train – AEGEE-Europe | European Students' Forum AEGEE (Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe / European Students’ Forum) is a student organisation that promotes cooperation, communication and integration amongst young people in Europe. As a non-governmental, politically independent, and non-profit organisation AEGEE is open to students and young people from all faculties and disciplines – today it counts 13 000 members, active in close to 200 university cities in 40 European countries, making it the biggest interdisciplinary student association in Europe. Tue, 17 Oct 2017 22:02:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.10 What can young people do for Europe? /europe-2020-young-people-elections-2014/ /europe-2020-young-people-elections-2014/#comments Wed, 15 May 2013 19:53:57 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=614 In response to Wat kan Europa voor de jongeren doen? (translation: What can Europe do for young people?) by Bart Staes (Belgian MEP for Greens/EFA), published in Knack on May 9, 2013.

 

“Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” This sentence from the inaugural speech of John F. Kennedy has been used so often and in so many situations, and yet it can hardly be called a cliché. Also in this context it still remains true and powerful: European young people are not yet lost.

The situation is dire. So much cannot be denied. Youth unemployment keeps rising month after month and it is approaching the threshold of 25% in the euro zone. But does this turn people away from Europe? Does the average young person know enough about Europe for this? And what future do young people see for the European Union in 2020?

These and other questions formed the content of the first edition of the Europe on Track project, winner of the European Charlemagne Youth Prize 2013 last week in Aachen. At a time when the European integration project is being questioned, and the outlooks for many young people look bleak at best, AEGEE / European Students’ Forum has taken the initiative to question European youth on their vision of Europe and their role in it. As one of the six ambassadors, Mathieu Soete covered over 7,500 km by train to interview 200 young people.

From Brussels to Istanbul, many interviewed youth were indeed anxious about their current and future chances on the job market, both at home and abroad. Many don’t stand idly by however, and are further training themselves in youth organisations, on projects, through non-formal education. Yet they are aware that even this is often not enough, for non-formal education is still being insufficiently recognised, and it remains difficult for them to turn this invaluable experience into a meaningful job. The Youth Guarantee can play a role here, but this scheme can still be improved.

Moreover, for many the European integration project remains limited to politics and business, while on the ground many barriers remain before we can truly speak of a free movement of citizens. Some examples include the difficulties in transition from the French education to the German job market, or the mutual incompatibility of the Dutch and Belgian residence rules, or the drastic consequences of the fast integration of the new member states.

Few however, have lost their faith in a better Europe. Among youth the interest for European politics is low, and many indicate “not knowing what they are doing there in Brussels”, but this largely seems to be a reflection at the European level of the lack of interest or even aversion to national politics. Remains of communist regimes, insufficient attention for youth in political programmes, and a feeling of impotence to chance any of this, are the most commonly cited reasons for this disinterest.

But it is not yet too late. As European Parliament president Martin Schultz said last week: “The elections of 2014 will be crucial to regain the confidence.” Many elections and other events have already been called crucial and just as quickly have been replaced with other horizons, but we cannot afford to be discouraged by this. Each opportunity to turn the tide of Euroscepticism can be the decisive one. The European Students’ Forum is therefore industriously preparing the successor of its 2009 success project: Y Vote.

Many young people are more than ever concerned with the institutional discussions and the changes these could bring about. For many a stronger union is indispensable to get us out of this crisis, and a federal Europe seems a done deal: it is either integration or disintegration for this Erasmus-generation. Young people are most easily convinced by other young people, and it is therefore the task of these enthusiastic young Europeans to engage others and pull them along. This is exactly the aim of the Y Vote 2014 project as well, by again heading to the UK with a campaign on Euroscepticism.

But they cannot do this alone. Regardless of the number of projects and campaigns to stimulate young people’s interest in European politics and integration, political programmes and discourses must also be adapted to offer them a point of recognition and to demonstrate that Europe has a tangible — and mostly positive — influence in their daily life. Too often politicians at the national level blame Brussels for unpopular measures, and media report only on the negative aspects of European integration.

Young people are shouting that we can no longer continue like this, and they are prepared to do something about this. The least European policy-makers could do, is to actively support and guide these young people. We will gladly cooperate with this!

Adapted from Mathieu Soete’s blog.
Mathieu is Policy Officer for Sustainability in AEGEE-Europe.

]]>
/europe-2020-young-people-elections-2014/feed/ 1
Youth opinion on the future of Europe: AEGEE-Europe launches “Europe on Track” project /youth-opinion-on-the-future-of-europe-aegee-europe-launches-europe-on-track-project-2/ Fri, 05 Oct 2012 08:49:48 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=137 Where is Europe headed? What can young people expect from the Europe of tomorrow?

These questions have been of great concern for many young Europeans recently. In order to find answers, AEGEE-Europe (European Students’ Forum) is launching the “Europe on Track” project in the fall of 2012. In the framework of this initiative, six young Europeans will travel the continent by train at the end of 2012, and in the course of one month, gather the answers to these, and further questions, through photography, videos and interviews.

More information about the initiative: www.aegee.org and www.facebook.com/EuropeOnTrack

The “Europe on Track” project was launched to advocate for a better future for European youth, and to capture young people’s vision of the Europe of the future by the end of 2020, as well as provide a snapshot of AEGEE and its members. The main topic of the project is “The Europe I want for the future”, involving young people around the continent in discussing the current situation and their own prospects. At a time when the idea of European integration is being questioned, and young people’s future prospects have become hazy, AEGEE considers it fundamental to give voice to the young generation, in order to take their opinion, their realities and their wishes into account.

“We will give six young people the opportunity to travel the whole European continent. They will be reporting about their experiences through social media and blogging, channels used by youth as impartial loudspeakers, which allow them to communicate with greater audiences, and which provide them with the possibility to communicate with an independence from traditional media. This will allow them to promote and spread the idea of a common European identity among youth.” says Pavel Zborník, European Institutions and Communications Director of AEGEE-Europe about “Europe on Track”. After being present at Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, AEGEE puts emphasis on sustainability in this project as well, as the six ambassadors will travel Europe in a “green” way, by train. By documenting every detail of their journey, they will later enable others to reach conclusions and find ways to remedy the situation, and through creative and innovative approaches they will promote the vision of young people through the social and other online media.

Applications for taking part in the project as an ambassador – travelling and reporting about young people’s opinions – are open until 20th October 2012. More information can be found on AEGEE-Europe’s official website (www.aegee.org) and the project’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/EuropeOnTrack).

This initiative is possible thanks to AEGEE-Europe’s partner, Interrail.

 

]]>