In a bid to encourage young people to join in the current reflection on the future of Europe, trainees of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) engaged today in a debate with EU and local politicians, practitioners and representatives of youth organizations, to gain insights into the youth's perception of the EU and collect policy proposals setting out a new path for Europe.
Yesterday's event follows up from a series of interactive workshops organised in seven high-schools from different EU Member States to talk about the EU with the younger generation. The results of this initiative will feed into the CoR formal contribution to the wider political reflection on the future of the EU from the perspective of cities and regions. The initiative forms part of the Y-Factor project , a bi-annual initiative designed by the CoR trainees which aims at bringing young people closer to EU affairs.
The conference offered an opportunity to reflect, debate and implement a set of guidelines on issues such as Europe’s image in the regions, building a common identity and tackling economic and environmental challenges from a local youth perspective.
Introducing the event, CoR First-Vice President Karl-Heinz Lambertz stressed: "For me it is very encouraging seeing young people coming up with new ideas for the future of Europe ". Addressing the young audience, Mr Lambertz was eager to highlight the lack of representativeness of youth in EU policies: " The youth presence is not as present as it should be. To give justice to the youth, your voice and your inspiration has to be emphasized much more in EU policy ".
The aim of the Y-Factor project was also to reach out to those young people who do not show interest in the European project. After five months of workshops organised in seven different schools to reach, inform and debate with the young European generation, this objective was raised by Jeroen Lenaers (NL/PPE), member of the European Parliament : " It is hard to find a way to also engage those young people who are not interested in Europe. But if we want to make the future of Europe sustainable, we need to better reach out to them and engage them ".
Anna Widegren, Secretary General of the European Youth Forum , also explained that the younger generation is more committed than it seems to be: " Young people are the most pro-European generation and engaging us in decision-making can only lead to better, more inclusive policies ". She wrapped up her intervention by stressing the need " to youth up Europe ".
Four different themes were the focus of debate: Europe's image in the regions; creating a new narrative for a common identity; tackling economic challenges for the youth; and addressing environmental issues. The outcomes were commented by Christine Mai, Communication advisor in the Cabinet of European Commissioner Tibor Navracsics: " We need to communicate better about the opportunities that EU offers to young people. Sometimes it is a language problem and I would invite you to help us on that ".
The conclusions of the initiative will be presented at the next CoR plenary session on 13 July.
A report on the project: Y-Factor Final Report.pdf
Also, please find our results compounded in the leaflets below:
Y-Factor Leaflet ENGLISH.pdf
Y-Factor Leaflet - FRENCH.pdf
Y-Factor Leaflet - GERMAN.pdf
Y-Factor Leaflet - SPANISH.pdf
Y-Factor Leaflet - ITALIAN.pdf
Y-Factor Leaflet - POLISH.pdf
Note to the editors
The [Y]Factor is an event organized twice a year by the trainees of the European Committee of the Regions. Each session of internship inherits the brand and reshapes it according to the political context and trainees' preferences. For this edition, in line with the " Reflecting on Europe " initiative of the Committee of the Regions, the Y-Factor project aimed to reach out to young Europeans to discuss the future of the European Union. To do so, a series of workshops have been held at secondary schools in seven different schools. During these workshops students were informed about the European Union, its origins and developments but also its current challenges. Students were then invited to share their vision of the future of the EU, a vision which the trainees promised to bring back to Brussels.
- #YEU #yfactor - Photos are available for download on our Flick gallery .
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