amended music copyright proposal now passes from the European Parliament to the Council. Their cooperation is what is referred to as the ordinary legislative procedure, or "co-decision procedure" within the EU.

In any case there, as the conference reaches its final stages, it is reason enough for Ivana Dimitrova, Commissioner for Enlargement, to be content with the preliminary result of the voting. And the MEPs are quite happy with the desserts served in the cafeteria of the Louise Weiss building in Strasbourg. In German, "to dine like God in France" is a phrase for living in luxury - maybe that should be updated to "dining like an MEP in France"...

NEXT ISSUE 01.10.2014

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