Elections for the European Parliament are coming, which means this is the only occasion for the nearest 5 years for citizens of Europe to have an influence on the shape of the EU body structure, as European Parliament is the only one institution among the EU which is chosen through elections in EU countries. This is a very important institution, as it approves most of the legal acts and budget for European projects, at the same time it is the most transparent and open organization. Currently the EU faces a lot of problems, such as the migration crisis, Brexit, braking European values, social system, protection of boundaries or climate politics it is even more important now to take a part in elections. This and economic problems such as implications of financial crisis from 2008, which are still being felt in some countries can threaten budget and realization of next projects among the EU. However, in my opinion one of the biggest problems in the functioning of the EU is the decreasing possibility to make any real influence and draw consequences in case of real threat. This can lead to less trust in the EU.
When it comes to image of EU projects in my homeland, Poland, usually people appreciate possibilities which the European Union gives. There are a lot of investments which have been made since Poland has joined the EU, such as: building new roads, support of entrepreneurship, development of rural areas, educational project etc. In general, donations cause a growing economy. There are also projects which enable young people to get international and intercultural experience as Erasmus and Erasmus+. On the other hand, there are some disadvantages which Poland must face after joining to the EU, for example: emigrations of a qualified workforce, limitation of national independence or strange norms (e.g. fine for overproduction of milk). Taking all this into consideration, EU projects are mostly evaluated positively but as always, some bureaucratic stuff can be frustrating.
When it is about the place I live currently, Madeira, I think joining the EU has an positive impact on development of the tourism sector which is one of the most important for the economy of this island. The boarders opened and in the same time investments in infrastructure have been started, both these factors made Madeira more open and friendly destinations for tourists.
I hope that Europe which I would see in the next 50 years will be safe place.
Text written in February 2019.
Anna Soltys from Poland, graduated in finance and accounting, experienced and skilled in marketing, passionate about cooking, dancing, and reading.
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.
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.