“In an attempt to bridge cultural differences and break down national stereotypes among young people, Berlin and Athens have decided to establish a Greek-German Youth Institute,” EurActiv Greece reports from Germany.
An agreement was signed between the two countries on September 12, between the ministries of education of the two countries.
This “reconciliation agreement,” referred to by Euractiv, includes an agreement on several activities, such as internships, school and youth exchanges as well as visits to Nazi concentration camps.
According to sources, the Institute will be established as an international organization co-funded by the Greek and German governments and is expected to have a cost of around 6 million euros. In the past Germany has signed similar agreement with Poland and France, aiming at healing the wounds of the Second World War.
“More than 3 million young people benefited from that. We had ten bilingual schools in France and in Germany,” said Sigrid Skarpelis-Sperk, former Social-Democrat MP and leading figure in the initiative, during the first meeting of the project in Bad Honnef in Germany.
On the new “reconciliation agreement” that has been long-anticipated, “our goal is the rapprochement of our societies,” noted the Greek Secretary General for Youth, Panagiotis Kanellopoulos. He admitted that the ongoing crisis “had an effect” for the creation of the Institute and that “Athens embraced this effort from the very beginning.”
EurActiv Greece understands that the content of the initiative has not been finalized yet with many advocating a more “cultural” and “historical” focus while others, particularly from the Greek side, a more economic orientation on youth entrepreneurship. In addition, it is understood that the issue of World War II reparations that Greece aims to receive from Germany, will not be discussed by this newly-launched organization.