An EYou app to make the EU more accessible to young people was the most voted proposal emerging from the EESC's flagship youth event.

The 105 secondary school students from 35 schools in all EU Member States and the seven candidate countries who came to Brussels on 23 and 24 March for Your Europe, Your Say! (YEYS!) came up with the following five recommendations:

1.    EU simplified: an EYou app enabling young people to engage directly with politicians and civil society by selecting their main interests and following the latest developments at grassroots level;
2.    The E-Youth platform for information on the EU to simplify politics for younger generations, giving them a forum where their voices can be heard;
3.    The EYout(h)rust platform will increase transparency in politics at local, national and EU level;
4.    The Youth Democratic Opinion (YDO) project, which will improve the quality of civic education and engagement in Europe by establishing an EU ambassadorship programme assembling young people's views and proposing recommendations for policy makers;
5.    More EU-funded initiatives led BY young people FOR young people.

"Tell us what your expectations and your hopes are for the future of Europe," said EESC president Christa Schweng to the students gathered for the event. "To tackle new challenges, the EU needs to listen to young people and take new ideas on board."
 
EESC vice-president for communication Cillian Lohan told the students that the EESC will take their recommendations to the European Parliament's European Youth Event (EYE) in Strasbourg in June 2023. For vice-president Lohan, "when the system starts to show cracks or when it is at risk, we all have to step up from our private activities and become active. You have taken that step today: thank you."

The discussions showed that youth believe that there is no space for their voices to be heard in the European Union right now. EESC member Neža Repanšek reassured them that this frustration is a good starting point for change: "My motivation for starting to participate actively was born of frustration. When young people come together, we can be a very powerful force."

This 14th YEYS event focused on "Youth Democracy Dialogues" and saw students from Ukraine and Moldova participate for the first time. (gb/tk)