February 2020 will be hot! In less than five months more than 200 AEGEE members will have the chance to attend the next European Planning Meeting (EPM) in Barcelona. The topic of the statutory event is social inclusion. “This issue is something very important that we have to improve as a society”, say Carlos Padial, president of AEGEE-Barcelona, and Néstor Saura, main organiser of the EPM, which will start on 5 February 2020. For the antenna the EPM will mark the return on the big European stage – almost 21 years after the last statutory event in this magnificent city: the Spring Agora 1999, which many regard as the best Agora of all time.

Golden Times: Hi AEGEE-Barcelona! You will host the next EPM. How did you react when you were notified that you got it?
Carlos Padial and Néstor Saura: When we were notified, we were very happy and excited to have the opportunity to organize such an important event. We were really nervous waiting for the good news, so it was a sigh of relief, after working so hard to complete a good candidature. The official announcement during Agora Bucharest was one of the most special moments that we have experienced in AEGEE.

GT: How did you get the idea to apply for this prestigious event?
Carlos und Néstor: What really motivate us to organise an EPM is helping AEGEE to be even stronger in the next years. We think that we are in need of a high quality event, with a significant amount of participants, where putting together all the bright ideas coming from every inspired AEGEEan. Barcelona is a perfect place to do so, as it’s a big and well-known city, very well connected to most of the European territory.

AEGEE-Barcelona at Renove 8. The antenna is waiting for you!

GT: Did it play a role for your application that your antenna organised some of the best statutory events of all time, the Presidents Meeting in 1995 and the Spring Agora in 1999?
Carlos und Néstor: Of course, there was an extra motivation, as many years have passed after the last statutory event organised in our city, the Agora in 1999. 20 years! Nowadays everything is different, but we will ask for advice anyway to the organizers of that event, or at least we would like to invite them to the opening ceremony.

GT: Was it hard to prepare the hosting application for EPM Barcelona?
Carlos und Néstor: At the beginning it was hard to get the needed support, as Barcelona is a big city and we had several meetings with different institutions. Finally one of the public universities here offered us their help regarding the venue, accommodation and food, so everything became easier and we started working in that direction.

GT: When you applied, you did not know the EPM topic yet: “All different, all equal: Can Europe be truly inclusive?” How do you like the topic, how do you live inclusion in your antenna?
Carlos und Néstor: The announcement of the chosen topic was a nice surprise for us, as we find that social inclusion is something very important that we have to improve as a society. In the recent years we have attended some events and activities about it in our city, and it was interesting because sometimes we all fail to notice some situations, so it helped us to open our eyes.

Nestor and Arantxa in Bucharest

GT: Do you already have a team working on EPM Barcelona? Who is in the core team?
Carlos und Néstor: The core team is formed by:

  • Main organiser: Néstor Saura
  • Vice-coordinator: Alba Morera
  • Incoming: Asier Rodriguez, Alejandro Ariza
  • PR: Katy Sanchez
  • Logistics: Paula Fernandez
  • Treasurer: Carlos Padial
  • Human resources: Arantxa Viaplana.

Also more people from AEGEE-Barcelona and other locals are helping us in many different tasks.

GT: Barcelona is a popular destination. How many people can you host?
Carlos und Néstor: We still need to confirm some things about the accommodation, but the exact number will be between 200 and 300 people.

GT: What can you tell us about accommodation and the place the sessions will take place?
Carlos und Néstor: The accommodation and all the sessions will be in the main campus of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, one of the best universities in the state. Apart from the excellent quality of the venues, it is a really active campus as it hosts many events and activities during the year, organised by different students organisations. This is a strong benefit for us, as there is a whole department of the university that works on helping the students to organise this kind of activities.

The endless paella was a huge success at the first statutory event in Barcelona, the Presidents Meeting in September 1995.

GT: What’s the date of the event?
Carlos und Néstor: 5 to 9 February 2020.

GT: Barcelona is a place that never sleeps with parties until sunrise… And a city beach. Will the participants get much sleep? How will the weather be and will there even people swim in February?
Carlos und Néstor: It is not the most important thing of the event, but the social programme will include nice parties, of course! About swimming, only the brave ones will be able to do it, as the water will be very cold! Winter here is not as extreme as in other European cities, but temperatures are not high enough. The average temperature in February is 15 degrees Celsius during the day and 9 degrees at night, so at least you will enjoy a bit the sunlight on the skin while having lunch.

GT: Will you or other antennae offer some pre-event or post-event for EPM Barcelona? If yes, what?
Carlos und Néstor: We heard some news about it, but we promised to keep it secret…

GT: What can you tell us about your antenna? How many members do you have and what will be the activity highlights in 2019?
Carlos und Néstor: In total we have 46 members, but there are also many members from other locals who are living now in Barcelona and are attending our activities. In 2019 we have already organised two cultural events with awesome participants: Strangers Catalans 2 and BarceYOLOna Express. They were a good opportunity for our newbies to learn a bit about how the AEGEE events work, so now we can all fully concentrate on the EPM.

GT: Anything you would like to add?
Carlos und Néstor: Dear AEGEEans, we will keep informing you about our event and we hope to see you in February! It’s important to arrive full of energy to the EPM but also really active into everything what AEGEE bring us. Don’t lose your time during the following months and as our motto says: be unstoppable!

Agora Barcelona 1999 – for many people the best Agora ever!