Citizens exchange project with Wieliszew
The "Europe for Citizens" Programme is one of four programs run by the Department for Education and Culture of the European Commission, which aims to promote active European citizenship through civil society involvement in building a united Europe, based on historical values and remembering a common past, the deepening of intercultural dialogue and concepts such as tolerance, solidarity, democracy, equality and mutual understanding.
Overall aim is to give all citizens the opportunity to know, interact and carry out joint projects to strengthen the idea of belonging to the Community. This is done through town-twinning activities, followed by visits of citizens, helping them to know each other. European Union is financing such activities through provision of grants aimed at financing the costs of organizing for the host city and the travel expenses of invited participants.
One such project, funded with 3300 euros, was developed by Wieliszew comune from Poland and Siret city in Romania, and resulted in a visit by a delegation of 30 Polish citizens during Easter holiday. The title of the project is "Two cultures, one Europe."
The objectives of the program "Europe for Citizens", which were achieved with this project are:
• promoting intercultural dialogue, which led to a better understanding between the two communities. Europeans must be aware of the importance of developing an active European citizenship which is open to the world, respects cultural diversity and is based on common values of the European Union.
• promotion of common European values. For people, to contribute fully to European integration and to develop a sense of belonging to the European Union, it is important to raise awareness of common European values, history and culture. These values are added to freedom, democracy and respect for human rights, cultural diversity, tolerance and solidarity.
• commitment to European integration by: considering the basic idea of the EU's future and its values, demonstrating solidarity and developing a sense of belonging to the same community in Europe as a whole, exchange views from a local perspective, on European history, in order to learn from the past and build for the future, experiencing cultural diversity and discovering the common European cultural heritage.
Some words about the guests of Siret city
Wieliszew City is located 30 km from Warsaw, and it is an important recreational area for the Polish capital. Has a population of over 10,000 inhabitants and an area of 10,800 hectares.
This place is a major tourist area, two thirds of the area are included in the protected area of Warsaw. Here is the largest lake in the area. Around the lake, there is an recreational area with motels and campsites. Also, on the shores of the lake there are jetties for boats.
A good part of the city is covered with forests. In wooded areas and at the lakeside there are bicycle lanes, in total, approximately 30 km of bicycle track.
The visit in Siret city included a series of activities that followed the presentation of the city, local traditions and monuments in the area. First, the Polish guests were given the opportunity to attend Orthodox Easter service. During the Easter days, meetings were held with the local community, primarily with the Polish minority in Siret. They also visited traditional romanian monasteries like Putna, Sucevița and Voroneț, and also the Catholic Minor Basilica of Cacica.
The program included several activities and information sessions, wich presented the city's history, with visits at the medieval churches and other monuments of our city.
Also, the guests from Poland visited other institutions in our city, such as the headquarters of Siret Intervention Guard (the local firefighting unit).
An important place in this program was given to the presentation of the cultural values of Siret. For this purpose were organized activities including „Kolomeika” artistic ansemble.
Photo 1: The group from Poland and the Mayor of Siret, Adrian Popoiu
Photo 2: Romanian firefighters and firefighters from Poland at the headquarters of Siret Intervention Guard