Politics isn’t always the starting point at Eos language cafés but one way or the other, you often end up touching on it anyways. At the moment, with the EU parliament election around the corner, the topic is as hot as ever, and Eos Cares seized the moment by hosting a very special version of its Wednesday café Prata svenska.
Participants fill the conference room on the second floor of Eoshallen in anticipation of a presentation of the upcoming election. In front of them are three local politicians seated, who are there to try and explain what the parliament of the European Union actually does – and perhaps pick up a few more votes along the way.
The actual vote will take place on Sunday, May 26th, and even though very few of the people in the audience have Swedish passports – which would give you the right to vote in Sweden – you can still cast your vote in the country you have citizenship, provided that the country is a member state in the EU.
The party representatives make their points, whether it’s for a stronger union with more collaboration, better human rights for all of Europe or a more open union that makes it easier for both goods and people to move freely between country lines.
Someone has a question:
– I’m here because I’m learning Swedish. Would it be possible to talk a little slower?
The rest of the audience laugh in a way that signal that they can relate. Politicians, used to fiery debates where you must put in as much messaging in as little time as possible, have to collect themselves and be reminded of that this is not their usual crowd.
After the presentation, everyone moves downstairs, and the usual language café commences. The
politicians spread out across the room, continuing to expand their vision for Europe, and off we go!
– You have feminism in your party name. Does that mean only women are welcome?, a participant asks.
– No. Feminism stands for equality for all genders, Sengül Köse Lindqvist of Femisnistiskt Initiativ replies.
The room keeps to a gentle murmur, only to be abrupted by the occasional laugh. Participants change tables every ten or fifteen minutes, to give them the opportunity to also talk to Fredrik Brange of Liberalerna or Elfva Barrio and Eleni Rezaii Liakou of Socialdemokraterna. The probing of questions continue. How can the EU create safer entries into Europe for refugees? What’s your position on the Euro currency? What made you get into politics in the first place?
Some get satisfying answers, others yearn for more. All interactions are cordial and well intentioned, and come from a genuine place of curiousness.
A quarter to twelve, the café starts wrapping up and the politicians finish with explaining how to actively get involved in with their party. Perhaps one or two aspiring politicians were created this day, at the Eos language café Prata svenska.