On 9-11 May 2014, about 8000 young people gathered in Strasbourg to discuss Ideas for a Better Europe at the European Youth Event, organised by the European Parliament in partnership with the European Youth Forum and other institutions. The event covered five main themes: digital revolution, future of the European Union, sustainable development, youth unemployment and European values.
A key part the event was the fifth edition of the YO!Fest, the youth festival organised by the European Youth Forum mixing political debates with musical and artistic performances. There were more than 50 stands, organised by youth organisations and others, in the YO!Village.
EFIL was there with a group of 22 volunteers from 9 different countries: Belgium Flanders, Germany, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Turkey and Switzerland. Two EFIL volunteers supported the European Youth Forum with the organisation of logistics of the event.
EFIL had a stand in front of the European Parliament and the YO! Village and volunteers offered a non-formal education activity for the whole duration of the event. The activity aimed at connecting Europeans through their shared values. Have a look at the pictures displaying the chains of values in the EFIL Facebook page. The EFIL activity was very much appreciated and 400 people took part over 2 days! The House of European History, a soon to be opened museum in Brussels – is really interested in EFIL’s art work – namely the chains of pictures – and EFIL will most probably have a temporary exhibition there.
EFIL volunteers also attended the panel discussions and activities offered as part of the event and were happy to meet by complete surprise 2 AFS returnees: musician Milow, returnee from AFS Belgium Flanders, and Ms Elina Ricciardi, returnee from AFS Uruguay who went on exchange in California back in the 70s!
Finally, this was also an important occasion to give EFIL and AFS visibility to young people from countries where AFS is developing, namely Romania and Bulgaria.
Left image: Milow, Belgian singer, AFS Belgium Flanders returnee – Right image: Elina Ricciardi, AFS Uruguay returnee
Impressions of participants:
“It has been a good mix of “work”, entertainment, inspiration, fruitful exchanges and meeting highly interesting people.”
“I wonder what the EP is going to do with all the reports that have been created throughout the event but I certainly believe that this event has contributed to the motivation of many, many young people.”
“I enjoyed meeting other associations and NGOs, workshops and liked the general atmosphere.”
“During the activities of European values, I feel a lot more connected with Europe since we share many values together, I have to say that this event is one of the few reasons why I want to stay here longer and be more engaged as a volunteer.”
“It was really amazing the way we felt totally free to jump from an easy-going conversation among guys to a deep analysis on common problems, issues to be addressed and needs.”
“Feeling that there are some people in the EU who listen to youth.”
“I was surprised that many youngsters all over Europe agreed that our current education system has to change!”
“The best workshop for me was the one on inclusion of deaf people into our education system. I really got inspired and it made such an impression on me to see how deaf people are (or aren’t) integrated in our society. This inspired me to go back to Belgium and to get involved with the deaf community of my city.”
“Sometimes there are not enough possibilities to hear a eurosceptic point of view…”