Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis participation in the event “Let’s Listen to the Future” in the framework of the Conference on the Future of Europe (Athens, 08.10.2021)

Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis participation in the event “Let’s Listen to the Future” in the framework of the Conference on the Future of Europe (Athens, 08.10.2021)A particularly lively discussion took place today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs between Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, and the Federal Minister for the EU and Constitution of Austria, Karoline Edtstadler, who is visiting our country. The event was titled “Let’s listen to the future” with guests postgraduate students from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and the Panteion University with specialization in the fields of international and European relations and international law.

The students raised all the major issues that concern them: migration, European security policies, EU Enlargement in the Western Balkans, challenges in the Southeastern Mediterranean, the Union’s economic competitiveness, the climate crisis. The two ministers discussed with them openly and willingly and shared their personal and political views.

As Mr. Varvitsiotis said in his initial statement, this Dialogue on the Future of Europe “is about understanding what we mean by European identity. Everyone is either Greek or Austrian first, but we all feel Europeans. What binds us is our European identity. And for the younger generation, who have stronger feelings about their European identity, we must set the example of how we can listen to each other, work together, and reach a consensus on issues on which we may have different perspectives”.

The Alternate Minister then expressed the view that Europe is growing and evolving through crises and that, in the face of new challenges, we are finding common ways to respond to them. “What is important is not to leave room to separate approaches on common challenges,” he said, referring to Brexit, and Ms. Edtstadler agreed with him.
Replying to a student who commented that European youth are not always fully satisfied with Europe’s stance, the two Ministers agreed that, against Euroscepticism, there is only one answer: more Europe. And they assured the students that they will try to turn the ideas they heard from them today into political action.

The discussion ended with Ms. Edtstadler and Mr. Varvitsiotis being asked by a young student what advice would they give to a young European. To this question, which aroused great interest in the audience, Mrs. Edtstadler answered: “travel, learn languages, and be curious”. Mr. Varvitsiotis added that young people should be actively involved and not let others speak on their behalf.

The event was coordinated by the Special Envoy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Conference on the Future of Europe, Mr. Konstantinos Alexandris.