Banner_Romanian-School---CalarasiDebating Europe wants to give students the chance to question policymakers, debate with fellow students from other European countries, and learn more about the work of the EU.

To achieve this goal, we are working closely with schools and colleges across each EU member state to launch a series of student-led online debates. You can read our previous debates with students from GreeceDenmarkBulgariaSweden,SpainBelgiumItaly, Malta and our special-guest debate with students from the USA.

Our tenth debate is with students from the National College “Barbu Stirbei”, Călărași, Romania. We took their questions to the Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Linas Antanas Linkevičius; the Swedish State Secretary for EU Affairs, Oscar Wåglund Söderström; a Greek Member of Parliament, Anna Diamantopoulou; a Swedish Member of Parliament, Gustav Blix, and a Czech Member of the European Parliament, Libor Rouček.

1. What effect will the eurozone crisis have on European integration?

The first question comes from Andrei, who wants to know what the effect of the common currency (including the impact of the eurozone crisis) will be on the future of European integration. We took this question to the Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Linas Antanas Linkevičius, whose party belongs to the  social democratic ideology in our DE Vote 2014 project.

We also took the same question to the Swedish State Secretary for EU Affairs, Oscar Wåglund Söderström, who serves under a  liberal democratic minister. Would he agree with Minister Linkevičius?

Finally, we took Andrei’s question to Anna Diamantopoulou, a Greek MP who belongs to the  social democratic PASOK party. Greece has been hit hard by the eurozone crisis, so how did she see this affecting the future of the EU?

2. What is the future of the immigration debate in Europe?

The second question came from Eduard, who believes immigration is one of the most important challenges facing the EU today. He wanted to know how politicians saw the future of the immigration debate in Europe. We started by asking for a response from the Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Linas Antanas Linkevičius.

Next, we spoke to Gustav Blix, a  centre-right Member of the Swedish Parliament (Riksdag). Sweden has traditionally been seen as a highly cosmopolitan and open society, but riots in Stockholm earlier this year risk polarising the debate. How would he respond?

Finally, we took Eduard’s question to Libor Rouček, a  social democratic Member of the European Parliament from the Czech Republic. What was his reaction?

Vote 2014

Voting is closed in our Debating Europe Vote 2014! The results are now in, so come and see what our readers thought!

28 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think? What has been the effect of the eurozone crisis on European integration? Has it brought countries closer together, or does it risk driving the EU apart? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below.

  1. avatar

    To respond to the question, I think the answer is yes and no. The abrupt difference between the economic status between countries in the EU creates the possibility for its members to adopt different approaches to the eurozone crisis subject. Well developed countries tend to drift apart, searching to ensure monetary stability and economic growth, while less developed countries from within the EU, such as the easternmost members, will be more cooperative, judging by the fact that for countries such as Romania, Bulgaria or Hungary, membership in the EU brings economic progress. While many people don’t see the situation as such, the reality is that the Eastern members become more and more integrated, and more aware of their importance as prime-resource providers withnin the EU, while also ensuring the Western countries trade opportunities. All in all, the situation is less dire than it seems.

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      It would help also if Hungary wouldn’t continuously try to subvert Romania, Slovakia and Serbia at every turn to satisfy their insane 9th century territorial fetish.
      Their politicians make regular visits here to stirr up dissent and they have been warned to stop it more than once. Hungary needs a good warning, preferably from Brussels to stay the hell out of other countries’ affairs.

    • avatar

      Limbidis Arian, it would be very nice in case of Romania for exemple to accept cultural differences, maybe it would change a lot in the story.In Romanias case is not about teritory, it is that the states politics sometimes try to delete existent cultures so to avoid problems abouth his oiwn identity.In case of Serbia i’m not sure how is it, in Slovakia it is the same i know it.And for this countries it would be very nice to understand that this people has also all kind of political views, so what a far right extremist has in his head and the average people it is not the same, but who makes more trouble is questionable in this situation.But until you have to fight for basical human rights as using your own language and to be treated as all the others, maybe there is going to be teritorial far right activists also whit very stupid ideas in the head.And how i say, Romania already deleted cultures and in the past century has terrorized some minorities who just lost their identity, or their mother land had to buy them for money to avoid this kind of crimes against humanity as culture deleting, so….just think about it and ask again.In the case of Hungary it would be very nice to not to be a place where antisemitic far right movements are growing, but i think the two stories are related somehow.But in this debate this wasn’t the question i gues.

  2. avatar
    Paul X

    I think if you take the comments from this board as an indication of public feeling then quite clearly the eurozone crisis has driven a wedge between north and south
    The South blames the banks and capitalist attitude of the north for the crisis and the north blames the irresponsibility and corruption of the south for the crisis

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      Ironically, the south is right.
      The north just wants to protect their privileged status. Which is perfectly understandable since humans cannot see other people’s suffering unless they experience it themselves.

      That is why global warming is such a joke to the affluent, that is why poverty is such a joke to those who are well, healthcare for teh poor is called “leeching”, etc

      But that again i am in the south so…

  3. avatar

    If only countries like Netherlands and Germany were willing to give up 25% or so of our wealth, everything would be a paradise. That seems to be the underlying tone of all these ‘Debate Europe’ school thingies.

    And they actually are astounded that we are not willing to do so.

    • avatar
      Limbidis Arian

      Last i checked the northern states of the US give out handouts to the southern states also.
      And they don’t bitch around while doing it.
      But of course they don’t have an ego as big as a house and they understand – ironically for me to praise teh americans for anything – cooperation.

    • avatar

      US states do not actually tax their residents to the tune of 50% of their income like countries in Europe do. In the US, there is room on top for these transfers on a federal level.

      In a country like France, where government spending causes 56% of GDP, there isn’t room on top for another 20-25% to spend on other countries.

      To enable these transfers you want (and I don’t), you’d have to gut government spending in Northern European countries to the tune of at least 20-25%

      Now you run for parliament with a party platform based on that, good luck.

  4. avatar

    Elementary question: why I strive to become rich if I know that a quarter of my wealth will be given to those who have not tried and succeded like me?! You know … we are all equal only in the face of the law …

  5. avatar

    Arian Limbidis idea of ‘cooperation’ seems to be defined as: Germany/Netherlands ea should cut government spending by 20-25% and send all of that to Club Med.

    And still, he is amazed we are against that. Here’s the message: it is NOT going to happen. No one here will vote for such measures. The Euro should be disbanded.

  6. avatar
    Sébastien Chopin

    quite honestly this question shows a total lack of global vision…:
    I don’t think european integration has anything to do with the change of culture and values… culture and values are uniformed by internet, music and tv..(there is an x-factor in every country). if people want to continue dancing in a red or white dress or in a kilt on particular dates, they still do… and then you’re either a protagonist taking part in the show or you’re a spectator cheering on.. The ethical european values being broadly the same (don’t kill or steal and get a job to get a house to start a family) the only moment we will really have to panic for culture and values is when everyone will claim a right to bear arms, the return of the death penalty (by injection or electric chair) and two round elections in a bipartite system through an electoral college; ‘cos that’s definitely not our culture :-D

  7. avatar
    Elina Ventsislavova

    Too much austerity, overregulation and integration is actually undermining the European idea..just make the principles of equality, solidarity, proportionality and non-discrimination function and do not ask for more “unification”

  8. avatar
    Zbigniew Jankowski

    The more global we become, the more aware are we of our ancestry. The culture roots (not all) will therefore remain in a form of strong regional traditions and values. Will they still be able to influence the global values is a good question? I certainly think that to some extend YES and they allways will.

  9. avatar
    Catalin Vasile

    If U.E. stops interfering with the national laws imposing positive discrimation and a dumb austerity the local, regional and national cultures can be preserved! I love the concept of a European Union but sadly I see the beaurocrats and the so-called politicians guiding the rules on the paths of their own or their political party interests! The Citizen is seen more and more as a tool, a slave having only the rights to obey, pay taxes and shut up!!!

  10. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    Of course they can be preserved.. I am Greek and when I travel throught my country I experience the different local cultures.. There are different customs in Crete, Thessaly, Macedonia, Thrace the Cyclades or the Ionian islands.. We are all Greek but we also have our dinstictive heritage.. Of course to preserve our culture AND create a European one all we have to do is to project each other’s culture on each other.. So with the constant cultural exchanges we both get to empower and keep our own as a part of a wider European one and we create a European cultural pool.. What we are doing now is the Americanization of Europe, trying to integrate Europeans by turning them all American.. That WILL lead and IS a loss of our own heritage.. In an effort to create a European demos our leaders think of culture as an obstacle and want to weaken it.. When in fact Europe can only be united by culture, something they will feel they have all contributed to it and as something of their own..

  11. avatar
    Luc Sabbe

    To answer the question: we live in a globalizing world where local habits are more and more replaced by global habits and culture. The Europanization of Europe will barely enhance this trend. Don’t forget that we have much more a European culture than most people can imagine. The local differences will still remain, but probably more superficially than it was.

  12. avatar
    Vicente Silva Tavares

    Culture of every country always change with films, TV, music and so on. Not depending on bureaucrats of Brussels. Just see the influence of American culture: I still remember when the first restaurants did open to sell hamburgers, that Germans took to USA and had imported before from the Tartarians. Pizzas came much later another import of Americans from Italy. Today, every country says “OK”. The violent culture of American influenced our countries. The violence increased in all countries since the second world war at the pace of our imports of American movies. Most of our TV programs are national versions of American series. Chinese and sushi food is now common on Europe. The word kebab had installed in many countries. The American economic theory of globalism and monetarism is now overwhelming over our political class. The killing of the European social economy is on the way. I could go on and on… but for what?

  13. avatar
    Pol Santaló

    They should be preserved! We don’t want to be like USA, in Europe every country has its culture and traditions, is part of our history and would be a huge mistake if someone would try to destroy them!

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