Fraternité2020 is the first registered European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) which aims at expanding EU exchange programmes – such as Erasmus or European Voluntary Service (EVS). Making these exchange programmes more attractive will enable more and more European citizens spend time in another European member state and fully appreciate the meaning of united Europe. Moreover, this experience will develop intercultural skills and facilitate positive economic, social and cultural development in the whole European continent.
F2020 has already received the support of many famous scientist and non-governmental organizations from the entire Europe. The European Foundation of Human Rights is the only Lithuanian organization which has taken part in this initiative (http://pl.fraternite2020.eu/NGOs.html). EFHR has plans to cooperate closely with the Students’ Government of Vilnius University (VU Studentų atstovybė – http://www.vusa.lt/) which has also supported Lithuanian campaign to collect the required thousand signatures. We are grateful for an opportunity to cooperate with Fraternité2020 and believe deeply in the fulfilment of its goals.
However, before the organisers could start collecting the signatures, they were faced with obstacles. According to the decision of the Fraternité2020 organisers, the signatures were supposed to be collected online. That is why an Internet system of signature registration had to be devised. The delivery of the program by the European Union was free of charge, but the servers did not work. Thus, an Austrian IT company offered Fraternité2020 Citizens’ Committee a certificate of internet signature collection for €7,200. The Committee decided to raise the money from natural persons and foundations.
On July 11th 2012, the members of Fraternité2020 organised a press conference in the European Parliament. Among the participants was European Parliament Member from Poland Róża Thun, a Hungarian European Parliament Member Kinga Göncz, Gerald Häfner – a German European Parliament Member and the President-to-be of the European Students’ Forum AEGEE – Luis Alvarado Martínez.
The Foundation was represented by Dr. Małgorzata Runiewicz-Wardyn who stressed the importance of education in combating xenophobia, racism and intolerance. She familiarised the participants of the conference with the scope of EFHR activity and highlighted the invaluable role of education, traineeship and foreign exchange.
The press conference was a great success and Fraternité2020 received an official letter from the European Commission, in which it gave its permission to deliver the servers free of charge to Luxemburg and provided EFHR with the risk analysis, necessary to commence the collection of signatures. Additionally, the period of their collection will be lengthened until the system is fully operational. It means that the signature collection (http://www.wprost.pl/ar/321232/Wiecej-studentow-pojedzie-naErasmusa-Potrzeba-miliona-podpisow/) (http://www.deon.pl/wiadomosci/swiat/art,9990,jest-pierwsza-inicjatywa-obywatelska-ue.html) (http://www.euractiv.com/specialreport-countdown-eci/server-problems-hunting-eu-eci-news-513854) will start in September and will last 12 months!
European Foundation of Human Rights
More information on this subject on: www.fraternite2020.eu
Translated by Katarzyna Różańska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.