The activists that have arranged the debates in the Danish Harbours represent the Europe 2000 society – an initiative started by a number of Liberals back in the beginning of the 90ties. Today the 5person-board includes among others Bo Mandrup Jensen Head of the Cabinet of Pat Cox president of the European Parliament.
Europa2002 have spent their summer holiday traversing Danish waters in order to meet people on the wharves of Danish harbours. They have invited people on board the beautiful old schooner the Halmø, which has been their home under the changing skies of the Danish summer.
”The trip has been very fine, indeed. It seems that the message of the EU enlargement finds favour in Denmark,” says Europe 2000 Chairman Flemming Oppfeldt, who is also a member of the Folketing, the Danish Parliament, representing the Liberals.
He reports that people have come to the ship among other things to voice complaints that Denmark does not use the euro.
The purpose of the voyage has been to give Danish voters the opportunity to participate in the EU debate in an informal setting. The beautiful ship the Halmø has helped attract the curious, people who might not otherwise have become actively involved in the debate. The activists have performed different happenings in the various harbours in order to make the debate more relevant. An often-repeated contribution has been for the mayor of the town where the harbour was situated to write down a wish as a message in a bottle. When the ship later left the harbour, the activists would launch the bottle outside the municipal boundary.
In addition, the activists have carried a gigantic jigsaw puzzle with them, which, when completed, forms an image of the enlarged European Union. The speakers that have come on board the ship in various harbours have then subsequently assembled the map of Europe, together with the people who had come to watch the debate.
And also in this respect the Liberals did very well and Assens with LYMEC leading the game took the lead in the competition.
Being asked how she liked the idea of an EU debate on board a ship Ellen Trane Nørby replied; “I think it is a very good idea. It is important that we bring the EU debate and EU closer to the citizens. Taking the debate where in the space where people spent their summer makes the process more transparent and avoid the constellation where the EU is put on a pedestal. The EU-debate should be inclusive – not exclude, so the combination of debate and games is a good way to involve as many as possible and make EU present, relevant and human.”
”The intention of the jigsaw puzzle was to show people where the various countries of Europe are located, and in this way to make the new countries more visibly present,” explains Flemming Oppfeldt.
The activists on board the Halmø lowered the gangway for guests the last time last Friday in Nyborg before it set sails towards Copenhagen back to the ship’s regular mooring at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Asiatisk Plads. The old freight ship, which plied between Denmark, Sweden, Germany and the Baltic countries has now yet again made its contribution to linking the countries, about a hundred years after it first set sail.
Maybe an idea to be followed in other countries....?