Study Trip to Brussels
The first activity within the project GaMCon Youth Leadership Program- GYLP was the 2 weeks’ study trip organized for 20 young leaders from Gagauzia. Study trip was divided into two parts. From June 26-30 students had the opportunity to visit Brussels, the capital of the EU, and to learn more about the work of the European union and its institutions. During the following week, from July 3-7, students visited number of successful civil society initiatives across Slovakia.
The first part of the study trip in Brussels started with an informative and cultural visit at the House of European History . At the House of European History Gagauz students could learn more about the European history and European integration through collection of objects, documents, publications and wide range of online content as well represent the European history.
Second part of a day was dedicated to one of the main legislative body of the EU- the European Parliament. Young people from Gagauzia, who visited the Parliament for the first time had an opportunity, not only to learn more about the function and activities of EP, but also to see the real work of this institute from inside. During the visit students met with the members of the European Parliament from Slovakia and Romania- Eduard Kukan, Sorin Moisa, Andi Cristea, Petras Auštrevičius, Siegfried Muresan and Cristian Dan Preda.
Through the very open discussion MPs talk about the structure and activities of the EP, but also about the relations between the European Union and Moldova, and last but not least about the issue of European integration of the Republic of Moldova and things that need to be changed in the Republic of Moldova, following the example of European countries. They also talked about the EU’s relations with Gagauzia and Transnistria. They highlighted that the European integration of Moldova is a very long and difficult process, which requires a lots of work and compliance with specific conditions from the Moldovan authorities’, primarily the eradication of corruption and many others.
On 28th of June students had a meeting with Matej Kresac, Attaché at the Permanent Representation of the Slovak Republic to the EU. Mr Kresac as a member of the Working Party on Eastern Europe and Central Asia (COEST) talked about the relations and cooperation of the EU with the Eastern Europe countries, Moldova as well and the European neighborhood policy, in particular the Eastern partnership.
In the second part of the day, students learned more about the structure and function of the another fundamental body of the EU-European Commission. Mr Bousquet, Head of Unit NEAR C1 Georgia, Moldova & Neighborhood Cross-Border Cooperation in the European Commission presented the role of the European Commission, its structure and specifics of activities. Among others students were very interested in the process of carrying out of diplomatic missions in the European Union.
On Thursday, June 29th, future Gagauzian leaders visited the University of KENT, where a lecture by Dr Maria Malksoo was given. During the lecture “Politics of Memory in Russia and in Ukraine” she explained the links between historical memory and historical explanations that influence the nation building and democracy building, focusing especially on the conmtroversial examples from the eastern Europe: memory laws in Russia, that forbid any other intepretations of history than the official one, agreed upon by state and ideology, but also similar laws and processed in Ukraine during the current process of decommunisation.
After the short lecture at the University young leaders had a great opportunity to visit Wilfred Martens Centre, the political foundation and official think tank of European Peoples Party. During the meeting with representatives of the organization students could learn more about the work of political parties and fractions at the EU level and last, but not least about the function of WMC. Representatives of WMC pointed out the importance of active young leaders in modernization and talked about the tasks of active youth in decisions making process.
On the fourth day students had couple of meetings at the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum. Students can learn more about the function and structure of the Forum, its main activities, evens and projects. Among others also the issue of brain drain from the Gagauz region and the lack of civil participation and engagement were discussed.
The concluding visit was to the Embassy of the Republic of Moldova in Brussels, where students met with the Deputy Ambassador of Moldova, who told them about the work of the Moldovan Mission in Brussels, about the citizens of Republic of Moldova who live and study in Brussels.