– The one who distributed soup –
– What brings you to Amsterdam ?
– Oh, I am an activist. (…) Would you like some soup ?
(I met Chris a few months back at a forum for European democracy, in Amsterdam. I recognised him since we both work at the European Parliament, yet in this context, he was present to talk about his work for JEF: the organisation of young european federalists. Sadly for the European Parliament, Chris will be leaving his position as parliamentary assistant, but through JEF he is confident that he will keep on fostering ‘the spirit of living Europe’)
– We are not only dealing with Europe as a project per se, what we try to do is to actually live this project on a daily basis : through experiencing international contacts, working with people across borders and developing a solid feeling for European citizenship – since we are European federalists. We work with all countries, cultures and people. Recently for example, JEF and other civil society groups were under attack in Macedonia: the government was pressuring some actors there to give up political activism. Then, one of our political groups here (at the European Parliament) got in touch with its sister party in Macedonia and managed to temper the situation. So – you see how the creation of this network amongst political activists throughout Europe, indeed allows for a more free and democratic Europe – and helps foster this strong sense of European feeling.
Why am I leaving? Of course, I’ve always been passionate about Europe. I am now more aware that we won’t achieve this European feeling we are longing for, purely through legislation. At JEF, people do not necessarily work for their benefit or the benefit of another –instead everybody works for a cause, and through the success of this bigger cause, we are all successful. The Europe that I want is a Europe where reigns true solidarity between people, across all borders.