Dutch MFA official will visit Cyprus late March to attend debate with students on the future of Europe

Director – General for EU Affairs at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs Thijs van der Plas will attend on March 28 in Nicosia an event during which Cypriot students who will write the best essays on the future of Europe, submitted in the framework of an essay competition organized by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Nicosia, will present their ideas.

Through this competition, students are invited to express their opinion on how the EU should look and function in ten years from now, what goes well and what should change, which issues should be tackled on the EU level and which ones can better be left to the member states themselves and what European cooperation means for Cyprus. The deadline for submissions is March 21.

In a statement to CNA, Dutch Ambassador to Cyprus Nathalie Jaarsma said that the debate about the future of Europe is important, should be broad and not take place only by politicians or journalists.

“Every citizen has an interest in the future of Europe, be it for reasons to travel or study, business across borders, job opportunities, the joint values in our societies, stability or norms on e.g. the environment. That is why we organize a debate with students,” she added.

Jaarsma said that Europe has brought security and prosperity for decades, however, not everybody profits equally. “Problems like youth unemployment, low economic growth in some countries, and lack of solidarity on a number of issues remain. Therefore, change is necessary. How? This is up precisely to the Member States and its citizens to decide upon,” she noted.

Referring to the relations between Cyprus and the Netherlands the Ambassador noted that even though the two countries are 3000 km apart, there are many close ties between them.

“From Cypriots studying in the Netherlands and Dutch companies operating in Cyprus to artistic cooperation between Pafos (EU Cultural Capital in 2017) and Leeuwarden (EU Cultural Capital in 2018). All made possible by European cooperation,” she underlined.

The jury for the essay competition comprises Van der Plas and Director for EU Affairs at the Cypriot MFA George Chacalli. The writer of the best essay will win a flight ticket to Amsterdam.

Source CNA
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