Europe Day and 100 years from the First World War

Europe Day and 100 years from the First World War

IBNA Op-Ed/”This year marks the 100 anniversary of the First World War and I believe that every youth activity of this year must bring to memory what happened 100 years ago. To bring to memory all those undeserved victims of the region and of course, the continent, without knowing a century later that Europe would be the happy experiment of the advantages of freedom, democracy and the identification of what joins us, over what divides us”

By Ilir Meta

Speaker of the Parliament of Albania

Today, more than ever, living in an Union made of 28 states and by taking into account the fact that our countries are in the path of integration, young Europeans must understand how European institutions operate and how are politics made in every country.

Albanians have preserved their level of support for the European integration, which currently is 85%. And this happens because we’re a nation which has suffered a lot in history as a result of the lack of human rights, extreme isolation and we see the European project not only as an economic project and a project of wellbeing, but as a project of peace, which has human rights in its essence.

This year marks the 100 anniversary of the First World War and I believe that every youth activity of this year must bring to memory what happened 100 years ago. To bring to memory all those undeserved victims of the region and of course, the continent, without knowing a century later that Europe would be the happy experiment of the advantages of freedom, democracy and the identification of what joins us, over what divides us.

The declaration of the French Foreign Minister, Robert Schuman on May 9, 1950, laid the foundations of an extraordinary European project, which a few years ago was honored with the Nobel Peace award, for the great contribution of advancing peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights for over 6 decades, by transforming the old enemies into close partners of economic and social development.

Let us not forget that the European Union, which acts as an inspiration of democracy for us in the Balkan too, is above all a unification of values and its functioning depends on the way how these values are practiced, values which relate to the rights of the citizens and their wellbeing.

Albania is aware of the success of this great project of solidarity, therefore we’re determined in the path of integration in the European united family, by working in order to build the same social and the same democratic standards.

It is my utmost conviction that youth is the biggest promoter of change in the country and everywhere else where changes are needed. I stress this if we bear in mind that in spite of the extraordinary successes, Europe is a project that encounters many challenges with a lot of difficulties and an extraordinary competition with other regions of the world in the framework of globalist processes. And, the consequences of this crisis in Europe and countries of the European Union are being felt the most by young people. That’s why I’m convinced that in these moments of crisis that Europe is going through, the engagement of young people alone can bring hope, but also the recovery of trust and markets and the long term economic stability in our continent.

For the countries of the Balkan region, the European has a tangible transforming power, something which has been proven during these two decades. In the process of the approach with the EU, countries such as Albania, Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia or Montenegro are harmonizing legislation, functioning of their institutions, decision making and media freedom with the same standards that the EU has today.

This is why I believe that the youth will use this to be encouraged into being really active in politics and public service. And perhaps to see them debate with each other in the European Parliament in the near future. /ibna/