Envisaged in the beginning as a space for cooperation and peace, the European Union is facing today a paradox. With raising rates of Euroscepticism and the emergence of extremist political parties, the EU is losing more and more of its popularity. Even though the benefits for the citizens of the Member States are continuing to increase, they are not fully acknowledged. This phenomenon affects especially the young generation, which takes peace and stability for granted. As the young people never faced a war, the commitment to unity is not that strong.
This is why a project like "YOUth of EUROPE" was needed. The young generation is now in the position of searching arguments about what to believe when it comes to EU. As the financial crisis had terrible effects over the employment rate and social stability, young people can be very easily misled by populist politicians who have an anti-EU agenda.
Through this project we aimed to encourage reflection and critical thinking on the past, present and future of Europe and of the European Union among young people from EU Member States.
In order to reach this goal, we have established a set of objectives:
-to increase the awareness of 24 young people from 3 countries (Romania, Bulgaria and Greece) about the European Union and its institutions, European Citizenship, European values;
-to provide at least 24 young people from 3 countries (Romania, Bulgaria and Greece) the space and tools needed in order to reflect and use critical thinking in regard to their European identity, thus allowing them to have their own opinion on the subject;
- to create an interactive exhibition about our European identity, values, citizenship, past and future for increasing the awareness of other young people and of the local community;
-to use social media tools to increase the awareness of thousands of young people throughout Europe about the project topic in an innovative way, by the young people for the young people in the “same language”.
In order to facilitate the non-formal learning (which has been the core methodology used in carrying out the project), we have planned activities such as: role-plays, simulations, debates, small groups work, interacting non-formally with experts, creation of a cultural exhibition, using social media, outdoor activities and teambuilding exercises.
These activities will generate the following impact:
- educated the participants in the spirit of European Identity;
- shifted attitudes regarding the attachment to European Citizenship by using critical thinking and analyze in building an opinion towards the subject and
- created something new, such as the exhibition, the short movies about how young people relate to European Identity subject that has been uploaded on YouTube and of course the informative brochure of the project, called” What makes us Europeans?”.
The impact will be acknowledged by the participants and the stakeholders through dissemination methods such as:
- a creative exhibition about the European Identity;
- a short movie with answers for the question “What makes us Europeans?” together with the short video ”YOUth of EUROPE”;
- a informative brochure on the topic ”What makes us Europeans?” that contains: European Identity conceptual issues, ideology; current European challenges; how does the European Union strengthen our European Identity; Erasmus+ as an instrument to connect the youngsters to the Union; YOUth of EUROPE - best practice project;
- organizing a debate on the subject “What makes us Europeans?” with the participation of a local/regional/national stakeholders in the field of youth.
The long-term benefits for the participants and stakeholders are:
- a better understanding of the European Union;
- an increased sense of active participation that will lead in the end at responsible decisions making an increased sense of attachment towards European values and project.
Project duration: March 1th 2019 -September 30th 2019
Dates of the exchange: May 3th -May 9th 2019