At the invitation of the European Commission, team of ‘‘SarajevoTimes’’ visited Brussels on 30 and 31 January, where we attended the conference ”Bringing Divided Communities Together- Sharing the Experience of the EU Peace Programme”.
After receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, the European Commission wanted to discuss how divided communities in the EU and beyond can rely on experiences of the EU’s PEACE Programme in Northern Ireland and Ireland’s Border Region.
European Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn held the conference ”Bringing Divided Communities Together- Sharing the Experience of the EU PEACE Programme”.
“The EU PEACE Programmes have touched the lives of around a million people in Northern Ireland and Ireland’s Border Region, and helped to create the conditions in which peace and reconciliation could take root. This is an opportunity to celebrate the work of many brave and committed individuals from both communities – and to consider how far others may learn from their experience”, said Hahn.
He emphasized that every community has its own story, and that it must find its path to reconciliation.
“But the experience of the PEACE programme may be a source of ideas for others, or, just as important, a source of confidence that rifts can heal. This event comes just as the EU has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, in recognition of our contribution to peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights over six decades. It is easy to forget that not so long ago Europe was regularly devastated by major wars. Today a war on our continent is unthinkable. This has not happened by accident: through a process of cooperation, old adversaries have become close partners. The European Union grew out of a determination to replace war with stability and prosperity. It is therefore natural that the EU supports financially and otherwise, the peace process in Northern Ireland and the border regions of Ireland. The PEACE programme is a fine example of the Union’s longstanding commitment to peace and reconciliation – and rather typical of the European approach”, said among other things Commissioner Hahn.
After the conference „Bringing Divided Communities Together – Sharing the experience of the EU PEACE Programme” held a meeting with media representatives.
In pleasant atmosphere, we talked about how the experiences of EU’s PEACE Programme in Northern Ireland and Ireland’s Border Region can be used in countries of Western Balkans.
”SarajevoTimes” achieved a successful cooperation with representatives of the European Commission and we hope it will be continued!