Open European borders for open minds

Source: http://www.statravel.co.uk/travel-europe.htm

By Christos Mouzeviris

Europe’s future lies firmly with its youth, which is going to form the next generation of the continent. They will not only inherit the great opportunities that the struggles of the previous generations have created, but a chance to shape the future continent in which their children will grow up.

For their legacy to be positive, we must provide them with the necessary skills, education and a continent of equal opportunities. But these opportunities are not always limited in their own countries. They include the freedom to travel, study and work anywhere in Europe, gaining experience that is not available in their place of birth.

Being an expat myself, I could not argue more for the benefits of the free movement within the EU. When I meet young people that still haven’t found their way in life, I always give them one advice; to travel and go work or study in another country for a few years. They do not have to stay there for good. But the lessons they will learn will prove invaluable to them in the future.

When you live in a closed community dominated by your family, that have one set of ideas, a point of view or one set of values, you cannot always progress and find yourself. It is only when you study in another educational system or work in a foreign country with people of different nationalities that your brain is stimulated by new ideas.

Meeting people while you travel, or simply talking to locals in the places that you visit, could offer you the best type of education. Speaking another language, or coming into contact with a different culture could alter the way you view things, or the world. When you compare your new experiences and discoveries with what you knew back home, you will often be surprised by how wrong you and your family were in certain things.

We live in a very privileged era, travelling is easy and cheap. We also have the benefit of living in one of the most advanced and open societies in the world, called Europe. There is simply no excuse anymore for narrow mindedness.

We live in a very privileged era, travelling is easy and cheap. We also have the benefit of living in one of the most advanced and open societies in the world, called Europe. There is simply no excuse anymore for narrow mindedness.

 

Because of the European Union, we have a continent of open borders, so why not have open minds as well?

The block’s institutions and various funded programs, like Erasmus or EURES, offer Europe’s youths numerous possibilities to explore the continent from tip to tip.

Despite all its faults, the EU can offer each one of its young citizen’s opportunities that would simply not be possible in their own communities. And it is important for the leaders of Europe to understand, that limiting the EU’s most successful policies, such as the Schengen Agreement, could only harm Europe’s future.

We should not fall into the trap of populism or xenophobia by limiting or abolishing some of the key benefits that we, as citizens, gain from the EU. Our free movement is crucial for us and for our personal development. All the above policies are vital to form a mobile, multilingual, educated and diverse future European generation, which will benefit the continent’s economy in the long term. Simply because it is this kind of youth that will give an advantage to Europe, when comparing its competitiveness with other continents or regions.

The best investment that the European leaders can make, is securing future Europe with a cosmopolitan, highly skilled and educated working class. In addition, they could make an effort in reforming each country’s educational systems, modernising them and diversifying them to meet the needs of Europe’s constantly changing economy.

Instead of throwing millions into saving and securing the banks of this continent, it is evident that the wiser investment would be in Europe’s youth. They are, after all, the future.

Instead of throwing millions into saving and securing the banks of this continent, it is evident that the wiser investment would be in Europe’s youth. They are, after all, the future.

 

My advice for our continent’s young people is to embrace Europe, together with their country’s national identity. Be curious, travel and learn languages. Get involved in politics and show some constructive interest in your national and European political and social issues. In that way you will form an active pan-European civic society. As result, you will become the necessary pillars of a fairer, progressive, prosperous and diverse European continent that in return will benefit you and your families.

Don’t be disheartened about where Europe is now; the crisis is the result of the mistakes made by the past generations of this continent. If you want to leave your mark and shape yours and this continent’s future, grasp the opportunities that are available to you now. Become the change that you want to see. It is easy to blame your forefathers for Europe’s current woes. But remember that the future generations will think the same of you too, if you fail to reform this continent. The previous generations grew up in a war torn time, with very limited opportunities for travel, jobs and education. What will be your excuse?

 

Christos Mouzeviris is originally from Greece, but found his home in “Ireland, Europe and the world.” He is a blogger and a journalist, interested in politics, culture, history, music, traveling and nature. He considers himself a European and a Citizen of the World, and would like to seadmin-ajaxe our continent and the world more united, and more democratic. To this end he has created The Eblana European Democratic Movement, which focuses on debates about culture, politics, E.U. issues, and society.

 

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