European Student Conventions
A number of European Student Conventions are going to be organised between September 2013 and April 2014 in order to gather the opinion of young people on relevant topics, such as education, research and innovation, youth unemployment, sustainability, enlargement and EU Neighbouring Policy, democratic processes, the role of the EU in the world, youth participation, the impact of the crisis on the Eurozone and gender equality.
The objective of the Student Conventions is to gather the opinion of young people on topics that directly concern them and to offer a space for discussion among young people and decision makers of local, regional and European level.
Additionally, during those conventions several street actions will be carried out, workshop at universities in order to have a local reach as well.
As an outcome of these conventions, we will create a Students’ Agenda for Europe. This document will present the set of recommendations drafted during the conventions, which young people want to give to their future representatives in the European Parliament, based on their expectations and ideas for the future shape of Europe.
Following conventions have taken place:
Kick off Convention: Ignite the Youth Spark! – Valladolid, Spain, 18th – 22nd of September 2013
The opening convention of the Y Vote 2014 Project was hosted by AEGEE-Valladolid. The convention addressed the issues of youth political participation, as well as the need of active European citizenship. Participants reflected on the motivation behind people’s decision whether to go to the polls or not, and tried to find new ways of encouraging students’ and first-time voters to vote in the upcoming European Parliamentary Elections 2014.
The event was opened with a discussion panel “Strengthening youth participation: from a local to a European perspective” with guest speakers representing civil society, political side and the academic background. The programme included various workshops, discussion panels, as well as outdoor, ‘spreading the news’ activities. What is more, in order to foster dialogue between stakeholders and students, Member of the European Parliament, Iratxe García Pérez (S&D), was invited to discuss together with us the challenges European youth currently faces. We believe the convention has served as a space for discussion and creating new ideas, and our participants will become true multipliers of the project.
Y Vote Convention ‘Bridging the EU democratic gap’ – Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, 9th-13th of October 2013
The convention was hosted in the capital of the Canary Islands by AEGEE-Las Palmas. The topic of the convention can be understood two-fold. Firstly, the EU democratic gap can be perceived as a need to strengthen the democratic and decision-making processes within the EU. Secondly, ‘the gap’ can be understood as the distance between EU decision-makers in Brussels and the EU regions. The choice of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria was not accidental in this case, as geographically it is one of the furthest areas of the European Union and the need of strengthening the bonds between the region and the continent is vital.
The official part of the convention started with a panel discussion on the future of Europe, combined with a press conference, followed by various workshops covering the topics of the role of the European Parliament and EU democratic gap, but also by street actions, where participants could raise awareness of the pedestrians in terms of the EP elections. In order to show first-time voters why is it worth going to vote, the Y Vote 2014 team together with participants delivered workshops in high schools. After drafting recommendations for the Students’ Agenda for Europe, the convention was concluded with a panel discussion with Members of the European Parliament.
Y Vote Convention on Youth UnEmployment – Agrigento, Italy, 10th – 15th of November 2013
Youth unemployment has become one of the most important challenges Europe is currently facing. The financial crisis has made the transition from education to the labour market for young people even harder than it used to be. In 2013 the average unemployment rate among people aged 15-24 reached almost 24%, whereas in countries such as Spain or Greece it exceeds 50%. That is why the Y Vote 2014team had decided to devote one of the youth conventions to this topic. The hosting organisation of this convention was AEGEE-Agrigento. During this event participants debated about solutions how to make this transition easier for students and recent graduates and how to decrease the youth unemployment rate. The discussions reflected in the recommendations drafted for the European Parliament candidates.