This year’s General Assembly in Katowice in Upper Silesia has just come to an end. It has been a record GA, attended by more than 35 participants from 26 different organisations which makes it the highest attendance rate in the history of EFAy.
Our assembly began on Thursday with presentations from the various member states on the political development of their respective countries. As always, it was extremely interesting and insightful to learn about different political experiences, practicies and developments – especially in such a period of big political changes. As advocates of self-goverment it is important for us to be at the frontline of political contestation and at the avant-guard of political change. Only in this way we can fundamentally influence the political process of our countries.
Besides the general overview of the political developments of the different countries in EFAy, this year we have introduced debates. In our first debate, we discussed the meaning and implication of a “Europe of the peoples” as a fundamental principle of our future Europe. Our second debate concerned integration and migration whereas the last of our debates addressed the relationships between EFAy, European political parties and movements struggling for self-government and self-determination around the world.
After a presentation about the future of EFA and EFAy relations with the rest of the world, it was time for our special guest to speak – Aby Athman, activitist of UJSARIO, youth-wing of the Polisario Front, the national liberation movement of Western Sahara.
Aby allowed us to better understand the issues of the Saharawi people and how important is for the youth of the entire world to raise awareness about less-known conflicts. To take advantage of Aby’s presence in our GA we also decided to pass a motion about the right to self-determination of Western Sahara and the solidarity we want to promote towards this often forgotten.
In addition to the motion showing EFAy’s solidarity with Western Sahara we have approved a number of new motions and declarations. These include:
– A European Union associate membership for Welsh citizens
– Closing CIE (centre for the deportation fo refugees) in Catalonia
– Affirming the plurality and diversity of EFAy’s membership
– Support for the referendum in Catalonia
– A call for a nuclear free Europe
– Support for the demilitirisation of the Basque Countries
– Opposition to the new barbed wire installed in the Croatian-Slovenian border
The quantity and the quality of the participation to this assembly should inspire and look forward to the future of EFAy and its future political activity. Therefore we had the honor to welcome two new bureau substitutes at our General Assembly: Karolina Rzepecka, which is president of the Młodzi Górnoślązacy and Stefano Zambon, international representative for Sanca Veneta. The growth of our bureau underlines the willingness for a progressive and comprehensive work of EFAy. It is now more important than ever that we continue our commitment and retain our motivation throughout the year as major events are set to unfold.
The referendums in Catalunya, Scotland and the Faroe Islands, as well as many elections in our member countries, are approaching and we need to make sure we are ready to win the minds and hearts of voters, not only in those countries, but in the wider European landscape.
Duri i Banchi (Stay strong!)