A large delegation from the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), led by its president, Georges Dassis, will travel to Athens on 13 May to celebrate Europe Day (which falls on 9 May every year) as part of an initiative organised by the Lycée Franco-Hellénique Eugène Delacroix, entitled Europe Day: becoming an active citizen.
The programme contains a series of multi-lingual workshops that will be led and facilitated by EESC members in cooperation with the teaching staff of the Lycée on fundamental aspects of the EU and current issues facing Europe, including:
- Economic and monetary union
- Cohesion policy, designed to iron out the economic differences between the regions of the European Union, in the light of the situation in Europe today
- Sustainable development and the challenges posed by climate change
- Immigration and the refugee crisis
- Youth employment and young people’s career prospects
- The EU on the world stage - new markets and new geopolitical risks
The aim of the initiative, which will culminate in practical proposals for action, is to encourage active citizenship among young Europeans as soon as they reach an age where they show an interest in and awareness of politics.
During the event, Mr Dassis will also present the Passport to Active Citizenship, a set of pocket format “instructions for use” developed by the EESC for European citizens wishing to take part in the EU’s participatory democracy. All the tools on offer are explained: how to appeal to the ombudsman, how to send a petition to the European parliament, the various stages involved in organising a “citizens’ initiative”, etc. It goes without saying that one of the priorities for the EESC president is to encourage young people to take part in civil society organisations that promote their interests as workers, business entrepreneurs or active citizens in associations of all hues and colours.
“At a difficult time like this, when people - and particularly the people of Greece - often feel powerless in the face of reality and the Europe in which they are living, it is very important to make the next generation aware, as they bravely and confidently prepare to step into their new role, that they have a whole panoply of instruments on which they can draw in order to speak out and shape the Europe that they want to live in. By celebrating Europe Day2016 in this way, it is our intention to make a constructive contribution to their entry onto the European stage”, said Mr Dassis.