Young people were partial to the realities and challenges of the EU

On 5-6th of December at Educational and Cultural centre in Troškūnai a seminar „Interface Between Christianity, Democracy and Market Economy: the 10th Anniversary of Lithuania‘s Accession to the European Union“ organized by Kolping University of Applied Sciences and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania took place.

Search of relationship between democracy, market economy and Christianity is popular in Western countries. In Lithuanian society, the European Union, capitalism, market relations and human rights are often seen in isolation from the Christian tradition, especially among the youth. The seminar held last weekend at Lithuanian Kolping Society Educational and Cultural Centre of Troškūnai helped to find out that not only European culture, but also the EU's political, legal and even economic values are to a large extent affected by religion. To Lithuania as a member of EU, which has deep Christian traditions, that is very important. This seminar intended for 10th anniversary of Lithuania's membership in European Union was organized by Kolping University of Applied Sciences and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania. This is not the first event, which Kolping University of Applied Sciences in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has organized on EU topics. Previous project "We are the EU council“ also owes its success among the youth.

The seminar „Interface Between Christianity, Democracy and Market Economy: the 10th  Anniversary of Lithuania‘s Accession to The European Union" which took place on 5-6th of December, in Troškūnai, was attended by about 50 young people who were not indifferent to their future and to the future of others, and who love to discuss and share ideas. For two days, students, teachers and Kolping community members were listening to presentations, discussed about various EU issues and shared insights and suggestions for future EU policy.

The opening word to the seminar about Christianity in European history was given by Lithuanian Kolping Society Chairman of the Board, Canon Saulius Filipavičius. The first speaker - Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Kaunas Kęstutis Kėvalas gave many interesting insights about the history of the economy and its present issues in accordance with the Pope‘s letters Centesimus Annus. Longtime Kolping Academie Ingolstadt (Germany) Director, Raimund Egger, made a presentation about the „Thoughts about the European Union: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.“ A guest from the Netherlands, Stichting Communicantes Fund, communication and project leader, Franciscus Hoppenbrouwers, in his report examined what kind of economic ideology  in the EU is needed and are we heading towards a social market economy. A guest also shared good practice of the welfare state system in the Netherlands. At the ending of  the first day of the seminar, a report was presented by the International Kolping Society General Secretary, Dr. Markus Demele. He shared insights about Christianity and European integration.

Later, speakers and participants actively discussed in a round table discussion – „What kind of Lithuania and what kind of Europe we want in 20 years?“ After dinner, seminar participants were able to choose whether to watch documentary films regarding european integration issues or to play mindfight. The Mindfight was won by the youngest participants of the seminar, from Anykščiai, Jonas Biliūnas gymnasium.

On Saturday morning Goce Peroski from the Institute of International Education CIVIC, delivered a presentation „EU vs. National states: confronting the past and the future?“ . Later, the participants were divided into the working groups to discuss the topic of the seminar, and to provide some insights and suggestions for the future EU policy.  The seminar ended with the plenary session wich consisted of the presentation of the suggestions generated in the working groups.

More photos of the seminar can be found at: