My name is Stilian Stefanov and I am from Vidin. I was kindly asked by the International Center for Development of Education and Training to write a short article describing the experience I gained within my participation in the Euroscola program.
In October my school – the Yordan Radichkov Foreign Laguage High School, applied for taking part in the Euroscola contest. The school’s team was made up of seven highly ambitious and enthusiastic students. We went to compete in Montana with delegations from more than 20 schools from Northern Bulgaria. The final outcome of the competition – not only did we win the right to represent Bulgaria in Strasbourg but we also were awarded a special prize. This prize was the exceptional opportunity to take part in the European Youth Event 2018 (EYE2018) which is being held and organized by the European Commission only once a year. Furthermore, by winning the contest, we had the right to attend the European Parliament’s seat in Strasbourg with a group from our school amounting to the impressive 20 students! A huge delegation, indeed!
On arriving in the picturesque French city of Strasbourg we passed a process of accreditation. On the next day, the 1st of June, we took part in the astounding Youth Event. During the exceptional occasion, we came up with ideas for the future of Europe. More than 8,000 young people joined from all over Europe. EYE2018 included a wide range of activities in English, French and German run under the motto The plan is to fan this spark into a flame. The activities centred around five main themes:
Young and old: Keeping up with the digital revolution
Rich and poor: Calling for a fair share
Apart and together: Working out for a stronger Europe
Safe and dangerous: Staying alive in turbulent times
Local and global: Protecting our planet
On the 2nd of June our delegation had the exceptional honour to represent Bulgaria on the highest institutional level in Europe! Throughout Euroscola we took active participation in plenary and committee sessions, debating and voting on resolutions on current affairs, all the while practising our linguistic and interpersonal skills and making friends with fellow students from across Europe. Dressed in official suits, highly motivated and willing to show Bulgaria at its best, we made a fantastic impression on all the foreigners! Immodest as it may sound, but I am of the opinion that we, the youth of Bulgaria, were the most prepared leaving all the other delegations far behind! On of the most important moments suggesting solemnity was the one with the salutary speeches in the conference hall of the Parliament. I was assigned national speaker and I had the huge responsibility of greeting the European youth on behalf of Bulgaria. I indulge in presenting to your attention the speech that I wrote and declared myself and that resonated in the very heart of Europe – in Strasbourg!
Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow Young People, Dear Europeans,
In my capacity as a representative of Bulgaria and the Bulgarian delegation, I would like to extend a cordial greeting from this rostrum to the revered European youth. On behalf of the Bulgarian state I greet all the participants in the Euroscola competition and the European Youth Event 2018. I highly value the opportunity I was given – to represent my motherland in front of you all.
Bulgaria – a land of ancient cultures, enshrouded in legends and immortal traditions. A land of glorious past and magnificent nature, being in itself the cradle of the European civilization. A land, on which Bulgarians live – united in their folklore and confessional diversity, industrious, hospitable, high-spirited and believing in a better tomorrow.
Bulgaria is an inseparable part of the pulsing heart of either Balkan Peninsula or the Old continent. We are full members of the European Union since 2007. But we are well-aware of the fact that we are among the most ancient Europeans who have succeeded in preserving their culture and statehood for more than a millennium, despite the vicissitudes of fortune and the complicated historical juncture. We consider ourselves as Europeans because we are indeed. Not only have we preserved our character through times of hardship, but we have also contributed in no small measure to the European cultural treasures. Despite being small in size, Bulgaria gave reading and writing with its Cyrillic alphabet to millions of people around the globe.
Modern-day Bulgaria undergoes a strict process of reforming and modernizing, striking a middle course in its politics. Our country proved itself as a zealous advocate of the European perspective of development. We are a reliable and predictable partner of the Community. The role Bulgaria plays in the fields of the Union’s politics is becoming increasingly important due to our country’s strategic location. As a sign of responsibility and political maturity, Bulgaria is the country hosting the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
About the people representing Bulgaria in this conference room – who are we? We are the proud alumni of the Yordan Radichkov Foreign Language High School. We come from the old Bulgarian capital of Vidin situated in the very northwestern part of the country, being the eternal guardian of the river Danube since time immemorial.
It is ten years since a delegation from our school had the exceptional honour to sit in a plenary session in just the same conference hall. I am proud to announce that a decade later our High School makes its appearance on such a grand affair of European stature. This anniversary not only does highlight the prestige of the institution we represent but also corroborates its slogan – Be incredible!
I would conclude my salutary speech with the high hopes of Bulgaria and its youth in the huge potential of the mutual European project. We deeply believe in the ideal of united Europe, being in line with the values and priorities of our European family. We believe in Europe which is on one speed and has a clear view of its future development – straight ahead to progress, prosperity and democracy. Because, according to the motto of the Presidency of the Council, United we stand strong or as we say in Bulgarian Съединението прави силата!