13 June 2018

On a bright and sunny Thursday morning we said “zbogom” to Belgrade and made our way towards the Hungarian border. We meandered through Serbia all through the morning until we finally reached the crossing. It was not lost on anyone on the bus, but especially the younger volunteers, that the experience of crossing a hard border is something that has become strange as Europeans. It should not be forgotten that as we work on a European-wide project, Serbia is without a doubt a European country despite not being a member of the E.U.  As we work to eradicate poverty we must do it through solidarity between all European countries… and no one can be left behind.  We finally arrived in the beautiful city of Budapest in the late afternoon, where we were warmly welcomed by the wonderful members of the Hungarian network, who invited us to their working office to have an ‘Activist Picnic’ with the Dignified Living Working Group, which evolved out of EMIN 1 and is coordinated by EAPN Hungary. It was fantastic to be able to meet and catch up with our Hungarian colleagues in a more informal environment.  The bus team presented an overview of developments at EU level on minimum income, including the new European Pillar of Social Rights, and the principle 14 on adequate minimum income. Then representatives of the group briefed the bus team on the activities the group is working on in Hungary currently a plethora of social issues including minimum income. Our activists in Hungary must operate in an extremely hostile political environment, where civil society organizations are truly facing a fight for survival. One, can only commend their bravery in such adversity and it is up to all citizens of Europe to stand in solidarity with NGO workers in Hungary.