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TOGETHER Draft Declaration on the Future of Europe

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The European Union and Africa have an important and unique partnership, which is at a crossroads. The EU remains the main partner of Africa, but it is no longer the only one. So does Africa still need Europe? We continue to believe the deep, comprehensive and holistic relationship is a vital long-term foundation for political dialogue and progress in both continents.
Investing in young people. The demographic boom in Africa will be an opportunity for the continent rather than a challenge, if we support investment in education. The challenges of the future will only be met if we equip the next generations with the necessary tools, on which an “EU-Africa Erasmus program” can be of great impact, encouraging exchanges between European and African young students, researchers, teachers and entrepreneurs.
Sustainable investments. The S&D Group strongly supports the EU External Investment Plan for Africa (and European neighbourhood) with the aim of improving economic and social development and achieving the SDGs on the African continent. But rather than underpin multinationals which are already champions of tax evasion, or the ones which prey on mineral and natural resources, the EIP must provide support to SMEs, microfinance and job creation programs, especially for young people and women.
Coherent Partnerships for development to address the root causes of irregular migration. Irregular migration is a global phenomenon requiring a coordinated international response and the EU must take a human-rights-based lead in shaping it. We support a strong partnership between Europe and Africa and the efforts in the United Nations to tackle the root causes of migration in terms of improving the economic and social situation, strengthening democracy and the rule of law, and providing education and employment opportunities in countries of transit and origin. We remain strongly committed to the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, also by improving development cooperation, conflict resolution, and stimulate inclusive and sustainable economic growth to ensure that people have a real chance of a better life in their homeland. But we also need to ensure we implement Policy Coherence for Development across our agricultural, trade and investment policies, from the Common Agricultural Policy to binding due diligence requirements for EU companies. The security-development nexus remains important for addressing conflict, but poverty-alleviation must remain the primary goal of development assistance. We will never accept aid conditionality linked to migration policy.
Strengthen democracy and human rights. Human rights remain central to our partnership with Africa. We urge the EEAS and Commission to use all available tools to maintain serious human rights dialogues. We will seek innovative mechanisms to give support and visibility to those risking their lives in Africa for the defence of human rights, democracy, social justice, equality and non-discrimination. We reiterate our belief that independent NGOs, media and cultural space are a pre-requisite of a functioning democracy and rule of law.
Gender equality. Without the emancipation of women there is no viability for sustainable development, nor full democracy, nor good governance. Gender equality must be mainstreamed in all EU policies, initiatives and investments towards Africa.
“Does Africa need Europe?” is one of the priorities part of the “Building the Progressive Future Together” statement, debated during our event in Brussels on October 18-19. But the debate goes on. We’re counting on your input, so each of you can play a part in shaping our common future. It’s easy – just sign in add your thoughts to this topic.

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Brexit is a terrifying thing not only for Brits but the whole european community. I believe that now everything is in hands of the citizens of UK. On the other hand brexit is the sour lesson. It teaches us that the leaders of the EU, that we need to fianally wake up and make some sirious steps to develop the union and enter a new level. There’s so much to do but I think that in this point we need to make a decision. Shall the EU become a European Federation or maybe just another trade union. For me the answer is obvious. The history showed us many times where the isolation policy leads. We need to ensure the safety future by creating the strong european structures – the true goverment with real power, the common army, single market, same currency, harmonised tax system, healthcare, education, solcial policy. Why? Because the local goverments will never do so. The local politicians will never renounce their power for the good of the whole european community. In politics we have a deficit of true social- people who actually care about their citizens, who know what they want, who know their problems and find a sollution to them. Is it actually so hard to make things better? It depends for whom. If somebody is just another bureaucrat who only thinks about how to stay longer in charge of the nation then the answer is yes. But I will never stop believing that there are good people in this world. Those who want to change it for better. Those who I can finally call my representatives.

5 days, 11 hours ago in Brexit
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Hungary and Poland – the governments of these countries are purposely and consciously breaking the fundamental rights of the EU. For me as a Pole it is something unbelievable – not only because it is a hit in our unity but because the politicians should never be able to do so. We had special structures like the Constitutional Court or Supreme Court. However a few months after the present governing party PiS won the elections it has appeared that they can do anything. First of all they changed the law about the Constitutional Court to put their party colleagues inside its structures. The court was against it, it was clearly going far beyond the borders established by the constitution. But the prime minister – Beata Szydło did not publish the court’s judgement. Now the party is trying to take over the courts, beginning with the supreme one. Why? Because they want more power. They’re changing law so dramatically to avoid the consequences. Still, no matter all of this, PiS has a big support in the polls. It is not like the citizens of our country want to live in authoritarian country. The truth is that many Poles do not participate in elections because there’s no alternative. Everywhere we have the same candidates who have nothing to propose to the society. Meanwhile PiS is spreading the money to everyone (except those who are actually in need, like disabled people). There’s only one problem. The budget doesn’t have money for it. The public debt is growing dramatically. The only question is “What’s the antidote?” The rest of the EU should act fast and firmly. The politicians should know that nobody is inviolable. But we cannot finish at article 7. We need to show the people, especially young, that the future lies in their hands. We should finance the local young politicians and non-governmental organizations, not the big parties which have money to promote themselves. The key to success is in the young, motivated, energetic people – like those in Europe Together. They’re the ones we need to focus on because they’re the future of the nation, the future of our continent.

1 day, 13 hours ago in Hungary
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I am both European and Pole. It hurts me every time I see what the far-right governing party is doing in my country. The politicians are not only breaking the fundamental values of the EU or the Polish constitution – they are destroying our European community in cooperation with Hungarian Viktor Orbán. Probably many of you are wondering why did it happen, why the one of the most promising European democracies is heading into direction of authoritarianism and oligarchy. That’s because people don’t believe into politicians any more. The previous center-right coalition did not accomplish any major success. Of course our economy was progressing, the new roads were build etc. But during all those years the people in power forget about the most important thing – the people. The Government did not do anything in such areas as social protection. They forgot that the nation does not consist of numbers and empty buildings. After that everything rolled out into the situation which we can see today. The only question is how to change it? How to make our citizens believe in their representatives, believe in democracy? First of all, the EU should make firm steps to influence politicians. We need to remember them that their duty is to serve the community not destroy it. However we all see that they do not care about our values. That’s why it it good that the European Commission decided to start the procedure of article 7. But it is not the end. The article might stop the populists from destroying their regions but after that we need to show people that the safe, bright future is called the EU. How? Well, it won’t be easy but personally I have several ideas. First of all, we need to show the citizens the presence of the biggest European parties in their everyday life. When it comes to me – I have never seen any European parties to be present in my city, district or even country. All I see is only the meetings in Brussels. That’s mistake – because we need to restore confidence in politicians. People should come to the offices of parties or local authorities with belief that those people actually represent them, that they care about their fate. I think that S&D should also create more initiatives like Europe Together. I mean that now it looks like the European parties are financing the local ones. Meanwhile I think that the S&D should look for young, energetic people itself. By the local initiatives which would govern them. I believe that there are many young people like me – on this platform – for whom the fate of the Europe is an important topic. Unfortunately they do not have money to promote themselves, so they lose to the more popular candidates (like populists), or give up at the beginning and choose the job which will provide them money to live. I also think that harmonisation of the EU structures plays a major role in this topic. We need to create the same standards of social protection, healthcare system, education system, law, taxes etc. across all of the EU. This would align standards of living between the rich regions ant those which are still developing. At the end we all need to remember about one thing – we cannot ever leave the Eastern Europe. We need to defend it with all our strength, we need to protect our citizens because this is what the EU is all about – unity, equality, freedom.

12 hours, 38 minutes ago in Defending Democracy and the Rule of Law
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