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AER 3rd meeting of youth regional network 2009


2 EDITORIAL Are you between 15 and 24 years old and no longer a student? Got a job? Then count yourself lucky: one out of five young people in the EU is unemployed, according to the most recent Eurostat numbers. In some countries, such as Spain, the situation is even more dramatic, with forty per cent of the young workforce on the dole. These sobering numbers stood in stark contrast with the fairytale-like backdrop of Disneyland Paris, host of the third meeting of the AER Youth Regional Network. But the bleak picture painted by most of the conference’s speakers didn’t limit the enthusiasm of the more than one hundred

participants present. On the contrary, the dire prospects of young graduates on the labour market proved a powerful stimulus for the youngsters to discuss, analyse and find solutions. From the topics of redefining education and the ever so difficult challenge of finding a first job to ways of empowering budding entrepreneurs and improving the quality of European-wide mobility – all were passed in review at the round table sessions. The results: a plethora of refreshing insights, candid criticism and uncompromising idealistic proposals that can only sprout from the minds of young people. It is now up

to those in power, politicians and decision makers, to take responsibility and act upon their suggestions. After all – to put it with an overquoted adage – the youth is the future, also for the labour market. I can speak for all the members of the team that created this Orange magazine, when I say that it was a pleasure to cover this event and we would like to thank the organizers for inviting us to do so. All that rests me to do now is wish you a pleasant reading experience. Enjoy this juicy Orange! Yannick Brusselmans Editor-in-chief

GROUP PICTURE

Third meeting of the AER Youth Regional Network · 10 - 12 December 2009 · Paris

Visit AER Youth Regional Network Group on Facebook and tag yourself! http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=97116825594


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Third meeting of the AER Youth Regional Network 10 - 12 December 2009 · Paris

YOUth can do it! If you are creative, innovative, self-confident and committed to your business idea, don’t hesitate to become an entrepreneur. And it is possible even if you’re… eleven years old! A group of twenty participants from the AER Youth Regional Network meeting worked together on the topic of entrepreneurship to exchange good regional practices and indicate the obstacles that young entrepreneurs encounter. By Filip Jurzyk When you think of a round table on youth entrepreneurship, your imagination tells a story of a big room, a PowerPoint presentation and a group of sleepy young people listening to boring speeches… Now stop, rewind and imagine it once again. This time just bear in mind that it was a meeting of people who can shape the future European economy. In fact, the meeting started with a creative exercise. “Please divide into four groups and craft products out of the colourful blocks of plasticine”, said Fabienne Baise, the round table moderator working for the Belgian organization “Les jeunes enterprises”. “But what exactly should we make out of it?”, the people asked. “I leave it up to you! Just try to make something innovative. Then you should name it, value and try to sell it to others”, Fabienne advised. Thus the brain storm started and its result was surprisingly attractive. One of the groups presented a micro-power plant that could produce energy for the whole of France and cost “only” one billion euro. Then we had a tiny green anchor designed to keep two bags in one hand with a price of only three euro. The third group, called EuroMagic, had a magic wand named “youth stick” that could create anything a youth entrepreneur has in mind. The last product, shaped like Mickey Mouse, was so innovative, that no one really understood what it was made for.

the agricultural Georgian region Ajaria farmers are being taught by experts how to apply for bank loans and implement new technologies. In the Italian region of Piemonte a program called “Start Cup” allows young people to present their ideas for a firm. The regional council provides legal support and money for starting up the business if the plan is smart and profitable. Then, if the company survives the competition of the free market, the beneficent has to pay back the debt. Otherwise, he doesn’t have to. Another good practice comes from the island of Madeira in Portugal. It is called the “Road Show for Entrepreneurship” and includes trainings as well as contests for the best business project made by high school students. The winning applicants receive prizes to encourage them to become an entrepreneur. The Madeira local government also helps with the so-called incubation. If a start-up needs office space, it can register in a building designated for new companies and work there up to three years for free. Finally, there is a kind of “Rotary Club” in Belgium that organizes trainings and meetings with experienced entrepreneurs. But it was Switzerland that caught the biggest approbation of the participants. They have a project that allows elder retired entrepreneurs and workers to share their professional experience with young beginners.

Entrepreneurship road show

Network

After this ice-breaking exercise, Fabienne passed on to the more serious part of meeting, which was about sharing the good practices from regions represented by the round table participants. In

Among the improvements to be made so that the spirit of entrepreneurship spreads among young Europeans, the round table participants came up with the following ideas: they should take part in entrepreneurship networks,

The round table got creative with plasticine and came up with, among others, this magic wand // Photo by Filip Jurzyk.

encourage young people to search for information about starting a company and increase the knowledge exchange with the private sector. The speakers also emphasized that there is a significant role for the private sector in teaching young people how to make a business. And the final conclusions for upcoming entrepreneurs were: remember that you should first have an idea and then search for funds - if the project is good, you will find money for it. Don‘t neglect collecting new contacts, work on your network whenever you can. And last but not least, be creative, clever and never give up. Youth really can do it!


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“The network evolved much faster than I had ever expected” At the early age of 18, Charlotte Kudé is already president of the Youth Regional Network (YRN) at the Assembly of European Regions (AER). Halfway through her oneyear term at the head of the network, the Parisian political science student takes stock of the road the YRN has travelled since its conception in Wiesbaden and the challenges that lie ahead. By Yannick Brusselmans

Orange: How exactly did you get involved in the YRN? Kudé: A couple of years ago, during the presidential elections in France, I started to get really interested in politics. So I got involved in the youth regional council of Île-deFrance, where I took part in the committee about European issues. Since I was the only one in the whole council to speak German, they sent me one year ago to Wiesbaden to the very first meeting of the YRN. I really liked it and so at the second meeting of the network, in Poland, I decided to run for the first presidential elections of the network and was elected. Orange: Why did you decide to run for president of the YRN? Kudé: I was really interested in this network and I really believed that it could lead to something. I got also more and more interested in European rather than national issues, so I was keen on seeing all these European students and young people coming together from all different parts of Europe. So I decided that I wanted to play a leading role in developing this network, developed a programme and had a campaign. And because it was the first presidential election, there was a lot of work to organise and structure the network and I really wanted to do that. Orange: It is one year now since the first YRN meeting in Wiesbaden. What are you most pleased about regarding the evolution of the network? Kudé: I am really surprised how fast it evolved, much faster than I had ever expected. In the beginning there were only a few regions

AER Youth Regional Network president Charlotte KudÈ during the opening session // Photo by Yannick Brusselmans.

that were interested and everything was a bit chaotic because there was no real structure or organisation. So since Wiesbaden we worked hard on that and each meeting there are more and more members. The meeting now, with more than one hundred participants and 53 regions represented, is really big compared to when we started out. It’s also the way for us to gain legitimacy and the evolution is really fast and positive. Of course, we should not be overthrown by that and try to make it function in the best way possible. Because the more we are, the more complicated it is to get real concrete results. Orange: What do you regard as the biggest challenges? Kudé: Communication. In our working groups we have problems with communicating because we all live geographically very far away from one another. So we communicate through internet, Googlegroups, Facebook and so on. You also always have very active members who work together, but it’s really difficult to get everyone implicated in the

project and the working groups. The second problem is that not all the AER regions are represented. So, we have to foster the development of youth councils or parliaments in regions where there are none. It will take time, but I think we are going towards complete integration of all the regions, just like in the AER. Once the regions know about the network and see the benefits, I think they will join in. And the third challenge is to have contact to local politicians and decision makers on which we really can have influence and who really listen to us. Orange: What are the future goals for the network? Kudé: Up till now it was a lot of work to build up the structure and organise everything, but now we can finally look forward. So our next steps will be to really encourage youth participation and the creation of youth councils where there are none yet. Because if we really want all of the European youth connected together, we need to have a solid base.


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Third meeting of the AER Youth Regional Network 10 - 12 December 2009 · Paris

First job – the most important decision at the start of a career “I don’t know what to do after my studies.” It’s the most common answer for young graduates fresh out of university. Usually there is nobody to discuss it with outside the family circle. It is also one of the most interesting starting points for a discussion about first jobs. By Giacomo Rosso

“People generally would like to work in EU institutions or in associations such as the AER, but in reality they find a cold bureaucracy, which can lead to frustration”, Klaus Klipp, secretary general of the AER, said at the start of the round table on first employment. In times of crisis, this can drive young jobseekers to give up their dream job and opt for the security of a boring but well paid job. An internship period after leaving university could be a good starting solution, but it usually has its hidden dark sides. Several of the youngsters participating in the round table claimed that there is a huge gap between a first internship experience and a real job. A lack of certificates, too short experiences and the very often underpaid nature of internships are the most common drawbacks to the system. On the other hand, non formal education and personal experiences can teach you other skills that formal education can’t. But how can this personal achievement be valued for job recruitment? To solve this big problem, and all the other difficulties that appear when young people start their adult life, Klipp suggested - as American students have already done for a long time - establishing an alumni network to get started and help the AER’s internship programme, Eurodyssey, further develop.

Participants of the first job round table in discussion // Photo by Giacomo Rosso.

AER Peer Review In order to promote good practices, involve local youth and, most of all, share different experiences – all core aspects of the AER Peer Review programme – the round table participants split up in four different discussion groups, each one focusing on a different sector: voluntary work, youth parliaments, regional authorities and the private sector. The voluntary sector has got several critical weaknesses, summed up by Bart Lever, the Dutch spokesman of the group that took a closer look at the sector. According to him, voluntary experiences lack recognition, validation, any kind of incentive and, most importantly, a real contract that proves the skills and abilities gained during the whole period. Add to that the unfair public image of voluntary work and its uncertain quality and you can easily see why it’s not so appealing for youngsters to choose this way. Youth parliaments and YRN members, such as youth assemblies, on their part lack, according to the second group’s exposé, effective communication with two sides. This means not

enough interaction with public actors, such as local authorities, on the one hand, and not a good relationship with youngsters in general, on the other hand. This causes a decrease of opportunities to share relevant information on what local authorities do to support youth. Local authorities have their own faults. The third group shed more light on what local policy makers can do to facilitate the bureaucratic process for hiring young persons. They could enable the transition from schools to the labour market to create new jobs more quickly and easily. But, most of all, local authorities have to provide financial and professional support to programmes addressing the lack of information on the labour market. And last but not the least there is the private sector. It is often not easy for a local public assembly to have a profitable relationship with economical entities that put making money first. More job fairs, an improved cooperation between the business sector and universities or job trainings in a company that provide a certificate are some of most interesting solutions brought to the table by the fourth team.


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Re: Thinking Education One of the main reasons we spend years and years studying is the belief that, at the end, the knowledge and skills we acquire at school and university will lead us to a good job afterwards and to fulfilment of our future career goals. By Mariya Vasileva However, nowadays education is one of the most controversial topics on the political and social agenda, as the gap between what is needed and what is offered on the labour market is getting wider every day. Moreover, at the moment twenty per cent of the youth in the EU are unemployed, although most of them do have a good educational background. As a matter of fact today young people are better educated than at any other time in history but unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be enough. The question which remains is if this percentage, almost twice higher than the total unemployment rate, is a consequence of the current financial and economic crisis or if it is a sign that our education system needs some quick and large reforms in order to reflect the changes that have taken place during the last couple of decades, such as globalization, technological revolutions, organizational changes, even climate change.

Era of unpredictability What is difficult is finding the right balance and getting to know where to draw the

line - what to keep, what to take off, what to add. The main challenge is that we are now living in an era of unpredictability, a time of constant changes, and to forecast what knowledge and skills one will need in the near future is impossible. If you look at the numbers, there’s a prediction that until 2020 there would be 100 million new jobs created and a significant part of them don’t even exist today. So how to prepare for the unknown? Here comes the role of using both formal and non formal education initiatives and teaching skills that most probably everyone will need at a given point of his or her life - organization skills, team work, analytical thinking, willingness to take responsibility, creativity, problem solving, learning how to learn skills, etc. The education system should change in a way that does not provide only knowledge but also practical skills which helps one to adapt easy to the constant changes that occurs in the environment and to be as flexible as possible in terms of acquiring new knowledge, information and skills needed. That’s what the education system

should give students at the first place and which will make the transition from school to university and then to work much easier.

Fundament of success How could that be achieved? A good point to start is building better links between educational institutions and “real life” (e.g. including internships into the curricula), promoting initiatives like “Europass” so to increase the recognition of non formal education, having soft-skills seminars, etc. As a conclusion I would like to cite Thomas L. Friedman, author of the international bestseller “The World Is Flat”, who says in his book that “In the future, how we educate our children may prove to be more important than how much we educate them.” Finding the right balance, the right techniques and the right people to educate the youth will ensure we will all enjoy the benefits afterwards. There’s a saying that education is the fundament of Europe’s success and we should make sure that won’t change.

The global economic crisis – how did it affect you?

Alexandra Molinaro, Switzerland (Bern) As a student, the crisis didn’t affect me much. But my parents have a touristic business and they don’t have as many tourists coming as in the past. For example, nowadays only 20 percent of the Asian tourists that came before, visit us.

Doris Leichtfried, Austria (Salzburg) If I hear something terrible affecting people all over the world, I feel emotionally bad because I’d like to solve the problem although I can’t. And in fact my mother lost her job because of the crisis, so now I have to work to support my studies.

Jaqueline Kristersson, Sweden (Dalarna) I’m directly affected because due to the crisis my school doesn’t get enough money for new books and trips. And I’m also afraid for my future – will I find a good job when I finish my studies?


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Third meeting of the AER Youth Regional Network 10 - 12 December 2009 · Paris

The dark sides of European mobility “You are the mobility generation.” Italian journalist Sergio Nava uttered the tried-but-true cliché a number of times during the round table he moderated on labour mobility. But as noble the idea of limitless European mobility may be, it is not all roses, especially for those regions that people leave behind in their quest for better employment and educational opportunities. By Yannick Brusselmans Erasmus, EVS, Leonardo Da Vinci: we all know at least one of the European mobility programmes that exist for young people. Many among us have even had a chance to experience them firsthand, increasing our intercultural competences, European identity and language skills – not to mention the many romances that seem to be an inseparable aspect of the Erasmus experience. However, for all the opportunities that youth mobility provides, there are also a number of downsides to the principle. Take the example of South-East Europe, a part of the continent where great numbers of talented and highly educated young people flock to more prosperous regions looking for more and better-paid career prospects. “The idea of mobility is well intended, but it has its dark sides. A recent EU survey showed that in countries such as Romania and Bulgaria, the outflow of young people often leads to social degradation, with children or sick and lonesome parents left behind”, Rosen Dimov from Bulgaria pointed out. In many cases the crucial question is: why should you come back to your country that is suffering?

Brain drain According to Petar Curic of the Croatian

region of Istarska the answer to that question lies in boosting the appeal of regions that are most affected by brain drain: “You can’t stop mobility. People have been moving around for centuries and they will keep on doing it. So we have to figure out how to make certain regions attractive enough for young professionals”, he concluded. In order to upgrade underdeveloped regions, some participants pleaded for enhanced fostering of youth entrepreneurship, by organising trainings, helping young entrepreneurs set up their business and expand it to other regions as well as offering fiscal incentives to skilled people to return to their home region and start up a company. The fact that the round table brought together youngsters from all across Europe, also revealed a poignant chasm between the more affluent European countries and the developing regions. Whereas in many regions young people are grappling with a severe lack of decent job openings, the Norwegians at the table claimed that in their country there are too many jobs. People from Norway generally don’t want to become a bus driver or construction worker and need therefore an influx of workers from mainly Central and Eastern European countries.

Eurodyssey Aside from the risks of brain drain and deteriorated social cohesion, the participants focused mainly on the shortcomings of the European mobility programmes that already exist. A lack of visibility, promotion and information on all the programmes that are out there was among the most common lamentations heard across the table. This shortage of familiarity with the different mobility schemes and what they entail became painfully clear when the participants at the table, all young people involved in the AER, where asked about Eurodyssey, AER’s own programme fostering interregional youth mobility through internships. Only a handful of the 25 persons engaged in the round table had ever heard about it. This inspired the participants to draw up a slew of suggestions to facilitate youth mobility, such as cutting red tape, offering assistance with all practical issues that moving to another country bring about and, most importantly, centralizing and promoting all the information on opportunities for students and young graduates on a single, easy to consult website. The “mobility generation” seems more than ready, now it’s up to the decision makers to follow suit.

What was your first job and what did you learn from it?

Alexandre Azer-Nessim, Belgium (Wallonie) Killing rats in a jail in French Guyana. I learnt that you should never turn your back on a man you don`t know when you are in a jail cell.

Mikheil Ananidze, Georgia (Ajaria) I was working at a student newspaper, where I learnt to better express myself and how to communicate through a newspaper.

Anton Kuzmin, Czech Republic (Olomouc) Computer administrator, which taught me how to cooperate and listen to people, something which is not that easy when it comes to IT.


8 NUMBER CRUNCHING

23:00

Hour of arrival on Thursday of the last conference participant.

150

Amount of champagne glasses that were consumed during the icebreaking session.

36

Number of filled-out questionnaires the YRN received prior to the event, which had 97 participants.

Breakfast with Rosen Dimov, Barosso’s youngest political advisor

He’s only twenty-two years old and he is already actively involved in the policy decision process on the European level. Bulgarian Rosen Dimov, also known as the youngest consultant in the bureau of European policy advisors with the European Commission, is among the hundred young people that have come to Paris to attend the AER conference on youth employment. He’s also the leader of the Association of Student Organizations in South Eastern Europe, a country coordinator of UNICEF Rural Voices of youth for Bulgaria and network coordinator of the Pays of Lisbon. At the moment he’s doing an academic fellowship in International and EU law in the Netherlands. By Mariya Vasileva

Rosen Dimov - here representing his region of Stara Zagora, is at 22 the youngest policy advisor at the European Commission // Photo by Yannick Brusselmans.

Orange: You’ve been actively participating in youth NGOs since you were fourteen years old. What does this give you? Dimov: It all started with my feeling that I am not doing enough for society. I decided that I should not wait for changes to happen, but seek and create chances to make these changes. At the beginning I joined existing organizations

and later on I set up new organizations and started working on my own projects. In general, all of these initiatives gave me an immeasurable amount of knowledge and skills. You make new friends and you create a large network of professional contacts. Most importantly, you see the result of your work, you leave an imprint to the surrounding environment and that’s what matters the most, what gives one self-fulfillment. Orange: What are the biggest challenges youth face in the transition from school to work and in the context of the current economic crisis? Dimov: Either in the case of premature or in the case of delayed adulthood, there are insufficient measures at the European national and grassroots level to support the transition of young people and help them acquire all the skills they need to adapt to life, work and family responsibilities. We could use the financial crisis as an opportunity to readjust the existing programs, funding, instruments, policies and make them correspond better to the dynamically changing reality. Orange: And if you should point out the skills that are particularly important when it comes to youth employment, what would these be?

Dimov: In the first place, a precise self estimation - who am I, what do I want and what do I need in order to get it? After that, a young person should be willing to find the relevant source of information he or she needs, should be eager to participate in different training programs to grab the best job on the market. To do so you need to be proactive as well. Orange: And what is your idea for a youth partnership on a regional level? Dimov: Parties of the social dialogue at the regional level, such as government, business leaders, NGOs, trade unions and youth associations, should maintain consistent contact with each other and come up with new solutions to any significant change in the labour market. It is their shared responsibility to make a region more attractive not only for young people from this region but also for other social groups, even going beyond the borders of the regions. And here regional twinning is a must. Orange: How do you personally imagine your ideal job? Dimov: I would like to remain dedicated to the development of my region and link young people with the best they can get from all around their region, no matter how old I am. Even though we may speak of expanding Europe, subsidiarity will be a core principle that young people and regions will be benefiting from.


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Third meeting of the AER Youth Regional Network 10 - 12 December 2009 · Paris

1 100

Number of rooms of the conference venue, the Newport Bay Club Hotel.

1 245

Total time, in minutes, that the participants spent discussing or that the speakers were talking.

1

Number of laptops with internet connection in the press room.

Happy birthday AER Youth Regional Network! “It’s been already one year since the AER Youth Regional Network was established, so today we can raise the glass and celebrate what we have already achieved” Justyna Hejman, youth officer of the Assembly of European Regions, said during the ice-breaking session on Thursday evening. The ideal opportunity for a retrospect on AER’s one-year-old baby. By Filip Jurzyk and Giacomo Rosso

AER secretary general Klaus Klipp proudly claims that one year since its conception, the YRN is already a great succes // Photo by Yannick Brusselmans.

“We have already been working in the field of youth before establishing the Youth Regional Network”, AER secretary general Klaus Klipp points out. “In 1999 we made a declaration for youth policies and since 2001, we’ve been awarding the most youth friendly region. In 2002 we organized a Youth Summer School as well. And four years later we created a youth team, that transformed in 2008 to the AER YRN”, Klipp explains. “It’s a new initiative, an adventure and we don’t really know how it will develop. When I see young people having such a serious attitude and creative ideas for cooperation, I believe that it’s great success. We’ve already created a strong structure of committed people to support the YRN”, Klipp proudly claims. According to AER YRN president Charlotte Kudé the biggest challenge the Network faced this year was gaining real legitimacy. “We started as a really small organization and it was real challenge to be recognized. The biggest difficulty was to get influence on local politicians. But thanks to our network it’s getting more and more easy now. Our aim is to establish links with politicians so that they not only listen to us but also act upon our ideas”, Kudé says.

Network of friends Since its establishment in the German city of Wiesbaden, a small core group of people

who were present at all three YRN meetings has formed. “I think the real core is made up of ten to fifteen people, who were at all three meetings, in Germany, Poland and now in France”, Anton Kuzmin from the Czech Republic says. According to “core member” Olov Oskarsson from Sweden the enthusiasm of the participants is the common factor at all the meetings. “The enthusiasm remains the same and it really affects our surroundings, both on a regional level and on a European level. Also the friendship remains the same, because people keep in touch throughout the year between meetings. It can be very helpful when you share your experience with so many people from so many youth councils and with different opinions”, Oskarsson says. Italian Enrico Deabate agrees that friendship plays an important part in the YRN. “I keep in touch with many of the friends I made here. In fact, I invited all of them to a meeting that I had organized in my home city, Turin. I think they will enjoy our hospitality. But, usually, we keep in touch all the time. I personally chat and write on Facebook, a few times a week, or I write emails to all my AER friends. Usually, we talk about the YRN’s progress, but most importantly, I think we created a group of real friends from different regions”, Deabate says.


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Somerset – a paradise for young people When it comes to the actions taken by local authorities to encourage young people to become entrepreneurs, the Somerset region in the United Kingdom is simply the best of the best. And it’s not an advertisement for students sponsored by politicians. The title of ‘Most Youth Friendly European Region’ of 2009 was given to Somerset by the Assembly of European Regions. By Filip Jurzyk Mikheil Ananidze from Georgia was one of the jury members that elected Somerset as Most Youth Friendly European Region of 2009 // Photo by Filip Jurzyk.

“The main topic of this year’s competition was innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship”, says Mikheil Ananidze, jury member and a representative of the Adjarian Autonomous Republic in Georgia. The award was granted as a result of projects and initiatives focused on youth issues and led by teams within the Somerset County Council. “Why Somerset? The region provided the widest range of activities supporting young businesspeople and that was this year’s most crucial criterion”, Mikheil explains. The AER judging panel emphasized projects such as the Youth Parliament, Somerset Children’s Parliament, the Youth Opportunity Fund (YOF), Youth Capital Funding (YCF) and many others. There were twelve applications for the award, so the jury had its work cut out choosing the most youth-friendly region. If we get into details, the points were for example given for the amount

of money allocated from the regional budget to youth programs, the number of regulations supporting youth implemented in the local law and mentions about youth entrepreneurship in the regional education curriculum. The award was handed over to the region’s representatives at the AER General Assembly on the 27th of November.

AER Cup The jury consisted of the secretary generals of the AER founding organisations, a personal representative of the president, the AER secretary general, a representative of the president of the committee responsible for youth and the president of the sub-committee on youth. Mikheil was one of three people representing the AER Youth Regional Network. The award has been handed out each two years since 2001. The prize is

Bon voyage? “There is a strike today, all trains to Disneyland stopped and maybe you will get there tomorrow” said the strict-looking cashier at the overcrowded Parisian station Gare du Nord. “Is there any other way of transport?”, we asked. “Take a taxi. It’s only about 150 euro”, she replied. Bienvenue en France… To travel across the whole of Europe

rather symbolic and prestigious - each region applying for the award receives a certificate and the winner is awarded with the AER Cup as well as a flag with inscription: “Most youth-friendly European Region”. One can think that if there’s no financial prize, such a competition is simply pointless. If so, he should listen to Mikheil’s opinion. “After our last meeting in Krzyżowa, I told about the award to my regional council and officials decided to apply for the competition”, he says. “But soon they realized there are not enough activities and programs for youth to fulfil the minimum requirements. We agreed that our application would be really poor”, Mikheil admits. But the council didn’t give up and concluded that the Adjarian region has two years to improve the situation of youth policy and they are planning to apply for the next title in 2011.

By Filip Jurzyk

and land in Paris – that’s easy. But to cover a distance of 30 kilometers between Paris and Euro Disneyland on the first day of the AER YRN meeting – it was harder than you could imagine. On December 10th all train drivers from the RER lines decided to stop work. It was a joint strike of six trade unions in order to receive a wage rise.

It was a twist of fate that the strike erupted on the arrival day for the YRN meeting themed “Youth employment in times of economic crisis”. Because of that, a big number of participants only arrived at the conference hotel in the late evening. The last one checked-in just half an hour before midnight.


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Third meeting of the AER Youth Regional Network 10 - 12 December 2009 · Paris

The European Youth Press The European Youth Press is an umbrella association of young journalists in Europe. It involves more than 48 000 young journalists less than 30 years of age. Up to now the young association consists of thirteen national youth media associations. The objectives of the European Youth Press are the strong cooperation among national youth media structures in Europe and their support. The overall aim is to strengthen the role of youth media and the freedom of press in Europe. The association sees itself as a service for the national structures and will foster projects of the different partners and projects that are organised by young media makers in Europe. The association provides contact forums and educational seminars for multipliers of the member associations and forces internal and external communication among all partners. With concrete projects, e.g. the international event magazine „Orange“ with print magazines or Blogs, PodCasts and V-Casts, the association wants to give young media makers from all over Europe the opportunity to cooperate directly with each other. Above all, the aim of all member associations and the umbrella structure is to inspire young people to deal with media and take an active part in society by fostering objective and independent journalism.

Orange Orange is a Europe based event and theme magazine made by young journalists. This creates learning by doing experiences for the young journalists and also a magazine with a young and innovative view for the reader. The fact that the journalists come from different countries with different backgrounds of course makes this magazine very unique. Oranges have been created on a European basis since 2004 on several different topics and events such as political topics, religion and different festivals. The aim of the magazine is to let young journalists from all over Europe meet, work together and create multifaced magazines with new and interesting contents. Creating it means having an exciting time in a quite unusual environment. Reading it means getting facts and opinions directly from young and innovative journalists. All in all, our Orange is always fresh and juicy.

AER Youth Regional Network Created by the Assembly of European Regions (AER), the Youth Regional Network (YRN) is a platform of regional-level youth organisations, councils and parliaments from across wider Europe. The YRN was established on 25th November 2008 in Wiesbaden (Hessen region, Germany), where a founding meeting of ninety young people representing

Orange-disney team

55 European regions launched Europe’s first and only regional platform for youth. The YRN was founded on the idea that decisionmaking should be based upon the principle of subsidiarity. This means that, on the one hand, youth policy at European level should reflect the diversity of the regions and of the young people that live in those regions. On the other hand, youth policy within the regions should maintain a European dimension so that the common challenges faced by all young people can be tackled in co-operation with the sharing of ideas, knowledge and experiences.

Assembly of European Regions (AER) The Assembly of European Regions (AER) is the largest independent network of regional authorities in wider Europe, bringing together over 270 regions from 33 countries along with 16 interregional organisations. Established in 1985, AER is a forum for interregional cooperation and a lobbyist for regional interests on the European stage. AER’s policies are driven by a Presidium and Bureau consisting of regional presidents and other high-level politicians. Those policies are implemented within three working committees and three standing committees, which are chaired by regional politicians and co-ordinated by staff within AER’s General Secretariat in Strasbourg and Brussels.

IMPRINT This Orange was made by a team of international young journalists from Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Moldova and Poland at the third meeting of the AER Youth Regional Network in Paris 2009. All articles do not necessarily represent the opinions of the magazine.

Yannick Brusselmans

Pierre-Anthony Canovas

Filip Jurzyk

Giacomo Rosso

Mariya Vasileva

Dumitru Iovu

Assembly of European Regions (AER) partners

Publishers line: Orange Magazine European Youth Press, Rue de la Tourelle 23, BE-1040, Brussels, Belgium Editor-in-chief: Yannick Brusselmans Editorial staff: Pierre-Anthony Canovas, Filip Jurzyk, Giacomo Rosso, Mariya Vasileva Photos by: Dumitru Iovu, Filip Jurzyk, Yannick Brusselmans Layout: Dumitru Iovu Also take a look at: www.orangelog.eu www.aer.eu


What do you take home from this event? Olivia Danis, Belgium (Wallonie) A proposal for a regional meeting between us, Belgium, and Switzerland. And many new friends of course. Tim Mac An Airchinnigh, Ireland Great new insights into the potential of youth in post-crisis society. Things are changing and it is great to be a part of it. Ivana Radanović, Croatia (Krapinsko-zagorska županija) New contacts with great people and, what is really important, with similar regions to ours for a future cooperation. Plus an extra train ticket to go back home because of some lack of information. Koen Verbruggen, Belgium (Vlaanderen) The insight that the AER has interesting goals, but that is a very young organization that still has to overcome other technical challenges. So, I think the starting point is very good, but it has to evolve. Indrė Kreivytė, Lithuania (Alytus) I’m taking home what AER and its mission is. I didn’t know before, but now I can explain to my regional youth council how to get more involved in AER events and do more networking. It has an additional value. Margita Hulmanová, Slovakia (Bratislavský) My region is not really active in the Assembly of European Regions. So my personal task will be to motivate the newly elected politicians in my own region to use the AER network and its projects to enlarge their point of view.

Orange :: AER Youth Regional Network, Paris 2009  

Orange magazine covering the European Assembly of the Regions Youth Regional Network conference in Paris, 2009.

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