Publiceret: 29.09.2016Af Laura Flader mail
On Tuesday the 27th of September, four young Europeans gave the Confederation of Danish Industry Summit a talking-to about a Europe that is becoming increasingly sceptical about the EU.
The first young European voice came from 26-year-old Ida Birkvad from Denmark who declared herself to be part of Generation Europe, a generation used to freedom of movement, labour and study within the European Union.
Ida Birkvad referred to a survey published by the Confederation of Danish Industry which shows that four out of ten young Danes know so little about the EU that they have given up trying to follow what is going on in Brussels.
“Despite the many fantastic opportunities created by the EU for young Danes, their interest in what is happening in Brussels is not very great. Young people do not know what the Union has meant to their lives – or what it can mean for them in the future. That worries me because how are they going to be able to support the EU?” asked Ida Birkvad.
Finally, she addressed what she sees as the main problem.
“The problem is not that the EU has too many opponents. The problem is that it has too few advocates. So please join my troop,” she said.
See also: The future belongs to Europe
The next two speakers on stage at the Opera House were Hugo Carvalho from Portugal and Tinkara Oblak from Slovenia who joined Ida Birkvad.
In Hugo Carvalho’s home country, 30% of young people are jobless. This has meant that many young people in Portugal have been forced to live at home with their parents well into their thirties.
“The EU and freedom of movement enable me and other southern Europeans to get onto the job market. Instead of remaining in Portugal without a job, I am able to travel to another EU country where there are growth and jobs,” said 26-year-old Hugo Carvalho who has a degree in Engineering.
Tinkara Oblak’s home country became a member of the EU when she was 15 years old. She is now 25 and has clearly felt the benefits of being a member of the EU both to herself personally and to Slovenia.
She believes that being an entrepreneur in Slovenia is still far too difficult. Tinkara Oblak wants the EU to make it easier for young people to start up their own business.
The EU is a prerequisite for young people in Slovenia being able to start up their own businesses and in that way generate jobs and growth.
“I want to give creative and active individuals in Slovenia and the rest of Europe a chance – and the EU enables me to do that. I am working on a European plan to remove some of the extensive bureaucracy that young people have to battle with when they want to start a business,” she said.
Last on stage was 19-year-old Pegah Moulana from the United Kingdom. She is angry and disappointed that her country voted to leave the European Union on 23 June this year.
According to Pegah Moulana, her parents’ generation has voted no to something that has serious consequences for her own generation in particular.
“Now many of the European opportunities that Ida, Hugo and Tinkara talked about will not be open to me,” she said.
Pegah Moulana is disappointed about her own generation because so few voted when the chips were down. But she is especially angry about media coverage of what Brexit would mean to the UK because she believes that media coverage was biased.
The young Brit encouraged participants at the Confederation of Danish Industry Summit to think for a moment about some of the developments that have taken place recently in the EU, for example rising nationalism, lack of international perspective and tensions in relations between member countries.
“Talk about the EU. Not only when problems arise. Continue to make the EU relevant and, most importantly, include your young people. Because young people are not the future. We are the present,” concluded Pegah Moulana.