Every other year, old and new stagiaires meet in one of the cities of Europe. With the support of the Robert Schuman Foundation, the EPP Group and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, this year's meeting was held in Berlin.
The Robert Schuman Foundation has been receiving stagiaires for almost twenty years. From the beginning of the nineties the Foundation has provided hundreds of young people with stagiairships through which they could learn about the EPP Group, the European Parliament and the European Union's institutions in general. The participating young politicians, recommended by sister parties, arrived to Brussels as young graduates. The stagiaires program was originally designed for young Christian-Democratic
conservative minded people from countries awaiting accession. Some of the former stagiaires are now MPs, MEPs, state office-holders as well as entrepreneurs.
Every other year, old and new stagiaires meet in one of the cities of Europe. With the support of the Robert Schuman Foundation, the EPP Group and the Adenauer Foundation, this year's meeting was held in Berlin. The conference connected to the meeting was called: Twenty years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall (experiences and possibilities in Central and Eastern Europe).
In his speech about politics after the European parliamentary elections, Othmar Karas, the vice chairman of EPP Group emphasized that the new EPP Group has to utilize the fact that it is the strongest political power in Europe. Only valueorientated
politics can speak to citizens who have become so weary of politics. In the increasingly globalized world Europe needs to cooperate. In the present time of financial crisis, it is important for European countries to work together harmoniously. Patriotism should not turn into nationalism, which was deemed the greatest problem of contemporary Europe by the Mr Jacques Santer, the vice-chairman of the Robert Schuman Foundation, in his speech. He went on to share his own memories as a politician and pointed out the unique historic opportunity to reunite Europe.
Robert Schuman Foundation honorary chairman Horst Langes, former German minister and the head of the German Red Cross Rudolf Seiters, and Roza Thun MEP took part in a roundtable symposium. After discussing the political, social and financial consequences of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Horst Langes opened up the discussion to the wider public. Along with memories of the past, the presenters wanted to shed light on the most urgent issues Europe needs to deal with today, such as unemployment,
environmental pollution and demography. Reports from former stagiaires about their countries proved that these problems are wide-spread. Everyone approached the questions and problems raised by the presenters from the viewpoint of their own countries.
Mr Erhard von der Bank, who is the Head of the EPP Centre for Political Parlamentary Education (CET) and the Director of the Robert Schuman Institute in Budapest, analyzed the development of the new European countries, building on the twenty years he had spent in the Eastern-Central European region.
In his closing speech, addressed to a public of over 100 members, at the event organized for former stagiaires, Jacques Santer pointed out that at the upcoming meetings new stagiaires will take part who were born after the fall of Communism, who will have only heard about the previous era through stories of their parents.
He encouraged his listeners to remember and utilize their memories to take conscious political action.