"Strengthen the role of the CoR and introduce mandatory considerations of CoR opinions by the European Parliament and Council, also concerning the budget." This is one of the recommendations that was developed by the participants of the [Y]Factor conference 'Between European and Regional identity - Youth perspective in the European Year of Cultural Heritage'. In a final panel discussion, the recommendations were presented to high-level speakers from the areas of sciences, public sector and private economy and CoR President Lambertz.
At the occasion of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, on Thursday, 1 February 2018, 46 young people from 27 different countries gathered in the CoR to discuss how to increase the role of regional and local authorities in the EU decision-making process and make their voice heard by policy makers. The one-day full-participatory event, organised by the current trainees of the CoR, composed of a workshop and a panel session, both of which were attended by many experts.
The opening speech was given by Walter Zampieri, Head of Unit for Cultural Policy in the European Commission. He presented the events during the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 which served as an introduction to the following workshop session. In small groups, the participants worked out policy recommendations on four topics:
1. How to give local and regional authorities a more significant role in the EU decision-making process?
2. How can European border regions become focal points of reference in EU policies such as cohesion policy and what are the obstacles to the formation of cross-border regional identities?
3. How to implement good practices for the integration of national minorities in local communities?
4. How can we use regional identity and cultural heritage as drivers for development in insular regions?
Selected recommendations from each of the four areas were:
Allow local and regional authorities to submit a policy initiative.
Fund and facilitate the implementation of an integration program for local citizens and facilitate social inclusion and cooperation with member states.
Provide a platform for exchanging good practices on the integration of national minorities.
Develop a long-term strategy for islands, which includes social, green and educational policies in order to create growth, attract companies and enable better connected universities, and draw funds from the cohesion policy.
The recommendations were discussed by panellists from sciences, as well as the public and private sector. In a final speech, CoR President Lambertz addressed challenges of identity and the future of European regions.
The [Y]Factor event, in which the 'Y' simultaneously stands for 'youth' and 'why', is organised twice a year by the trainees of the CoR. It has the goal to make young people think, why the EU is important and how it contributes to their daily lives. At the same time, it aims to make the opinions of European youth heard by bringing them together with actors from the public sector and policy makers.
The Programme and the names of the attending experts and speakers can be found on the official [Y]Factor Facebook page. Photos of the conference can be found on Flickr and Facebook .
The [Y]Factor organising team with President Lambertz