Anniversary – AEGEE-Europe European Students' Forum Fri, 10 Aug 2018 10:27:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Young people gathered to debate solutions to key challenges on the Day of Europe /aegee30/ Mon, 01 Jun 2015 16:39:36 +0000 In the beginning of May, celebrations of Europe Day took place across the continent. Commemorating the 65th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration provided an opportunity for Europe to reflect on all the strides that have been made in terms of cooperation and integration. While it cannot be disputed that significant progress has been made, it is crucial to be critical and to be aware that many more achievements have to be made for the European Project to be considered a success. As European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pointed out: ‘The European Union was born in the aftermath of a terrible war and we still live in an unpredictable world. Robert Schuman’s words therefore remain as valid today, as they were at the time.’

AEGEEans in the EESC

In order to respond to numerous challenges Europe is facing today, over 100 young people gathered in European Economic and Social Committee on the occassion of Europe Day to discuss different issues with stakeholders ranging from representatives of the civil society to the representatives of the European Commission. The aim of the conference, titled ‘Schuman declaration 65 years later – wishes of the young generation for Europe’, was for young people to develop  recommendations for future action on European integration (social, economic and political), democratic innovations and active citizenship,  as well as on education and learning mobility.

Discussions during the conference brought attention to critical issues that European institutions must address at this point. Pointing out the increasing rise of populism and nationalism as a consequence of the crisis that many believe was mishandled by the European institutions, one of the proposals called for the creation of a ‘European Republic’ and a need for European citizen-based solutions to European problems. The proposal emphasized the importance of citizens’ involvement in transnational political debates and decision-making processes. Voting

Such processes were challenged, as participants of the conference called for a more inclusive voting system for European Parliamentary elections, proposing Member States to standardize their EP election systems and requesting greater accountability of the European Commission by introducing the direct election of the European Commission President by the European citizens.

The importance of fighting corruption on the European level was also tackled. While corruption is significantly lower in some Member States than others, it is still present to some degree in each of them, and presents a widespread concern among citizens. Young Europeans want to see a change urgently and wish for stronger actions such as the creation of an independent committee that would periodically check on the level of corruption in each Member State.

One of the most controversial proposals called for the EU Member States to introduce unconditional basic income in order to improve living standards and ensure that all citizens have the possibility to be active participants in society. While unconditional basic income is still perceived as a controversial idea, some have argued that its implementation on the European level could be feasible, and it shows that young people require more action to balance social inequality.

In line with that, gender inequality was also acknowledged as an important issue, as importance of education and greater awareness about the issue was emphasized, as well as empowering women in all professions. Young people expressed their concern about the Maternity Leave Directive, currently blocked by the Council, and have issued an urgent call for action on this matter. It is time for Europe to start acting, and not only talking about gender equality!

ParticipantsThe empowerment of citizens was a recurring topic, as one of the proposals highlighted the importance of a common European civic education. The Commission and Member States should adopt the initiative, as it would increase active participation of citizens, thus creating citizens who make informed choices and take a proactive approach in different issues they consider important.

Emphasis on active citizenship is not the only improvement young people are hoping to see in the education systems of Europe. The quality of education and opportunities for mobility are crucial as they contribute greatly to professional and personal development. Several proposals emphasized the importance of recognition of non-formal education, and especially the recognition of practical experiences of students in NGOs. The education system must change in order to adapt to today’s reality, where students are often learning more outside of classrooms than in class.

Another proposal was the creation of big European research centres across Europe, carrying out research in all fields of study. These centres should receive constant funding in order to preserve the autonomy of research and to guarantee a future in Europe to the best researchers, especially young researchers, from all European countries. There was a strong call to stop cutting on education and research, and to invest in excellence and inclusion.

The outcome of this conference shows that young people have a deep understanding of a great variety of issues Europe is facing with and that they are able to think beyond their pressing need for employment. It is time for institutions to acknowledge the capacity of young people to address relevant problems and their enthusiasm to offer solutions. Young people should be actively involved in decision-making processes and should be able to influence the future of their Europe.

65 years after Schuman declaration – AEGEE’s anniversary conference: application open /65-years-after-schuman-declaration-aegees-anniversary-conference-application-open/ Wed, 29 Apr 2015 15:18:37 +0000 /?p=5711 AEGEE / European Students’ Forum is celebrating its 30 anniversary of empowering young people to shape a better Europe. You are invited to attend the anniversary conference under the theme of ‘Schuman declaration 65 years later – wishes of the young generation for Europe’ at the venues of the European Economic and Social Committee. During the event on the 8th of May, 4 panel discussions will take place, starting at 13:00. They will tackle the issues of:

  • European integration: social, political, economic integration – where are we heading?
  • Democratic innovations & active citizenship
  • Jobs & growth
  • Education & learning mobility.

There will be speakers from the European Commission, including Commissioner Navracsics(TBC), as well as representatives of civil society, politicians and students from all over Europe.

Please register here:

Deadline to registrer is 6th of May at 12 noon CEST

Europe and its identities: how divided is Europe? – Franck Bianceri Memorial Event organised by AEGEE-Delft /europe-and-its-identities-how-divided-is-europe-franck-bianceri-memorial-event-organised-by-aegee-delft/ Sun, 08 Feb 2015 13:34:13 +0000 /?p=5666 AEGEE-Delft elaborates on the discussion about our future Europe. By Femke Lokhorst, President of AEGEE-Delft ’14-’15. A four day event titled Europe and its identities. How divided is Europe took place in Delft last December discussing matters that are important to the future of the European union. The event was part of the FBY 2014 –The Franck Biancheri Year- financed by the AAFB Association des Amis de Franck Biancheri. FBY is an opportunity for AEGEE locals to contribute to European matters. Not per se to the ideas of someone, but to open a European level discussion about the future of Europe. As European citizens, we took this opportunity and organized a year of activities related to European politics. The final event was the Franck Biancheri Memorial Event in which Franck Biancheri was honoured for his contribution to the reinvention of Europe. Our event consisted of lectures, discussions and some less intense activities such as a trip to The Hague and a Franck Biancheri memorial ceremony. Some of the lectures were held by AAFB members who were really interested in the stories of our participants and joined us in our discussion. The lectures had quite different topics, but all topics were debatable. The main topics we elaborated on were the following: democratizing Europe, the European identity, centralizing or decentralizing, conflicts in Europe and separatism. On the last day, we asked our participants to write something about these topics. Here is what we gathered. ‘The European Parliament and the European cities have to work better with each other. In order to make the representation of the citizen more effective, we have to divide the responsibilities more clearly. Transnational parties should represent the European citizens on common European issues but their national interest should be defended by a national parliament within the European Parliament if there are any conflicts of interest. Within the regional and national level, the citizens must be informed better so that they can really wrap their head around the issues and get the representation of the citizens right and legitimate.’ on the topic of democratizing Europe. ‘The European identity doesn’t mean we are all the same. It means that we are all different. Being European and travelling around makes you realize it and makes you understand your own national identity better. Comparing your opinions with the ones of your fellow Europeans broadens your perception of the world through the understanding of cultural differences. The European identity implies the wish to cooperate and create something greater than the nations, uniting all Europeans in the same spirit and in believing in the same rights and values.’ on the topic of European identity   ‘One of the ideas to make the EU closer to the people would be to decentralize the power of it. This could happen in different ways. An option would be to have the “department” of culture in Athens, the agriculture in London and so on. The advantage would be that people can identify more with the European level and that nations would profit (e.g. more money or jobs), but it would probably also make the communication within Europe more difficult. In our discussions we didn’t come to a conclusion whether it is better or not to distribute the power in Europe.  What we all agreed on is that you need to have a structure that is organic in such a way that it has the capacity to adapt to conflicts and to difficult situations and decisions. The problem there lies in how you can change a democracy that is already working in such a way that nobody knows how to really participate.’ on the topic of centralizing or decentralizing   We addressed the conflict on a cultural level. Also the speaker gave us a big insight about the culture of Ukraine and the history it has with Russia. It really gave us an insight to the demonstrations and the development of the conflict, yet the presentation was really objective. We were given insight by Russians on how the conflict is presented by the media and what the role of the media exactly is in these countries. It was also interesting to realise that the Ukrainians have a conflict within their own country about their identity; Ukrainian, Russian or European? It was amazing to realize how we can actually have a discussion with so many nationalities about this conflict when we are not talking about politics, but about cultural values. Taking the conflict for what is actually happening now, and not for who is right or who is wrong. Sometimes we don’t need to find the solution. We can only try to understand. As a Ukrainian participant said to end the discussion: You should never be afraid to stand up for the rights that you believe in.’  on the topic of conflicts in Europe, Ukraine and Russia   ‘A Scottish student that was allowed to vote in Scotland told us about his personal experience with the feelings of separatism among people in Scotland. What we came to realize is that Scotland can vote, but the majority doesn’t want independence. Catalonia cannot even vote. Some regions do not feel represented anymore by their national government, because in some cases, the power is in the hands of one city or one group. When regions do not feel represented by their country, the question is if anybody feels represented by Europe. In what way are nations such as the U.K. and Spain and an institution as the European Union different from one another? This is an interesting topic to elaborate on.’ on the topic of separatism.   Power to the people of AEGEE! It seemed that a lot of our participants didn’t feel like they could actually work on big issues like these, but together we managed to think about a lot of things that we could all organize, like Informational events related with breaking news, election observation, the Democracy in practise project, making a ‘wish tree’ for Europe, thematic dinners, TEDx events or events like ours with multicultural discussions. We also asked what the role of AEGEE could be in all of this. Participants said that the FB year is really helping, but also that there is a lot of information in AEGEE about European politics that should be spread. We concluded that this is not the fault of AEGEE. You cannot just give all the information. Locals should actively participate on the political side of AEGEE. As we see it, there is need for discussion and to decently have this, you need to spread information about Europe, because most of our participants were surprised about how little they knew about almost every topic. Do you want to discuss the Ukrainian conflict with Russia? Get people with you that are from there, that have lived in all these stories. Do you want to discuss Europe’s policies? Make sure there is somebody who knows them as they are now. We can stumble upon these topics forever, but we don’t have to if we try to solve them together. We might not all have the same opinions, but our event was a small example of what an intelligent group of young people can understand about each other and can learn in only 4 days. Imagine what would be possible if the whole AEGEE network actively started organizing these discussions with so many different nationalities participating. Let’s reinvent Europe. Or at least try to have an opinion as the future generation of our union. We might be different in many ways, but the one thing we all have in common is that we believe in the European values. Let’s not forget them.   We also asked our participants about what new insights they got through their participation in this event. Here are some of their thoughts.   Europe is not as democratic as I thought it was. There are a lot of levels of bureaucracy that are not evenly distributed. An idea to improve that is to remove one bureaucratic level, like countries, and instead only have regions within the ‘country’ of Europe.   The EP is not a functional working entity. Maybe the solution does not lie with the citizens, but perhaps the EP and the different entities of EU institutions need to be reorganized, especially the transnational parties.   I learned to understand new point of views from people with other backgrounds.   I would like to thank you for the unique experience that you provided to all participants of Frank Biancheri Memorial Event that you organized! Everything was so well organized and worked perfectly! I was impressed to see how many different people can collaborate and work harmoniously together and finally accomplish such a good quality event.   The feedback we got from AAFB was more than pleasing. As Marie-Hélène Caillol, the wife of Franck Biancheri, said afterwards: You have really organized a high level conference with extremely well chosen topics, which gave us an insight on what themes are of concern for your generation in the context of crisis. Also for me, it was an experience I will not easily forget and I would like to thank Marie-Hélène Caillol, president of AAFB especially for this. I think we inspired a lot of people with this event, but in reality you were the one who inspired us.

The Anniversary Toolkit is here! /the-anniversary-toolkit-is-here/ Tue, 02 Dec 2014 09:27:34 +0000 /?p=5619 It is here!

The Anniversary Team is proud to present the long-awaited Anniversary Toolkit for you!
You can find useful information regarding the general framework of the anniversary year, the thematic structure, different activity suggestions for the different topic, tips and guidelines for organising your perfect Anniversary event.

The locals who wish to apply for the Night of the Seven Antennae event can find the guidelines in the toolkit.
Application deadline: 7th December 23:59 CET

Anniversary toolkit

Download toolkit