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This Saturday 9th May is a date everyone should have highlighted and underlined in their calendar: it’s Europe Day, an opportunity to celebrate the fact that we live in a peaceful, integrated and diverse European Union. And if one thing is more important to Europe’s future than any other, it’s today’s young Europeans. So, on Monday I went back to the classroom, to the “Dobsuli” school in Budapest. I ‘adopted’ this school in 2007, Equal Opportunities Year, and since then I have worked to support it and help it make improvements. We are fortunate to be able to count on many supporters, both public and private, making it a real community project, and I can honestly say that it is one of the most impressive symbols of the cultural wealth and variety of Europe that I have seen: with a very international mix of pupils, many from immigrant families, it has a particular commitment to building a tolerant, European environment, with a bilingual Hungarian-English class, an EU garden and a study room devoted to foreign languages.
What’s more, since 2007 the school has organised an annual quiz on the European Union; and the prize is a trip to Brussels! This year I had the honour of being President of the Jury. The event was excellent: the hall was decorated with European colours and stars, and the pupils showed a fantastic awareness of European affairs: a sign of the school’s success in being so enthusiastic about internationalism.
European construction is of course a complex project. But we really have to make the facts known as widely as possible if we are fight ignorance, voter abstention and cynicism. After all, without facts, democracy is useless. And Dobsuli is an inspiring example of how, by integrating European legislators, teachers, parents and the wider community into our efforts, we can equip our young people with this knowledge.

And in the same spirit, we must engage and mobilise Europe’s voters for this upcoming election, as I will be doing, door-to-door, in Hungary (in Pécs and Kisvárda) tomorrow and on Saturday as part of the second PES European Day of Action. Let’s spread the word!

Long before the financial crisis, we were warned about the systemic risks and excessive debt of hedge and private equity funds. Today’s financial crisis may not have been caused by hedge and private equity funds—but the crisis revealed the huge interdependence of all the players in the financial market and showed the high vulnerability of… » read more

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