Young people debated the future of Europe at parliament on Tuesday, with House president Annita Demetriou calling it a chance to practise “participatory democracy.”
The event titled ‘Your opinion for the future of Europe counts’ was organised by Parliament in the broader framework of the Conference for the Future of Europe.
Demetriou said the aim of the event was to gather feedback from young Cypriot citizens and convey them to EU institutions in a bid to reduce the democratic deficit in the bloc.
“Decisions on a wide range of issues affecting our daily lives are taken at EU level,” Demetriou said.
“Therefore our aim is to enable our young people, as well as the rest of society, to express their voice and views on all issues that concern them.”
Demetriou added that Cyprus’ Parliament, as it represents a small Union member state, needs to make every effort for effective participation in European affairs.
“A series of actions have been launched to strengthen the European dimension of House activities. Some include the coordination of actions on EU issues with the foreign ministry and the relevant House committees, as well as Cypriot MEPs.
Furthermore, she assured that the event will be the first of many to maintain ties with young citizens.
Greek MEP and European Parliament Vice President Eva Kaili and European Commissioner Stella Kyriakides also addressed the event.
Kaili said that the value of the EU family became apparent through difficult crises, such as the economic crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic, “where citizens felt the importance of being part of a big family,” she said.
For her part, Kyriakides stressed the need to create a European Health Union.
“The goal is for all citizens of the Union to be able to receive the best possible medical care,” she said.
“Further consolidating European cooperation is very important, since this proved to be valuable in the European vaccine strategy.
“The European Commission has so far provided 4.2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines to all citizens of its member states,” she said.
President of the House committee on foreign affairs, Disy MP Harris Georgiadis called the event an “opportunity to participate in a process to build the future of the EU political landscape.
“Democracy, prosperity, security and peace should not be taken for granted,” he said.