The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has been hosting the event "Your Europe, Your Say!" (YEYS) since 2010. YEYS enables secondary school pupils from the 28 EU Member States and from the 5 candidate countries (Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey), to learn about the EESC and its role, and to exchange views and propose recommendations on a specific subject. You can find more information on our website.
1.1 Conditions for participating
To take part, an applicant school must:
- be a secondary school with pupils of 16-18 years of age;
- 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 pupils in their penultimate year of any type of secondary education (including vocational training schools) (≥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 EESC, provisionally between January and February (travel and accommodation expenses of the EESC Member to be paid by the EESC). The member will visit the selected school and will meet the three pupils and the teacher chosen to come to Brussels. During the visit, he or she will give a presentation (on the EU, the EESC and the event) to one or more classes of the selected school;
- inform the selected pupils, their classmates and possibly all pupils at the school of the possibility to follow the preparations for the event and the event itself on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at the three addresses indicated at the end of this document under "Additional information".
1.2 Registration process
A school wishing to take part is required to complete the online registration form on the EESC's website before the stated deadline. Registration will remain open until that date.
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. Emails must be checked regularly as the schools will be contacted mainly by email.
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. 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 pupils able to speak and understand English, who will take part in the event in Brussels, accompanied by a teacher;
- invite one EESC member for an information session at the school;
- consider and discuss a document proposed by the EESC;
- share the results of their work during the event in Brussels by taking an active part in the discussions;
- send a photo of the school's premises (for example the main entrance) and a group photo with the 3 selected pupils and the accompanying teacher, as well as the authorisation to use these photographs in EESC publications and to post them on the EESC website, intranet and social networks;
- agree to the pupils' and teacher's names and the pupils' and teacher's pictures taken during the EESC member's visit to the school being used in EESC publications and posted on the EESC website, intranet and related social networks. Please note: unless otherwise specified by the school, this authorisation shall cover all the people, buildings and objects shown in the pictures;
- agree to the pupils' and teacher's names and the pupils' and teacher's pictures taken during their participation in Brussels being used in EESC publications and posted on the EESC website, intranet and related social networks;
- provide any press cuttings relating to the visit of an EESC member to the school or relating to the participation of the school in the event;
- promptly inform the organisers at the EESC of any change (e.g. in the accompanying teacher, participating pupils, email address);
- ensure local follow-up to the event, both at 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 pupils being immediately excluded from the event.
2.Selection of schools
The participating schools will be selected by lot by the end of the year from all the schools that have applied by the deadline. A selected school may not apply again the year following its participation in Brussels (but will be able to apply again in two years' time). 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.
3.Selection and registration of pupils coming to Brussels
The participating schools shall choose three pupils to take part in the workshops in Brussels. These pupils should be in their penultimate 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 pupils to represent them. They may set their own selection criteria, provided these are clear, fair and non-discriminatory. For reasons of gender equality, the pupils selected should not all be of the same sex (unless they are from single-sex schools).
3.2 Participation of disabled pupils
Schools must ensure that disabled pupils are also able to take part in the event. The EESC premises are equipped in order to be accessible to persons with disabilities. If special arrangements are required, the schools must inform the EESC organisers in good time.
3.3 Registration of pupils
The selected schools shall register the three pupils they have chosen to take part in the YEYS event. Before registering the pupils, the schools must obtain a written agreement (authorisation form) from their parent(s) or legal guardian(s). The registration period will be mentioned on YEYS's website
3.4 Authorisation form
The schools taking part in the event will be required to provide an authorisation form for each pupil. This form will be provided in all official EU languages. It must be signed by the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the pupil and by the head teacher of the school, and then sent to the EESC, accompanied by a copy of a valid identity document for each pupil, by post or by email. The deadline to collect all required documents will be specified in the email you will receive from the YEYS Team. Please make sure that the copy is readable.
By post to:
European Economic and Social Committee
Rue Belliard 99
1040 Brussels (Belgium)
By email to: youreuropeeesc [dot] europa [dot] eu
In this form, the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the pupil and the head teacher of the school attest that
- the pupil has permission to go to Brussels for the event;
- the pupil's name may be published in EESC publications, on the EESC website and intranet and related social networks with photos of the pupil and/or video recordings of the session;
- the pupil will be supervised by the accompanying teacher while travelling and during their stay in Brussels.
The pupil may not take part in the event unless the authorisation form and a copy of their identity document are received by the stated deadline.
3.5 Protection of personal data
4.Preparation for the event in the schools
A member of the Committee will visit the selected schools, where he/she will provide information about the EESC and its working methods and also present and discuss the working document of the event. The EESC will pay the member's travel and accommodation expenses. The EESC will also take press-related initiatives. The EESC press unit will work with the schools and the EESC members to encourage the media to follow 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 our website regularly.
The participating schools will receive a working document with open questions to help pupils and their teachers shape their ideas and prepare for the debate in Brussels. The pupils and teachers must discuss and try to answer those questions in class, so as to be ready for the live discussions when in Brussels.
5.Event in Brussels
The participating schools, represented by the accompanying teacher, will bear full responsibility for their pupils and teacher during their stay in Brussels, and when travelling to and from the event.
The pupils and accompanying teacher 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 (more information available here: http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=559).
The pupils and teachers from candidate countries must check with their national health system or private insurance how they can be covered abroad.
The participating schools and/or the parents of the participating pupils must have travel insurance. This must be covered by the participants themselves (some schools might have insurance covering school trips abroad and/or the pupils might be covered by a family insurance policy already). The participating teachers should also have travel insurance cover.
All the pupils and teachers are insured by the EESC against accidents that might occur in Belgium during the event.
The EESC will organise and pay the costs of the travel and accommodation of the pupils and accompanying teacher from each Member State and candidate country in accordance with the conditions set out below.
5.2 Arrangements for the event
Pupils will arrive in Brussels on the day of the event and will return home the day after YEYS finishes.
The schools taking part will be informed in advance of the exact arrangements for the event concerning the arrival and departure dates, flight tickets and name of hotel.
The participating schools are invited to suggest a national cultural contribution (for instance traditional dances and/or music, not a PowerPoint presentation – maximum 2-3 minutes) for the farewell dinner.
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 pupils 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 pupils and their teacher:
- accommodation expenses in Brussels (2 nights (subject to exceptions), breakfast included);
- travel expenses for the plane or train connection from their home country to Brussels (including connecting flights or 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;
- please note that the transport booking and the hotel reservation, as well as the settlement of the corresponding bill, will be done directly and only by the EESC through its travel agency. The EESC will not take responsibility for any additional nights and any unpaid bills;
- transport between Brussels airport/railway station and the hotel;
- lunch and dinner for both days of the event.
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 additional 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 have to be covered by the participants.