YEAs at the European Youth Hearing
January 18, 2024

YEAs at the European Youth Hearing

What’s a great way to let young people’s voices be heard in the EU? The European Youth Hearing in Brussels of course!

Six Young European Ambassadors – Merijn Hermens, Elena Gladun, Avtandil Svianadze, Alena Dudkova, Mariam Isoieva and Ebba Fagerlund – from no less than six countries (Sweden, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and the Netherlands), embarked on a trip to the EU capital where they discussed  the 10 top-voted ideas on of the European Youth Report, exploring the future of the EU, with peers and Members of the European Parliament. The event was also a key opportunity for young people to discuss their concerns with policy-makers ahead of the European elections in 2024.

After the hearing, the YEAs attended a series of workshops with the Youth Outreach Unit, relevant stakeholders and decision-makers, where they brainstormed the top-10 ideas further. Read all about their workshop experiences below!

Workshop ‘’Disinformation’’

During this brainstorming, we got the chance to share insights from the fight against disinformation in the Eastern Partnership countries. The group agreed that source criticism needed to be included in the school curriculum. In the future we hope to host workshops on disinformation across Europe to make disinformation knowledge more accessible to youth.

Workshop ‘’Common Foreign Policy – Stronger Together’’

In this workshop, we discussed how the EU could make a real impact on the global stage. Through lively brainstorming, we navigated the wide field of foreign affairs, exploring the potential benefits of a unified front. The consensus? A common foreign policy showcases the EU’s strength through unity, streamlines administrative costs, and paves the way for a more cohesive and politically united EU.

Workshop “Don’t exclude any country from ERASMUS+” : focused on the significance of the ERASMUS+ programme and the challenge of ensuring its inclusivity across all countries due to political disagreements. The workshop recognised the importance of a strategic engagement and dialogue with policymakers. In this context, national agencies can play a crucial role  in providing concrete statistics that showcase the tangible benefits and transformative experiences facilitated by ERASMUS+ to foster a deeper understanding among policymakers, ultimately advocating for the accessibility of ERASMUS+ to youth across diverse regions.

Workshop “Introduce sustainability education in schools” : As a citizen of Georgia, I was so glad about the European Youth Hearing and our YEAs’ active participation in this excellent event because it ended on a high note for EaP YEAs. We listened to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen present the recent enlargement package, in which she recommended to the European Council that Georgia be granted candidate country status and that accession negotiations be opened with Ukraine and Moldova. As Young European Ambassadors representing these countries, namely Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova, we felt a deep sense of pride because we understand the importance of being EU countries, as past enlargements previously showed the benefits both for the accession countries and the European Union itself. The workshop, which I proactively took part in, was extremely interesting to me as I was recently trying to teach topics around the European Green Deal, sustainable development, and EU institutions while visiting high schools in France and the Grand Est region. I am thankful that I met other YEAs and other people involved in the EYE.

In conclusion, the European Youth Hearing in Brussels emerged as a powerful platform, giving voice to the aspirations and concerns of young people across the EU and Eastern Partnership countries. The six Young European Ambassadors, representing diverse nations, engaged in meaningful discussions with both their peers and Members of the European Parliament. The event not only facilitated dialogue on the top-voted ideas from the European Youth Report but also provided a crucial opportunity for young minds to express their worries to policymakers ahead of the 2024 European elections. The post-hearing workshops delved into pressing issues such as disinformation, a common foreign policy, ERASMUS+ inclusivity, and sustainability education in schools. These workshops showcased the commitment of the participants to effecting positive change, whether through combatting disinformation, advocating for a unified foreign policy, ensuring inclusivity in education programmes, or promoting sustainability. The overall success of the European Youth Hearing reinforces the importance of empowering young voices in shaping the future of the EU and fostering collaboration across borders.

By Merijn Hermens, Elena Gladun, Avtandil Svianadze, Alena Dudkova, Mariam Isoieva and Ebba Fagerlund, who participated in the European Youth Hearing

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