On 24 January 2019, the Republic of Chameria president Festim Lato participated in an event in Brussels organised by the Union of European Federalists where he had the opportunity to explain the situation of the Cham community to the president of the Union of European Federalists, Sandro Gozi, as well as to the other members of the political organisation and the participants of the event.
The Union of European Federalists
President Festim Lato believes in the core European values that have made Europe the richest, safest and most prosperous continent, but which are currently under threat from undemocratic forces. Unfortunately, Chameria has been the victim of undemocratic forces for most of its existence and has been striving to be a full part of Europe ever since. It is the presidents’ dream and vision to bring Chameria into the European family of nations. Part of this strategy is to seek cooperation from political forces who share this vision of a European continent connected by the values of freedom and democracy.
The Union of European Federalists (UEF) is a pan-European, non-governmental political organisation dedicated to the promotion of European political unity. This organisation embodies the European values and has political representatives in most of the European nations. The objective of the UEF is to build a federal Europe which is able to pull its resources together and thereby is able to compete on a global level with the rising continental countries like India and China. The event of today was organised by the UEF.
At the event, president Festim Lato was able to have an extensive discussion with the president of the UEF, Sandro Gozi, about the Cham issue. Sandro Gozi is the President of the Union of European Federalists and he was the Secretary of State for European Affairs in succesive Italian Governments (2014-2018) as well as a Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies (2006-2018). Prior to that, he was a diplomat and then spent more than a decade in the European institutions, notably as a European Commission official (1996-2000) and then as a member of the Cabinet of the European Commission President Romano Prodi (2000-2004) and as an advisor to the European Commission President Jose Barroso.
Jan Zahradil, the lead candidate of ACRE for the president of the European Commission
In May 2019, the elections for the European Parliament will take place. These elections will see great changes in the composition of the Parliament and these will undoubtedly also be reflected in the new European Commission that will be formed later in the year.
President Festim Lato’s campaign to place the Cham issue on the political agenda in Europe has been very succesful in the past year, whereby he was able to inform many political leaders of the plight of the Cham. In the run up to the elections in May, president Festim Lato will strengthen his efforts to inform the new European leaders about the Cham issue and to seek ways to work with them to improve the plight of the Cham community.
One of the main leaders of the new European Parliament and European Commission will be Jan Zahradil who is a Czech politician for the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and the President of the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe (ACRE). He has been a member of the European Parliament since the Czech Republic entered the European Union in 2004. Today, he is the ACRE lead candidate for the President of the European Commission.
Mr Zahradil clearly explained his vision of Europe, which he describes as EU cooperation that is driven by the interests of the member states. In his view they are best equipped to deal with the challenges of the present and the future, also where it comes to some of the main international challenges like migration and climate change. For example, the Paris agreement to combat climate change was negotiated by the states that make up the international community and not supranational organisations. Similarly the migration crisis of 2015 was solved due to the actions of individual member states closing their borders, after which the EU was forced to take action. Genuine cooperation and solidarity cannot be imposed and must come voluntarily due to shared interests. Such a democratic view of the EU means that the member states and not the supranational institutions must have the final authority to decide on policies that promote the wellbeing of their People.
In many ways the views of the ACRE candidate seem to be opposed to that of the federalists, since they believe in strengthening the supranational structures at the expense of those of the member states. Nonetheless, both agree on the value of European cooperation and the need for genuine democratic freedoms for all the nations and peoples in Europe, including Chameria.
During the reception, President Festim Lato and Diplomat Jeroen Zandberg had the opportunity to bring the Cham issue to the attention of Mr Jan Zahradil.
CNN and Euronews
The high profile event was well attended and broadcast and promoted through various channels. The CNN and Euronews journalist Chris Burns moderated the evening and ensured an interactive dialogue between the numerous participants.