European Youth Event 2016 #1

Emil Wojtaluk

GROUP_IN_PARLIAMENT_EDITED

On 20-21 of May 2016 representatives of the European Studies Student’s Scientific Association of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, including representatives of EUROpens BLOG visited European Parliament in Strasbourg on the occasion of the European Youth Event 2016. The theme of the second edition was the exchange of experiences and proposals with European decision-makers using the motto „Together we can make a change”. Young people from Europe had an occasion to write their proposals for solving crucial problems of the European Union, or electronically – through an online application. Moreover, during numerous sessions and workshops in the EP building there was a chance to comment and propose our own solutions, which were then discussed by experts and politicians. An official EYE report containing all gathered opinions will be distributed to Members of the European Parliament and discussed in parliamentary committees this autumn. European Youth Event was accompanied by many cultural events (concerts, games etc.). The interest in EYE this year was huge, the number of all registered participants reached over 7,500 people.

All activities concerned five main themes:

  • War and Peace: Perspectives for a Peaceful Planet;
  • Apathy or Participation: Agenda for a Vibrant Democracy;
  • Exclusion or Access: Crackdown on Youth Unemployment;
  • Stagnation or Innovation: Tomorrow’s World of Work;
  • Collapse or Success: New Ways for Sustainable Europe.

IMG_6966Due to the huge interest each participant could participate in chosen activities – our group participated in those activities connected with youth unemployment and innovation. The first panel, in which we took part was entitled „Skills gap: Bridge over troubled water” and concerned a gap which exists between job qualifications of young people and the expectations of today’s labor market. The meeting had an interactive form, during which participants could have their voice on important issues. Asked „Do you think you learned sufficient skills at school or third level to prepare you for the labor market?” –  most answered, that they learned some skills but most of them was acquired in practice, by having internships or regular jobs. Special role of increasing awareness of young people towards internships and volunteering projects was also stressed, even if unpaid, they build our CV and increase our chances on the labor market – not all of us seem to be aware of that. Although, in some EU countries employers still do not understand the value of volunteering experience, but this conviction disappears very quickly and can be barely seen on the Union level. One is clear, we need to provide more information in this area, both for young people and the employers – to make students aware, that studies just for studies are the waste of time, and employers, that being a volunteer is equal the regular job experience. Among other speakers Mrs. Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility was present there.

In the Plenary Chamber of the European Parliament in Strasbourg (Photo: Vako Karchava)

In the Plenary Chamber of the European Parliament in Strasbourg (Photo: Vako Karchava)

Another and the most important session for us also concerned youth unemployment. It was the most important not only because of the topic but also the venue, in which all activity took place – we had an unique opportunity to sit in the plenary chamber of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, exactly on the same seats, on which Members of the European Parliament sits! The meeting was titled „Youth Unemployment: Down to zero?” – it was designed to find the solution for youth unemployment, the leading question was „how can we reduce youth unemployment to close to zero within 10 years?”. Young activists were present among experts, EU institutions were represented by Marianne Thyssen (mentioned above) and Andrey Novakov, Member of the European Parliament. We’ve started with the presentations of ideas delivered by all speakers, followed by proposals from the audience, which were later commented by the experts. However,  before the meeting started for good we were trained how the voting mechanism in the European Parliament works, having great occasion to take part in a voting simulation. The question put on voting was very clear: „whether or not European Union should give more support to young people entering the labor market?” – only a few voted “no”, pushing the red button.

IMG_7125

Photo: Vako Karchava

The last activity, in which we took part was named „Science or fiction: Will robots rise to power?” and was about the discussion on the future of robotics and super-computers. One of the most crucial questions raised at the very beginning was: „will robots threaten the future of humanity?”. The experts indicated, that we will always have everything under control, because it is up to people to first program those robots to work. Another interesting discussion arose on the question if robots as super-intelligent computers will take away our jobs. If we talk about workplaces implementing new technologies will certainly have an impact on disappearing of certain professions. However, as speakers indicated, technological change always entails such consequences. It doesn’t mean a catastrophe on the market. Well-known professions will be replaced by new ones, which cannot be described at the moment. The Meeting was attended by representatives of robotics companies, and among others Gianfranco Visentin, Head of Automation and Robotics Section from the European Space Agency.  

To sum up, taking part in European Youth Event 2016 was an unusual experience for us. We could observe how the European Parliament works from within, but among other things meet people from all over Europe and listen to their point of view. Surely, we learnt many new things. Coming to Strasburg made us even more aware, that working in EU institutions is not a fantasy, as some of you may imagine. It is certainly worth studying European Studies for acquiring such precious experiences!

We would like to thank Vice Rectors of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin: Professor Urszula Paprocka-Piotrowska and Professor Krzysztof Narecki, without whom it wouldn’t be possible to achieve.

This coverage is also available in Polish on the website of our Scientific Association: http://www.kul.pl/european-youth-event-2016-relacja,art_68086.html

See the full photo gallery HERE – photos by Vako Karchava.

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Reklamy

EU-China friendship

Paulina Matwiej

 

Some skeptical people try to convince that the European Union is closed for cooperation with third countries. Looking close into the history of European Union’s external relations this statement can be easily abolished. European External Action Service and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy have been established to effectively carry out foreign and international policies. EEAS works inter alia through the Partnership Instrument, which helps to cooperate with partners from around the world and to advance Union’s strategic goals. Relations with China are the example of EU openness to international dialogue.

Chinese primeminister Zhou Enlai and vice-president of the European Econominc Community Commission Christopher Soames, May 1975 (establishment of diplomatic relations between EU and China) Source: eeas.europa.eu

Chinese primeminister Zhou Enlai and vice-president of the European Econominc Community Commission Christopher Soames, May 1975 (establishment of diplomatic relations between EU and China) Source: eeas.europa.eu

Development of mutual friendship

In May 1975 Christopher Soames as a first Commissioner in EU history visited China. This meeting was crucial for further diplomatic relationship as well as expressed mutual interest in closer cooperation. Great significance had an agreement from 1985 called ‘EC-China Trade and Co-operation Agreement’. Until 2002 it was the main framework for relations with this country. The Agreement established common objectives on the economic sphere. The document states precisely areas of cooperation as follow: industry and mining; agriculture; science and technology; energy; transport and communication; environmental protection; cooperation in third countries. Year after that ‘EU-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ was created and has deepened cooperation in a wide range of areas. A Year 2009 brought consolidation of previous agreements, since then cooperation has been gradually  transforming to three pillars structure. The first pillar is ‘High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue’, the second one (‘High Level Strategic Dialogue’)  enhanced political dialogue on bilateral and global issues. Last pillar emerged in 2012 with the official name ‘EU-China High Level People-to-people Dialogue’. Untill 2015 over 60 high level, senior level dialogues and working groups have been established, 3 years ago three new EU-China dialogues on innovation, international development and sustainable tourism were launched.

EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation 

The EU-China summit meeting from November 2013 was seen as a significant not only because of substantive character but also due to the fact that it was the first summit between EU leaders and the new, fifth generation of leaders in China. The most important outcome of this summit was the document named ‘EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda, summit established also investment agreement between both sides. After introduction of this document mutual cooperation became more institutionalized and developed, more and more areas of interest were added. The EU-China Strategic Agenda for Cooperation provides a list of key initiatives which should be achieved. Consultations on Africa, Central Asia and neighbors of the UE and China have to be enhanced. Both sides decided to reinforce dialogue on nuclear security to combat with problem of smuggling of nuclear material. Staying in the area of security, sides that they should work through EU-China Cyber Taskforce platform for peaceful, secure and open cyber space. The document mentions about common fight against piracy, that is why China decided to take an active part in Atlanta Operation (counter-piracy initiative of the EU ). The parties agreed that they should deepen the learning of Chinese and EU languages in the education system of EU and China. Strategic Agenda covers every possible aspect of cooperation: human rights, trade, oceans security, agriculture, space and aerospace and many other areas. (Check the full agenda here)

Jose Manuel Barroso (l) Herman Van Rompuy (r) and Chinese President Xi Jinping, 31 march 2014 ( President Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China visited the European Union in Brussels) Source: eeas.europa.eu

Jose Manuel Barroso (l) Herman Van Rompuy (r) and Chinese President Xi Jinping, 31 march 2014 ( President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China visited the European Union in Brussels) Source: eeas.europa.eu

Besides the fact that European Union as a unity of chosen states works hard to keep close contact and dialogue with the states  from behind it. Relations with China are so tight that in this case cannot be said that EU is insulate itself from the rest of the world.

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EU and the Turkish case

Agnieszka S.

Illegal immigration became one of the hottest topics in European countries in the last few months. Some people stopped being sincere, helpful and open-minded as they were at the beginning when flow of the newcomers started. Now we can observe that citizens started to worry about the existence of immigrants in their countries. They feel that this situation, if won’t be resolved soon, might create internal chaos in many countries. This is a big chance for European Union to show its power in resolving international problems – will it succeed?

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EU Council family photo [by Georgina Coupe (Photo: Crown Copyright) by-nc-nd 2.0 at flickr.com

What to do with such a big number of human beings that are unemployed, living in bad conditions in refugee camps getting more angry on their life situation? “Maybe we will send some of them to Turkey?” So now European Union tries to persuade Turkey to take immigrants to their country. But as we all know nothing is for free in our lives. Since 14th April 1987, the date of its Membership application, Turkey has hoped that someday it would became a part of the EU. However, Turkey is not fulfilling Copenhagen Criteria (1993) because they are violating basic human rights like for example freedom of speech, but it seems that due to the fact that European Union needs their help so much they are closing one eye on some things, and after so many years they speak again about Turkeys accession to the Union. On the opposite, here we can recall a quote from the President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker from 23 April 2014, words he also recently repeated[1]:

“…under my Presidency…no further enlargement will take place over the next five years. As regards Turkey, the country is clearly far away from EU membership. A government that blocks Twitter is certainly not ready for accession.[2]

On 7th of March 2016, European Union heads of state or government had a meeting with Turkey on which it reaffirmed its commitment to the bilateral Greek-Turkish readmission agreement stating, that Turkey would take immigrants that are not in need of protection by the international organs. EU will cover the costs of returning some of the irregular migrants that travelled from Greek isles back to the Turkish territory. By the end of June 2016 new resolution for visas should be introduced for Turkish citizens that want to travel to EU countries. Union along with Turkey agreed to work on improvement of the humanitarian conditions inside Syria, helping local people to live in the safer environment. The most crucial point for Turkey seems to be opening a new chapter in preparations to accession negotiations.

Lots of hopes and ideas are spreading from Brussels to Ankara. The only thing that everyone seems to know is the fact that we have to do something quickly. We can’t let refugees – people in real need that were running away from hell – to live in inhumane conditions. Is the deal with Turkey a good thing or should we come up with a better plan?

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More information:

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2016/03/07-eu-turkey-meeting-statement/

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/international-summit/2016/03/07

[1] Vince Chadwick, Jean Claude Juncker: Turkey’s not ready for EU membership [in:] Politico: http://www.politico.eu/article/jean-claude-juncker-turkeys-not-ready-for-eu-membership/

[2] Foreign Policy Objectives of Jean Claude Juncker (April 2014): http://juncker.epp.eu/sites/default/files/attachments/nodes/en_03_fp.pdf

Multilingual Europe

Kamil Augustyniak

In the very beginning, the European Union was established in order to challenge the politics and economy, to give Europeans a field to cooperate and to unify their nations even on grounds of culture. Through all these years various mechanisms were implemented to clarify and stabilize the situation, no matter what background it had. Surely, Europe experienced a lot of conflicts but thanks to that it learned how to react in certain situations and to what focus its attention the most. Although, currently, the EU is struggling with migrants and the presence of United Kingdom within the Union is questioned, there are some issues which are not being discussed almost at all but seem to be crucial when talking about European integration.

Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

Multilingual Europe

Europe of multitude of languages is both advantage and disadvantage. International arena is a place where not only political and economic interests intersect each other but is also a background highlighting cultural differences, especially languages. Hence international communication is difficult on any grounds, dealing with multilingualism is a first challenge of all international organizations gathering entities which speak in different languages. This is why, in order to ensure good communication within its structures, some languages are established to be official and to which all the documents, declarations or agreements are being translated. The bigger the organization is, the demand for smooth communication increases.

EU likes every language

Although the European Union does not outstand by its size among the organizations all over the world, its multilingualism policy is much more complex than any other. Along with expansion of the Communities (later the European Union) specific regulation was amended by adding a new official languages of the member states joining the Union. Starting from one official language (French), the list of them expanded to reach 24 in 2013 after last accession of Croatia. The language system of the European Union has very deep foundations based on principle preserving national identity of all member states. One of the most important act concerning this issue is EU Charter of Fundamental Rights – art. 22:

“The Union shall respect cultural, religious and linguistic diversity.”

European Union law…Droit de l’Union européenne…Europarecht…Prawo Unii Europejskiej

Source: artelis.pl

Source: artelis.pl

Since the complexity of the rule mentioned above is crucial to preserve proper European integration, the most important goal to protect linguistic diversity is to ensure the availability of EU law to all citizens. For this reason, each EU institution has created departments dealing with language translations and 24 sections consisting of interpreters translating acts of the European Union. All official versions of documents are considered to be equivalent and authentic. What is more, every EU citizen has the right to send petitions, to address the institutions and bodies and even to obtain a reply in their own language. This right is guaranteed under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union – art. 20:

Citizens of the Union shall enjoy the rights and be subject to the duties provided for in the Treaties. They shall have, inter alia: (…) (d) the right to petition the European Parliament, to apply to the European Ombudsman, and to address the institutions and advisory bodies of the Union in any of the Treaty languages and to obtain a reply in the same language. (…).

At this point the EU successes since it united in diversity. However, with so many languages and texts, it is easy to notice the danger which the EU has to face with when implementing its innovative linguistic pluralism policy. Multiple translations rise a further risk of not presenting the correct content of the message (sometimes it is a translation of a translation). Therefore, it causes some logistic and financial issues and then all these infringements can have serious consequences, e.g. conflict between member states or inconsistent application of EU law.

For what?

The Union seeks to facilitate crossing language barriers for delegates and representatives of member states, barriers that could limit full and comprehensive participation in the work of EU institutions. This is achieved by simultaneous translations which are especially important during plenary sessions of the Parliament, during which there are 800-1000 interpreters translating the text from original language into their natives. However, taking into account constraints of time and money, translation of all documents to all working languages is impossible. Therefore, the most commonly used are English, French and German.

To sum up, linguistic diversity is one of the factors that undoubtedly distinguishes the European Union but also brings many difficulties when speaking about its practical use. Since there are more than 500 language combinations within the EU working languages and all of these translations have to be done, sometimes the translated versions are not completely identical and, consequently, bring many legal issues in the process of further implementation.

Check out interesting case-law related to linguistic diversity in the European Union:

Case T‑185/05: http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=68778&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=936026

 

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The Incessant Spanish Political Crisis

Barbara Zak

Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy (photo: JUAN MEDINA/REUTERS)

Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy (photo: JUAN MEDINA/REUTERS)

Since the last parliamentary elections, Spain has been suffering from an institutional impasse as the leader of the winning party People’ Party (Partido Popular – PP), Mariano Rajoy, turned down king Felipe VI’s offer to form a new government. He explained his decision by stating that he does not have the absolute majority in the parliament but rather a majority of negative votes that would be against any of his proposed list of a government. As a result, the leader of the party in second place „Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party” (Partido Socialista Obrero Español – PSOE), Pedro Sánchez, was asked by the king to form a new government instead of Mariano Rajoy. However, as the PSOE party neither has the absolute majority, negotiations with other parties are necessary. Thus its leader asked for a period of a month before handing over his list of the ministers. In order to fully understand the actual political situation in Spain, we should focus on the results of the parliamentary elections.

 

Summary of the 2015 parliamentary elections’ results

Source: BBC (http://ichef-1.bbci.co.uk/news/624/cpsprodpb/05C9/production/_87318410_spain_elections_v2.png)

Source: BBC

On the 20th of December of 2015, the results of the parliamentary elections have revealed the end of the two-party system that was well-established, as the seats have been shared between four parties. The party with the most votes casted was the right-wing and conservative People’s Party with Mariano Rajoy as their leader (who was the previous head of the government). They earned 28.7% votes and 123 seats won in the Congress of Deputies. The Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party was the second party to have the most votes casted : 22% with 90 seats earned. The third party that received 20.7% and 69 seats was the left-wing party, created in 2014, Podemos (translated from Spanish as „We can”), with Pablo Iglesias Turrión as their leader. The 2015 parliamentary elections were their very first election. The fourth party that earned a decent number of votes is the centre-right party C’s which stands for Ciudadanos (translated into English as „Citizens”). They won 40 seats with 13.9% of the votes. The parties that arrive in fifth and sixth places are Catalan nationalist parties : Republican Left of Catalonia (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya – ERC) and Democracy and Freedom (Democràcia i Libertat – DiL). They have earned less than 3% out of all of the votes. This considerable split of the votes has a consequence : no party has the absolute majority, that is to say none of them have received at least 176 seats (half of 350 seats plus one seat).

 

The necessity to find an agreement through negotiations

Pedro Sánchez (Photograph: Pedro Armestre/AFP/Getty Images)

Pedro Sánchez (Photograph: Pedro Armestre/AFP/Getty Images)

Even though the PP has won the highest number of votes and thus the possibility to form a government, no other party wishes to form a coalition with it since it is rumored to be utterly corrupted. This led to Rajoy’s refusal to form a government. As a result, we could say that the fate of the political issues is now in Sánchez’s hands. However, it is not the case because even if he forms a coalition with one of the young parties Podemos or C’s, they would still not have the absolute majority. Sánchez could count on a coalition with the socialist electoral alliance Popular Unity (Unidad Popular), but they have only won two seats in the Congress of the Deputies – hence the necessity to have a coalition PSOE-Podemos-C’s. However, the problem is that these parties have different opinions concerning the Catalan independence. Basically, Podemos is in favour of organizing a referendum concerning the independence in this region, unlike C’s. Yet Sánchez does not seem to want to surrender as he may intend to have a consent regarding the fight against unemployment, social inequality and corruption, and he might propose a constitutional reform to move towards a federal state in order to regulate the Catalan issue. On the other hand, if Sánchez plans to leave C’s out of its negotiations and rather have a left-wing coalition PSOE-Podemos-Popular Unity, which would be more plausible and feasible, they would still not have the absolute majority. In the end, they would need the votes of the Catalan nationalist parties to be added to their votes, that would request the independence of Catalonia. But these are only suppositions – at this time of the year, we cannot make clear statements.

The transition from a two-party system to a multi-party system illustrates the lack of trust of the Spanish people towards the long-standing parties as they cast their vote for recently created parties. This switching means that Spanish people have no longer put their faith in the „incompetent” politicians of the well-established parties but rather in young political parties, with leaders showing their will and vigour to change the country, yet without any experience of the political field. This political crisis is the inevitable consequence of the economic crisis that has affected Spain since 2008.

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SOURCES

The United Kingdom:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35147266

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/22/spanish-prime-minister-rajoy-kings-petition-new-government

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/02/spains-king-picks-socialist-chief-to-try-to-form-government

 

France:

http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2015/12/20/01003-20151220ARTFIG00156-espagne-rajoy-face-au-casse-tete-des-alliances.php

http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2016/01/22/01003-20160122ARTFIG00394-espagne-rajoy-renonce-a-former-un-gouvernement-pour-l-instant.php

http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2016/02/03/en-espagne-les-socialistes-vont-essayer-de-former-un-gouvernement_4858287_3214.html

 

Spain:

http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2016/02/02/actualidad/1454437134_638707.html?rel=lom

http://www.thelocal.es/20151223/spains-socialist-refuse-to-back-rajoy-bid-to-form-new-government

http://www.elcorreo.com/bizkaia/politica/201602/05/pablo-iglesias-ofrecera-apoyo-20160205024739-rc.html?ns_campaign=noticias-relacionadas&ns_mchannel=bottom&ns_source=politica&ns_linkname=noticia&ns_fee=0

Commission starts rule of law debate

Agnieszka S.

It seems that Poland’s actions are perceived as negative in the eyes of the Western European Member States. This time however, the case is much more serious than a missing flag. In the face of the recent developmental changes that the government of Poland had introduced, the European Commission has expressed its concerns regarding whether those changes operate in accordance with the Rule of Law or not. Since the Commission’s task is to ensure the respect of the European Union law along with safeguarding the fundamental values of the Union, some steps had to be taken in order to clarify this situation.

EC

Polish Constitutional Tribunal and the media case

The first issue is related to the composition of the Polish Constitutional Court. The European Union has started to work on that matter on the 23rd of December 2015, when Mr Timmermans wrote a request to have further information about the different Constitutional Tribunal judgements of the Polish Government. On the same day the Polish Government had requested a legal assessment from the Venice Commission (a body of the Council of Europe through which independent experts of constitutional law give advisory opinions that are not binding) as it was proposed in the letter of Mr Timmermans. However without waiting for the answer, the Polish Government began to finish the legislative process. The statement of the Polish Government concerning this matter is very simple – they are trying to clean up the mess that the previous governing party has made. Changes that were made in the Polish Constitutional Court are a fight of gaining power in this area, but what is worth considering is the fact that when the previous government in Poland was acting in the same way, nobody was interested in that and no one wanted to take a closer look on the case. However, it does not justify the actions taken by PiS because as a new governing party, they should try to rule the country in a better way than the previous one. (read more here)

The second topic of this significant attention of the EU is related to the legal changes on the Public Service Broadcasters. In another letter received by the Polish Government on the 30th of December 2015 in which, along with asking for more details on the situation, Vice-President Timmermans asked if the EU law and the need to promote media pluralism were taken into account while preparing those changes. Poland answered by denying the possible disadvantageous impact on the media pluralism claiming and that in other Member States the situation is very similar and no one is judging them for it. (read more)

Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission (EPA/PATRICK SEEGER)

Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission (EPA/PATRICK SEEGER)

The EU has a strong interest in safeguarding and strengthening the rule of law across the Union. However, in order to take some actions, there must be some suspicions about the defect on a system that prevents the country from a well-functioning legal system. Then it has to collect some data – evidences of breaching the law, it was done in a debate that took place on the 13th of January 2016, the main officials responsible for the presentation of the EU’s point of view were: responsible for the framework of the rule of law – First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and two Commissioners – Věra Jourová responsible for justice and Günther Oettinger responsible for media policy. The debate ended with the decision of the Commission to initiate the monitoring procedure of the rule of law in Poland. Next step was the dialogue with the Member State that took place on the 19th of January 2016 in the European Parliament, where the actual Prime Minister of Poland Beata Szydło had to defend the arguments of the Polish Government concerning two mentioned cases. PM Szydło put a lot of effort to convince everyone that Poland is a democratic country and indicated that:

“our history has taught us that our Polish issues should be settle in our Polish home. Because whenever they were fixed for us by others, we ended up very badly”.

The forthcoming steps that European Commission can take are giving recommendations to Poland. In the case of ignoring Commission’s recommendations for changes by the EU member, the very last step would be to put specific sanctions on Poland. Though, voting by unanimity would have to be used in such a case.

Polish PM Beata Szydło (AP/EPA)

Polish PM Beata Szydło (AP/EPA)

Some may think that the EU should not interfere with Poland’s matters. While the whole Europe is shaken and full of fears in regard of what is happening in one of its countries, the EU should always keep the Rule of Law as a main principle. Everyone can agree that Poland has some obligations to fulfil not only as a Member State of European Union but most of all as a civilized democratic country in Europe. They should always put the Rule of Law as a main principle. Although what strikes me the most in this situation is not actually the question of a breach of law but the media influence and their actual input in the whole situation. For the past few months, in Polish newspapers, news on the television or radio we could hear more and more negative statements and criticism about the governing party, even though they have just started their cadence. It seems that the other party is mad following its loss. Unfortunately for them democracy assumes in itself that the majority has welcome PiS as the winning party. Reputation is something that each of us is building up for years and it is a real shame that Poland is losing its standing in the international arena. Thanks to the media, now everyone is scared away from Poland.

References:

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-16-62_en.htm

http://www.tvn24.pl/wiadomosci-z-kraju,3/beata-szydlo-w-trakcie-debaty-w-parlamencie-europejskim,612106.html

EU Careers Student Ambassador – December

Natalia Wysocka

logo

 

Hi! My name is Natalia Wysocka and I have been chosen to take up the role of European Union Careers Student Ambassador, the very first one in the whole history of Catholic University of Lublin, Poland. At the beginning of academic year 2015/2016, along with students from European Studies Students’ Scientific Association. I embarked on promotion of EU institutions, internships and job opportunities. This column will be dedicated to my Ambassador’s activity. Once in a moth I will present my „diary” so you can see closer how is it to work for the EU. I am extremely enthusiastic about our further cooperation, and you?

So, in December…

9th of December

 chełmAnother great meeting with students of high school in Chełm, Poland. I ran double classes with extremely intelligent and curious youth. Some of the students even took part in national competition dedicated to the matters of European Union! I really liked what one boy said at the end: working for European Union must be a dream job. Well, indeed 😉

16th of December

16.12.2015That day I had the very last presentation in this year (2015). The meeting was provided for students of European Studies at The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin. I found this session to be especially important as I had an opportunity to talk to people who, most probably, will be taking jobs connected with various aspects of European Union.

We had some technical issues but managed to discuss the most important topics anyway. It couldn’t be better!

 

Gentle reminder: You can apply for 5-months INTERNSHIP in European Commission.

Deadline: 29.01.2016

Face a bigger challenge!

If you wish to be even more up-to-date with current Lublin issues, please follow this Facebook profile:

http://on.fb.me/1lJrSqU

In case of any questions, feel free to contact me:

Natalia Wysocka

John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin

eucareers.kul@gmail.com

EU Careers Student Ambassador – November

Natalia Wysocka

logo

Hi! My name is Natalia Wysocka and I have been chosen to take up the role of European Union Careers Student Ambassador, the very first one in the whole history of Catholic University of Lublin, Poland. At the begining of academic year 2015/2016, along with students from European Studies Students’ Scientific Association. I embarked on promotion of EU institutions, internships and job opportunities. This column will be dedicated to my Ambassador’s activity. Once in a moth I will present my „diary” so you can see closer how is it to work for the EU. I am extremely enthusiastic about our further cooperation, and you?

So, in November…

5th of November

My radio interview in Polskie Radio Lublin where I presented EU Careers Student Ambassador program and EPSO as well. If you wish to listen to it, here is the link.

I hope you will enjoy it! 🙂

17th of November

kołątaj2Along with representative of Regional Centre of International Debate, we had a great meeting with students of Hugo Kolataj’s high school in Lublin, Poland. I was amazed by the knowledge of so young people! I had a chance to inform them about internships and job opportunities in the EU. They were especially interested in the subject of Erasmus+ students’ internships.

Meanwhile, I had a meeting with students from European Studies Students’ Scientific Association. We decided to work together on several projects. First of them, is my conference at the Catholic University of Lublin. It will be dedicated to students of European Studies. You can find details on our Facebook profiles:

EU Careers Lublin

Koło Naukowe Studentów Europeistyki EURO-KUL

Another great news: contact point has finally started! You can meet me for individual consultation on every Wednesday at Catholic University of Lublin. If you decide to come and discuss your career, please, let me know by sending an email eucareers.kul@gmail.com

If you wish to be even more up-to-date with current Lublin issues, please follow this Facebook profile:

http://on.fb.me/1lJrSqU

In case of any questions, feel free to contact me:

Natalia Wysocka

John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin

eucareers.kul@gmail.com

Polish Parliamentary Elections seen through Western European Countries’ Eyes

Barbara Zak

Prime Minister Beata Szydło and Jarosław Kaczyński (Leader of PiS), JANEK SKARZYNSKI / AFP

Prime Minister Beata Szydło and Jarosław Kaczyński (Leader of PiS), JANEK SKARZYNSKI / AFP

It has been almost two months since the results of the Polish parliamentary elections have been revealed to the public. The overwhelming victory went to the Law and Justice party (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, PiS), which earned 37.58% of the total votes. This succes allowed the party to have 235 seats out of 460 – that is to say that they managed to seize the absolute majority of the Sejm (one of the Polish chambers) which is 230 seats plus another seat. The party also gained the absolute majority in the Senate with 61 seats out of 100. It is significant to note that the party that came in second place, the Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska, PO), which is also the party that won the two previous elections, gained only 24.09% of the votes, namely 138 seats out of 460 seats in the Sejm and 34 seats out of 100 seats in the Senate. The third and fourth parties’ results do not exceed the 50 seats mark and have no seats in the Senate. No left-wing party has won any seat in the parliament – a fact that is utterly inconceivable in Western European democracies.

The significant difference between the results is not to be taken lightly since it illustrates the position of Poles towards the administration of their country : they have entirely trusted PiS with its promises and have provided it with all the tools needed to rule the country (we should not forget that the political affiliation of the incumbent President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, is PiS). To sum up, PiS has received enough seats to govern alone.

Every victory shall be congratulated, particularly when it is an overpowering victory. Polish press magazines have mentionned the party PiS as the main winner and have praised its considerable success. However, words of congratulations could not be found in Western European countries’ newspapers. The words used in the headlines on French, English, Spanish and Italian newspapers were very negative. The words „Eurosceptic, conservative, nationalist, ultranationalist, populist, extremist, extreme right-wing, far-right party, xenophobic” were used to depict the winner of the elections.

The Western European countries’ opinions

(AFP Photo/Janek Skarzynski)

Jarosław Kaczyński and Beata Szydło celebrating its victory (AFP Photo/Janek Skarzynski)

Western European countries’ newspapers have explained PiS’ victory as the result of an anti-migration campaign, an anti-internationalisation of the country, a promise to keep young Polish people from moving to other countries because of unemployment, a return to the nuclear family with a ban of the modern Western family, the support of the Roman-Catholic church, a pro-rural campaign and helping poorer areas of the country. They have warned that the possible constitutional reforms could immerse the country into disastrous relations with the European Union (EU). Medias have shared their worries about the future of Poland regarding its membership of the EU. The tensions between Paris/Berlin and Warsaw may arise. Since the pro-European Polish government (composed of PO members) is no longer in office, the relations between EU institutions and the new „excessively” conservative and nationalist government could be turbulent. Moreover, the fact that PiS claims to be more of a pro-American party is very worrisome in the eyes of Western European countries. Poland is gradually looking towards the United States of America, meaning that it seems to be willing to have an ally against the „permanent Russian threat” they’re facing. Poland asked the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to focus on providing it with missile shield – as the EU does not have a common army or defence plans, the only solution found by Poland was beyond the Atlantic ocean.

Source: ALIK KEPLICZ / AP

Jarosław Kaczyński (ALIK KEPLICZ / AP)

The media of Western European countries assimilate the electoral campaign of PiS as propaganda, using fear as its main tool. Every means is good to illustrate how dangerous this party is. The most quoted sentence by Jarosław Kaczyński that can be found in the newspapers is basically that immigrants are like parasites that will bring various diseases. Medias remind the population that this kind of xenophobic speech was used against Jews during Hitler’s ascension to power. The leader of the Polish party is compared to the totalitarian personalities of the XXth century. Authors of these articles say they foresee his eventual coup d’état because of his undeniable thirst of power – Beata Szydło, the current Polish prime minister, is more of a screen to Kaczyński’s actions rather than an independent figure.

After the results of the parliamentary elections were out, Mr Kaczyński’s first words during his speech were a tribute to his late twin brother who died along with his wife in a plane crash while he was President of the Republic of Poland. In addition to the fact that their daughter was also present, the media of Europe perceived this as a means to move the population by reminding them of their well-liked late President.They remarked that he did not speak of the promises the party made.

Online version of the Italian nawspaper "La Stampa" right after the results

Online version of the Italian nawspaper „La Stampa” right after the results

The media said his speech was not appropriate for a winning speech. Moreover, Mr Kaczyński’s admiration for the Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, who is perceived as Hungary’s next dictator, worries the Western European journalists. They are afraid that Poland’s politics and diplomatical relationship with other European countries would become similar to Hungary’s. The fear of authoritarian government and the weakening of democracy values can be found in every article talking about this subject. The constitutional reforms were the first step Orbán took to cement his position. „Kaczyński’s party is willing to do the same” can be seen in the press in Western Europe.  Furthermore, the medias tend to remind that Poland needs the European funds in order to develop itself. Thus the idea of electing a Eurosceptic government should be unthinkable for Poles. French researcher, essayist and political commentator Jean-Yves Camus has said in an interview with Le Figaro (a French newspaper) that member states from the Eastern part of Europe think they are like lower-ranking associates – however it is untrue, he claims, since they are represented by important European commissionners (the former Polish prime minister Donald Tusk (PO) who is now the President of the European Council, is a revealing example of it).

 Poland’s response to the accusations

"Indestructible - what will Jaroslaw Kaczynski do now?" says Polish magazine Do Rzeczy

„Indestructible – what will Jaroslaw Kaczynski do now?” says Polish magazine Do Rzeczy

Nevertheless, all of these negative views of the winning party are not shared by the Polish people nor Polish media. In theory, PiS is a right-wing, national-conservative party. PO is also a right-wing party. The true far right, Eurosceptic party of Poland is KORWiN (Coalition for the Renewal of the Republic – Liberty and Hope). But PiS’ campaign was depicted as caring about the interests of Poland and of Polish people. In the public opinion, Poland has indeed received a huge amount of funds but in return their political moves were dictated by the EU’s most powerful governments, which are Western European countries. Poles reckon that the PO government has sold everything (especially banks and supermarkets) to foreigners and speculators, thus Polish little companies have perished. The reason why Polish people have voted for PiS is that they have wished for some changes in the internal situaiton of the country but also in their everyday life. PO being pro-EU was not well-perceived by Poles in the end. Harsh critics has been made against the President of the European Council Donald Tusk and the former prime minister Ewa Kopacz, depicted as puppets of the EU. Poland is starting to refuse the authority of Western Europe, for instance regarding the quotas of migrants it is told to welcome. The new government promised to make the voice of Poland to be heard. Right after the elections, Polish newspapers have written that Poles are looking at the new government with hope for a better change.

The main motto of the Western European medias is „be aware of PiS governing Poland”. It is not well accepted that a conservative, Eurosceptic and xenophobic party, as they call it, was allowed to form the new government representing Poland. These are the statements that can be found in Western European countries’ newspapers and their influence on the population is huge. They know they play an important role in shaping the public opinion. The position of the media will divide the EU more and more. However, we cannot hide the fact that this government has been elected in a democratic way. This is the answer of the Polish people towards their difficulties and worries. So rather than being a Polish crisis, as we can read in the newspapers in Western European countries, it should be called a European crisis, and more specifically a European identity crisis : Poles feel before anything else Polish rather than European. The national values got the upper hand on the European unity. We could sense it during Poland’s new prime minister Beata Szydło’s speech : only Polish white-red flags could be seen. No European flag. Not anymore.

Belgium

http://www.rtbf.be/info/medias/dossier/vu-sur-le-web/detail_des-populistes-remportent-les-elections-polonaises-selon-la-vrt-theo-francken-les-corrige?id=9121033

France

http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2015/10/25/pologne-la-droite-conservatrice-remporte-les-elections-legislatives_4796630_3214.html

http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2015/10/23/pologne-la-fin-du-bon-eleve-europeen_4795312_3214.html

http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2015/09/15/face-aux-refugies-des-opinions-europeennes-profondement-divisees_4757942_3214.html

http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2015/10/27/l-ue-inquiete-de-la-victoire-du-pis-en-pologne_4797652_3214.html

http://www.lefigaro.fr/vox/monde/2015/10/27/31002-20151027ARTFIG00346-legislatives-en-pologne-ce-que-revele-la-montee-de-l-euroscepticisme-a-l-est.php

United Kingdom

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34631826

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34640535

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34638483

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/26/poland-election-idUSL8N12Q08J20151026

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/22/polish-elections-2015-a-guide-to-the-parties-polls-and-electoral-system

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/6959c838-77fb-11e5-a95a-27d368e1ddf7.html

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/23/poland-election-law-and-justice-party

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-16390574

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-21748878

Spain

http://elpais.com/elpais/2015/10/26/opinion/1445893343_097387.html

http://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2015/10/26/actualidad/1445861367_552444.html

http://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2015/10/25/actualidad/1445764644_924199.html

http://www.elmundo.es/internacional/2015/10/26/562e145322601dbc1e8b45bf.html

Italy

http://www.repubblica.it/esteri/2015/10/25/news/elezioni_polonia_-125883255/?ref=search

http://www.repubblica.it/esteri/2015/10/24/news/polonia_intervista_czarnecki-125812685/?ref=search

http://www.repubblica.it/esteri/2015/10/24/news/elezioni_polonia-125809157/?ref=search

http://www.corriere.it/esteri/15_ottobre_25/elezioni-polonia-primi-exit-poll-avanti-destra-anti-unione-europea-cccbd0a4-7b53-11e5-901f-d0ce9a6b55d1.shtml

Poland

http://www.fakt.pl/swiat/wybory-parlamentarne-2015-okiem-zagranicznej-prasie,artykuly,586388.html

http://www.wprost.pl/wybory-parlamentarne-2015/

http://www.wprost.pl/ar/523739/Zagraniczne-media-o-wyborach-w-Polsce-Prawicowa-zmiana/?pg=6#strona-komentarzy-1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_parliamentary_election,_2015

Newspaper wSieci nr 46 16-22 november 2015 : article „Niezły rząd wielkich nadziei”, Piotr Zaremba

Bonus:

United States of America

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/26/europe/poland-election/

EU Careers Student Ambassador – October

Natalia Wysocka

logo

Hi! My name is Natalia Wysocka and I have been chosen to take up the role of European Union Careers Student Ambassador, the very first one in the whole history of Catholic University of Lublin, Poland. At the beginning of academic year 2015/2016, along with students from European Studies Students’ Scientific Association, I embarked on promotion of EU institutions, internships and job opportunities. This column will be dedicated to my Ambassador’s activity. Once in a month I will present my „diary” so you can see closer how is it to work for the EU. I am extremely enthusiastic about our further cooperation, and you?

So, in October…

15th of October

Photo: Komisja Europejska w Polsce, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland

Photo: Komisja Europejska w Polsce, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland

Yes, we have finally started! Since that day, I can officially act as EU Careers Ambassador. After great session in Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Commission in Warsaw, I have gained an extra boost of energy and motivation. What will come next? We find out soon.

23rd of October

My first, short live interview as EU Careers Ambassador in Polskie Radio Lublin.    My speaker, Ms. Agata Koss, turned out to be extremely curious about EPSO and our project. Then, I realized how many things I need to do to familiarize Polish society with the subject of European Union career.

27th of October

Job Fair at Catholic University of Lublin. There was a great number of students who were asking current opportunities of work and internships in EU. I think it is a result of an intensive Facebook campaign run in both of EU Careers Lublin and Career Office KUL profiles. I could discuss my further conferences and stands with students and see what is expected. Because of that, I gained the general overview of the issues I need to talk about in the future. I received an amazing support from Careers Office at the University and from Europe Direct in Lublin as well.

Photo: RODM, Biuro Karier KUL, Kurier Lubelski

Photo: RODM, Biuro Karier KUL, Kurier Lubelski

 

If you wish to be even more up-to-date with current Lublin issues, please follow this Facebook profile:

http://on.fb.me/1lJrSqU

In case of any questions, feel free to contact me:

Natalia Wysocka

John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin

eucareers.kul@gmail.com