The open floor discussion about the identity of AEGEE was the highlight of the Thursday moorning Agora session. While the decision of the Mediation Commission (formerly known as Members Commission was the most disputed one. Except for that the search for the non-well  working wifi Internet connection kept the participants in the totally crowded plenary hall busy. Ah yes: The CD went Gangnam Style!

Let’s start from the beginning: the Agora started on Thursday morning with the roll call of the attendance list. Despite the fact that chairwoman Mariella Rapa asked people not to sing this time to much, people did it of course anyway. It was fun as always. Fabian Brüggemann and his Düsseldorf crew were singing the traditional “We are not from Cologne song”. Fabian, who just moved to Cologne, was singing inbetween: “I am now!”. Vice chair Thomas Leszke’s – who is from Cologne too –  smiling reaction to the song: “You can go home now!” Quite a lot of locals were not there, despite the high quorum. Probably they had a late breakfast. The (non-existing) price for loudest roll call went to AEGEE-Napoli, which also used musical instruments.

The CD has many helpers

Afterwards the programme was presented, the chair announced that people can apply for  the vacant positions until Friday, 22.00. On request by former Summer University Coordination Team boss Hara Kogkou also the list for SUCT candidates was reopened, since the four existing candidates all run for only two positions.

There will be a big issue coming up: the CD said that they are thinking about changing the head office location and the working conditions in Brussels. There will be a progress meeting about moving the house on Friday afternoon. In addition, the CD gave itself a code of conduct. Some key elements: “Be inspiring, have a good balance between administrative, thematic and representativce work, work as support for the network, never forget that you are elected by network, reduce bureaucracy to a minimum.” The new CD presented also its transition period report. Luis Alvarado Martinez’ team thanked their predecessors for their great work and support. They also presented their big team of assistants and external helpers – the biggest in AEGEE history. So, outsourcing tasks works really well.

Now to the report of the Mediation Commission. They presented the new case of AEGEE-Cosenza. Obviously there were irregularities with the finances of their SU. Moreover, AEGEE-Cosenza has not been registered, an other organisation (Centro Studi Omega) functions as umbrella organisation. The findings of the Mediation Commission: There was a petrol bill for a distance which should cost 7,31 Euro. Alla Resheten (MedCom): “They could have travelled the distance 41 times.” In addition, the mayor of San Lucido promised to cover transportation costs. Nevertheless, the antenna claimed to have spent 1750 Euro. The Mediation Commission requested the following: AEGEE-Cosenza should register properly. Current and previous board members should not be allowed to attend European and AEGEE-Europe events. And: the antenna should not be allowed to organise European events.

The MedCom case

As a reaction, Stefania P. from AEGEE-Cosenza defended her antenna: “We did not only go to one place, but to many, using our only transportation. The mayor support was just to go to the beach, but for all excursions we had to rent a private bus. We will try to resolve everything.” MetCom’s Ermanno’s reply : “we already separated the amounts, there are still inconsistencies.”Ex-CD member  Mirek: “How can AEGEE-Europe interfere with internal matters of an antenna, for example with board elections?” This point was valid, it was taked out from the MedCom decision. Moreover, people asked how AEGEE-Cosenza can fulfill its criteria under these conditions, which includes organising events and attending statutory meetings. CD member Beáta: “The CD will grant an exception.” The MedCom case was ratified by acclamation.

The CD also presents it’s partners. Great news: Interrail gives 12 First Class Tickets to AEGEE this year, they will be used for this “Europe on Track” project. Two of the tickets will go to a lottery at this Agora. Tickets are 5 Euro, the income goes to the new Social Responsibility Fund for members in need. There are also a lot of other interesting partners, such as Hostelworld, where AEGEE members can get a discount. Infos are available on the AEGEE-Europe website.

The neew Key to Europe is there!

The most interesting part: The CD made an open floor discussion about the identity. It’s going to be a one year project with several consultations, starting now.It includes several questionnaires and meetings. The CD presented the point of view about AEGEE that other youth organisations have. In video messages several representatives of other NGOs told how they perceive AEGEE. In general they all perceive AEGEE as an organisation with thematic work with fun and parties.

Afterwards delegates from several antennae gave their perspective. A girl from AEGEE-Toulouse summarized her antenna’s perceiption of AEGEE’s identity: “Intercultural exchange, friends from all backgrounds, an organisation that empowers people and gives skills and gives confidence, fourth: meaningful projects, and finally: the power to change Europe and to have an impact on society.”

Voting will be electronic

NetCom member Wiebke said: “For me, AEGEE’s center are the locals. You do the work, you shape the association.” Thomas Leszke said that people should be aware what kind of impression they give of AEGEE, especially at parties. Not everyone agrees: “While you party hard, you make many friends”, says one guy at the microphone. Former CD member Gizem shared with the audience, how AEGEE changed the perception of society of many people in South East Europe: “In 1995 AEGEE-Ankara joined the  network. There were problems with Greek locals which were against us joining. And now they are working together in many projects. Also the Caucasus region is a good example: We are building a peaceful environment there in a conflict area. Together we can.”

Finally, former AEGEE-Europe President Manos Valasis explains the new electronic voting system. It’s a premiere at the Agora. All delegates per local have to go to the Juridical Commission and can login to the Intranet afterwards. All ballots are casted electronically. Girgios Dimitrakopoulos created the system. He received special applause. So did Manos.

By the way: The AEGEE history workshop will take place today at 16.30 in room E332.