Thanks to their multiple backgrounds, New Europeans have important assets to offer to Europe in an increasingly complex environment. To seize the potential of diversity, the concept of active citizenship remains of upmost importance. The successful active citizenship of New Europeans allows them to inte¬grate fully in their new homes. New Europeans manage to find their space in the European Union’s society, if they are being given the chance to participate actively in it.
UNITEE organized the New European Forums. Two conferences that were held under the Patronage of and inside the European parliament in Brussels, on June 4th 2015, with the aim of enlightening the added value migrants bring to the European Union. During the first conference, entitled “A more Inclusive Democracy: How New Europeans are changing European Politics”, panellists and participants discussed a wide range of topics such as the phenomenon of gathering, the development of a better education system, and the increasing active citizenship of New Europeans.
The panel of speakers was composed of:
• Philippe De Backer, Member of the European Parliament
• François Foret, Professor in Political Science at Université Libre de Bruxelles
• Sukru Masmas, President of HOGIAF – Dutch Federation of Young Entrepreneurs
• Maureen O’Neill, President of EESC’s Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship
The conference was opened by a speech from Adem Kumcu, President of UNITTE, who also moderated the debates.
Advocacy of gathering
François Foret explained how gathering as a minority can be the first step towards the integration of New Europeans. Talking about his own experience, Sukru Masmas insisted on the advantages of professional gathering at a national and European level. Maureen O’Neill presented the Migration Forum: a European Commission Program that incites European migrant organisations to dialogue. The MEP, Philippe De Backer, questioned the legitimacy of political parties as gathering entities.
Education as a game changer
Sukru Masmas emphasized the importance of education and small connections on the matter of civil participation of New Europeans as base of the European democracy. Maureen O’Neill mainly advocated a change in the way we educate our children so they could be more open to the world.
Sukru Masmas focused on civil participation of New Europeans as base of the European democracy. Maureen O’Neill backed Mr Masmas by enjoining the European Commission to encourage active citizenship of New Europeans at the local level first. According to Philippe De Backer, shifting away from representative democracy to a participative model is the key. Barriers need to be taken down by politicians themselves.
Read the full report here.
View the picture gallery here.