< SWITCH ME >

Thursday, 20 November 2014 00:00

On the Brink: The Forsaken Paradise

Written by
13 3
Photo: Christian Diemer

Chernivtsi, morbid paradise of decaying beauty. Since 2006, when this photo was taken, the city has smartened itself up a lot, thanks to an efficient mayor – and smuggling into the EU via the nearby Romanian border.

Continuing on his journey of exploration throughout Ukraine, Christian Diemer arrives in Chernivtsi, a forgotten city in the west of the country, the fate of which has been inextricably tied up with the turbulent history of Eastern and Central Europe over the last centuries.

I have found paradise on earth. Nobody knows that it exists. The world has long forgotten about it. Even the Ukrainians, that blessed people who live so close by, would not have it on their radar – their smallest regional capital, lost somewhere in the most remote south eastern corner of their large country, twenty minutes from what is now the border of Romania and the outer edge of the EU.

TRAINS LONG GONE

In May 1914 I could have boarded a train at Vienna's Nordbahnhof at 12:35. A first class ticket would have cost just under 100 crowns, a second-class ticket around 60. Only 19 hours later, the low, elegant art nouveau train station would have come into sight, couched in the gentle bend of the railway lines amidst a green, flat valley. As the train came to a halt, a sign would have drifted in front of the dirty carriage window: "Czernowitz". Maybe a train guard with a handlebar moustache would have shouted: "Endstation, bitte alle aussteigen! Last stop, all change here!", in a melodic Austrian accent, accompanied by the curses of the Ruthenians, Poles, or Jews heaving their leather suitcases down the tall carriages.

Friday, 14 November 2014 00:00

Ukraine: The Challenge for Europe

Written by
Ukraine colours
Photo: Ilya (Flickr); Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0
 
What lies ahead for Europe's troubled eastern neighbour Ukraine?

 

Sixty students from all over the world gathered in Berlin for a week last month to discuss Europe and boost a sense of solidarity throughout the continent. Their first meeting included a focus on the current situation in Ukraine and on how it should be addressed in an European context. We are pleased to host a report by Igor Ryabinin, the German-Ukrainian student who moderated a panel discussion during that meeting.

I was born in Charkov in eastern Ukraine, grew up in Germany and currently study in Moscow. This biography might seem unusual for encounters in everyday life, but it certainly was not in the context of the first meeting of the new College of Europe in Berlin-Wannsee in October 2014.

In 1994, I emigrated from Ukraine to Germany with my parents. Their main motivation in moving away was the unstable situation and the lack of prospects in Ukraine back then. Unfortunately, even at the 20th anniversary of our emigration this year, Ukraine still remains unstable, with an unpredictable future. It was against this backdrop and in light of broad public concern about current events in Ukraine that a panel discussion was organised by the College.

BerlinMauer
Photo: Hadar Naim; Licence: CC-BY 2.0. 
 
Visitors can find such engravings in many areas of Berlin: they mark where
the Wall used to be.

 

With the gaze of all European media outlets focusing on the Berlin Wall and its historical importance, E&M wants to talk about the 25th anniversary of its fall from a personal perspective. This year, as an exclusive for our magazine, we are pleased to host the experiences of three young Italian women who spent two months in Berlin on a volunteering project at the Berlin Wall MemorialAlice BaruffatoEugenia Pennacchio and Veronica Pozzi, one of our Sixth Sense editors, share with us their feelings and their thoughts, developed over the course of their work at such an important place for the Europe in which we live.

 

Eugenia Pennacchio foto

 

Eugenia – The choice of building an historical memory by giving prominence to real life people

 

Behind the great history of nations and heads of state, there are the little, local stories and, behind these stories, there are real people, their lives, their emotions, their everyday experiences. As an historian I often forget that. I have been studying and analysing epochal events: wars, peace, their causes, the big protagonists of contemporary history and their actions, which seem to be solely responsible for the geopolitical context of the world where we live.

 

My decision to join a volunteering project at the Chapel of Reconciliation in Berlin, after having done academic research on the pacifist movements of East Berlin, was a good opportunity to re-live and to explain to visitors some of the pivotal events in the history of Germany and of the whole world. But I didn't imagine this two-month project would give me an approach to history and memory that was slightly different from the one I knew and had taken for granted before.

Friday, 07 November 2014 00:00

What is a university degree for?

Written by

 

Education to Employment
Photo courtesy of Young European Leadership
 
YEC delegates at the Education to Employment panel in Brussels last month

 

As part of E&M's coverage of Young European Council 2014, Petya Yankova attended the Education to Employment panel and gained an insight to future policy plans.

How to achieve the Europe 2020 benchmarks and even go beyond them was the ambitious topic of the Education to Employment panel at the Young European Council, which took place at the end of last month. With jobs, growth and investment being top priorities for the brand new Juncker College of Commissioners, the young delegates had the substantial task of solving real-life problems.

When even the average unpaid or at best underpaid internship offer seems to ask for bachelor students with five years' professional experience and fluency in six languages, many young people have little to hope for after graduation. Hordes of brilliant graduates are faced with the dilemma of either accepting a temporary low-paid position in hospitality or – well, not much else. At the same time, employers complain they have numerous positions open but no one qualified enough to take these. What does this drastic mismatch stem from and what can we as young people do about it? YEC participants in the Education to Employment panel agreed that this is a question of major importance and attempted to give it a clear and concrete answer during the four days of the Council.

Page 1 of 37
NEXT ISSUE
IN 33 DAYS

Subscribe Here