For a Free and Secure Europe in the 21st Century: Future. Europe. Security.

30. Sep 2017
Sint-Michielsgestel, The Netherlands
Former NATO Secretary General Jaap De Hoop Scheffer recently said that “the EU took a geopolitical holiday after the fall of the wall.” This holiday is over. Russia is back. Russia’s behavior influences EU’s energy, migration, and NATO policy. This European Liberal Forum (ELF) panel aims to share ideas how Europe and the Middle East can work together offering a perspective on keeping European and Middle Eastern citizens both free and secure. The project series ‘For a Free and Secure Europe in the 21st Century’, which is organised by the European Liberal Forum (ELF) with the support of Haya van Someren Stichting/VVD International, runs from June until December 2017. It was kick-offed with a conference during the ALDE Council Meeting in Ljubljana on 2 June 2017, which was attended by almost 60 liberals from across Europe. After a conversation on European security in Warsaw, this follow-aims to provide a youth perspective on the biggest challenges for Europe in 21st century focusing on the Middle East.

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  • Short view

    On the 30th of September until the 1st of October the Jongeren Organisatie Vrijheid en Democratie (JOVD) organized a congress with the theme ‘Europe’. The JOVD is the Youth Wing of the VVD, the ruling party in the Netherlands. During the day several seminars were given. One of those seminars, consisting of two parts, was organized by the European Liberal Forum (ELF) with the support of the Haya van Somerenstichting/ VVD International. This seminar was part of the project series ‘For a Free and Secure Europe in the 21st Century’. The focus of this seminar was on the cooperation between Europa and the Middle-East. Therefore the JOVD and Haya van Somerenstichting/ VVD International invited two international guest speakers: Ahmad Rachwani from Lebanon and vice president of IFLRY and Abdallah Abdoh from Jordan who works for the Friedrich Naumann Stiftung. The panel was completed by Sissel Kvist, president of European Liberal Youth (LYMEC) and Floris van Zijp of the JOVD. The panel debated about the future of Middle-East-Europe relations. The debate was moderated by Joris Zevenbergen (JOVD).

    The main focus was on the topics refugees/ immigrants and terrorism. The debate proved to be appealing to the audience. Firstly because of the number of people attending the seminar, 64, secondly because of the interesting interaction with the audience. The audience raised questions about the refugee crisis and a heated debate ensued about the push and pull factors of immigration. Another question from the audience was about why refugees chose to come to the wealthier countries in Europe. A lot of people gave their opinion on the matter discussed. After this, a discussion started about whether education does or does not help to counter the spreading of radical ideas and about the role that the government should take to counter those radical ideas that result into terrorism.

    The different views from the speakers provided the audience with fascinating information that helped them think of their usual opinions and see issues from other perspectives. The speakers’ views and the questions and opinions stated by the audience led to fruitful discussions and knowledge exchanges.

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