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"European values - who, where, when?" was the overall theme of a special ‘speakers night’ as part of the forum, involving 15 young speakers presenting their positions on Europe in a variety of styles. From poetic diary entries, to dramatic storytelling about the EU as an abandoned playground, an excursion into history or the ironic insights Tin Petrivic from Croatia presented, "It took me one night of clubbing in Alpbach to realise that alcohol and music bond us more than economy."
The plenary and breakout sessions included topics such as European values, youth unemployment, the future of the welfare state, education, innovation, as well as the difficult balancing act between democracy and efficiency and the tensions between austerity programmes and the promotion of growth. In the context of the European Year of Citizens 2013, and in the lead up to EU Parliament elections in 2014, the discussions were particularly topical.
The message of the “Democracy International” initiative was that citizens of Europe need to have more influence over decisions made. This, as part of a campaign for a new democratic European Convention, was presented today in Alpbach.
Gerald Häfner, chairperson of Democracy International, said, “At the moment the European Union lies only in the hands of statesmen and heads of governments. We want to engage the people to take part in decision processes.”
For more information on the Alpach Perspectives, click here.
Photocredit: Petrit Rrahmani/European Forum Alpbach