< SWITCH ME >
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.
Photo courtesy of Young European Leadership
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.
Photo courtesy of Young European Leadership
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.
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.
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.
When the bigwigs of international politics meet to discuss climate change, most people only shrug: too bulky, too distant, too untrustworthy. Not Laura Führer. As an observer for the international student think tank CliMates, she had the chance to take a closer look from the scene. Here she reflects on her experience in the negotiations jungle in Warsaw and on the role of young people within and outside these negotiations.
E&M has not been to Russia.
Christian Diemer is not reporting from Chernobyl.
It is not cold here.
Half an hour from the EU's border in Romania, at the foothills of the Karpathians, we are at the heart of Europe. What is now the smallest and remotest regional capital in today's Ukraine, was the Eastern outpost of the Austro-Hungarian empire; home to some of the most important German-speaking poets of the 20th century, and the epitome of multiculturalism and multilingualism for centuries. "A region in which lived humans and books", as Paul Celan put it.
For the fourth time now, region, humans and books have been reanimated. The past weekend, the big names of Ukrainian literature met authors from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Israel, Poland, Japan to light a firework of languages and arts. From the 6th to 8th of September, the International Meridian Czernowitz Poetry Festival was held - in the South-Western Ukrainian city of Chernivtsi.
Topic switching at MEU Strasbourg on the third day: after the Council of the European Union has passed a favourable resolution on the accession of Croatia, it now rests on the Parliament to deal with the issue. At the same time, to keep everyone busy, the heavily amended music copyright proposal now passes from the European Parliament to the Council. Their cooperation is what is referred to as the ordinary legislative procedure, or "co-decision procedure" within the EU.
In any case there, as the conference reaches its final stages, it is reason enough for Ivana Dimitrova, Commissioner for Enlargement, to be content with the preliminary result of the voting. And the MEPs are quite happy with the desserts served in the cafeteria of the Louise Weiss building in Strasbourg. In German, "to dine like God in France" is a phrase for living in luxury - maybe that should be updated to "dining like an MEP in France"...
Day two has just started – "There is no consensus yet," says Morten Munch, UK delegate at the Council of the European Union. However, Maros Demovic, Bulgaria, feels he expresses the opinion of the majority of the Council members in saying that Croatia is a great challenge, but also a great opportunity for the European Union, also with regard to further possible enlargement. Finally, Claire Nevin for Greece is confident that "we'll pass it." But even so, an eventually favourable vote will still depend on the agreement of the European Parliament. Not forgetting the lobbyists who are constantly at work…
The Parliament in the meantime has been busy with the music copyright proposal. The devil is in the detail (at least as the Germans used to say), and the devil materialises in 40 amendments… learn more by watching the second newscast of the Strasbourg Insider!
IN 38 DAYS