The only viable solution to address challenges is European, says senior EU official

The only viable solution to address EU challenges is European, said Themis Christophidou, Director-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture in the European Commission.

Speaking during a citizen’s dialogue event at the University of Cyprus, in Nicosia, on which Europe do we want, Christophidou, a senior EU official from Cyprus, also called on young people to vote in the next European Parliament elections, noting that abstention comes at a cost.

The use of social media is not a substitute for our duty to vote in the elections, she said, adding that the only outcome that counts is the ballot box.

Europe might not be perfect, there are errors we need to correct, however we shouldn’t take Europe for granted, she added.

Addressing an audience of mainly students and academicians, Christophidou said that each time the dilemma how to address a crisis came down to whether we need a stronger Europe or no Europe at all.

She referred to the financial crisis and the migrant crisis, among others, adding that every time the foundations of Europe were shaken. The only viable solution to address challenges is European, let alone for a country like Cyprus, Christophidou noted.

She also said that the next European elections are important, because European Parliament decisions affect people’s everyday lives.

Our decision over which MEP to vote is equally important with our choice during national elections, she said.

The senior EU official expects that polarization will be reflected in the composition of the next European Parliament, adding that populism comes duty free.

The important thing was to take part in the elections, she said and called on young people to take their future in their own hands.

Speaking about Brexit, Christophidou said the EU was not acting in a revengeful manner, noting that no member state is able to address challenges alone, even Great Britain.

Describing the Europe she wants, Christophidou said the EU can not be a single market alone. Europe needs to be more just and more social, with less exclusions she added.

Speaking about the Erasmus programme, she said that more people should benefit, including pupils and teachers. According to the Director-General for Education,the programme would also extend to Africa, in a bid to help young people from neighboring countries to acquire skills and education.

Head of the European Commission Representation in Cyprus Ierotheos Papadopoulos moderated the discussion, which was also addressed by the Rector of the University of Cyprus, Tasos Christofides.

Source: Cyprus News Agency