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"Inspired by Europe"

Dear Readers,

For two days from 21 to 22 March, the meeting rooms and hallways of the Jacques Delors building were filled with the laughter and smiles of 102 16-18 year olds from the 28 Member States and 5 candidate countries. These young people – shy at times, but mainly curious – were asking "What's the aim of this event?", "Can I answer questions that adults haven't been able to?" and "How can we make people want to vote in the European elections?"

In short

Members' involvement

A special thank you goes to all the members who visited the schools for their commitment in preparing the students for their debate in Brussels:  Martina Širhalová, Dimitar Manolov, Baiba Miltoviča, Charles Vella, Martin Siecker, Arno Metzler, Meelis Joost, Pirkko Raunemaa, Jocelyne Le Roux, Bernt Fallenkamp, Pocivavsek Jakob Kristof, Bo Jansson, Roman Haken, Lidija Pavic-Rogosic, Marie Zvolska, Gonçalo Lobo Xavier, Cristian Pîvulescu, Andreas Pavlikkas, Piroska Kallay, Ronny Lannoo, Josiane Willems, Brian Curtis, Ionuţ Sibian, Antonio Longo, Javier Doz Orrit, Renate Heinisch, Alfred Gajdosik, Seamus Boland, Daiva Kvedaraitė, Aristotelis Thomopoulos, Krzysztof Pater. (ks)

Your Europe Your Say, in the media

Austria ORF.at: Students make EU policy

CroatiaJutarnji List: ZAGREB YOUNGSTERS IN BRUSSELS: Lara, Nikola and Patrick addressed the topic of European elections and how to encourage young people to participate

FinlandHAAPAVESI LEHTI: High school students represent Finland in Brussels

FranceOuest France: Saint-Brieuc. For these high school students from Saint-Charles, «we are the future of Europe»

ItalyServizio Informazione Religiosa: Youth: Brussels, 102 students from across the EU to participate in the 2019 edition of "Your Europe Your Say!"

MaltaMalta Today: Maltese teens’ proposal for mandatory EU studies curriculum to be presented to MEPs'

Montenegro Grad Kulture: "YOUR EUROPE, YOUR OPINION": Niksic high school students successfully represented Montenegro at the YEYS conference in Brussels

Portugal ROSTOS: Three students from Minerva do Barreiro College are in Brussels: they represent Portugal in the Forum   «YEYS -Your Europe, Your Say»

RomaniaCuvantul Libertatii: Three pupils and a teacher from Bailesti represent Romania in Brussels

United KingdomGovernment Europa: Youth politics event explores policy and education


New publications

A digital history of YEYS

The EESC's youth flagship event Your Europe, Your Say! was first held on 15-17 April 2010. Now a digital publication is retracing ten years of YEYS commitment to involving young people across Europe in EU policy-making, highlighting the issues they addressed, the proposals that emerged from their debates and the subsequent outcomes, all with a view to demonstrating the value of young people's contribution to shaping Europe.


Young Europeans want education and social media to boost democracy and citizen participation in the EU

Participants in YEYS 2019

A mandatory syllabus on European politics to increase citizens' knowledge of the EU before they cast their ballots was the most voted proposal of this year's Your Europe, Your Say (YEYS), the youth event organised by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on 21-22 March 2019. Together with three other proposals focusing on the use of new technologies and social media to boost election turnout, it will be sent to the European Parliament for consideration.

At ten YEYS is more relevant than ever, says initiator

With YEYS turning ten this year, EESC Info met former vice-president, Irini Pari, who first came up with the idea for this event in 2010, to take a look back at YEYS' beginnings and a look forward to Europe's future.

EESC Info: Ms Pari, could you tell us how this initiative came to life? What was the inspiration behind it?

YEYS as seen by former participants: a transformative experience

The first edition of Your Europe, Your Say took place in 2010, a time when the devastating financial crisis had just started, all EU institutions had different presidents and Brexit was an unknown word. A time when Instagram did not exist, WhatsApp had just been created and Twitter had only 100 million users, nothing compared with the 1.5 billion users registered in 2019. Many things have changed since, but the enthusiasm and the energy of young people is still the same, and for YEYS's 10th anniversary, the EESC invited three former participants to take part in the debates and share their experiences.

Communication is the challenge, social media are the answer

YEYS participants may be teenagers, but their view on EU affairs does not differ much from that of adults: they care as much as their parents do about the growth of populism, the threats to democracy and recent developments potentially endangering the EU project, such as Brexit. They have also understood that the EU must recover citizens' trust by communicating better, and they have even found a potential solution in social media as a key tool to enhance transparency, awareness and participation in EU affairs.

Your Europe, Your Say - Facts and figures

A record 1039 applications were received for this 10th YEYS - 972 from the EU countries and 67 from the five candidate countries -  with the highest number coming from Romania (221) and the lowest from Malta and Montenegro (4 each).