In 2020, the European Union celebrated the 30th anniversary of the democratic revolutions in Central Europe and the 15th anniversary of its joining the European Union. These historic events are now part of our common European heritage. They unite all European citizens as part of a community of shared values. The democratic transformations in the societies of Central Europe, as well as the European integration process, are decisive lessons for a common European future.
Based on these anniversaries, the project invited students from Central Europe to participate in the EUritage essay competition "Central Europe, the EU and myself". On the one hand, the Millennial generation has experienced democracy, European solidarity and prosperity in the EU. On the other hand, however, we have observed growing authoritarian tendencies and rising Euroscepticism in the region in recent years. We are convinced that the legacy of democratic revolutions and EU accessions is regaining political relevance today. The aim of the essay competition was to raise awareness of these events among young Europeans, especially from Central Europe, as it is the only way to develop an understanding of common European history and values, which is important for overcoming common challenges.
A two-page essay should explain the understanding of the 1989 revolutions and how they represent a value for the respective country or region of the students or even the EU. The focus was on individual perceptions of EU integration processes: what lessons can we learn from 1989 and 2004 that we should not forget for our present and future?
The evaluation and selection of the best essay was done by the members of the EUritage consortium. The main prize is participation in an event in Brussels on the historic years 1989/2004 and publication of the essay in a special issue of New Eastern Europe. In addition, the EUritage consortium will select national winners for each Central European country, who will be rewarded with trips to events in Gdańsk, Prague or Budapest.