From Borders to European Integration – Itineraries from Yesterday to Today

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Let’s see some more impressions coming from projects in which we are partners: Bari-Tirana 2452 to 5 June 2013 is when a seminar on European integration, borders, EU enlargement programme and other topics within the field took place in Tirana. We’ve had 2 participants representing ATCE-SR there and one of them, Alex Marinescu, shared with us his experience. I kindly invite you to check it out and, perhaps, you will be more motivated to join us in a following project

Alexandru Marinescu

During my stay in Tirana for the seminar “From Borders to European Integration”, I started to understand the mentalities of the locals and that made me feel really close to them because I experienced these ideas during the integration process that took place in my home country, Romania. The moment I felt closest to Albanian people was while doing some interviews according to our program. It was such a strong feeling to meet contradictory ideas and mentalities between the young and the old generation. The older generation focused on the negative aspects of the Albanian society, but still they put their hopes in the desires of the young generation to become members of the European Union. The young generation seemed to be very connected with the difficulties and minuses of their country but really confident in breaking barriers of development. Answers stated that they are aware of their strong points mentioning their capacity to work hard, to adapt to a new system and the desire to change for the better.

Bari-Tirana 293I was quite impressed by their mature thinking, even though this group that made a strong impression on me was in their early twenties, and also I felt really energized after talking to them. One thing is for sure: things won’t change overnight but what I saw in those teenagers was the ability to be superior to their parents and to their political class.I think the political class is viewed by those who want to be better each day as it is seen in many developing countries: like a system concentrated only on a 4 years mandate of power even though the rules and decisions they make affect the country for a longer period of time. Their superiority consists in the ability to adapt and to be mature respecting themselves with long term life design: the capacity to think on long term plans of development as a human being, as a professional in a carrier / business etc.

Bari-Tirana 369Another moment that defined my stay was when I realized an inner feeling never expressed before. The group was divided in small teams and we were discussing about European Union and what are our thoughts regarding this. It was quite amazing to observe that in our small group the ideas were different. Those coming from the Western Europe (Germany and Italy) felt that Europe as a concept is “us” and is “here” as it always was. The other half of the team (represented by Romania and Latvia, even though 6 and 9 years passed since these countries entered the EU) felt like Europe is “there”, going West and it should be a good matrix to follow. Starting from this the whole group started discussing about this feeling of “here” or “there” and I observed a social ladder where everybody wants to get higher in order to improve their life conditions and where everybody tends to look only above. The higher people are, the more refined are their wishes and expectations. Going down this ladder we can encounter much more desire but also selfishness and frustration towards the political class. Thinking about this, I find a great responsibility among the key players (counties like Germany, France or UK) in EU because everybody wants to meet these standards and their kind of lifestyle.

The seminar offered me so many insights and gave me a lot of positive energy which I would like to use for implementing an idea I had during my stay in Tirana. I would like to organize a project with a goal to inform the civil society about the existence of several national agencies to which people could address if they feel discriminated, abused or unprotected. Teenagers all over Europe would offer different cases experienced, heard or imagined and a team of lawyers would implement this case according to the Romanian law. The brainstorm will take the form of a brochure and a website as a FAQ (frequent answers to questions) that will act like a free help for people in delicate situations.

I find this project helpful also in Albania where people are alone in facing many discriminations and abuses or are not aware of the agencies existence. I will be careful to inform the organization from Tirana if my project will became reality because I find it really useful to be done in both countries.

All credits for the photos belong to Alex Marinescu

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