FOREWORDS by Martin Schulz - President of the European Parliament
For some years now, the words often associated with Europe are crisis, austerity and unemployment. With the growth of frustration and without any hope for a real change to the current state of affairs, the prospects of the European Union are challenging. These are turbulent times for Europe. For many people in Europe and especially for the youth, they are hard times. Therefore it was my pleasure to hand the first prize of the youth Charlemagne prize to the European Students Forum AEGEE-Europe.
The Spanish project seeks constructive solutions to current problems - the loss of confidence in the EU and the alarmingly high youth unemployment in many Member States. Europe on Track connects young people throughout Europe both offline and online, giving them the opportunity to express their views and making an original contribution to European integration, especially to the growth of a feeling among young people that â€šwe are Europeâ€™. It is for projects like this that I am confident that Europe will be back on track and that the European citizens are a part of creating a Europe that we can be proud of; a Europe that unites all member states and finally creates a European Identity that we can all rely on. Martin Schulz President of the European Parliament
FOREWORDS from Réka Salamon - Coordinator of Europe on Track
’Young people’s voices need to be heard!’ - a reoccuring wake-up call we hear everywhere these days. With Europe on Track, AEGEE-Europe has given the chance to young people not only to speak up, but also to be heard. Young people have an idealistic, yet ever-so-powerful drive to dare to dream the impossible is possible when they work hard enough to make it happen. Europe on Track is one of those ambitious initiatives only a group of young idealists could have come up with. From the beginning of the planning phase we gradually came to realise the real potential of the project and how ’feeling European’ can be manifested in directly connecting young people all over Europe. We are all coming from different backgrounds, bear different cultural traits, have different perspectives on our future but one thing we have in common; we believe in a Europe without borders.
I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to work with so many amazing people and hear so many stories and thought-provoking ideas. The project connects all of us, has encouraged hundreds of others and will continue to be an inspiration for generations to come. Europe on Track has been the greatest challenge and the greatest achievement of my life so far. Réka Salamon Coordinator - Europe on Track project AEGEE-Europe
FOREWORDS from the ComitĂŠ Directeur of AEGEE-Europe (2012/14) Luis Alvarado Martinez, Lucille Rieux, Anna Gots, Kathrin Renner, Pavel Zbornik, Beata Matuszka, Miguel Gallardo Albajar AEGEE was born to connect young Europeans with the European project, and we have been doing so for 28 years. We have seen the idea of Europe questioned in some periods, while on other occasions the European project has enjoyed a great popularity all over Europe. Today, however, the European project is suffering from disaffection and a lack of understanding in the whole continent. There is a big distance between the European institutions and the people they serve, so wide that it seems unbridgeable. But we keep believing in Europe and we keep working with double energy to bring youth together with Europe. When we saw that most of the discussions in Brussels were focused on the Europe 2020 growth strategy, and we realised that this big plan was not known among our friends, our fellow students at university, we saw it as a big opportunity to have an impact. The Europe on Track project was created as our contribution to this big strategy, spreading the message that Europe will grow again, bigger and better. Two teams of ambassadors travelled sustainably all over Europe, meeting other young Europeans and discussing the Europe 2020 strategy with young people they met. But communication only works when it is bidirectional, so we also asked those young citizens about their expectations, their hopes and the demands they would like to address to the people that take decisions in Brussels.
And they took this opportunity to express their opinions, trusting Europe on Track as their messengers towards the European institutions. The final picture is positive, most of them still believe that Europe can provide its citizens with a better future. These young Europans, aware of the opportunities that Europe offers them (better education, mobility, protection for their rights, a safe and clean environment, dialogue and peace), are entitled to revert the negative atmosphere and start spreading Europtimism in their societies.
EUROPE ON TRACK wins the National Youth Competition in Spain On 4th of March 2013, the Comité Directeur received a call from the Spanish Youth Institute, part of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs of Spain, informing us that the Europe on Track project had been selected as Spanish Contester of the EU Charlemagne Youth Prize, and would be participating in the Charlemagne finals in Aachen with the other 26 national winners. A few weeks later, the official letter also arrived to the headoffice: „Dear Luis, The project Europe on Track was selected by the jury, who met in Madrid on the 4th of March 2013, as Spanish winner, and candidate for the European Charlemagne Youth Prize 2013 for the reasons states in the official minutes which are the following: 1) The project clearly fulfills the objectives of the Charlemagne Award, created for young people by young people. It has an enourmous multiplier effect. Excellently proposed from a point of view of citizen participation, especially of young people. Very high quality in the presentation of the project. 2) It promotes participation and dialogue of young people, as responsible citizens in the construction of the Europe of tomorrow. 3) It is a serious research project which motivates young people to express their opinions in a constructive way. It promotes the permanent debate and analysis from different angles and points of view the common values of Europe. 4) It offers a very good example of common cooperation between young people from different European countries, based on volunteering and intercultural dialogue. 5) The jury wants to emphasise the originality of the project, the very good planification, positiveness, great interest and its strong relation to the European Year of Citizens 2013. Once again, we would like to congratulate you sincerely. Kind regards, Isabel Mateo Secretary of the Jury of the Charlemgane Award 2013 in Spain”
INTRODUCTION to the project Europe on Track - Capture the future of Europe! Where is Europe headed? How can we sustain our present and preserve our future? What can young people expect from the Europe of tomorrow? These questions have been of great concern for many young Europeans recently. In order to find answers, AEGEE-Europe / European Students’ Forum launched the “Europe on Track” project in the autumn of 2012. Six young Europeans were travelling around the continent by train for one whole month, capturing young people´s vision about their future perspectives through photography, videos, interviews, blogs. The materials gathered were compiled in a short documentary presenting young individuals from all over the continent, sending their ideas and messages to politians and decision-makers. The “Europe on Track” project was launched to grasp a better future for European youth, to find solutions for the pressing issue of the rising rate in youth unemployment, to advocate for a sustainable future and to promote entrepreneurship among young people.
“The Europe I want for the future” is not only a topic to trigger lively discussions; it is a call for all young people to work on their future together. At a time when European integration is being questioned and young people’s future prospects have become hazy, AEGEE considers it fundamental to hear the voice of the youth in order to take their opinion, their realities and their wishes into account and pave the way towards reaching the goals set for 2020 by the European Union.
OBJECTIVES & THEMES Explore what the European youth want for Europe, and compare this vision with the one proposed by the European Commission for 2020. * Promote unity and solidarity in Europe among more than 5000 young people all over Europe. * Empower young people with promising future visions of intercultural exchanges. * Advocate for the engagement of young people in decision-making processes in order to train the aware and innovative European youth of tomorrow. * Bring light to the importance of nonformal educational tools and promote their recognition in the job market. * Shape the current state of European integration by providing young citizens the possibility to experience the ultimate benefits of intercultural discourses.
The 6 ambassadors were promoting: Youth Participation Encouraging young citizens to take ownership of their future, tackling issues like the rising rate of youth unemployment, active citizenship, non-formal education and more! Sustainability Raising awareness on the importance of a sustainable treatment and preservation of our environment. AEGEE aims to encourage all members to contribute to green-awareness. Entrepreneurship Innovation and leadership skills are crucially important to cultivate thus young people need to be encouraged to see self-improvement and obtaining new skills as a life-long learning process.
THE TRIP OF THE AMBASSADORS OF EUROPE ON TRACK
In order to cover as many countries, regions and cities as possible, the travellers were divided into two teams of three people. Both teams left from Brussels on the 22nd November. Team Blue was heading towards the eastern-southern areas exploring the elusive border of the European continent, while Team Red was heading South. When planning the journey, the coordination team aimed to set up a route that would involve the widest range of geographical areas both in terms of social background, economic conditions, historical roots and cultural heritage.
INTRODUCING THE TRAVELLERS OF EUROPE ON TRACK: Team Blue MATHIEU SOETE (27) LEUVEN, BELGIUM I am a self-taught sustainability and youth participation expert, working as freelance trainer and Policy Officer on Sustainability with AEGEE-Europe. Travelling across Eastern Europe with Europe on Track allowed me to discuss with hundreds of young people about my passions. “Europe on Track gave me a unique opportunity even our highly interconnected online society cannot offer, because in the end, nothing beats a face-to-face conversation over a local beer.” MANUEL ARIAS (27) MADRID, SPAIN I’m a filmmaker, currently working at the Senate TV in Madrid and as freelance for different companies. I heard about EoT through the newsletter bulletin that Castilla La Mancha’s Youth Council sends every week, and I decided to apply because it sounded very interesting. Now I know can say it was a great decision. The information we collected is priceless and the experience, just amazing. “Europe on Track is the necessary study and experience of the decade,created to develop a better Europe, united in progress, respecting the cultures and differences, towards a better undestanding of each other.”
CRISTINA MANSO (26) BURGOS, SPAIN I studied Media and Graphic Design, and am currently working as a freelance. Travelling around Europe meeting people from different cultures and countries has been an incredible experience to understand the people’s thoughts. “Young people have good ideas to change our Europe in a prosperous Europe and they should be listened to but I think with this project we have achieved it.”
INTRODUCING THE TRAVELLERS OF EUROPE ON TRACK: Team Red BENJAMIN BATTKE (31) AACHEN, GERMANY Studied history, currently working in Crete as a rep (travel agent or guide). I am generally a travelling person, so Europe on Track was an awesome opportunity to even put some content in it. Generating discussions, network links and therefore creating our identity as Europeans. “In times like these, with current happenings in Turkey for instance, our values and what we fight for become obvious. And this battle is happening on different levels all over the world, so AEGEE as well as Europe on Track should do this job as good and effective as possible bringing a clear message. Like the content of this booklet.” NATALIA KONDRAT (23) TYCHY, POLAND I’m a language student doing my Masters in Italy, Udine in translation and cultural mediation. My passion is photography, writing and traveling. All of them lead me to discover, understand and describe the world we live in. Europe on Track, apart from a great adventure, was an excellent possibility to gather opinions, fears and ideas of hundreds of young people. This has made me more conscious, has made me learn a lot and to want to learn even more! „Europe on Track has given me hope that with all potential that we have being young and motivated, we can create the Europe of our dreams.” HËLOISE TREIS (23) FRIBOURG, SWITZERLAND I am studying Law in Fribourg and had the chance to travel through six countries with Natalia and Benni to capture what young Europeans think about Europe and its future. Since I love photography and travelling, I was eager to participate in AEGEE’s new project. It was an amazing journey during which I met a lot of wonderful people who are ready to tackle the many problems Europe is facing. „Europe on Track gives a voice to young people all over Europe!”
INTRODUCING THE COORDINATION TEAM PRESIDENT OF AEGEE-EUROPE LUIS ALVARADO MARTINEZ (23) LAS PALMAS GC, SPAIN I studied Translation and Interpreting for Spanish, English, French and Italian. I love travelling and getting involved in different youth projects which create an impact in young people and specially shift their perception and allow them to see different points of view. I have been active in the youth sector for the last years and Europe on Track helped me to take this involvement to a new level. “For me Europe on Track is a youth friendly tool to allow young people to reach policy and decision makers. To make their visions of Europe be heard.” COORDINATOR RÉKA SALAMON (23) DEBRECEN, HUNGARY Ever since I joined AEGEE, I have discovered that the ways for self-improvement are not necessarily tied to the framework of formal education. When I first heard about Europe on Track, the idea hit me how this unique opportunity for the direct exchange of ideas and tackling current problems would be of everyone’s mutual benefit. And soon the project was on. „Europe on Track is the manifestation of the European ideals we as young citizens of Europe are striving for. By the innovation and ambition of the younger generation it became a direct channel for dialogue between the main actors of today’s society.” COMMUNICATIONS RESPONSIBLE ZSOFIA KOMAROMI (23) BUDAPEST, HUNGARY I study management and marketing, and have been active in youth organizations during the past four years. I love working together with young people from around the world, as it allows me not only to meet interesting and inspiring personalities, but also to develop on both a personal and a professional level. I joined Europe on Track in its initial phase, and it was a great experience to contribute to this project. I believe that the greatest strength of Europe on Track is that it reaches out to a very diverse group of young people, in order to make their voices heard. It’s an opportunity for us all to shape the decisions that will impact our daily lives.”
INTRODUCING THE CONTENT TEAM The Comité Directeur of AEGEE-Europe 2012/14 LUCILLE RIEUX (26) AVIGNON, FRANCE I finished my studies in Political Sciences and Cultural Management and I am involved in AEGEE for the last 4 years. It has been an incredible experience for me to be able to contribute and be active in the youth field. Personally, I feel European thanks to my experience through AEGEE, which has enabled me to meet people from other countries, to understand different perspectives and to become more interested in European issues. “For me Europe on Track has been an incredible experience to make the voice of young people all over Europe more heard, to let them share their own perspective and make Europe move forward.” ANNA GOTS (25) KYIV, UKRAINE I studied Engineering, but ended up working full-time for AEGEE, since I realised that youth work - being engaged in different projects, developing skills, growing personally, meeting new people and new countries - can enrich one much more in the short-run than any other occupation. And AEGEE just happen to contain all the aforementioned components and keep adding new ones day by day - you can always find new challenges here! “Europe on Track for me is creative and dynamic tool to reach young people through young people, to gather their opinions from all over Europe and to bring them to the heart of Europe where decisions are being taken” BEATA MATUSZKA (24) BUDAPEST, HUNGARY I study International Business and Economics and with AEGEE I have not only experienced the different aspects of a diverse and colourful Europe, but I also splashed into the world of possibilities, where the driving force of positive change is us, the young people. I want to bring out the full potential of each and every member in order to bring not just our lives but also the whole Europe to a higher level. “Europe on Track brought the opportunity to the young people to let their voice and opinion to be heard regarding the Europe they envision for 2020. The project also gave an exceptional possibility to connect young people throughout Europe.”
KATHRIN RENNER (23) FÜRTH, GERMANY I study European Studies in Passau. It is shocking to see that even in this field of studies, closely related to the European Institutions, Brussels seems to be something far away, unreachable. With AEGEE, Europe became my reality, very close and accessible, and much more than just the EU. At the same time, reaching out to policy makers in Brussels and following processes going on there became natural. AEGEE really made Europe my home. “For me Europe on Track is a tool for young people to be heard and to have their own say in the hardly graspable process of European integration.” PAVEL ZBORNIK (26) PROTIVIN, CZECH REPUBLIC I finished my studies in Electrical Engineering and Management and also worked at the Eurodesk office in the Czech Republic which played a significant role in my decision to work as a full time volunteer in AEGEE after almost 3 years of active membership. A project like this has its own unique spirit and is creative space for new ideas for implementation. The idea was raised during a random discussion, was implemented within a few weeks’ time and ended up winning the Charlamange Youth Price in 2013. “I see Europe on Track as win-win situation for each parties of the project; young people are able to express their thoughts, the travellers work as messengers having a life-time travel experience and policy makers get a variety of points of view.” MIGUEL GALLARDO ALBAJAR (34) ALICANTE, SPAIN I have left my PhD on biodiversity management aside for a while because I am passionate about making Europe a better place. This means taking care of the environment and promote sustainability, but also creating a space for people, where citizens are the most important. There is a great potential in the European youth and when we put our ideas to work, great things can happen. We just need to be listened to. “For me Europe on Track is a never-ending journey through kilometers and countries to find the voice of youth and bring it to the European Union.”
INTERRAIL.EU ”Proud to be a sponsor of the Europe on Track project” We are happy to sponsor a project that supports the diversity of multiculturalism in Europe. InterRail.eu is the online store for students to get their European rail passes. With a pass valid in 30 European countries there is always a part of Europe waiting for you to be explore.
Whether you want to explore only one country with our One Country passes or you want to visit several countries with the Global pass, an InterRail pass gives you the freedom and ease to hop on and hop off almost every European train by just showing your InterRail pass. Haven’t got a taste of all cultures in Europe? Take a look at www.interrail.eu to plan your next European adventure!
InterRail passes are only for students who are living in Europe for more than 6 months. For students who live outside Europe we have the Eurail pass. InterRail.eu is part of the Eurail.Com company, specialized in online sales of InterRail and Eurail passes. InterRail.eu is the joint InterRail webshop of 32 European railway companies. We sell InterRail passes online to customers from all over Europe. The mission of InterRail.eu is to sell InterRail passes online at the lowest possible prices, while still providing excellent service. We offer free delivery of InterRail passes throughout Europe. We don’t charge any extra booking or administrative fees and there is no minimum order value. Visit the website for further information. www.eurail.com
THE JOURNEY The Routes of Team Red and Team Blue The project was launched from BRUSSELS, home for many European institutions and one of the initiators of the idea of European integration. The travellers, the coordination team and the Comité Directeur held a live meeting in the headoffice, discussing all aspects of the project before the official launch on 22nd November.
Earlier that month, AEGEE-Europe held a press conference in the European Parliament announcing the project and its aims and objectives. The event was hosted by MEP Amelia Andersdotter and several other MEPs had also attended to express their support. [http://www.noticiestgn.tv/videos/show/337]
LEUVEN Team Blue and Team Red travelled together to an AEGEE Network Meeting in Leuven, where Europe on Track was presented to a group of 30 people. Participants could give feedback and suggestions, which practice was kept throughout the journey developping the project more with each stop the travellers had made.
RECOMMENDATION ON YOUTH EMPLOYMENT AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP: “In times of crisis you cannot only cut funds from everywhere, you need innovation and investment. Obviously austerity is not working, so I would really like to see growth and innovation in the priorities of the Governments from now on”. By Dennis (The Netherlands)
THE JOURNEY TEAM RED LONDON At the first stop Team Red was asking dozens of students about the British education system and the UK’s love-hate political position towards the European Union.
PARIS Meeting organised by AEGEE-Paris where several other youth NGOs were present to express their concerns about the rising rate of youth unemployment in Europe.
FRIBOURG Meeting the members pf AEGEE-Fribourg, having thematic discussions about the recognition and practical use of non-formal educational tools. NAPLES Presenting at a local youth conference organised by AEGEE-Napoli where participants were discussing their concerns about their future employment and how the recognition of volunteering should be put more forward.
RECOMMENDATION ON YOUTH PARTICIPATION AND VOLUNTEERING: “Countries must develop mechanism and ways to recognize and validate all the skills and learning which young people get in the activities outside the formal education system. By doing this, a smooth transition to the job market can be ensured”. By Léa (France)
THE JOURNEY TEAM RED BOLOGNA Group discussions about local, regional and national identity vs. European integration with the university students of Bologna. Once again the issue of future prospects and employment was also on the table. GENOVA More and more Italians are raising their voice for a change in the system which - according to them - has not been providing fair opportunities and positive prospects for their future employment and education. LYON Team Red attended AEGEE-Lyon’s ”Lyon by Lights” event organised in cooperation with Esprit Critique, where the issue of ’Flexibility in the job market’ and the Youth Guarantee scheme were in-depth evaluated. TOULOUSE Participants of the discussions with AEGEEToulouse were mainly concerned about the situation of unpaid internships and how the exploitation of young workers has to be changed.
RECOMMENDATION ON YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT: ”The success of the system like the Youth Guarantee will only come depending on how willing national authorities are to consult the implementation process with National Youth Councils, the civil society and mostly with young people whom it is going to affect the most.” By Nicola (Italy)
THE JOURNEY TEAM RED BILBAO Visiting the Technical University of Bilbao, the topics of discussion were entrepreneurship and the extremely high youth unemployment rate. The participants acknowledged the difficult situation and expressed their fear that the crisis might hit this region as bad as the other parts of Spain.
RECOMMENDATION ON SUPPORTING THE YOUTH: “By working on a better representational system in the national governments, young people can ensure their ideas are going to be taken into account. After all, innovations and development cannot happen without proper support. This is why young entrepreneurs should be put first and foremost in the line of help.” By Alberto (Spain) ”Young people lack a lot of information on how the EU works, what is the EU 2020 strategy and what impact the EU has in their lives. Much more information sould be available written in a youth friendly and understandable way as well as communicated through youth friendly channels.” By Lorena RECOMMENDATION ON SUPPORTING THE YOUTH II: “National Youth Councils and International Youth NGOs are the legitimate platforms for young people in their countries to make their voices reach policy makers while they develop themselves and lean how to become active and tolerant citizens”. By Ricardo (Spain) RECOMMENDATION ON THE YOUTH GUARANTEE: “Young people and youth leaders must be consulted in each country when developping the Youth Guarantees and how they will be implemented. We in youth organizations, have been elected by young people and therefore know what their exact needs are. This message we want forward to the authorities for further actions to take place”. By Marcos (Spain)
THE FINAL STOP TEAM RED MADRID After a discussion with dozens of members of AEGEE-Madrid, Team Red had a meeting with the president of the Spanish Youth Council and a representative of a Spanish organisation for LGBT-Rights. They both stressed the difficult situation youth organisations are facing and were more than willing to explain the situation in detailed interviews.
RECOMMENDATION ON YOUTH PARTICIPATION: “It is very hard to see how the European policies affect me in my daily life and what do I get in return if I participate. If it doesn’t change anything in my life why should I vote or participate, why should I lose my time? It won’t change anything”. By Sergió ”The European Union, its functioning and its impact on our lives should be included in the education system to see that every young person has the chance to educate themselves about the EU and learn more about EU projects from early stages.” By Roberto RECOMMENDATION ON SUPPORTING THE YOUTH IV: ”Young people need spaces and platforms to participate fully in society and voice their opinions. The role of National Youth Councils and International non-governmental organizations is fundamental and therefore institutional support must be provided for the youth civil society sector who empowers young people to take an active stand in society.” By Ricardo
RECOMMENDATION ON THE YOUTH GUARANTEE II: ”The Youth Guarantee should count on more funds in order to have a real impact in the members states of the European Union, especially those in the South. Amounts like the ones suggested by the International Labour Organization (ILO) of 21 billion should be considered to eradicate the problem of Youth Unemployment in Europe.” By Marcos
THE JOURNEY TEAM BLUE TILBURG While visiting the university, Team Blue met students from various backgrounds with contrasting opinions regarding European integration and East-West development.
ENSCHEDE United States of Europe by 2020? This and similar questions were tackled during Team Blue’s stay in Enschede engaging members of one of the biggest AEGEE locals, AEGEE-Enschede. BERLIN During Team Blue’s meeting with the members of AEGEE-Berlin, they learn that the field of sustainability and sustainable growth are still rather unexplicable phenomena.
KATOWICE Team Blue attended the ’Against Hate-Speech Online’ event organised by AEGEE-Katowice adding the topic of social entrepreneurship to the repertoire of the programme of the event.
RECOMMENDATION ON ENTREPRENEURIAL THINKING: “The solutions come by providing the most inspiring environment for young people. Bring them close to other people who have already created start-ups and who have succeeded. Creating for example incubators at Universities, bringing the students with companies and new startups”. By Wessel (Netherlands)
THE JOURNEY TEAM BLUE PRAGUE Making an extra stop in BRNO as well, Team Blue arrives to Prague to meet the members of AEGEE-Praha and learn more about nationalistic thoughts against European ideals and how youth policies are being dealt with. VIENNA Demonstration organised by local university students for promoting lowering the voting age to 16 in the country. Team Blue had a chance to interview students both from high school and university regarding the issue. BUDAPEST Hungary, a former socialist country in the heart of Europe with a troubled past and present. Team blue met AEGEE-Budapest to further excavate the causes and consequences of Hungary’s peculiar position in the EU.
ZAGREB Discussion forum organised by AEGEEZagreb about the recognition of non-formal educational methods as a solution to easening fresh graduates’ entering into the job market.
RECOMMENDATION ON THE RECOGNITION OF NON-FORMAL EDUCATION: “Young people need to learn in school about Europe from a very early age. If not they will not be able to feel themselves European. They need to be able to understand what it is and how it works in their lives”. By Silvia (Croatia).
THE JOURNEY TEAM BLUE CLUJ-NAPOCA How do Romanian youth feel about the country joining the EU? Team Blue had thought-provoking discussions with AEGEECluj Napoca; how they welcome their new opportunities but are obstructed by the slowly adapting old governmental framework.
BUCHAREST Discussions with AEGEE-Bucuresti and official representatives about the state of democracy in the EU and ways to increase youth participation in this. SOFIA AEGEE-Sofia and ESN Sofia set the stage for Team Blue to hold a workshop titled „Future of Europe: Non-Formal Education!”. Various views and interesting outcomes! ISTANBUL The final stop; crossing the border of the continent and meeting AEGEE-Istanbul for tackling the deeply controversial status of visa regulations and EU-Turkey relations.
RECOMMENDATION ON THE EDUCATION OF SUSTAINABILITY: “Sustainable development has to be taught from very early stages, but should also be taught and reminded throughout every citizen’s’ life, because it is a topic which affects all of us”. By Mathieu (Belgium)
FURTHER RECOMMENDATIONS ON YOUTH PARTICIPATION ”Internships aim to bridge the gap between graduation and employment, providing us with valuable practical skills. Still, I am wondering how working for free and even overburdening ourselves can be seen as something that motivates us on the way? The system of unpaid internships needs serious reconsideration.” By Michael (Germany) ”The Youth Guarantee offers a practical and feasable solution to young graduates’ feared ‚transition to the job market’. Governments should work in close cooperation with national youth councils in order to create the best fitting development scheme for both parties.” By Rita (Hungary) “In many cases young people are ’not as important’ voters as the older generation so they need to lobby even harder and this is one of the missions of a national youth council. Without proper funds and support these councils cannot fulfill their tasks in educating young people about the rights and possibilities they should be entitled to.“ By Ricardo (Spain) “Young people must be aware of the importance of their vote in the European Parliament elections 2014. They have the chance, if they want to change the track which Europe is taking. For this they need information to be able to make informed choices, and they also need to feel represented by the candidates”. By Léa (France) “Targeted campaigns for young people should be created for the next European Parliamentary elections 2014, as well as political parties would need to include competent and prepared young people in their lists who can represent the interests of European youth inside the European Parliament.“ By Veronika (Czech Republic) Join AEGEE’s mission in empowering young people all over Europe:
READ THE BLOG of the ambassadors’ journey from each stop at aegee.org/europeontrack
FURTHER RECOMMENDATIONS ON SUSTAINABILITY “When a young person wants to know about Sustainability in Europe, it is very difficult because there is not one single space where you can find all this information in an understandable way. Many more could become active in promoting sustainability given the proper education on the topic.” By Andrew (Malta) ”To be honest, I have heard the word ’sustainability’ before but I was never really sure what it meant. A common information database should be created for all member states of the EU regarding sustainable development, with aims and objectives, what citizens could do in order to implement these development strategies. In a language that is understandable for everyone.” By Aleksandra (Poland) ”Education for Sustainable Development should be introduced in the formal education curricula as well as through informal and non formal methods of learning, from early stages with a life-long learning perspective. I don’t think many people are aware of the importance of this issue; but ithey should be!” By Monica (Romania) “Already starting your own company is extremely hard, so a lot of help and support is needed, and especially even more for those who at the same time are trying to have a green or social impact and helping others with their idea”. By Roland (Hungary) “It doesn’t make sense that I would have to pay more for sustainable products and services if I don’t see that it changes anything. Education is the key to understand these matters and to shape our perception of the concept and believe it really has an impact on our future.” By Lise (Germany) “Another suggestion is greater support for companies to promote sustainable behaviour. Young people recognise the important role the market has to play in the realisation of more sustainable lifestyles, and want companies that make efforts towards this to receive better support in the form of subsidies, so the price for more sustainable products can be lowered in comparison with standard products and services.” By Mathieu (Belgium) READ AEGEE-Europe’ Position Paper on Education of Sustainable Development written by Mathieu Soete - Policy Officer on Sustainability
FURTHER RECOMMENDATIONS ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP ”Youth Entrepreneurship should be encouraged at all levels. Young entrepreneurs should be supported financially, like for example, being exempted from paying taxes during the first few years of having a start-up. Starting ’adult’ life is hard enough as it is without having to live in constant fnancial insecurity and an unsure chance for success” By Alene (Netherlands) ”Creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship and risk-taking should be encouraged in young people, so they wold dare taking the risk and develop a mindset for entrepreneurial thinking. Instead, we are taught to learn from books, earn the credentials then find a job at a company. The possibility of starting your own company is not a topic your professors would start to explain during a lecture.” By Giana (Italy) ”Financial incentives should be provided for young entrepreneurs willing to create startups with green or social goals, so young people can envision how their efforts will benefit society on the long run. Fostering green economies should start by educating the younger generation about the importance of green and social jobs.” By Leon (Switzerland)
For further information read AEGEE-Europe’s Policy Papers on: * The Youth Guarantee Scheme * European Integration * Youth Rights * The Issue of Co-Management System for Young People within the European Institutions http://aegee.org/about-aegee/positions/
EUROPEAN CHARLEMAGNE YOUTH PRIZE 1ST PRIZE “The European Charlemagne Youth Prize” aims to encourage the development of European consciousness among young people, as well as their participation in European integration projects. The Prize is awarded to projects undertaken by young people which foster understanding, promote the development of a shared sense of European identity, and offer practical examples of Europeans living together as one community.
“The European Charlemagne Youth Prize” is awarded jointly and annually by the European Parliament and the Foundation of the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen. Europe on Track was selected as the winner of the Spanish national competition, and with all national winners, went to Aachen, Germany for the Award ceremony.
There the projects were presented and the three best ones were recognized. AEGEE-Europe and the Europe on Track project are very thankful to the jury of the Charlemagne Youth Prize for choosing our project as the best project in 2013.
Read more about the European Charlemagne Youth Prize here: http://bit.ly/1fwsnzv
SUPPORTERS We are thankful to: AEGEE-Leuven AEGEE-Paris AEGEE-Fribourg AEGEE-Napoli AEGEE-Bologna AEGEE-Genoa AEGEE-Lyon
AEGEE-Toulouse AEGEE-Bilbao AEGEE-Madrid AEGEE-Barcelona AEGEE-Tilburg AEGEE-Enschede AEGEE-Berlin
AEGEE-Poznan AEGEE-Katowice AEGEE-Bratislava AEGEE-Brno AEGEE-Praha AEGEE-Wien
National Youth Council of Spain Consejo de la Juventud de Espana - CJE
AEGEE-Budapest AEGEE-Zagreb AEGEE-Cluj Napoca AEGEE-Bucharest AEGEE-Sofia AEGEE-Istanbul
Croatian Youth Network
SUPPORTERS OF THE PROJECT MEP Salvador Sedó ”It has been great news and not a surprise, that the Europe on Track project, of AEGEE-Europe / European Students´Forum - as an answer to the loss of trust in the European project during the economic and financial crisis - had been awarded the European Charlemagne Youth Prize 2013. This project, which I had the fortune to give my patronage to during its launch in the European Parliament, proves that the dream of the European construction is still present in our youth. Seeing the new problems and uncertanities, the project tackles deeply the Europe which young people would like for their near future, because the year 2020 which Europe on Track proposes is right behind the corner. Questions like, ”Where is Europe heading? How can we preserve our present and better our future? What do
young people expect of the Europe of the future?” show the concerns and interest of our youth in the European construction, where they want and they must take an active part. Not in vain, recently AEGEE has presented to the Members of the European Parliament three measures to promote youth employment, one of the biggest dramas which the EU is facing in these times of crisis. These measures can be summarized in reduction in taxes for companies and businesses employing young people, bridging the gap between higher education and labor market, and invest in the creation of “business incubators”, “clusters” and “venture capitals” for young entrepreneurs. Its with organizations like AEGEE and initiatives like Europe on Track, that we can be sure that the future of the European construction is guaranteed!”
SUPPORTERS OF THE PROJECT MEP Eidel Gardiazabal As Europeans, we will soon go towards a very important turning point: the renewal of the European Parliament and the European Commission. We need to make sure that this represents a moment not only to change faces, but also the chance to discuss what Europe we want and how do we want to achieve it in the interest of all the citizens, especially those that suffered the most the economic and social crisis. For this reason, as youth intergroup, we were very happy to support the Europe on Track project especially because of its aim to capture young peopleâ€™s vision for Europe in 2020. In 2013 Europe is celebrating the European year of citizens while we are in the 6th year of crisis: a crisis where young people are paying the highest toll not only in economic terms, but also in terms of capacity to participate and influence the political processes in Europe. Therefore the priority is for us to show to the citizens that participation and solidarity are fundamental ingredients for a credible way out from the crisis.
Europe today needs to rebuild its relations with citizens and also find ways to give new value and recognize the incredible work everyday youth organizations like AEGEE are doing to help young people to be more mobile and aware citizens. But this is of course not enough: we need to put the participation of young people at the core of the EU policy making in the field of youth. One of the solutions that I see for the future is to strengthen the relation between organized youth civil society and the European Parliament because on youth policies we are all standing with the same goal: making sure that there is a coordinated action at European and national level to counter the unprecedented crisis young people are facing. Also to provide such a room for dialogue in 2009 we created the intergroup and this is why I encourage you always to challenge yourselves and us as MEPs on the core of the different policies we are shaping for young people. Your expertise is fundamental and everybody, in its own role, needs to do their part.
SUPPORTERS OF THE PROJECT MEP Katarína Nevedalová The “Europe On Track” project is a great tool to stimulate the young people’s interest in European affairs and in their active involvement in crucial issues of the European Union. The project deserves one big applaud. 38 cities seen, more than 9000 kms travelled and over 200 people interviewed - have proved its uniqueness. I think that the idea to travel by train and interview the European youth about the issues they consider the most important is great. Travelling by train promotes a good alternative to the current obsession of travelling everywhere by car or plane. It also highlights the importance of green and environmentally friendly solutions. This project represents a timeless platform in search of possible approaches to solving the economic recession and its impact on graduates, their job opportunities and related quality of life. Only if young people engage in society and policy making they can change their future! Personally, I believe that “Europe On Track” has the potential to inspire decision makers, because they have the chance to see real life situations the young people in Europe face. Therefore it contributes to a better understanding of the young people’s needs and its reflection in the EU legislation. I always say that politicians think they know everything... but they do not!
MEP Marian Harkin I am delighted to be in the position to congratulate the European Students’ Forum (AEGEE) on the magnificent achievement of winning the 2013 European Charlemagne Youth Prize with Europe on Track. Europe on Track plays an important role for young people by strengthening participative democracy. The Spanish project enables young, active volunteers throughout Europe to interact, both online and offline, and to let their voices be heard. Europe on Track creates a sense of real engagement among young people and policy makers. It is vitally important, as policy makers, that we get an opportunity to hear those voices and to capture young people’s vision of the future of Europe.
INTRODUCTION to Europe 2020 - Europe’s Growth Strategy Europe 2020 is the European Union’s ten-year growth strategy. It is not only about overcoming the crisis, it is also about addressing the shortcomings of our growth model and creating the conditions for a smarter, more sustainable and more inclusive growth. Five key targets have been set for the EU to achieve by the end of the decade: 1. Employment: 75% of the 20-64 year-olds to be employed 2. R&D: 3% of the EU’s GDP to be invested in Research&Development 3. Climate change and energy sustainability: lowering greenhouse gas emissions by 20% (1990). 20% of energy from renewables. 20% increase in energy efficiency 4. Education: Reducing the rates of early school leaving below 10%. At least 40% of 30-34–year-olds completing third level education 5. Fighting poverty and social exclusion: at least 20 million fewer people in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion
The strategy also includes: 7 ‘flagship initiatives’ providing a framework for supporting the Europe 2020 priorities such as innovation, the digital economy, employment, youth, industrial policy, poverty, and resource efficiency. Within each initiative, both the EU and national authorities have to coordinate their efforts so they are mutually reinforcing. The key factors are: * Smart growth * Digital agenda for Europe * Innovation Union * Youth on the move * Sustainable growth * Resource efficient Europe * Industrial policy for the globalisation era * Inclusive growth * An agenda for new skills and jobs * European platform against poverty You can visit the website for further information. [http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/]
INTRODUCTION to AEGEE-Europe - European Students’ Forum AEGEE (Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe/ European Students’ Forum) is a student organisation that promotes cooperation, communication and integration amongst young people in Europe. As a non-governmental, politically independent, and non-profit organisation AEGEE is open to students and young people from all faculties and disciplines – today it counts 13 000 members, active in close to 200 university cities in 40 European countries, making it the biggest interdisciplinary student association in Europe. AEGEE, which was founded in 1985 in Paris, puts the idea of a unified Europe into practice. A widely spread student network provides the ideal platform where young volunteers from 40 European countries can work together on cross border activities such as conferences, seminars, exchanges, training courses, summer universities, case study trips and working group meetings. By encouraging travelling and mobility, stimulating discussions and organising common projects, AEGEE attempts to overcome national, cultural and ethnic divisions and to create a vision of young people’s Europe.
AEGEE operates without any national level of organisation. The structure is based on a European Level (European Board of Directors working in Brussels, Commissions, Committees, Working Groups, and multinational Project Teams), and on a Local Level (close to 200 Antennae or local groups, forming the Network). The association’s main aims are: * Promoting a unified Europe without prejudices. * Striving to create an open and tolerant society of today and tomorrow. * Fostering democracy, human rights, tolerance, cross border cooperation, mobility and European dimension in education.
AEGEE’s Focus Areas 2011-2014 One of AEGEE’s most well-known achievements is the effective lobbying for the creation of the Erasmus programme in the 1980s. In 2001, AEGEE worked together with ESN (Erasmus Student Network) and ESIB (The National Unions of Students in Europe, now European Students’ Union) on the “Socrates on the Move” project, with the aim of promoting all Socrates initiatives. As a result, one million Erasmus students had been reached, and the scope of the Erasmus programme was broadened to include countries such as Turkey. AEGEE is also known for its longest running project, the Summer University project that gathers thousands of volunteers each summer, providing courses on a wide range of topics from language courses to seminars about political, cultural or environmental issues. AEGEE has participatory status in the activities of the Council of Europe, consultative status at the United Nations, operational status at UNESCO and is at the same time a member of the Advisory Council on Youth of European Youth Forum.
The organisation also has a number of illustrious personalities amongst its general partners: Mikhail Gorbachev, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize; Vaclav Havel, former President of the Czech Republic; Eric Froment, former President of the European University Association, Wolfgang Thierse, former President of the Bundestag and Romano Prodi, former Prime Minister of Italy and President of the European Commission.
MENTIONS IN THE MEDIA
[…] Spanish youth media project Europe on Track picked up the first prize at the 2013 Charlemagne Youth Prize ceremony on 7 May in Aachen. Second prize went to the Polish photo contest Discover Europe, while Estonian youth exchange project the Story of my Life came in third. The Charlemagne Youth Prize is awarded every year to projects that foster a shared sense of European identity and integration among young people. [read more: http://bit.ly/18T8fzp]
[...] Supporting this new initiative of the European Students’ Forum, during their speeches, MEP Eider Gardiazabal and MEP Salvador Sedó pointed out the importance of a project made by youth with the purpose of discovering youth point of views and expectations about issues such as mobility, employment or coexistence inside the European Union. Réka Salamon [...] explained that this venture shows one of the main aims of AEGEE, providing a space for young European citizens to discuss the topic of the future of Europe, so that they can shape the direction where society is going. [read more: http://bit.ly/1g5QL8p]
[…] La falta de información y el desconocimiento sobre el funcionamiento de las instituciones es un lastre para la confianza. Así lo cree Luis Alvarado, el primer español galardonado con el premio Carlomagno de la Juventud, en la edición de 2013, por su proyecto Europe on track, en el que seis jóvenes han recorrido el continente en tren para preguntar a sus colegas de generación qué saben sobre la UE y cómo quieren que sea en el futuro. “Los jóvenes se sienten europeos, han crecido en este proyecto y nos hemos encontrado con muy pocos euroescépticos”, explica. “Pero no saben cómo funcionan las instituciones y eso genera desapego”, añade. [read more: http://bit.ly/ZISxTK] WATCH the full video at: http://www.noticiestgn.tv/videos/
MENTIONS IN THE MEDIA
[…] El proyecto ganador ofrece a los jóvenes una plataforma para compartir sus ideas y su visión de cómo será Europa en 2020 a través de sus fotografías, vídeos, entrevistas y blogs, que se recopilarán para elaborar un documental cortometraje con los jóvenes como protagonistas. En el primer año de vida del proyecto, seis ‚embajadores’ del proyecto viajararon […] para preguntar a más de 400 jóvenes preguntas como „¿hacia dónde se dirige Europa?, ¿Cómo podemos mantener nuestro presente y preservar nuestro futuro? y ¿Qué esperan los jóvenes de la Europa del futuro?” [read more: http://bit.ly/1bKZ2ub]
[…] „Nos planteamos que los jóvenes de la calle deberían conocer mejor y participar en la elaboración de esta estrategia, saber qué es lo que ellos esperan que Europa sea en el futuro, así que les dimos pases de Interrail a un grupo de embajadores que pudieron viajar por toda Europa durante un mes, entrevistando a jóvenes y preguntándoles cuál es la Europa que ellos quieren. […] Schulz destacó en la ceremonia en Aquisgrán que se trata de „un proyecto que busca soluciones constructivas para los problemas actuales: la pérdida de confianza en la UE y el alarmante nivel de paro juvenil en muchos países” [read more: http://bit.ly/I7TgeD] E&M: Mathieu, what motivated you to spend one month travelling across Europe by train? MS: There are a lot of moments where you can talk with people in certain environments like the one that exists in a European youth organisation such as AEGEE, but there’s never enough time and you’re always in a sort of „European bubble”, where you don’t meet with people in their own realities. […] For me it was not the travelling that attracted me, it was not to see that part of Europe that I decided to go to, but it was because I thought with my prior experience I really had an idea of the topics discussed and could get into some great discussions. Visiting people, finding people, and giving them the opportunity to talk, not only to us but to everyone who is listening – this was my main motivation. [read more here: http://bit.ly/1beo75Q]
CONCLUDING WORDS Europe on Track has allowed us to dream, to re-inspire many young people with the positive things which the European Union offers them. Engaging citizens in this battle which is still not over, we felt that with this project we are allowing many youngsters to stop for a second and think positively about the EU, to stop for a moment and think what they would like to change in their realities and express it directly to the decision makers. Europe on Track is the very clear example that when you offer young people the opportunity, space and platform to express and develop themselves, they can come up with creative solutions to the current challenges in society.
Young people still want Europe, but a different and improved European Union. Our generation, the one who has never experienced war is very aware of what our parents and grandparents have given us and will not let Schumannâ€™s dream come to an end.
Young people will not allow that so much effort, resources and lives go in vain. For us its clear. More and better Europe is the only answer to this crisis. Fulfilling the goals of the EU 2020 strategy and setting better ones has to be done and it will ensure more equality, balance, unleashed potential and competitiveness in our continent, leading to a higher quality-well being of all our citizens. Young people are a crucial part in the construction of the European Union, and therefore their voice must be listened to and taken into account. Our generation is very aware of all the benefits which we count with, and we are not ready to let them slip by. We are no longer the future of Europe. We are the present and we are here to make a change.
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