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Britain, the EU and the future!

To summarise the intricacies and complexities of European Union is no mean feat, especially to do so in roughly 200 words.

The European Union is facing its most difficult challenge to date as people in the member states are increasingly becoming apathetic or down right adversarial towards the EU. With the situation of Brexit being a predominant political problem, that will be felt by most people throughout the continent and to the rest of the world, the EU will have to weather this storm if it is to maintain the integrity and diplomatic relations with the rest of the union member states.

The EU needs to be strong when confronting Britain as they have to show other countries that leaving the Union is disastrous. The elections in May, look like they will be held with one less member. As my country (The United Kingdom) is on course for a shambolic fall out from the EU without a considerable deal in place. The short term consequences will heap havoc on all governments and people involved for a multitude of reasons.

The European Union has many faults and problems and if they do not start correcting these issues then fellow Union members will follow in the same footsteps as Great Britain. The European Union has implemented salient laws especially around the environment. But I believe that the economic policies of the EU is what drives a lot of anti-EU sentiment across the whole continent.

Over the last ten years since the Great Recession across Europe, the European Central Bank (ECB) has established extremely harsh austerity measures on the periphery members such as Greece, Italy, and Portugal (effects were felt in Madeira as well). And the boom and bust cycle looks likely to repeat itself, as Spain, for example is trying to get out of its economic depression by a substantial increase in consumer spending and the rise in private debt.

This is what put most of Europe into the depression in the first place. It is not the refugees that so many on the right would like to point fingers at, which is causing problems in Europe, but macro-economic deflationary forces and economic mismanagement by the ECB which is giving rise to a crumbling Europe. Immediate and well thought out investment needs to take place as soon as possible because discontent as the UK has shown recently, highlights the many Europeans who believe that there is no solution from our political systems. A radical change in the EU’s economic policies needs to happen to save the Union from further political crisis and member departures.

Text written in February 2019.

Short bio of the volunteer:

James Garn, from the United Kingdom. My interests include photography, music (especially: jazz, hip/hop, and reggae), and philosophy.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.