Written by: 
Stefania Papameti Thursday, 16 May, 2019 - 21:39

European Elections: Shaping Our Future

We are the Erasmus Generation. We have seen the power that lies in taking the first step to shape a future for ourselves. On May 26th, it’s time to take a leap for the generations to come. It’s the time to prove our strength in unity.

It’s safe to say that the majority of Europeans don’t know what a world without the European Union feels like; they might not have lived in it, but they have definitely been influenced by the changes the EU has brought to the world. But how can this Union, our Union, survive and thrive if we don’t support it? How can we make sure it develops according to our vision and needs if we don’t play an active role in creating it?

Not too long ago I was sipping my freddo espresso (I swear no Italians were harmed in the making) under the Greek sun talking to a group of friends. When the subject of the EU came up, different opinions were tossed around but one particular question struck me, “What has the EU done for us?”. And that’s when it hit me: I can gladly point out a few good things that the EU has done for its citizens, especially after being involved in ESN and the Erasmus+ programme, but other than that there weren’t many things that I knew in detail. In a way, I felt like the information didn’t always get through to me. But according to NBC, I’m probably not the only one that feels like they don’t know enough.

Even so, for a moment I felt like I had failed the EU. Thanks to the Erasmus programme Europe now feels like home. I have been lucky to meet people from every corner of the continent and they are now part of me. I have learnt their languages, their traditions, their quirks, their points of view. I have laughed, cried, partied and travelled with them. I have grown with them. Thanks to the EU, every time I travel to an exciting place within its borders I can safely say, “Maybe I’ll move here for a while, just to see what it’s like”. With no fear or hassle. I can study anywhere, I can work anywhere. I can have more than one home and it feels so beautiful to imagine that. I realised that I might not know much about the inner workings of the EU, but it is still my EU and I want to see it flourish.

But I also see this beautiful home in despair. It tears me apart to see hatred and intolerance from people that fail to see our core values, to see the beauty of diversity. It pains me to see people put profit before humanity and borders before brotherhood. How can they not see that together we can do anything?

I know our generation doesn’t see failure. That’s not an option. We are able and we can push for a future with tolerance and kindness. We can make this world a safe haven for everyone regardless of race, sexual identity, religion or backround. I mean look at us, we are already halfway there!

And in all honesty, it doesn’t matter if you feel like you don’t know enough. It’s never too late to learn. There are countless places that you can learn about the EU, its functions and vision, and make an educated decision. For instance, you can find plenty of information on how the EU elections and the EU itself work here and register to vote here. Of course, don’t forget to do your own research according to your needs.

What’s important is to do it, to take the leap. No matter what you vote, make sure you vote for you. Vote for Europe.

On the 26th of May, make sure no one shapes your future, but you.

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