Six AUBG students in Politics and European Studies and from the French language classes together with AUBG professor Jean Crombois went to Belgrade for two days of political discussions and a visit to the French Embassy. The debates in Serbia’s capital focused on the future of the European Union and were organized by French foundation EuropaNova Dec. 5 and 6.
The event titled “How to Achieve European Friendship” gathered together French-speaking students from several universities in Europe, including New Bulgarian University, Belgrade University and Sciences Po (Dijon). The participants were divided into groups of five and six and presented their thoughts on the relations between the Western Balkans and the EU and the advantages of joining the union.
According to the students, the main EU benefits are the “four freedoms” (the free movement of goods, capital, services, and labor), the mobility programs for young people and the economic and financial assistance. The students also proposed ways to revitalize the union’s political framework and philosophy, including through teaching classes about the EU in schools and providing more opportunities for internships and cross-cultural learning for the youth.
“People [should be] reminded about the core values of the European Union, what it was built on, and how important are these for the future,” said AUBG senior Lika Tsintsadze.
“The European Union is a cultural and political force, not only an economic one,” Crombois said. “We have to recall our European identity.” A report including all recommendations following the discussions in Belgrade will be submitted to the upcoming meeting of the European Council in Brussels on Dec. 13 and 14.
During the second day of their visit in Belgrade, the students met with French Ambassador to Serbia Frederic Mondoloni and other political experts and were given a tour of the French Embassy. The trip was part of many activities offered by the Department of Politics and European Studies, this time jointly organized with the Department of Modern Languages and Arts, that aim to enable students to put their knowledge into practice. It allowed AUBG students to not only practice their French but also interact with fellow students and academics in the field of European politics.
The participation of AUBG students was made possible thanks to the support of the McGoldrick mobility fund, AUBG Student Travel Fund and the joint support of the Department of Politics and European Studies and the Department of Modern Languages and Arts. Other costs were covered by EuropaNova.