On October 8-9, the European Youth Event (EYE) took place in the European Parliament building in Strasbourg. The EYE is organized every two years and gathers hundreds of young people from all over Europe to shape the future of Europe together. The EYE is usually attended by young people between 16 and 30 years old, who are interested to know more about the European Union. The EYE is a great platform for young people to discuss topics of interest today, be it climate change or rule of law in the European Union.
This EYE edition was planned to be held in 2020, following the previous editions in 2014, 2016, and 2018, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Luckily, due to the efforts of the organizing team, it became reality this autumn!
This year, the EYE took place for the first time in a hybrid format, allowing everyone to take part in the workshops and enjoy the time with motivated people from different countries sharing their ideas.
10.000 participants, 2000 ideas, 160 activities. This summarizes the success of the 2021 edition of the European Youth Event.
This year, the conference was focused on climate change, allowing participants to attend several workshops from the Green Track. Besides, such issues as discrimination, disinformation, gender equality were also covered. Young people were also able to get to know more about educational programs available to them such as Erasmus+ and what skills are valuable for a future career, and not only. Finally, a lot of workshops aimed at explaining to participants the main directions of EU foreign policies were organized, including the Q&A sessions with Sakharov prize Laureates, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Oleg Sentsov; a panel discussion on the EU-Africa relations and sessions with Members of the European Parliament.
BETA Europe had the privilege to take part in this year’s event and organize a workshop for more than 50 young people, interested in learning about the legislative procedure of the European Parliament. In our workshop, Debating the future of Europe, the participants not only got a real-life experience stepping into the shoes of the Members of the European Parliament and debating a legislative proposal on Digital Europe Program and Just Transition Fund, but they also learned about Model European Union events and their importance for their professional, academic and personal development. During the 90 minutes, the participants went through a speed course on the Rules of Procedure and the topic’s presentation, followed by very heated and engaging debates. Despite the time limits, the participants, supported by experienced political advisers and moderated by the chairpersons, surprised us with more than 10 well-written amendments, showing us that their view on European politics and law is not to be ignored. Our participants enjoyed this very short simulation and for sure we will get to see them again at the upcoming Model European Union events across Europe.
Participation in EYE is important for young people to actively participate in European society. We are looking forward to the next edition of the European Youth Event and hope we meet more young people to learn from and share our knowledge with, to further improve our ideas and visions for the future of Europe!