Report about the idea of European Citizenship by the young people of Ceregnano
We, the young people from Ceregnano, have been thinking about the present and actual meaning of the word ‘‘Europe’’ and the expression “European Citizens”. We know that “Europe” cannot simply refer to the smallest and oldest of the continents. In fact, it involves a cultural and historical identity that does not overcome the distinctive features of the countries and that is able to get an overall view of the common future.
This sense of community, along the years, led to the birth of an economical union: from the establishment of a European common market, which allows the free circulation of people and goods, to a sole currency. These changes made us reconsider our idea of border. Indeed, this is no longer a frightening barrier, but it is like a door that allows people from different countries to communicate and gives the young people new opportunities to travel, study and work.
It has been especially through study that we had the possibility to know Europe and what it offers to us:
· the cultural exchange programmes, like the Comenius programme, let us know different familiar and educative contexts, along with the opportunity to make a lot of new friends;
· among university students, the Erasmus project is well known: it allows many students to live in a foreign country, learning new languages and meeting other students from all Europe.
Due to our young age, we do not have a direct experience of working in Europe. However we are aware of the existence of some programmes, like the Leonardo programme, which enable the young to work for a determinate period of time in a country of the UE. Sometimes, it happens that this short period of time becomes the starting point for a life-time career abroad.
Surely, at the base of it, the knowledge of foreign languages is required but in particular, the knowledge of English, which has been taught in all Europe and for this reason represents the main way to communicate. Furthermore, it is necessary to be open-minded to welcome life-styles that may be very different from ours. It is also necessary to be curious enough to improve the knowledge of people's diversities.
We think that all these possibilities we are offered contribute to develop the values of peace and respect. These principles come from the breaking of prejudices, which can only be achieved with a mutual knowledge.
Today we live in hard times, and sometimes economic difficulties may lead to anger, lack of trust and easy generalizations; but we must never lose the idea of peace. Peace is not only the absence of wars: it is the building of friendships, and first of all we must be able to welcome and help others, concretely engaging ourselves in this project every day.
From Europe we expect:
· the continuous keeping of the peace that needs to get stronger every day and is an absolute priority, despite what happens in the political and financial fields.
· the intensification of the mobility for students and workers together with the purpose of simplifying the equivalence between degrees of the different countries.
In the end, we expect that every opportunity to meet, make friends and work together will be encouraged, so as to break any barrier between people and to promote the common good.