Representatives of seven nationalities – as part of the Yourope project – once again met to talk about Euroscepticism and the challenges facing the European Union on the eve of the European Parliament elections.
After Warsaw came the turn of Athienou, a small town in Cyprus, located 25 km north of the famous tourist resort on the island of Larnaca. On 11th April representatives of Cyprus, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Belgium, Slovenia, and Poland met to discuss EU problems at the local level.
The main point of the first day was the debate with the doctor of sociology – Michelangelo Anastasiou from the University of Portland. Its theme was the challenges, which the EU faces. According to the expert, the most difficult for her at this moment is the growing support in Europe for nationalist parties and growing economic inequalities between member countries. Michelangelo Anastasiuo notices, that the EU reduced them by 2008 (the peak of the economic crisis), but now its activities cause their growth. Those factors cause, that an Eurosceptic approach to the Community is more and more popular.
Another issue discussed by the project participants were EU activities at the local and regional level. As it turned out during the discussion, EU’s money is used in a similar way in all the participating countries – the largest funds go among others for infrastructure, environmental protection and investments in the field of culture. However, in addition to these benefits, there are also threats. First of all, we often do not realize how much we owe to EU programs (the case, however, looks different with Erasmus – one of the most visible programs that many people face directly). What is more, due to open borders, migration within the Member States is increasing, which has a negative impact on weaker economies.
Tasting Cypriot delicacies including halloumi cheese. Fig. N.O.R. Michelangelo Anastasiou during the “EU Challenges” debate; Photo Nina Groboljšek
Project participants during the discussion on local and regional EU activities. Photo. N.O.
Project participants during a visit to the activity club. Women from Athienou during assemblage classes. Photo. N.O.
The ‘Yourope: Joining Paths To Build A Better Perception Of Europe’ Project is funded under the ‘Europe for Citizens’ Program.