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This blogspot was started by the participants of the 5th International Summer School of ECPYN in Chisinau, Moldova, August 24-29 2008.
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How to have a European identity outside the EU

In the morning Vladimir Plamadeala, ECPM board member from Moldova, addressed the conference on the topic of 'How to have a European identity outside the EU'. To this end he first discussed what is Europe from several different perspectives. He talked about the geographical understanding of Europe as a continent, about nations who feel European or have European characteristics, but are geographically situated outside Europe and about Russia as a European or Eurasiatic country. He also mentioned the division of Europe into two civilizations, being western and eastern Christianity, as defined by Samuel Huntington in 'Clash of Civilizations'. He then went on to discuss what could be defined as European identity, using the results of several opinion polls and internet discussions and of course this led to a lot of discussion with the participants of the conference.

At the end of the afternoon the conference was addressed by Stieneke van der Graaf, who is an elected representative in the provincial legislature of Groningen (one of the 12 provinces of the Netherlands, with some 574.000 inhabitants). She talked about how she became involved in politics as a young person and soon became the youngest member of the legislature at 22 years of age. She also talked about what it means to be involved in politics as a young person and what she sees as her mission, to serve society. She went on to discuss her candidacy for the European Parliament and the campaign and how this was another new experience, especially becoming known to people all across the Netherlands.
When speaking about her work in the provincial legislature she also mentioned a recent success she had regarding the concept of 'family group conference'. At first there was some resistance to her motion, but in the end a majority supported it and in a few months it will be discussed how this can be legislated. It goes to prove, that even though caution is a good thing, politics does not always have to be a slow thing; things can be made to happen quickly if the political will is there.

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