On may 9th 2021, we celebrated the 71th birthday of the Schuman Declaration which initiated the basis of one of the biggest and most promising political and economical projects of our modern history : The European Union.
Robert Schuman, known as the father of Europe used to say “ World peace can only be safeguarded by creative efforts, commensurate with the dangers that threaten it. The contribution of an organized and vital Europe can bring to civilization is indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations”.
Back in 1950, his main idea was to unify coal and steel production under a supranational “High Authority” in order for the participant countries to be more competitive and to initiate real European links for a lasting peace to be possible after years and years of durable conflicts.
Despite many internal and external challenges, our Union vigorously defends its democratic principles, the rule of law and fundamental rights, even though the desire for the strong man and sovereign and nationalist pressures are on the rise. The united Europe has not only represented the largest space of freedom, rights and protection for its citizens, but has also contributed to world stability and has represented a global political reference of civilizations, carrying values of freedom, peace, progress and social security beyond its borders.
It remains important, even years after, to commemorate this historical moment and this pass by implementing projects in link with european values and citizenship such as the NEW Schuman Declaration !
(photo links : https://www.lecese.fr/content/9-mai-2020-70eme-anniversaire-de-la-declaration-schuman and https://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/et/70th-anniversary-of-the-schuman-declarat/product-details/20200611CDT03881 )
Last March 3 we organized a talk around Robert Schuman. 70 minutes to celebrate the 70th anniversary of his declaration. Fifth students from IES Diego de Siloé participated, and we debated and learned how the desire for peace is at the base of the European Union, and what the parents of Europe had in mind above any other benefit.
Given the COVID measures, the students have been placed in five different classrooms. Other participants have done it online.
“NEW Schuman Declaration – Cross-Generational Conversation about a NEW Europe” is a project funded by the European Union in frame of the program “Europe for Citizens” Strand 1 – „European Remembrance“. The project is coordinated by the Contemporary Pleven Media Foundation based in Pleven, Bulgaria in collaboration with the following partners: Educommart from Greece, AIFED from Spain and Fundacja Autokreacja from Poland. The project is set to take place during 01.01.2021 – 30.06.2022.
The project aims to generate ideas for the future of the European Union. It will link the past and the present to give young Europeans a powerful tool for building the future. The instrument is the memories and lessons of the past 70 years.
Talking to contemporaries of the 1950 Schuman Declaration, of their country’s admission to the EU and of the changes in Central and Eastern Europe after 1990, young people will add to the lines of history textbooks the experience of “ordinary” people. They will also become familiar with the full text of the Schuman Declaration, which everyone has heard of, but few have read.
On May 9, we will announce an essay contest “My Schuman Declaration”
We’ll introduce young Europeans to the human rights set out in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (2000). The rights – dignity, freedoms, equality, solidarity, citizenship, justice – seem indisputable. But in all four countries involved in the project, there’ve been periods of their suppression. This must be known and remembered so as not to be repeated.
Bulgaria’s first democratically elected president, Zhelyu Zhelev, used to say „Democracy can only be healed with more democracy“. Euroscepticism, populism and centrifugal forces induced by Brexit must be counteracted by cohesion, solidarity and security.
The “New Schuman Declaration – cross-generational conversation for a New Europe” project activities will be implemented in the 4 countries of the consortium: Bulgaria, Greece, Spain and Poland, in these cities respectively: Pleven, Athens, Granada, and Warsaw. This will bring together participants from countries with more than 30 years of EU membership with those accepted only 10 or 15 years ago; countries developed under conditions of capitalism and socialism; residents of capitals and of two big, but not metropolitan cities.
The project stands symbolically within the limits of time and space – from the laying of the foundations of the EU in 1950 to the present, and from the external borders of the Union in the four directions of the world – from Bulgaria to Spain, and from Greece to Poland.
The focus group of the project is young people between the ages of 14 and 29, so most of the activities will be held in schools and universities in the 4 countries: cross-generational meetings, flash mobs, puzzle room competitions. We will promote and run online the essay contest „My Schuman Declaration“. This way, participation in it will be accessible to all interested who meet the criteria of the regulations. The radio campaign will be broadcast to an audience of millions via BNR, which also transmits online. The venue for the closing event – an international forum Schuman Declaration and the future of the EU will be the “Iliya Beshkov” Art Gallery in Pleven.
The global network and the radio airing make massive dissemination of information possible, and the New Schuman Declaration – for a New Europe project intends to make the most of it.