What we take for granted: The EU is not perfect

EU Flag Berlayment European Commission

European flags in front of the European Commission’s Berlaymont building in Brussels. © European Union , 2016 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Etienne Ansotte.

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Mr Daniel Memarpour, a European medical student, based in Spain, who is a trainer at the IFMSA. Mr Memarpour is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Association (IFMSA). The opinion expressed in this piece belongs to the writer and does not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

What populists and nationalist are achieving is to bring attention to these shortcomings, but nothing is ever perfect and it’s very easy to criticise without offering solutions. Unfortunately they are gaining much traction but the EU is far from dismantled.

There is an equally potent counterforce of pro-Europeanism that is growing as a result of populism. This other side also recognises the shortcomings of the EU but proposes to improve them and build them through continued and further unification.

My generation is too young to remember a time where war between European neighbours was not only a possibility but a reality. A time when human rights were in question. There are also many things we take for granted that we don’t realise would not be possible without the EU.

As a member of IFMSA involved in international activities I have the chance of travelling a lot thanks to the opportunities granted to me by the federation. This summer something changed. I travelled to six countries across Europe as a trainer in IFMSA and not once did I have to worry about getting lost or not being in contact with my family and friends, since I had free roaming on my phone. I was marvelled.

I also realised that I was able to travel with minimal or no passport controls at borders, and mostly without having to get confused by changing currencies and mental price conversions which are things that I had already taken for granted.

This becomes very evident for me when I travel also to events outside Europe and I do have to queue up at passport checks or convert money and even if it has not even been a year since the internet mobile policy, I have already become used to it and it feels strange to go back to searching for WiFi.

Thanks to EU policies I have had the chance to travel more easily, visit our members in all regions and help empower medical students. My colleagues in other regions have a much harder job and less opportunities at this.

Last but not least thanks to the ERASMUS+ program its possible for young people to travel across the continent for free and gain knowledge, outside of university and formal education.

Do we really want to lose this?

For these reasons I support more integration, in the hope that one day these benefits are not only part of the European region but we can have a worldwide integration and world full of possibilities.

About the author

Daniel Memarpour is a European medical student, based in Spain and trainer in the IFMSA. He has attended over 20 events in IFMSA and other student organisations delivering non-formal education workshops and sessions to fellow young people. He is passionate about alternative education and human right.

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