From 23 to 26 October European Pool of Representatives member Lukas Findeisen took part in the first of three conferences of the 6th cycle of the EU Structured Dialogue With Young People took place at the creative HUB inTallinn. The structured dialogue is the widest consultation process of the European Union in order to reflect on the challenges young people are facing today and react to these within the policies of the European Union.
Check out the social media hashtags #speakup and #youthcong
Lukas shared the following impressions from the conference with us.
Estonia is a country in the very north of Europe with approximately 1.3 million inhabitants. For the first time it is holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and therefore the host of the first conference of the structured dialogue. The conference took place at the creative HUB in Tallinn – a former power station transformed into a conference and meeting hub which lives up to the expectations raised by Estonia which calls itself e-Estonia.
The goal of the first conference was to reflect on the challenges we, as young people, are facing today and we used the blue-sky thinking method to create a concrete and collective image of all participants of the conference. Around 220 representatives from National working groups, ministries and international young organisations gathered to discuss these topics
The conference opened with an inspirational speech by Estonia’s current Prime Minister Jüri Ratas who stressed the fact that young people and their innovative approaches to challenges are the main resource for the future of Europe.
Afterwards, the concept of the conference was introduced. While everybody gathered in smaller groups to discuss certain topics, a group of researchers listened carefully – they were the “key note listeners” and evaluated the written and oral outcome to conclude about the importance and relevance of the topics discussed.
The next day started with a presentation of the outcomes of the first day, concluding that Health care / Mental Health, Migration Issues, Housing, Transportation, Civil society, Rural Policy, Peace and Global Security, Environment, Politics, Labour Market, Equality and Human Rights, Employability, Education, Information, the EU and Mobility are the most important topics from the first day.
To go deeper into these topics the “future festival” started. Everyone could suggest a topic and to host a platform regarding a topic s/he finds important for the future of Europe and discuss it with young people interested as well. The outcomes were uploaded on an online platform, so the researchers could evaluate the outcomes over night: if you are interested you can find it all here: http://youthconf.eu/overview/
To celebrate to last full day of the conference a dinner with a penal discussion with Kersti Kaljulaid, the president of Estonia, was hosted at the seaplane harbour – a former society military based now used as a museum and event hall – to discuss the relevance of the EU for the member states and the role of young people within.
The closing morning of the 1st event of the structured dialogue started with a penal discussion with commissioner Tibor Navracsics on the future of youth in the European Union, saying that “Young people have a vital role in shaping the future. We need to empower each of them so they can build a fair, cohesive Europe based on solidarity and engagement.” During the discussion everyone could post a question using the Hashtag #youthconf – and some of the questions were directly asked at the penal.
After three intense days of discussion the European working group on international young NGOs – of which EFIL is a member – is now looking forward to advocate further for steps towards a Europe with more participation opportunities for young people.
Text and photos by Lukas Findeisen