Some 70 young people at the start of their careers responded favourably to the invitations launched by their national EuroDéfense associations at the initiative of EuroDéfense-France. These young Europeans were recruited because of their interest in national and European defence. The French participants were selected by the Association Nationale des Auditeurs Jeunes (ANAJ) of the IHEDN.
This EuroDéfense Young Europeans Conference took place under the high patronage of Mr Javier SOLANA, Secretary-General/High Representative for the CSFP, from 17th to 21st July in the historical buildings of the Saint-Cyr Military School.
The young German, Austrian, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese and British participants spent the week listening to presentations by famous speakers, such as the Ambassador of France, François SCHEER, Jean-François DAGUZAN, the Ambassador of Portugal Antonio MONTEIRO, the former French Prime Minister Michel ROCARD, General Jean-René BACHELET, Denis VERRET, Daniel ARGENSON and Jean-Dominique GIULIANI. The statements made during this event are available on line.
Common values and interests, common vulnerabilities, common ambitions and how to bring a European defence into play were the four main topics addressed. The participants were asked to give thought to these issues and then to consult together in order to draw up an open letter to the young people of Europe, with a view to appealing to young Europeans and interesting them in European defence aims and problems.
Thus this "open letter to the young people of Europe" the result of a common European effort. It is a synthesis of the five drafts produced by the committees during the course of the week to help the process of reflection. This letter will be sent to Mr Javier SOLANA as well as to the relevant international and French authorities (Armed Forces-Youth Commission, for example...).
The conference was punctuated by a number of cultural and social events. After being welcomed to the EADS premises at Les Mureaux to visit the Ariane 5 assembly line, participants attended a wonderful Great Musical Waters show in the Château de Versailles gardens, and were treated on Sunday morning to a private visit of the Castle before the public opening. The Prefect of the Yvelines, Bernard PREVOT, who did the Conference the honour of attending its opening session, kindly received the participants for cocktails at the Prefecture, where they were given an explanation of the workings of the prefecture system, with particular reference to the Yvelines region.
To conclude the week the work of the various Committees was presented in the Medicis Room of the French Senate. A vote was taken on the five best committee drafts in the presence of Senator Jacques LEGENDRE, a member of EuroDéfense-France, who kindly stepped in at the end of the session to give the participants a guided tour of the Palais du Luxembourg premises.
At the Senate during the committee works restitution. From the left to the right : Emile BLANC, Christian GLÖCKNER, Jean-Philippe BRAULT, Maria Perpetua ROCHA, Andrew-Douglas BATE, Antonio Barahona de ALMEIDA and Alain FABER