European Alternatives co-director Niccolo Milanese spoke at the Council of Europe conference on Social Cohesion and Democracy in Limassol, Cyprus on 14th October.
Niccolo used his speech to draw attention to the new forms of transnational and democratic collaboration exercised by European Alternatives in organising events such as TRANSEUROPA Festival and its political campaigns.
Responding to opening remarks from economist Guy Standing about the emergence of a precarious class in Europe, including migrants and Roma who are denied various rights, and over and under- qualified young people in precarious working situations, Niccolo emphasised that the building of solidarity between these groups within the precarious class was one of the main activities of European Alternatives.
Reflecting on the theme of ‘social cohesion and democracy’, Niccolo said that he appreciated very much the work done by the Council of Europe, but emphasised
‘above all in this divided island, let us not forget that justice is a prerequisite for social cohesion. The appeal to social cohesion is perhaps too easily assimilated to the maintenance of social order, and to many ‘order’ sounds too much like the ‘status quo’. There is a growing group of people today in Europe who feel outraged by the injustices of the Europe they see around them, and that demand a major shift in Europe’s democracy, no more ‘business as usual’. These injustices, whether they be the impossibility of young people finding work, the difficulties of finding decent housing, the unfair effects of the financial crisis and austerity, or the many others that could be listed, are felt no less keenly than the injustices of invasions, broken contracts and broken promises. Unless we acknowledge the widespread feelings of injustice and work to create new forms of democracy and active citizenship able to deal with them, social cohesion will remain unreachable.’
European Alternatives profited from the stay in Cyprus to mobilise with our friends from Generation Precaire, also at the conference, in support of more rights for interns and quality internships. Pictures below.