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Tuesday, 17 March 2015 00:00

Munich in Green and Black

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St Patricks Day
Photo: Tobias Melzer
 

St. Patrick's Day celebrations in the Bavarian capital

 

With Ireland and Irish diasporas around the world honouring their patron saint today, E&M photographer Tobias Melzer takes a look at continental Europe's largest St. Patrick's Day parade, an emerald extravaganza of good cheer and cultural diversity that has been held annually in the German city of Munich since 1995.

When it comes to exportability, there's no saint quite like Patrick. His appeal seems to know no bounds and St. Patrick's Day parades have caught on in just about every corner of the world. This year will also see a number of European landmarks, including the Colosseum in Rome, Montmartre's Sacré-Cœur Basilica and the London Eye being illuminated in verdant hues as part of Tourism Ireland's "Global Greening".

Though Munich is perhaps best known for its beer halls and Brezen, not to mention the world-famous Oktoberfest, there is a least one day a year when being Bavarian takes a back seat and the city embraces other cultural traditions. Now in its 20th year, the Munich St. Patrick's Day parade not only showcases the breadth of the Irish community's cultural endeavours here – everything from hurling to folk dance – but also gives a platform to other nations represented in the city.  The 2015 edition, which took place last Sunday, featured contributions from as far afield as Slovenia. In a show of international understanding, leprechauns mingled with Lederhosen-clad musicians, a certain dark beer flowed freely alongside German Helles and even the lord mayor of Munich got on stage to sing a duet of "Whiskey in the Jar". Saint Patrick would surely have been proud.

Friday, 07 November 2014 00:00

What is a university degree for?

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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.

YEC 2014
Photo courtesy of Young European Leadership
 
Getting to the heart of the matter: YEC delegates talk policy in Brussels

 

Move over MEPs, there's a new assembly in town! Last week, Giorgio Nicoletti and Petya Yankova attended the Young European Council 2014 on behalf of E&M. Here they provide a run-down of the main recommendations put forward by delegates.

Brussels calling

Imagine a group of brilliant future leaders, from almost every part of the European Union, gathering in Brussels to negotiate recommendations and ultimately influence EU institutions. This is what happened between 20 and 23 October, when the Young European Council, organised by the up-and-coming NGO Young European Leadership, took place, with astonishing results. Sustainable development in cities, education and employment, digital revolution and technologies were the topics for discussion at an event which attracted more than 100 young people.

 Olympic Cauldron Relit for Sochi Winter Games 2014 Feb 21st 12690365295The Winter Olympic Games in Sochi earlier this year unexpectedly helped fire public debate in the Russian Federation

What impact do major sporting events have on local people? Do mainstream Western media only scratch the surface when it comes to popular opinion in the former USSR? Edgar Gerrard Hughes takes a look at a project that sought to discover exactly that.

Every so often, in the midst of a European television report about sporting events in one of the successor states to the Soviet Union, a local citizen will appear on screen for a few seconds and angrily denounce Western arrogance. They are presented as the voice of the nation, and the (intended?) response of many viewers is dismissive: these are not original or authentic opinions, but rather the regurgitation of official propaganda. We all know that media freedom in Russia leaves much to be desired, so when we see a vox pop from the streets of Sochi, it is easy to assume that the speaker is simply parroting their government’s self-interested agenda.

A response like that is, of course, at best lazy and simplistic. But how can we get a more rounded sense of the domestic impact of events like the Winter Olympics when these brief news cameos are our most readily available source of popular opinion? Five participants from Berlin’s prestigious Studienkolleg programme (incidently also the birthplace of E&M), which gives young people a chance to explore Europe on their own intellectual terms, set out to provide a better answer to this question. An answer based on the experiences of people actually living in the countries in question.

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