On May 25-27th, members of JEF Madrid had the chance to participate in a Meet & Greet with our counterparts from Gioventù Federalista Europea (GFE) Roma. This initiative promotes the establishment of exchanges with other sections of JEF Europe at an affordable price for participants. The basis for the exchanges is that the hosting section takes the visiting members in their homes. Therefore, Madrid JEFers only have to pay for their flights.
If the first Meet & Greet featured members of Jeunes Européens (JE) Toulouse visiting the Spanish capital, this time members of JEF Madrid, as well as other sections of JEF Spain –such as JEF Catalunya– enjoyed a delightful weekend thanks to the generosity of the Young Europeans from Rome.
After the introductions and a visit to the premises of GFE Roma on Friday, on Saturday there were several workshops and debates on the rise of populist and extremist parties in Europe (paying special attention to the recent developments in Italian and Spanish politics), the impact of the economic crisis on Italy and Spain, the inefficiencies of an Economic and Monetary Union with no fiscal or social components, and, finally, an assessment of the future of the European Union. Throughout the day, renowned Italian academics provided their insight and experience to the debates.
Fortunately, the event awakened the interest of TV channel France 2 –currently reporting on the activities of GFE Roma against populism and xenophobia in Italy–, which recorded part of the debates and interviewed some of the participants. At the end of such a wonderful and productive day, all the participants enjoyed an Italian dinner and Roman nightlife.
Next morning, after a visit to the city with the best possible guides, it came the time to say goodbye. Despite having only been a weekend, a deep bond had been formed between all the participants. Therefore, it was not really a goodbye, but a “See you later”, as we are working on a new Meet & Greet with our friends from GFE Roma.