EUROPE DIRECT Rzeszów is the place of the first contact in European Union matters for all inhabitants of Podkarpackie Voivodeship.
Point in Rzeszów belongs to a network of 424 facilities located throughout the European Union, it is one of 24 points in Poland and the only one in Podkarpackie Voivodeship. The mission of EUROPE DIRECT is primarily communication with the inhabitants of Podkarpackie Voivodeship: informing and explaining the details of European policy, in particular the importance of individual legal acts on matters important for the voivodeship. An important goal is also to disseminate knowledge about the functioning of the Union and its institutions and to convey the opinions of the region’s inhabitants to the EU authorities. EUROPE DIRECT is also working closely with the Representation of the European Commission and the European Parliament’s Liaison Offices.
The mission of EUROPE DIRECT for the coming months (including two Citizens’ Dialogues and workshops for children and youth) during the official opening of the point was explained by its manager Sylwia K. Mazur: “The University has been informing and educating the inhabitants of Podkarpackie Voivodeship about the European Union for over 20 years. At that time, the European Union changed, but so did our region. The region owes a lot to the Union but also has a lot to offer. It is certainly worth infusing new energy into building the image of the Union in Podkarpackie Voivodeship – this is what EUROPE DIRECT Rzeszów is for.”
“Today, the European Union is experiencing a crisis, and it is a crisis on many levels: climate, migration, pandemic crisis, additionally the changing geopolitical situation. The European Union must redefine its mission and role, therefore the need to inform about its activities is still huge” – said UITM Vice-Rector for Science, Prof. Agata Jurkowska-Gomułka, Ph.D., Assoc. Prof. The professor also noted that the solutions to all those problems may be found during the Conference on the Future of Europe, which will be presented in May 2022.
Elżbieta Łukacijewska, who is a member of the European Parliament, spoke about the importance of information points on the activities of the European Union. In her opinion, such points were probably missing in Great Britain, whose citizens decided to leave the EU in a referendum in 2016. The deputy also emphasized that Poland’s membership of the Union is voluntary, and no one forces us to join it, but if we want to be part of it as a state, we must be faithful to the principles and values that are fundamental to the Union. Paweł Poncyliusz one of the members of the Polish Parliament, pointed out that the role of EUROPE DIRECT points should be to straighten fake news, such as the claims that rising energy prices are the fault of the European Union.
“The city of Rzeszów will want to actively participate in the debate and conference on the future of the European Union. I would also like to announce close cooperation in all other areas. I imagine that EUROPE DIRECT employees will be present at many city events and every school in Rzeszów – because there are always opportunities to talk about the Union, not only on the occasion of European holidays”- announced Konrad Fijołek, President of the City of Rzeszów.
The University of Information Technology and Management has been involved in cooperation with EU institutions since 1999, even before Poland joined the European Union, the Regional Center for European Information was operating at the university. Currently, UITM is the main information hub in Podkarpackie Voivodeship. Apart from Europe DIRECT, at UITM there are also: the European Documentation Center, Enterprise Europe Network, and the Eurodesk regional point.