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Strasbourg: youths “conquer” Parliament. Two days of brainstorming on the future of the European Union, music and friendships without borders

The third edition of the European Youth Event (EYE) will take place June 1-2: 8 thousands participants from all over Europe are coming to the European Parliament seat in Strasbourg to attend over 400 activities that centre around five main themes: young and old; rich and poor; apart and together; safe and dangerous; local and global. Proposals will feed into a final Report to be circulated to MEPs. An initiative where young generations will make their voices heard, shunning nationalisms and platitudes on the “common European home”

Young faces– finally! Someone could exclaim ….- at the European Parliament! On 1 and 2 June 2018 the seat of the EU Assembly in Strasbourg will welcome more than 8,000 people aged between 16 and 30 for the third edition of the European Youth Event. For two busy days young people from any EU member State or another European country and world continents will come together to share their ideas and proposals on Europe’s future. Eye2018 will take place entirely outside and within the premises of the “Tower” that hosts the EU Assembly. The programme includes plenary sessions and thematic workshops, meetings with political decision makers and experts, concerts and artistic performances, as well as cultural activities.

Active participation. All events will focus on five overarching themes: young and old; rich and poor; apart and together; safe and dangerous; local and global. Eye2018 is taking place a year before European elections (May 23-26 2019). Young people’s ideas and proposals will be discussed in several parliamentary committees in the autumn in view of the vote for the renewal of the European Parliament, whose outcome is hard to predict, given the widespread populist and Euro-sceptic drives. Also for this reason it is necessary to show that the proposals submitted by young people will be truly “listened to” and acknowledged by political leaders. In his welcoming address to participants, the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, said: “Europe needs fresh ideas now more than ever. The European elections take place in May 2019 against a backdrop of renewed economic growth, yet youth unemployment remains stubbornly high. Only with real engagement by Europe’s citizens, but especially by young people who we believe so much in, can the EU surmount the challenges of the changing economy, migration and climate change.”

Politics… and much more. The program is so rich in events that the leaflet, describing over 400 activities, consists of 140 pages. Language diversity in Europe will obviously be respected, but English, French and German, the most widely-spoken idioms, will prevail especially in informal meetings and to establish relations and new friendships. On June 1st the youth forum in the French city will start at 10 am with a plenary session in the hemicycle of the European Parliament followed by debates, meetings and artistic activities coordinated by the same youths under-30, along with photographic workshops, yoga and sport. The “Yo!Fest Village” will kick off in the afternoon: political debates will run side by side with interactive workshops, educational activities, artistic performances. In the evening, the open-air concert will close the day.  On June 2, participants will convene to attend further debates involving youths and a long list of invited speakers, along with more music, artistic and musical perfomances, the plenary session at 5:30 pm and finally, “Open Your EYEs”, music, dance and open-air cinema.

Numerous guests. Invited guests include the former President of France Valery Giscard d’Estaing, the winners of the Sacharov Prize for Freedom of Thought Aji Bashar and Denis Mukwege, European Commissioner for Employment Marianne Thyssen, former Finance Minister of Greece Yanis Varoufakis, some fifty MEPs and a number of officers representing EU institutions who gave their availability to meet the youths who wish to discuss the history, principles, treaties, problems and possible reforms to relaunch the EU.

Web and social networks. The program can be browsed on the website www.europarl.europa.eu/european-youth-event; top activities will be streamed; information on EYE2018 will be available on social media channels providing people the opportunity to get involved in the discussion. Registration is not needed to follow music and artistic performances: the doors of the European Parliament remain open. Furthermore, the website www.europeanyouthideas.eu, activated some time ago, enables users to post ideas on the many sub-themes of EYE2018. A team of 10 under-30 “reporters” will be collecting and selecting the best ideas by young participants and turn them into the EYE2018 Report that will be finalized by next July before being submitted to MEPs.

“Sustainable” event. Since one of the main themes of the third edition of EYE is “Local and Global: protecting our planet”, the event is designed to be sustainable with
low environmental impact. How? If youths separate their waste, use public transport and reusable cups that can be filled at the many water fountains located throughout the venues of the event … On their part, organizers set up bins for separate waste collection, fountains, cups in every bag handed out to participants, “digital solutions” to interact with the activities and save paper. A biogas-powered generator will meet the needs of “Yo! Fest”, where all meals will be prepared with local products in biodegradable packaging.

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