79 participants, 14 European countries.
The closing event of our project Message to Europeans 3.0 was held in Brussels from 19-21 February!
Goal: after intense debates across Europe, countless civic initiatives to collect input from fellow citizens, hours and hours of debating and seeking to compromise on the draft resolutions… it was time for a trip to Belgium to have inputs also from EU policy makers or experts. A kind of reality-check with a Brussels EU-bubble flavour!
“ I am ready to take part in events like this and to get to know even more people outside my country. To learn their motivations and their view of the world. I would like to learn more about ongoing issues in the world and stop being only a passive viewer. I became more confident about stating my opinions, about giving counterarguments and about speaking publicly.”
“Message to Europeans 3.0 was a great surprise, I cannot tell how happy I am to have contributed, even if just at the end and for a very small part, to this ambitious and noble project. I met incredible people from all over Europe, I challenged myself with something I had never done before (like debating in politics) and I took part in a flash mob in front of the European Parliament. Could I ask for more?”
The final Brussels event evoked many of the feelings one has when approaching the finish line after a long race.
Satisfaction, to see an idea, a new European narrative, materialise into an accomplishment, the draft resolutions of this narrative (after intense hours of input gathering and compromise).
Nostalgia, when Student Leaders of the project asked themselves if they will ever meet again.
Determination, to have a last debate with Brussels based experts and reach one more compromise on the final version of the document.
Hope, now that the narrative is written, spread it even more.
As always the agenda was packed and it aimed to balance the seminar-style exchanges young people had with experts with the interactions between participants themselves that are conducive to the best debates and exchanges!
The event experimented with a mix of formats in the funky setting of the Brussels Comic Strip Museum and the more institutional setting of the European Parliament: student leaders presented their draft resolutions, all participants took part in 3 British Parliamentary debates, a communication workshop on how to explain complex EU policies in 5 minutes, and an intense back-and-forth with experts on what is possible, what is very ambitious and requires major treaty changes, what can be improved in term of consistency between the proposals, or what can be refined.
All ended with a dance in front of the European Parliament to encourage citizen participation in the upcoming May European elections and many resolutions to meet again and continue debating the future of Europe!
We would like to particularly thank the experts who dedicated their time to provide quality input to engage with our students:
Victoria Martin de la Torre, author, press officer and political adviser, Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament
Roland Freudenstein, Policy Director, Wilfred Martens Centre for European Studies
Daniel Kaddik, Executive Director, European Liberal Forum
Riccardo Ribera D’Alcala, Director-General of the Directorate-General for Internal Policies, European Parliament
László Andor, former European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, and Inclusion
Jeroen Lenaers, Member of the European Parliament
Gian Luca Giovannucci, President, European University College Association
Pier Virgilio Dastoli, President, Movimento Europeo Italia
Aurélie Maréchal, Director, European Green Foundation