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Event Report – European Youth Event 2018

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ITALIAN VERSION 

The European Youth Event took place on June 1st and 2nd 2018 at European Parliament in Strasbourg, which is the organizer of the event. Now in its third edition, the European Youth Event brought to Strasbourg 8,000 young people from all over Europe to debate on current political issues.

 

The themes were discussed through workshops of ideas, debates with MEPs, interactive workshops, role-playing games. The sessions were organized according to these macro-topics:

- Young and old: keeping up with the digital revolution;

- Rich and poor: calling for fair sharing;

- Alone and together: working out for a stronger Europe;

- Safe and dangerous: staying alive in turbulent times;

- Local and global: protecting our planet.

In July, a report of the debates will be distributed to all Members of the European Parliament. Furthermore, in the autumn of 2018, some of the participants will present the most elaborate ideas of the report to some parliamentary committees and receive feedback from the MEPs involved.

Here are some photos: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1CTMhJxFrHpuk734YLxlEC3Znl6CH5HFm

Here are videos of the EYE: https://www.facebook.com/pg/EuropeanYouthEvent/videos/?ref=page_internal

 

Our partners Emilia Romagna Europe Direct Centre participated in several sessions of the #EYE2018 and we are happy to share with you the exclusive reports they have prepared for us, covering European cities, basic income, brexit and the 2019 European elections:

Cities4Europe - Europe for citizens

BASIC INCOME: Return of Robin Hood?

BREXIT: take a sad song and make it better

European elections 2019: Count on me, I'll be there!


 

Friday (Day 1) 12:00 - 13:30

Cities4Europe - Europe for citizens

Workshop organised by EUROCITIES in collaboration with the City of Strasbourg

At a time when politics struggles to maintain its legitimacy in the face of growing disillusionment, participatory project developed in cities can be a fundamental link between citizens and policymakers, as well as collective creators of a more positive future for Europe.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of Eurocities, the network of the major European Municipalities, outlines the “Cities4Europe” campaign, launched on May 7th 2018. With a view to the European elections of 2019, they would like to achieve a deeper involvement of the citizens, by collecting ideas to build a fairer and more sustainable society. Citizens can share their ideas about the future of Europe by completing the sentence “My Europe in 2030…” set out in a series of postcards, that will be submitted to local, national and European leaders on November 28th-30th in Edimburgh, during the annual Eurocities’ conference. An introductory video of the campaign is shown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbQlsgJLvKc&t=5s

At the moment more than 200 activities in 88 European cities are being organised and scheduled.

The floor is now given to the delegate of the Strasbourg City Hall. Last April, the European Citizens’ Consultation was launched by the French President Emmanuel Macron in Strasbourg;  the survey was then carried out by the French National Assembly with the aim to pick up ideas and opinions about Europe from the citizens with a view to the european elections of 2019.

To celebrate May 9th, which is always an important holiday in Strasbourg, the City Hall changed the format: people were usually involved in conferences, but the audience who would show up was always composed by the usual people. This time they aimed at reaching more actively the citizens: a series of interviews were conducted on the tramway that connects Strasbourg to Kehl, a little town in Germany just over the border. The passengers were asked simple questions about the future of Europe and mobility too.

The No hate speech campaign by the Council of Europe is another campaign that was organized in Strasbourg: it aimed at promoting human rights online to counter hate speech on social networks. Thousands of youngsters were involved. In June a specific budget for this campaign will be launched. The budget will be participatory, on the model of the “Decide Madrid” project in the Spanish capital city, aimed at binding decisions for the City Council (the Plaza de España renovation, for example).

After this introduction, the audience is divided into 4 groups, each of which has to write projects to promote the active participation of the citizens at the urban level: these projects should be sustainable (environmentally and economically), desirable (something that society actually needs) and transferable (replicable in other cities or regions etc…). We are given a sheet whose structure is that typical of the ones you usually have to fill in when applying for something or when an activity is proposed to an institution.

My group plans an initiative called “Take a walk through Europe”, alternatively “Taste Europe”.

The idea is to include the theme of Europe in the European markets or in the street food festivals, in order to take advantage of the excellent starting point, in terms of citizen involvement, that these types of events usually guarantee.

Brussels is taken as an example as it suffers from a heavy division of its population components in wealthy neighbourhoods and other very segregated boroughs. Each food stand could give more visibility to the country it represents through typical music and posters containing basic information and trivia facts about the country. In this way, the stands could sell just small portions of food, so as to limit the prices for the citizens who would still be hungry enough to continue with the tasting of other European food.

The festival should become a multi-stage roadmap around the city neighbourhoods. In would prove useful in encouraging the citizens to enter areas that they would usually keep away from. For that single night, one or more free tram lines could be in service specifically to take people around the suburbs involved by the festival.

To achieve a better result, it would be useful to involve in the organization of the event the city’s associations and the Europe Direct centre.

 


 

Friday (Day 1) 5 PM - 6:30 PM

BASIC INCOME: Return of Robin Hood?

 

Speakers:

Harro Boven, Portfolioholder Economics, Young Democrats (the Netherlands)

  • • Aurélie Hampel, Secretary, Unconditional Basic Income Europe
  • • Ilkka Kaukoranta , Chief Economist, Finnish Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions
  • • Daniel Zamora, Postdoctoral Sociologist, University of Cambridge & Université Libre de Bruxelles

Moderator: Petra Prešeren, TV Reporter, RTV Slovenija

The debate evaluates universal basic income as either a way to tackle globalization and its consequent inequalities in the distribution of wealth or as a mere taxation on high incomes aimed at redistributing wealth to the less well-off in society. We will see what tests are taking place in Europe and what reflections are arising.

Petra Prešeren introduces the topic by explaining that 25% of the European Union population, around 120 million, is at risk of poverty or social exclusion. Is feeding the welfare system with a periodic donation of cash to everyone unconditionally a way to eliminate poverty or is it a utopian idea that States cannot afford?

Today, universal basic income has become a hot topic mainly because of the increasing loss of jobs due to technology and automation of production processes. By 2025, it is expected that up to 1/4 of jobs will be replaced by new "smart" ones or by robots. By 2030, up to 800 million workers worldwide will lose jobs due to technology. The big tech companies are by now on the frontline in arguing that the introduction of a basic universal income will become necessary in the future.

In the 2008-2009, a test took place also in Namibia: here the basic universal income has increased in the beneficiaries the entrepreneurial initiative, the real estate purchasing power and the autonomy of the woman by the man. In contrast, in 2016 a referendum in Switzerland saw 77% of voters being against the proposal of a basic universal income of about $2,600 a month for each adult and $650 for under-age youngsters.

How is the European Union moving on the subject? Last year, the European Parliament rejected the proposal to recommend a basic income to States as a compensation measure for unemployment caused by labor market automation. However, the Parliamentary Committee on Employment and Social Affairs has invited all Member States to introduce basic income measures or to update existing ones. Income support schemes in general already exist in most countries in the form of childcare or unemployment benefits, for example. These existing forms of welfare could therefore pave the way for the introduction of basic income in the future. Is this the right answer to tackling unemployment or is it an indirect invitation to abuse social benefits? Should the European Union consider introducing basic income at European level? Is it even possible?

The word goes to Aureline Hampel, secretary of Unconditional Basic Income Europe, the European network of activists supporting the cause, which counts members from 25 countries. The fundamental reason why they promote the basic income is that it would guarantee to everyone a "safety net" regardless of the vicissitudes of life, thus offering greater autonomy to the beneficiaries. The usefulness of this would manifest itself, for example, in situations of violent couples or dysfunctional families: in these cases, the victim could become independent without finding himself on the street. The basic income often suffers the prejudice of being an encouragement to "social apathy" and to idleness. According to Hampel, it is instead a tool to transform society. The speakers calls for a distinction between employment and work, because there are various forms of work which are indispensable in society and which are not truly recognized. Ecological operators, for example, do a fundamental job for the urban order but are very badly paid. With the basic income people would not accept this type of employment, because they would still have a safety net in terms of income. This would also be constructive within a capitalist system like ours, because it would support all those forms of employment that are not recognized as jobs, such as parents or grandparents caring for children. For those in precarious conditions, a guaranteed basic income would produce greater flexibility because it would strengthen their negotiating power, thus freeing them from the need to accept any remuneration in order to have an income. It also promotes entrepreneurship, as a guaranteed economic basis encourages companies to launch their own business with less fear of losing the money invested, thus allowing a society to tap into people's creative potential.

The debate continues with Harro Boven of Young Democrats, the Dutch social-liberal association which is the youth political organization with the highest number of members at national level. Boven argues his idea that the current widespread welfare system in most countries sees numerous malfunctions. On the one hand it is bureaucratic, because it requires the work of countless state employees who have to verify in detail the social condition of potential beneficiaries of economic benefits. In addition to this, it disincentives people to work: at the moment, those who receive benefits in many countries lose them automatically when they find a job. This means that an unemployed person who receives, for example, € 1100 per month from the state, could lose them when he/she accepts a part-time job paid € 500 a month (with a monthly loss of € 600).

On the contrary, the introduction of universal basic income, according to Boven, allows to protect the most vulnerable in a society and to eradicate poverty, which is an effect that makes basic income appreciated by the political left. On the other hand, it is also a liberalist, because it cuts the bureaucracy necessary to verify the conditions of those who receive a form of income support.

Boven brings the example of his country. In the Netherlands the legislators have set themselves some expectations to be reached to consider the experimentation a success: that it would eradicate poverty (those who live by themselves would receive 1200 euros per month), that it would be given regardless of being employed or not, and that the maximum contribution rate could be fairly low. Boven evaluates the goal of eradicating poverty as achieved. All of this was funded 75% by absorbing all previously existing forms of welfare into the universal basic income, while also maintaining a 300€ childhood benefit. The remaining 25% was instead covered by a modest wealth tax on incomes over €50,000 a year and by a tax on pollution.

Daniel Zamora debates some possible negative effects of universal basic income. The political right appreciates its potential of eliminating all differentiated forms of benefits. This inevitably leads to an increase in inequality, because current welfare adapts to the situation of each person, while with the basic standard income the disabled and the unemployed, for example, might end up having their income diminished. There is however another version of basic income that does not dismantle but rather completes the social security system. In the United Kingdom, Guy Standing is one of the main proponents of the basic income and proposes a basic income of € 300 that do not replace existing benefits, but that fit into those that the citizen already receives instead, by transforming a part into basic income. If a person receives €1000 in unemployment benefits, for example, €300 of these would labelled as that person’s universal basic income. However, through some university simulations, it is clear that poverty in the working age is not eradicated and that this measure proves very expensive (6% of GDP). It is not convenient: if a state provides forms of differentiated income support aimed at bringing the citizen’s economic condition just beyond  the poverty threshold, usually 3% of the gross domestic product is needed. Moreover, it would have a negative effect on wages: if you can choose not to work, because you receive a basic income with which you can live, employers would probably no longer agree to negotiate on salaries. They would infact justify their unwillingness to bargain with the excuse that the worker in question is already economically supported by the basic income anyway.

Ilkka Kaukoranta, an economist in the national organization of the Finnish trade unions, illustrates the experiment that is taking place in Finland. In January 2017, the Finnish government began paying to a random sample of 2,000 unemployed aged between 25 and 58 a contribution of € 560 a month. There is no obligation either to seek or to accept a job during the two-year trial period, and anyone who is hired will continue to receive the same amount.

Kaukoranta defines the basic income as a "beautiful utopia". His skepticism is due to his belief that it would end up deteriorating the level of social benefits and public services. In a welfare system with low income inequality, the economic incentives to work are always limited. Low income inequality means that the difference in income between the employed and the unemployed must be low as well, so that the financial benefit of becoming employed is equally limited. The solution for this was conditionality. In all welfare states, benefits are conditioned to the search for work or training, to improving one’s chances of earning a decent salary. With the universal basic income, the benefits are no longer conditioned by accepting jobs and people have the choice to work not to work. To finance this, however, a state requires high employment, so that taxes are also paid to finance income basic. Since, however, the basic income removes conconditionality from the table, financial incentives are the only thing that remains to promote employment. Focusing on financial incentives means that governments should try to give incentives to people who work by cutting benefits or taxes: both would cause an increase in income inequality as well as cuts in public services. However, the Finnish government has already decided not to renew the project at the end of the two-year period, in favor of other forms of welfare that are being studied. In 2019 the results of this experiment will be published.

Webstream link for the debate: http://web.ep.streamovations.be/index.php/event/stream/20180601-1730-eye17

 


 

Saturday (Day 2) – 4PM - 5.30PM

BREXIT: take a sad song and make it better

Speakers:

  • • Hugh Bennet, Vice-Director of BrexitCentral
  • • Roch Dunin-Wąsowicz, researcher, Generation Brexit (London School Economics)
  • • Olivia Elder, PhD student, University of Cambridge

Moderator: James Temple-Smithson, Head of the Irish Office of the European Parliament

The moderator opens the session by presenting the London School of Economics //www.lse.ac.uk/media@lse/research/ABetterBrexitforYoungPeople/A%20Better%20Brexit%20for%20Young%20People.pdf">report on young people's point of view about the UK post-brexit situation. Young people do not trust the current political institutions and the media, but remain interested in politics. Many show an understanding of the complexity of brexit, which is combined with the fear that their fellow citizens do not have knowledge about the European Union and that this has burdened the referendum. The young people of the study clearly do not want to lose the rights and opportunities of European citizenship to which they currently have access. They want to maintain a strong economy that guarantees quality for schools, university education, jobs and housing. There is great concern about the possible negative impact of brexit on the image of the UK as tolerant and multicultural and the loss of social protection. Only a small minority of young people interviewed express pride, following the victory of Leave, over the return of British sovereignty as an incentive to become politically less passive.

The floor is given to Roch Dunin-Wąsowicz, who focuses on the post-brexit challenges of young Europeans living in the United Kingdom. He explains that before the referendum, regular immigrants in the United Kingdom had been assured that, should the Leave win, their rights would remain unaffected. Two years after the referendum, the British Ministry of the Interior has guaranteed to a more disadvantaged group of immigrants the possibility of being recognized a "settled status". Out of the 3 million EU citizens living in the UK who have arrived thanks to EU fredom of movement, those with poor English or who have difficulty accessing accurate information on immigration will struggle the most with the consequences from Brexit. Soon the UK government will be confronted precisely with the expectation on the part of immigrants from the EU to see their current rights protected by the settled status, but, contrary to the pre-referendum promises, it will not happen, especially in terms of political rights. There is still no certainty that complete health insurance coverage will be included in the granting of residency to students. Until 2016, tens of thousands of students have been able to apply for residency. At the moment students with EU citizenship who did not obtain private insurance during their studies in the United Kingdom are instead living in a limbo in which they do not know whether they will be able to obtain residency.

A crowdfunded project called "Generation Brexit" has been running for a year now. The aim is to give young people from the UK and other countries (the site is translated into 7 EU languages) a say on divorce procedures and on future relations between the United Kingdom and the EU. Of the project members, 70% are British, 70% are Europeans living in the EU, 62% have a negative view of brexit, 17% are ambivalent and 7% agree with brexit. The negative view increases with the level of education: 66% of high school graduates believe that Brexit is negative, compared to 80% of University graduates. Young people are still very critical of the vote and the referendum campaign, while only a minority has become more politically engaged following the vote. In general, no apathy is noted: a small part feels proud of the outcome of the referendum, while many are interested in future brexit developments. There is a widespread fear that brexit will make the United Kingdom less friendly internationally and more isolated. The majority of young people want to maintain the rights of European citizenship, especially the freedom of movement both for work and for education, both for themselves and for others. The sample of respondents from the rest of the population would instead want to keep their rights without giving them to others. Young people want to be heard and included in the long-term Brexit process and are not willing to givin in their rights in favor of indefinite future benefits. They are aware that the UK's ties with the EU cannot be completely cut off, and they do not want them to be. Generation Brexit will continue with its activities also through a partnership with the organization "My life, my say", which will carry out the "Café Brexit" debates throughout Europe.

As a more favorable point of view for Brexit, the floor is given to Hugh Bennet, deputy director of BrexitCentral.com. He begins by explaining that with regard to immigration from the European Union, the European Council in march 2018 clarified that current legal immigrants in the United Kingdom will not lose their rights. Regarding the University and the possibility of studying abroad with Erasmus or European funds, such as the Horizon2020 research funding programme: in the draft of the new Erasmus financing framework the United Kingdom is still included, both for incoming and outgoing students, while on Horizon2020 there may be limitations (which Bennet interprets as a political move). If you put politics aside, and focus on the usefulness of the EU as meaningful international cooperation in the areas in which it can produce benefits, the current situation should not change.

Bennet also calls for a reflection on how Brexit can benefit young people. It is not productive to always distinguish youth issues from others, because the great political issues affect everyone, including youngsters. In order to understand Brexit, it is necessary to go deeper in the reasons why people voted Leave and overcome shallow accusations of disinformation during the referendum campaign. Statistics show that the people who voted to leave the European Union the most come from lower economic contexts, including young people. This is a tendency that however concerns Euroscepticism across the continent. Even freedom of movement is only for the European elite who can afford to travel. Those who come from economically depressed towns in the United Kingdom, on the other hand, experience freedom of movement as an uncontrolled entry of new labor and a lowering of wages, which increasingly pushes a community into economic depression. For countries in Eastern Europe, moreover, freedom of movement can mean an emigration of the workforce to more advantageous EU member countries.

Olivia Elder, PhD student at the University of Cambridge, debates issues related to the impact of brexit on higher education in the United Kingdom. The contribution of the European Union is fundamental to the success of British Universities. In total, the EU provides 16% of the academic staff, 16% of the funding and 6% of the students. Together with the think-tank The Wilberforce Society of Cambridge, Elder wrote a paper on the impact of brexit on students and universities, part of a larger work commissioned by Daniel Zeichner, the MP elected in the Cambridge constituency. The Wilberforce Society is an independent organization and the commissioned work wanted to go beyond the leave - remain division, trying to identify the problems arising from brexit but also the possible opportunities. Elder's paper focused on key areas: student mobility and access, research and reputation of UK universities. The research covered a sample of over 300 students and recently graduates. Let's get into some of the main results.

Regarding mobility and access to the university, the end of freedom of movement would also end the automatic equality of rights for European students studying in the UK and vice versa for British students in the EU. It was also made clear that brexit would threaten the participation of UK Universities in Erasmus and in the Marie Curie European scholarship, which provides important opportunities for young researchers. As Bennet pointed out, the European Union has recently extended to the United Kingdom as well the possibility of remaining in the next seven years of the Erasmus program, but it is not yet clear how much it will cost for the country. As for access, it should also be noted that it is likely that, because of brexit, student tuition fees in UK universities could rise up to the level of international fees. The Higher Education Policy Institute has simulated the effect of this possible increase: the higher income for the more affluent universities would counterbalance the loss of students, but for many other universities the opposite would happen. EU students bring benefits to British Universities: the UniversitiesUK organization has estimated a contribution of £ 2.2 billion from their spending on campuses and in cities ... but the benefits are not only economic, but also social and cultural. Mobility from the UK to the EU is weak: employers complain about the poor language skills of British graduates and the inability for students to manage the practical side of studying abroad. The EU therefore remains crucial in providing a framework for students to study abroad.

Research, on the other hand, has an impact that goes beyond the United Kingdom and is international by its very nature. Brexit will have an impact on the possibility of conducting this research, collaborations, funding and recruitment of European academic staff in the United Kingdom. The European research funds currently fall under the Horizon2020 financing program, at the end of which the 2021-2017 programming will enter into force for a value of 100 billion euro. The United Kingdom is a net contributor to the EU budget, but a 2014 report by the British government concluded that European research funds are an aspect that works "exceptionally well" for the nation. Between 2007 and 2013, the country received more than 15% of European research funding, which is a high percentage in proportion to the UK contribution to the EU and to its population. But the EU's contribution to research is not just financial: it encourages and allows collaborations, that are fundamental for the success and visibility of research. UniversitiesUK found that access to research funding for the UK is already falling (to 13%) due to uncertainty about the future of academic collaborations. However, the government has stated that it aims to remain part of the next Horizon 2021-2017 financing framework and to maintain its say in shaping the distribution of funds in the program. However, this ambition is generic and has little precedent: although some non-EU countries are effectively admitted to the program, they can not influence the formation of the program and full access is restricted to states that participate in other aspects of the EU such as the single market and freedom of movement. The end of free movement and access to European funds could undermine the ability of British universities to attract and collaborate with the best European talents. In addition to that, United Kingdom government policies on research are often restricted to science and technology, and as a result of brexit, academics fear that arts and humanities will be left behind in research.

Finally, the impact on the reputation of English universities is much less quantifiable. However, reputation is a key factor in choosing where to study and where to work: in the work done with the Wilberforce Society, 90% of respondents expressed concern about the negative effects of brexit on university reputation.

Webstream link for the debate: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/other-events/video?event=20180602-1600-SPECIAL31

 


 

 

Saturday (Day 2) – 1PM - 2.30PM

European elections 2019: Count on me, I'll be there!

SPEAKERS

  • • Kristen Aigro, Estonia, European Youth Forum
  • • Kenny Imafidon, UK, General Manager, ClearView Research
  • • Elmar Stracke, Germany, PhD student, Polis 180
  • • Diana zur Löwen, Germany, Student and Social Media influencer

Moderator: Jaume Duch, Director-General of Communication and Spokesperson, European Parliament

The next European elections will be held from May 23rd to May 26th 2019, as some nations vote on Thursday while other Sundays. The moderator reminds young people of the importance of participating in the vote to elect MEPs, who make decisions that will affect our lives in the future. In addition to that, even for this round of elections, the parliamentary group that will be elect the highest number of deputies will nominate the President of the Commission. It is obviously also an important political vote, in a context of brexit and of the nationalistic tendencies of the member countries.

But there is a basic difficulty: the number of young people taking part in the European elections is very low. On the occasion of the 2014 European elections, only 27.5% of the young people went to the polls, a fifteen points lower pecentage than the already low overall turnout (of 42% of those entitled to vote).

The speakers of this session, therefore, are young people involved in projects of encouragement to vote.

The floor is given to Kristen Aigro from the Estonian Youth Forum. She specializes in youth participation as a leader of the League of Young voters in Estonia and debates on her experience during the last European elections in her country, on the results and on the lessons that might be useful for next year. The League of Young voters in Estonia has been coordinated at the European level by the European Youth Forum, but at the national level the various youth forums have included all the campaigns under the same umbrella, resulting in a pan-European campaign. If one of the objectives was clearly to mobilize young people with the right to vote, it was also important to encourage candidates to express themselves more on youth issues. The same European Youth Event in its first edition (2014) was included among the events of the campaign, as the first real political event of European youth: the predominant theme were obviously the elections, which would haven taken place in the next few weeks. For the first time, a television debate was also organized between the candidates for the presidency of the Commission, an initiative that the European Youth Forum intends to have again in 2019: this direct way of watching a confrontation between candidates makes it clearer who is going to be in the ballots and it makes the electoral process much more transparent for voters.

The moderator asks to Kenny Imafidon, executive director of ClearView Research, why british youngsters did not go to vote in the referendum on the membership of the United Kingdom in the European Union but they did for the subsequent national elections.

For the referendum, the "Buy the Ballot" campaign was organized, on which NGOs, companies and major European brands worked with the aim of persuading young people to vote. They were asked to encourage colleagues, family and friends to register to vote. By analyzing the result of the referendum, some lessons can be deduced:

- The few months of the election campaign have been spoiled by a great lack of information: many people have discovered the EU on that occasion, whereas before it was a field that they did not know in the least.

- Opinions by celebrities are not enough during a campaign.

- The alarmist tactics of the "Scaremongering", through which the audience was persuaded to vote remain in order to escape potential catastrophic consequences of a Leave vote, has prevented a real discussion on the EU, on its objectives, on what actually works and what does not.

- We need to be able to transmit an overall message that is stronger than the fake news that get easily spread on social media.

To prevent a similar outcome from happening in other countries, Imafidon believes that education on the importance of civic participation is essential from an early age. There is a direct relationship between places where civic education is taught at school and youth participation. Furthermore, the overall approach must be to bring the debate to the people, rather than just to expect them to come to an understanding of the European Union.

The moderator presents Elmar Stracke, PhD student who collaborates with Polis180 and who, during the last German election, worked on the campaign Demokratie braucht dich (democracy needs you). Polis 180 is a grassroot think-tank that deals with foreign and European politics. In the last federal election in Germany, the campaign reached 180,000 people in social media in three months and mobilized 25,000 people.

The initiative started from the consideration that, in the European elections, some German regions showed a youth turnout from 20% to 27%, while others only 13-14%. They had 3 goals:

- To concretely reach young people

- To strengthen political commitment

- To take care of matters that are relevant to young people

They sent messages and pictures to people on Instagram and other channels, including a mailing list. They had a checklist of areas that they thought were important. They also examined the positions on various topics of all the candidates in the different regions and assembled a sort of "measurement" system for the elections. They then held discussions in various cities, including a small debate between chancellor candidates, and led youth movements to comment on their issues. Polis180 does not know for sure how much the campaign has affected the participation in the vote, but surely they take it a testing ground for the next European elections.

The floor is given to Diana Zur Löwen, invited as a powerful influencer on social media (she has over 630,000 followers on instagram). As a guest who is not involved in political matters, the moderator asks her for advice to reach those young citizens who are not in themselves interested in politics but who can vote. Diana replies that the federal elections in Germany and the last European ones were the subject of her podcasts, through which she discovered that many of her followers were not even aware that in 2019 they would have to go to vote. This is due to different reasons: for example, many young people no longer think that politicians really work to change something or to represent values ​​that matter for young people. From their point of view, the political system in Germany has stopped evolving, in a world that requires agility.

He suggests not to choose the passive position of expecting politicians to change sooner or later. All young people have smartphones with which they can take a picture and get to their followers, even if they only have a few. This could become a means for making politics more interesting for others through topics of our own interest. Trying to mobilize your community breaks the "bubble" in which social media block people through algorithms that only show topics of interest to them: for example, she herself explains that if she were to follow only fashion bloggers and if she had not been invited, she would not even have heard of the European Youth Event. She is involved in charity and shares it with her followers. She’s also part of the organization "Startup teams" that encourages teenagers to start a business: through this, she has hosted an event to encourage girls to become more courageous in entrepreneurship, with the testimonies of some women entrepreneurs. We must try to become ourselves "role-models" to begin with.

Link to the webstream for the debate: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/other-events/video?event=20180602-1300-SPECIAL-24

 

Reports by Riccardo Cucconi, Winner of the Master’s Degree Prize “Europe that will be” given by the Emilia-Romagna Regional Council

Europe Direct Emilia Romagna