By Chikulupi Kasaka
From the 11th to the 13th of May 2016, Team Red from Europe on Track 3 occupied Udine land in Italy. The team had quite a good experience despite the rainy weather. On the 11st May, upon arriving at Udine train station, we received warm hugs from Davide and the team of AEGEE-Udine, that made us feel at home.
On the 12th May, Team Red had one mission: to find out the views and opinions of the youth in Udine concerning Youth Mobility. AEGEE-Udine prepared an amazing event where Team Red facilitated a wonderful session that many participants attended. At 5:30pm, the workshop started with Europe on Track travelers explaining and presenting the project. It was quite interesting to see one participant interested to know more about how the Interrail Pass works, since the stops of both routes are connected through it. Our team explained that Interrail is an European company that sells Interrail train passes online to travelers from all over Europe. Interrail.eu is the joint Interrail webshop of 32 European railway companies.In some countries, one needs to reserve seats at some costs, but many of them are free and had enabled Team Red to cross the Western European countries starting from Brussels.
At first, Team Red conducted a Quiz about Youth Mobility and Schengen Area. In discovering and experiencing borderless Europe, participants were given another exercise to draw the borders of Europe. Participants were divided into two groups and were given blank maps of Europe to draw borders on them. The question put forward was “Where Does Europe End? The exercise is geared toward finding how many youths are aware of what Europe is and where it ends. At the end of exercise two different European maps were presented.Afterwards, we asked participants to share the mobility and exchange programmes they have attended. Many had benefited from youth Exchange programs and enjoyed mobility within Europe. In terms of mobility, many participants have enjoyed traveling within Europe with school programs, conferences, internships, AEGEE-projects, etc.
After knowing that participants have enjoyed borderless Europe and traveled within the Schengen zone, the next session was a group assignment. We divided them into two groups, that were given two separate questions: “Should the Schengen Zone be expanded?” and “Should the Schengen countries be allowed to temporarily close borders to refugees?” After a few minutes of group discussion, one member from each team had to present their responses to all participants.
To the question: Should the Schengen zone be expanded? The group said: Yes, it should be expanded to countries like the United Kingdom. Because the youth in Europe needs to enjoy mobility. Also, if the Schengen zone is expanded, it will make it easier to increase youth opportunities for employment. Lastly, the group suggested that, if the Schengen zone is expanded, it will enhance the “European Spirit” to all youth and make them feel as one. On the other hand, to the countries which are unstable and face wars like Turkey, there needs to be a special criteria for them to meet before they can be included in the Schengen zone.
Should the Schengen countries be allowed to temporarily close borders to refugees? The youths in Udine were uncertain due to the serious contemporary challenges that Europe is facing. According to them, on the one hand, some countries should be allowed to temporarily close their borders for security reasons as well as to manage the refugee flow. On the other hand, those countries should not close their borders because of the risk that restricting mobility in Europe poses to the European project. There might be a risk of not being able to restore the previous borderless Europe.
Do you agree with these opinions from youth in Udine? Share your opinion with us!