If you attended Autumn Agora Kyïv, for sure you didn’t miss the moment when Florian Hauger, a delegate from AEGEE-Heidelberg, stepped on stage presenting a position paper regarding the Refugee Crisis. Despite the fact that the Agora decided not to adopt the paper, citing the little time given to discuss it, Florian and the German local stuck up for their opinion. At his first Agora, Florian was very active in giving his contribution to our statutory event and that hasn’t passed unnoticed since he was one of the nominees for the Member of the Month.
The AEGEEan: Please introduce yourself!
Florian: I joined AEGEE about half a year ago and just became Secretary General of AEGEE-Heidelberg. Representing my antenna during Autumn Agora Kyiv 2015 as a delegate, I proposed our Position Paper “Facing the Challenge in Unity – Joint Solutions of Europe’s latest Refugee Crisis”
Why did you decide to present a statement regarding refugees?
Europe‘s latest refugee crisis and the wider migration are clearly very complex and they both require joint solutions; the unequal empathy among the Member States revealed a serious lack of cooperativeness in Europe.
In my opinion, AEGEE should consider the highest number of people fleeing since the end of World War II, as a challenge to be faced in unity. As one of the biggest and most influential European Youth Organisations, I consider it to be kind of embarrassing not to have an official opinion about the most important topic of our time yet.
Was it a statement or a position paper?
It was a position paper. After we failed the majority, Chair and Juridical Commission kindly agreed to accept it, at least, as an official statement of AEGEE-Heidelberg.
Why do you think people rejected it, but yet chose the same topic as European Planning Meeting (EPM) topic?
As we supported each other, I’m very happy about Romy Cartiere’s (AEGEE-Amsterdam) proposal getting adopted for Leiden 2016. She did a great job! Maybe the EPM will be the right forum to reorganise our supporters to prepare a viable position paper for Spring Agora Bergamo 2016.
Revealing the unequal empathy for refugees among the Member States as a serious lack of cooperativeness in the European Union, the proposal demanded a general distribution of the Refugees in Europe among the Member States after taking into account both population and economic strength of these countries. Furthermore, we argued, that AEGEE needs to take action for the refugees. Honouring our humanitarian traditions, we have to do our best to help these people.
Would you present it again?
YES! Keeping our proposal as interactive as possible, we’re going to reorganise all supporters during the next months and open the document for external input of other antennae. AEGEE-Heidelberg is definitely going to retry getting “Facing the Challenge in Unity 2.0” to be adopted in Bergamo 2016. Everyone who is interested in joining us, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
Why do you think AEGEE needs to speak about this topic?
Honouring our humanitarian values, AEGEE-Europe needs to realise the collective responsibility to embrace and protect people fleeing from religious or political persecution, war, dictatorship and oppression. It is our moral obligation to care about these people. I repeat that I consider it to be embarrassing not to have an official opinion on this yet.
In my opinion, the Comité Directeur should use its formal access to the European Institutions to promote joint solutions and the urgent need of reforms instead of focussing on statutory stuff that no one cares about. People are suffering and winter is coming! We need to enforce joint European solutions, and of course, we need to help.
I think the key to help the refugees will be the local work. After I failed to get our proposal ratified by the Agora, many participants mailed me asking about what to do now. Especially antennae focused on Erasmus work do have an ideal infrastructure, involving refugees in language cafés, workshops, parties or other events. Our local work provides with the perfect conditions for a successful integration.
To aquire long-term solutions at the European level, we need to send a strong message from EPM Leiden 2016. AEGEE-Europe could be far more influential by using its access to the decision makers in Brussels!
Written by Erika Bettin, AEGEE-Verona