What was the main objective when the European Union was born? Many people think that it was a purely commercial reason, but it really was “to promote peace” in a continent convulsed by two world wars. This argument was yesterday explained by the professor of International Law and EU Adrià Calvet, in a speech in English, aimed at students from Secondary School in the school El Cim at the Vapor Universitari in Terrassa. It was attended by 90 people, including students and teachers, with more than 30 of them from schools in Germany, Romania and Scotland, because El Cim is participating in a European project called The voice of young Europe within the Erasmus +. This project aims to make young people think about wich Europe we want for their future and their role in democratic participation. The school contacted the service of European and International Affairs of the City Council for organizing this conference, titled EU citizenship: Do you feel European? Rights and benefits of living in the EU. Before his speech, the City Councillor for European and International Affairs, Amadeu Aguado, said that “we are at a moment of great importance for the European Union and the states and citizens who live in” at a time with significant threats as “populism and escalating regression of the concept of democracy.” The principal of El Cim, Sílvia Samaniego also stressed the commitment of a European school (which also participated in European Comenius and offers intensive english courses in Ireland and England) and the fact that the council “opened us his doors when we did the proposal.”
Calvet gave an overview of the history of the European Union, with special emphasis in the original objectives that had to do with “promoting peace, freedom, security and justice, internal market and union monetary and economic” and the values like “freedom, human rights and human dignity” although what happens with the refugee situation nowadays. The professor of the Rovira i Virgili explained to the students how the union was born with just six states and how gradually grew to 9, 10, 12 (1986, when was joined by Spain) and even 28 today, but with the possibility to become 27 with the British Brexit.
Calvet highlighted the vocation of union, with huge and small countries together. The feeling of being European, he added, perhaps is not yet fully established, but considers significant that there are parts of the world where someone will direct you as saying that you are “European”. To strength the power of the EU, Calvet said that “more than half of the world’s humanitarian aid comes from the European Union,” while 24% is in the US and 8% in Japan.
Calvet highlighted its European feeling because “I have traveled, I’ve been a volunteer, I have studied and worked across Europe thanks to treaties mobility. I am, therefore, son of the Union”.
At the end of his speech, the students could ask him several questions about issues such as, among others, multilingualism, Europe’s relationship with Russia, the role of Donald Trump, and a possible future enlargement of the EU.
Link to Canal Terrassa (local TV): Canal Terrassa TV news