12 August 2005
Welcome message of the President of PA.SO.K on International Youth Day
"Young people, in every society, are the force of challenge and reversal, but also the force of progress and creation. Young people throughout history have always been forces of change. They are the key players of the future. They are those who, speak and fight passionately for peace, democracy, justice, equality, with the liveliness and freshness of their ideas, free from bindings and engagements.
At the same time, it is the young people who face more intensely the problems of our times. It is them, who together with children and women are tormented by unemployment and poverty more than anyone else. It is them, who are threatened more by the degradation and the destruction of our natural environment. It is first, them, the big victims of wars, epidemics and all kinds of injustice.
This is the reason why, young people were the first to realise and they have been realizing more and more nowadays, the importance of fraternisation, participation and social movements. They have been putting forward these values with their active presence in every social and political fight.
This new generation is interested in politics, participates and claims its rights in its own way, beyond and above all traditional or closed organizational structures. It seeks new forms of action, and it does not hesitate to undertake innovative initiatives.
This new generation confronts the globalisation of markets and capital through the globalisation of its ideas and its social movements. It fights against poverty and war, either by flooding the streets and squares of all European cities, or, at the same time, by connecting daily to the Internet and using it as a powerful weapon in its hands.
The new generation believes in individual rights, while at the same time, it claims the ecumenical, omni-human rights. It is a generation with political and social orientation. It is the generation that, five years ago, inspired the world leaders to draft the Millennium Goals and to make them commit to their implementation.
This is of particular importance this year, as next autumn the 60th Session of the UN General Assembly will take place, during the proceedings of which, both the World Action Plan for Youth and the Millennium Goals will be revised.
In the demands of this new generation, a generation that gave new content to globalisation and solidarity, our answer should be the solidarity of generations.
We, usually, make the mistake to identify young people only with the future. However, young people also form the present of our country, of our society, of our Europe. A Europe that faces today the most intense demographic problem and this is one of the reasons why, it should aspire more than ever to its young people. A Europe above which the shade of insecurity unfolds and which in order to make a step forward, it needs today the optimistic "yes" and the full participation of its young people. And of course, Greece, which should daily promote and strengthen the confidence, the participation and intervention of young people in order to move forward.
In this effort, Local Governments not only can but also should have a leading role, as the institution that has a more direct contact with the young citizens. It can shape and offer the first step of participation and action to every young man or woman, through the Municipal and Prefectorial Councils of Young People.
PASOK has historically been the Movement, which places young people in the front line. The establishment of participative institutions for young people and the support of their efforts, our policy for the new generation, but also the recent reconstruction and renewal of PASOK itself, is a tangible proof of our determination to support and reinforce the young generation.
It is the duty of all progressive political institutions to provide young people with the possibility and the occasions to express themselves and to participate dynamically, now, today, and not sometime in the … future that others will have shaped for them, a future that they will not deserve. For us, this is our principal commitment.
I congratulate you for your initiative and I wish you every success in your action. I will be following the dialogue that you have initiated through your web page with great interest".