The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is hosting the event "Your Europe, Your Say" (YEYS) for the eighth time on 30 and 31 March 2017. YEYS will enable secondary school pupils from the 28 EU Member States and from the 5 candidate countries to learn about the EESC and its role and to exchange views and propose recommendations on a specific subject. The theme of this year's event is "Europe at 60: where to next?" marking the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome.
1.1 Conditions for participating
To take part, a secondary school of any type must
- be located in an EU Member State or in one of the candidate countries;
- be recognised by the education authorities in one or more Member States or candidate countries;
- have a computer (to read and print PDF files), with internet access and email;
- choose one teacher and three students in their pre-final year of any type of secondary education (≥16 years of age) who are able to express themselves in English;
- undertake to consider and discuss the topics of the event in class before coming to Brussels;
- undertake to host one EESC member for an information session on the EU and the Committee indicatively between January and February 2017 (travel and accommodation expenses of the EESC member to be paid by the EESC). Other classes from the same school and/or other schools may be invited to this meeting with the EESC member.
1.2 Registration process
A school wishing to take part is required to complete the online registration form on the EESC's website during the month of November 2016. The online registration form is available here.
Before registration, the school shall designate its accompanying teacher, who must be able to communicate in English being the sole contact person for the EESC – if the school is selected – during the preparatory phase before the event. The head teacher of the school must confirm this choice in the relevant section of the online registration form.
On the registration form, the school enters its full name and address, the name and contact details of the head teacher and the accompanying teacher, and an email address to which all correspondence with the accompanying teacher can be sent. Email must be checked regularly, since the schools will be contacted mainly by email.
Only one registration form per school will be accepted. Schools that apply more than once will automatically be excluded.
Registration will remain open until 30 November 2016.
1.3 What does a school commit itself to by registering?
By registering, each school must accept the general conditions of the draw, preparation and participation in Brussels. A valid registration by the deadline guarantees only that the school can take part in the draw; it does not guarantee a place in the event.
The schools that are selected by drawing lots undertake:
- to choose and register three students able to speak and understand English, who will take part in the event in Brussels, accompanied by a teacher;
- to invite one EESC member for an information session in the school;
- to consider and discuss a document proposed by the EESC;
- to share the results of their work during the event in Brussels by taking an active part in the discussions;
- to agree to their name and pictures taken during the EESC member's visit to the school being used in EESC publications and posted on the EESC website and related social networks. Please note: if not otherwise specified by the school, this authorisation shall cover all the people, buildings and objects shown in the pictures;
- to agree to their name and pictures taken during their participation in Brussels being used in EESC publications and posted on the EESC website and related social networks;
- to provide any press cuttings relating to the visit of an EESC member to their school or relating to the participation of their school in the event;
- to inform the organisers at the EESC promptly of any change (e.g. in the accompanying teacher, participating students, email address);
- to ensure local follow-up of the event, both in the school and elsewhere (for instance informing about the adopted recommendations, spreading information about the event in general).
1.4 What happens if a school does not meet its commitments?
Any failure to meet these conditions will result in the school and its students being immediately excluded from the event.
2. Selection of schools
The participating schools will be selected by lot in December 2016 from all the schools that have applied by the deadline. The same school may not apply again the year following its participation. The names will be drawn in the presence of the EESC's vice-president, who will ensure that the draw is conducted in accordance with the rules. One school will be selected from each country. The chosen schools will be informed of their selection individually by email, and their names will be posted on the EESC website by the end of December 2016.
3. Selection and registration of students coming to Brussels
The participating schools shall choose three students to take part in the workshops in Brussels from 30 to 31 March 2017. These students should be in their pre-final year of any type of secondary education (aged ≥ 16 years) and be able to express themselves in English.
3.1 Selection criteria
The schools themselves shall select students to represent them. They may set their own selection criteria, provided these are clear, fair and non-discriminatory. For reasons of gender equality, the students selected should preferably include at least one boy and one girl.
3.2 Participation of disabled students
Schools must ensure that disabled students are also able to take part in the event. If special arrangements are required, the schools must inform the EESC organisers in good time.
3.3 Registration of students
By the end of January 2017, the selected schools shall register the three students they have chosen to take part in YEYS 2017. Before registering the students, the schools must obtain a written agreement (authorisation form) from their parent(s) or legal guardian(s).
3.4 Authorisation form
The schools taking part in the event will be required to provide an authorisation form for each student. This form can be downloaded in all official EU languages and printed from the EESC's website when available. This form must be signed by the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the student and by the head teacher of the school. It must then be sent to the EESC, accompanied by a copy of a valid identity document for each student, by post or by email.
By post to:
European Economic and Social Committee
Rue Belliard 99
1040 Brussels (Belgium)
By email to: youreuropeeesc [dot] europa [dot] eu (subject: YOUR%20EUROPE%2C%20YOUR%20SAY!%202017)
In this form, the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the student and the head teacher of the school attest that
- the student has permission to go to Brussels for the event;
- the student's name may be published in EESC publications, on the EESC website and related social networks with photos and/or video recordings of the session;
- the student will be supervised by the accompanying teacher while travelling and during their stay in Brussels.
The student may not take part in the event unless the authorisation form and a copy of their identity document are received by the stated deadline.
3.4 Protection of personal data
The EESC guarantees the protection of all personal data received in accordance with prevailing legislation. The YEYS 2017 event will be filmed and photographed for promotional purposes.
4. Preparation for the event in the schools
A member of the Committee will visit the selected schools indicatively between January and February 2017. The member will provide information about the EESC and its working methods. The EESC will pay the member's travel and accommodation expenses. The EESC will also take press initiatives. The EESC press unit will work with the schools and the EESC members to mobilize media to follow the visit and possibly participate in the visit. We would appreciate your support for this activity.
All the key information about the event will be published on the EESC's website. The teachers involved are therefore asked to check the site regularly.
By February 2017, the participating schools will receive a working document with open questions to help students and their teachers shape their ideas and prepare for the debate in Brussels. The students and teachers must discuss and try to answer those questions in class, so as to be ready for the 'real' discussions in Brussels.
5. Event in Brussels
The participating schools represented by the accompanying teacher will bear full responsibility for their students and teacher during their stay in Brussels and when travelling to and from the event.
The students and teacher accompanying them must take the necessary travel documents (i.e. valid passport or identity card). They must also have a European health insurance card (available free from local insurance organisations and/or sickness funds) or a provisional replacement certificate if the card cannot be issued in time.
The EESC will organise and pay the costs of the travel and accommodation of the students and accompanying teacher from each Member State and candidate country in accordance with the conditions set out below.
5.2 Arrangements for the event
The event will take place on 30-31 March 2017. Students will arrive in Brussels on Thursday 30 March 2017, and will meet the other participants that evening. They will return home on Saturday 1 April 2017.
The schools taking part will be informed in advance of the exact arrangements for the event.
The participating schools are invited to suggest a national cultural input (for instance traditional dances and/or music) into the farewell dinner on 31 March.
5.3 Working languages
The working groups will be held in English, while interpreting from/into English and French will be provided for the plenary sessions. As already stressed, to ensure that the working group discussions go smoothly, the students as well as their accompanying teacher are required to be able to express themselves in English. Parallel activities will be organised for the teachers.
The EESC will pay the following expenses of the students and their teacher:
- accommodation expenses in Brussels (2 nights, breakfast included);
- travel expenses for the international plane/train connection from their home country to Brussels (including connecting flights/long distance connecting trains if needed). Travel will be by air or train, depending on the participants' country of origin. The schools taking part will be informed of the exact arrangements;
- transport between Brussels airport/railway station and the hotel;
- dinner on Thursday 30 March 2017, lunch and dinner on Friday 31 March 2017.
Participants should make sure they arrive at the station/airport well in advance of their scheduled departure time for Brussels. If they miss their train/flight for any reason other than force majeure, the EESC will not grant any refund and/or compensation and will not cover the costs of purchasing new tickets or rerouting existing tickets, or cover accommodation or subsistence costs.
N.B.: The EESC will not pay for/reimburse the costs of travel to/from the departure station or airport in the home country. This means that the costs of travel to/from the departure station or airport in the home country will not be reimbursed.
More information is available on the EESC's website: www.eesc.europa.eu
You can also send questions to the EESC organisers by email at: youreuropeeesc [dot] europa [dot] eu (subject: YOUR%20EUROPE%2C%20YOUR%20SAY!%202017)