It’s time to speak up: European Youth Week is here again. Europe’s major youth policy debating forum takes place this 15-21 May, featuring a vibrant programme of action across 33 countries – so wherever you are in Europe, you can get involved.
The flashpoint of this cultural, political and social exchange is a central series of high-level events in Brussels and Antwerp, bringing together some 200 young Europeans to help shape the very future of the EU through workshops and debates based on the week’s focus, Structured Dialogue
“European Youth Week represents the culmination of an entire cycle of dialogue with young people across Europe that spans one-and-a-half years and three EU presidencies”, explains Sergej Koperdak, Head of the European Commission’s Youth Policy Unit.
“It gives young people a forum to share their opinions with policy-makers first-hand, in a highly structured way.”
EYW is a crucial democratic step in communicating the thoughts and needs of young Europeans to politicians – and it matters to you.
“Youth unemployment is the pressing issue of the day”, says Koperdak.
“Good education and training, getting that first job, having the confidence to go abroad – all these are important things to young people and it’s vital that they start their career paths on the right footing.
European Youth Week is their chance to have a direct say in how we help them achieve that.”
Major political figures including President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, Androulla Vassiliou, the Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, have signed up for debates with young people in Brussels and Antwerp, the designated European Youth Capital 2011.
On the agenda is the flagship initiative Youth on the Move which, through initiatives like the university exchange scheme Erasmus for young entrepreneurs, aims to boost pan-European social mobility.
As well as all that, EYW profiles the overall EU Youth in Action programme – encouraging diversity, understanding, non-formal learning and involvement in the Union’s future – and, with this fifth EYW also falling within the European Year of Volunteering , outstanding volunteer projects from around Europe will be honoured during an awards ceremony in Antwerp by President Barroso.
Take a look at the nominees for a guide to the success stories from each country.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Debates, exhibitions, competitions, culture: Lots of Events – big and small, in capital cities and regional towns – will take place during EYW all over the 27 EU member states, as well as Turkey, Croatia, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland (which became the latest country to join the Youth in Action programme in January).
So whether it’s hip-hop performance in Spain, traditional cooking in Latvia, interactive workshops in Hungary or keynote seminars in Brussels, this is your Week – and there’s something for everyone.