Europe for the citizens: common values, common challenges and common European future

The twin towns have gathered for the event called Common values, common challenges and common European future organized by the European Union in the period of 14-16 June in Székelyhíd Romania. This event was held in parallel with the City Days, the opening was held on Friday together with the towns of Edelény HU, Gersekarát HU, Nyiradony HU, Kishegyes HU, Kamocsa SK and Pacser SB, and of course the city of Székelyhíd RO was represented as the host.

The presentations, which were held in the Saint László hall of the City Museum, praised the importance of community, active citizenship, responsible actions of the NGOs, the planning, the achievement and the active participation. Due to these topics, we have listened various presentations about the fact where we have started and where we would arrive if we lived according to the community’s belief, if we planned and became active in Europe.

After the brief welcome speech of the Mayor Béres Csaba, the event organizer Aszalós Timea who is the president of the NGO Ér Hangja has outlined the aim of this event. She has spoken about the importance of a friendly dialogue where it can be discussed the daily challenges and the new beginnings, then she officially opened the event. According to the program, the participating representatives of the towns have presented themselves, they have discussed the innovations, the projects and the follow-ups after joining the European Union. The Serbian participant could not relate to this due to fact that they have not joined the EU yet.

Programs in Edelény in order to slow down the migration

Püsök Julianna, the moderator has firstly asked the notary of Edelény to present their town. Vártas József, the notary of Edelény has described some actual facts about their little town in the county of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén Hungary, the territory has in its’ centre the town of Edelény which has successfully applied and gained different EU sponsored projects. Among all these innovative projects, we can mention the renovation of the city hall, of the library and the renovation of the Main Street in the city centre, and they have also mentioned that using the European Union support and the deductible the community managed to renovate the Baroque Castle and cleaning up the surrounding park area using up 2.4 billion Hungarian forints. The greatest issue of the town is the migration, in order to slow down this process, they try to implement integrated programs and projects. One of these attempts is the project called Chance At Home program, which helps the youngsters to stay in their own hometown, to create workplaces, and another important project is the Green City project which focuses on the importance of a healthy and live-able surrounding. 

Gersekarát – the community which builds up in harmony with the nature

This community is situated in the county of Vas Hungary, and it has been presented by Mrs Ferencz László, the referent of the city hall. The community has only 639 inhabitants but there are numerous initiatives in order to improve the community and to create more possibilities for the people living here.  In the community there is a huge oak forest where it had been created a millennium park as well. Among other sights to see, the visitors can check out the press houses, due to the fact that this little town is a grape grower countryside, and there is also a natural strand laying on lakeside of Sárviz on 34 hectare. Due to different EU sponsored projects, the community managed to renovate the cultural home, the town hall and the famous town church the Saint Cross of Gersekarát.

The representatives of Nyiradony were focusing on the traffic and the ability of being competitive

The innovations of the year 2019-2020 were presented by the PhD Keczan Barbara the city management’s project leader. This little town is situated in the county of Hajdu-Bihar Hungary, there are various attempts of city development, such as the renovations of the roads, building up a cycling route and to build an ambulance Station. Among the innovative projects there are projects which help to develop the scientific and technological park, this also represents the ability of being competitive in this area.

Kamocsa- there will be a herbal park

The town mayor of Kamocsa Slovakia, Lukács Imre has presented the interesting parts of their traditional costumes of the area, the typical black bride dress, and he has also mentioned the stuffed cabbage, which is very tasty also here in Székelyhíd. This community also has a variety of EU sponsored projects, it is highly praised the development of the herbal park, where you can step barefooted on the grass.

The Serbian community focuses on tourism

Kishegyes is a small town in Serbia, the number of inhabitants is up to 4890 people, it is situated in the northern centre part of the country. The population is divided according to its nationality, 80% are Hungarians and the rest of 20% are Serbians, Macedonians, Croatians, Romas and Montenegrin. There is a powerful intercultural feeling according to the speech of Sándor István, the town counselor. There is a huge focus on the tourism in the area. In July there are programs which promote the tourism in the area during the Anna Days and the Dombos Festival, and everybody is awaited by the Katai farm. The mayor of the village Pacser,  Szabolcskai Szabolcs has presented the local thermal strand which lays on 2000 meters square, it is an artificially developed lake uploaded with thermal water.

Our city is developing due to tourism, agriculture and education

The city mayor Béres Csaba had the task to present Székelyhíd and the EU sponsored projects which developed the surrounding area, he has also presented the sights of the city, and the strategical developments: on the level of tourism and on the level of agriculture as well. There is also a very important role of developing the education too, which could provide a solid base for those who would like to stay in their hometown. In order to improve the chances for education, the town has provided and gained successfully projects to renovate the vocational school of Nagykágya and to build a brand new swimming pool, so the up-coming generations could have a better quality of life. The mayor has emphasized the fact that the results won’t come from one day to the other, but being patient and hard-working one can achieve anything he has in mind, for example the local theatre is being finally renovated which could be the hosting place for the next twin town event.

Tastes, countrysides, values

On Friday afternoon, the visiting town representatives had the possibility to show their hometowns from a different perspective, this is a very important way how to preserve the traditional values, the traditional food, the home-grown products, and the exhibition of the folk arts. Each visiting town had a stall where they could exhibit their home-grown products, such as fruit syrups, different kind of honey and jam and other delicious foods. Due to the exhibited products, we had an insight in the unique gastronomical world, moreover we could see the variety of different folk arts.

More perspectives about the European Union

During this EU sponsored twin town event about Common values, common challenges and common European future, the audience could listen to interesting interactive speeches about the past of the European Union, its’ present challenges, the situation of EU citizens and other perspectives in the hall of the local museum on Saturday morning starting from 10 am.

The audience was mostly composed by the representatives of the partners, the first conference was held by Szabó Ödön, member of the Hungarian political party RMDSZ (Romanian Hungarian Democratic Association), the presentation was about The timeline of European Union from the 1950s till nowadays. He has managed to hold a speech about the EU past till nowadays, talking about the challenges the European community had to face. The European Union has developed from the year 1951, taking into account the 1957 Roman contract, which has been signed only by 6 countries then: Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. In 2004 Hungary has also joined the EU with 9 other countries, then in the last round in 2007 Romania and Bulgaria have become members of the EU. Due to this long lasting Brexit crisis, the UK wishes to leave the EU, there is a chance that the EU should get smaller. Regarding the functioning of the EU, there are great challenges and sensitive points such as  the rhythm of expansion of the EU, the speed of supporting the member countries and to expand the Schengen borders. The development of the EU depends on different levels of approaches.

Mr Széll Lőrincz, the director of Youth and Sport Direction of Hunyad county has discussed the challenges provided by the EU and the situation of youth.

And again, the mayor of our town, Béres Csaba related a very interesting speech about How to be a better citizen, how to be a better European citizen?, his speech was spiced with different ideas and personal experiences and with humour as well.

All these speeches offered enough space for the audience to provide questions or even to interfere with their own experiences and personal observation.

Lavender plantation

After all these intense programs, the participating towns could visit the local lavender plantation, where they were able to pick their own lavender, and to feel the harmony of the area.

Hungarian traditional dish

On the closing day of the twin town event, the participating towns could cook their own traditional dish in a cauldron, on Sunday. It had a competitive feeling, all representatives cooked their best food. This event was organized in the strand of Gyermek Jézus Centre, regardless of the summer heat, there was a great atmosphere and the participants could taste the different delicious food, and they had the chance to taste and to tell the difference between the traditional food. Next to the delicious food, there were glasses of greeting which cheered up the people.