The main objective of the European Year for Development (EYD) is to raise awareness among Europeans about the importance, goals and the daily work of the European Union’s development agenda. However, the success of the EYD has been largely uneven throughout the block. In Germany, for example, the organization of the initiative was excellent. The country organized more than 200 activities and educational events in schools, universities and major sporting events on topics related to development policy.
According to many non-profit professionals, EYD2015 was a positive event. Bernd Bornhorst, CEO of the Association of Development Policy and Humanitarian Aid, said he was pleased to see the German non-profit sector involved intensively in the implementation of EYD2015. “This year’s EYD did not benefit – as with other European years in the past – mainly advertising agencies, but the European Year strengthened civic education as well as campaign work on development issues,” Mr Bornhorst commented. He further appreciated that the event “strengthened civic education as well as campaign work on development issues” although the work done this year was not sufficient as it had been too little.
Then in Central European countries like the Czech and Slovak Republics, EYD2015 was largely overshadowed by the ongoing refugee crisis. In Slovakia, the country managed to get support for the event at the ministerial level and attract celebrities as its ambassadors but the migration crisis often changed the narrative toward the need to “to help in the countries of origin” in the context of low willingness to welcome refugees. In contrast, Poland’s EYD2015, which tried to promote the slogan ‘Dignity for All’ in the society with deeply rooted stereotypes, was not a major event at all.