Viktor Yushchenko

#EusprYng Episode 11: Viktor Yushchenko on how young Ukrainians stood up for their future

The question #EusprYng asks is: is a European spring possible? Well, it seems that it can and it did but just outside of the Union’s borders in Ukraine.

This week Viktor Yushchenko, Ukrain’s former president and leader of the Orange Revolution is our special guest. He will tells us more about young Ukrainians and the events which took place last winter in Kiev, the capital, on the Independence Square or Maidan Nezalezhnosti.

On May 25th it was the European parliament elections but it was also election day in Ukraine were the Euromaidan protesters finally got what they wanted.The country is now led by a pro-European government and the country is once again under the 2004 Constitution and the Association Agreement is back on the table with parts of it already signed.

For that to happen a lot of people got injured and even lost their lives. It all started on November 21st 2013, when young people took the Independence Square or Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev also known since as Euromaidan. They decided to let Viktor Yanukovych, president of Ukraine at the time, know that they will not let him rob them of the possibility for their country to get closer to the European union financially and politically via an Association Agreement. Indeed, a few hours before that the president had decided to suspend all negotiations with the European Union regarding that Agreement as Vladimir Poutine, Russia’s president, was not going to “loose” a big country and client like Ukraine without a fight. At first the protest was peaceful but then on late November / early September things heated up when then the riot police was unleashed on unarmed protesters.

Viktor Yushchenko whom accessed the presidency of Ukraine under similar circumstances tells us more about the wind of change blowing on his country and how young people changed the course of their own lives and of others.

Here is a short presentation of the interview : click the link that will appear at the end to watch the first question. Mobile users: watch the videos here.

 

spanish characters

#EusprYng Episode 5: Meet our Spanish characters

This week meet our Spanish characters: Dario Castañé, the Pirate et Luis Cereijo, the Lobbyist.

Dario Castañé, the Pirate

 

Dario Castañe is 28 years old he’s from Barcelona in Cataluña and number one on the list for the Confederación Pirata in Spain. He works as a system administrator (i.e. computer geek, well he’s a Pirate after all!) and during his free time he likes to create websites to spread information about politics, free culture and tools to improve the world. He’s also a Twitter addict so don’t hesitate to engage with him on the social media!

According to him, Member States of the European Union need to cooperate more instead of competing with each other. He feels like by bringing together different views and turning those into viable policies, Member States can tackle EU’s main issues. “The EU’s spirit fits this feeling and works towards it”. He envisions the United States of Europe as a common project to improve the world.

He was always interested in politics as he grew up reading newspapers and magazines, learning about society and its issues. But he really jumped into it four years ago when his mother got sick and saw for himself  how the system (social & political) in Spain wasn’t working for her. He then joined the Pirate party in Cataluña. He choose that party because… well he likes being a Pirate! On the serious side of things, it’s because they have the kind of internal democracy other parties don’t. Plus he believes that “traditional” parties are more interested in peoples’ vote than in their voice or solving their everyday problems.

He’s our pirate!

Luis Cereijo, the Lobbyist

 

 

Luis Cereijo is 27 years old and a student in Spain. He was elected chairperson of CREUP, the Spanish Students Union, last February. Before that he was elected president of his University’s Local Union, in Alcalá University. He decided to run for Students’ representative positions because he wanted “to change things, to try to cooperate [with other universities] and make a better university in my city, my region and my country”. According to him “now, it’s time for commitment, it’s not the time to sit still at home but time to speak up and to fight!”.

CREUP represents the 800,000 students of the Spanish Public Universities. It stands for students rights and finding ways to improve the public university system. CREUP is also part of the European Students Union or ESU (lien). As such they are going to lobby candidates from all political parties running for the European parliament elections and ask them to pledge to their “Vote for Education” manifesto.

Spain has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the Eurozone. Despite that fact there have been major budget cuts in education, grants and social services for young people. And over the past three years while university fees doubled! Those cuts pushed many young Spaniards to leave their country to try and find better living conditions elsewhere in Europe and the world.

“We young people” from Spain, declares Luis, “we are not willing to give up on our future […] and our dreams”.

He’s our lobbyist!

German characters

#EusprYng Episode 3: Meet our German characters

This week meet our German characters:

Terry Reintke, the poli-activist

She’s our political character for Germany. Terry is 26 years old, the former spokesperson for the Young Greens and number 9 on the Greens’ list in Germany.

She believes that young people should of course vote for the next European parliament elections (#EP2014) but she also thinks that it shouldn’t prevent us from taking the streets as well! This is an unusual way of thinking for someone who’s been engaged in politics for more than ten years! What  is even more unusual is that she is running for a big party! This makes her our own poli-atictivist! (political activist)

Find out more about her and her program on her website. You can also follow her on Twitter @TerryReintke, post on her Facebook page to engage, debate and ask her what she can do to help young Europeans! Come on now don’t be shy and #TerryOn!

Terry Reintke, la poli-activiste

Elle est notre personnage politique pour l’Allemagne. Terry a 26 ans, elle est l’ancienne porte-parole pour les Jeunes Verts et en neuvième position sur la liste des Verts en Allemagne. Elle souhaite que les jeunes européens aillent voter lors des prochaines élections du Parlement mais elle veut également qu’ils investissent les rues! Ce qui est une façon de penser assez particulière pour une personne politique appartenant à un gros parti et qui plus est engagée en politique depuis plus de 10 ans. Cela fait d’elle notre poli-activist ! Une politique activiste.

Pour en savoir plus à son sujet et son programme visitez son site web. Vous pouvez également la suivre sur Twitter @TerryReintke, lui laisser des messages sur sa page Facebook afin de débattre avec elle et lui demander ce qu’elle compte faire pour aider concrètement les jeunes européens. N’ayez pas peur de l’interpeller #TerryOn !

Cherian Grundmann, the true believer

Cherian got engaged in political discussions on Facebook in 2011. At that time he was part of a group discussing the European Union and the crisis that had been going on for three years and its consequences. Later he co-founded One Europe, with Ivan Botoucharov, an on line platform made by European citizens for European citizens to talk and exchange views on the European project. He wants a more open and democratic Europe. He truly believes in the European project and in letting all citizens be part of its construction. If you also think that Europeans should exchange points of views on the European project you can visit One Europe’s website and participate in their crowdfunding campaign that lasts until April 1st.
Do not miss the opportunity to engage and talk about the European project with Cherian and all the team of One Europe! Debate and exchange point of views with an incredibly devoted and active team on Facebook and Twitter @One1Europe.

Cherian Grundmann, le fervent défenseur

Cherain Grundmann commence à s’intéresser à la politique européenne en 2011 sur Facebook. A cette époque il fait partie d’un groupe qui parle de la crise qui touche l’Union européenne depuis trois ans. Plus tard, il devient l’un des co-fondateurs de One Europe, avec Ivan Botoucharov, une plateforme de débat en ligne qui traite de l’Union européenne, faite par des citoyens européens pour les citoyens européens. Il se bat pour une Union européenne plus ouverte et démocratique. Il croit dans le projet européen et au fait que chaque citoyen doit être associé à sa construction.

Afin de maintenir son projet en vie il conduit actuellement une campagne de crowdfunding ou financement participatif, jusqu’au 1er avril. Si vous aussi vous pensez que le projet européen doit être discuté entre citoyens alors n’hésitez pas à le soutenir !

Engagez également le débat avec lui, toute la jeune équipe de One Europe et d’autres citoyens européens sur Facebook et Twitter @One1Europe.

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#EusprYng Episode 2: Daniel Cohn-Bendit wants to kick back and see what happens…

This week’s update is a little bit special as it’s not about one of EusprYng’s main characters.
No this week I have a special treat for you: an interview with Daniel Cohn-Bendit. He represents in a way both sides of this web-documentary. He started out as an activist in the streets of Paris in May 1968 and then he entered the European political arena where he stayed for the past 20 years. But this May, European politics will say farewell to one of its truest believer as he will not be on the lists of the Green party this year or even ever… He says he is too old for that now!

It seemed significant enough to start with his video. Because in a sense he embodies the spirit of EusprYng: the street facing the political system.

But if you know Daniel Cohn-Bendit you know he will not go without a bang! In this interview we talk about the upcoming European parliament elections, Radical left opposition leader and runner up for the European Commission presidency Alexis Tsipras and his party SYRIZA, and of course the possibility of a European sprYng.

In this interview Daniel Cohn-Bendit takes the example of Greece opting out of the Euro currency. More specifically, he talks about a Memorandum, which is the document (several in fact) that Greece had to sign and that forces the Greek government(s) among other things to cut civil servants pay. In exchange Greece receives money “from” the Troika i.e. the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In order to refresh your memory or to know more about that subject you can read the articles below. And if you really can’t get enough of that stuff you can also visit the official websites of the European Commission and the IMF (links also below).

Articles from The Guardian & The Economist

Link to a Wikipedia article:

Links to the European Commission official website:

Links to the IMF official website:

Do not hesitate to engage with Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the main characters of EusprYng or me using social networks and this website.

Enjoy!