Riga: 43.000 people reached through social media
The positions have been extremely polarized in the Baltic states, like in other parts of Eastern Europe, when it comes to the question of refugees. Therefore the My!Europe conference in Riga was spot-on. Dealing with migration and refugees, it brought together 110 participants from 12 EU-countries and 2 countries outside the EU, for lectures and group work, and according to the report, which is now available, it reached out to 43.000 on social media, plus many more through the press.
The governments of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania decided in the summer of 2015 to grant asylum to a limited number of refugees, but this sparked off massive public opposition as well as a political crisis in Latvia.
The report notes that after the fall of the Soviet Union, and after joning the EU, the three Baltic States have experienced significant population decline, as young employable people have migrated to Western Europe. In Latvia, the workforce has been reduced by 14 percent in just over a decade.
The conference discussed refugee and migration issues related to the My!Europe Declaration - a paper being prepared for presentation and discussion at My!Europe conferences around Europe and on the www.myeurope.today web magazine. At the 8th such conference, in November this year, a final version will be prepared as a basis for coming initiatives on a more democratic and more social Europe.
Organised by the Danish Cultural Institute in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the Riga conference was supported by the European Parliament Representation in Estonia, the Folmer Wisti Foundation for International Understanding and the European Commission Representation in Latvia as well as the International Sonnenberg Association.