Young Ideas for Europe
From the 17-21 February 2014 the Young European Federalists implemented the project Young Ideas for Europe in the Athénée de Waha high school in Liège, Belgium.
On Friday 21 2014 the Young Ideas for Europe project successfully ended with a final debate in the Palais Provincial of the city of Liège in Belgium. Over five days pupils from the school Athénée Léonie de Waha got to know the European Union and the challenges our societies face today. Where will our power come from when all the nuclear power stations have been shut down and when fossil fuels have been used up? Which energy sources can best meet the needs of society while also protecting the environment? What demands will tomorrow’s consumers make of their energy providers? These are just some of the questions that the pupils tackled during the week.
The project took place under the patronage of the members of the European Parliament Véronique de Keyser (Socialists & Democrats)and Anne Delvaux (European Peoples Party).
Encouraging intercultural exchange
Throughout the project week, live link-ups via Skype with a partner school in Slovakia took place, where the project Young Ideas for Europe was implemented simultaneously. During these meetings the participants got to know a different country and culture and had the opportunity to practice their English skills. They exchanged on the outcomes of their discussions and the ideas they developed and realized that different national realities result in different approaches and solutions.
During the week, the students also had the opportunity to present their visions to and discuss their ideas with experts from different sectors of society. Marc Schlitz and Eleonore Dayez (experts on environment for the City of Liège), Silvain Quoilin (Researcher on renewable energy of Liège University), François Bulon (Greenpeace Belgium) and François Coibion (Assistant to MEP Anne Delvaux) eagerly replied to the students’ questions and exchanged their expertise on the topic.
Simulating EP elections in 2030 – A new energy for Europe!
With the experts’ feedback in mind, the students then plunged into a simulation game in which they took over to roles of different political parties, an NGO, political advisors and the press – all preparing campaigns for the European elections 2030. The political parties had the task of preparing a party manifesto with ideas and measures replying to the environmental challenges, with the ultimate aim of convincing their “voters” of their proposals. In the meanwhile the other groups lobbied for their respective cause towards the parties, aiming at having their priorities included in the party manifestos – Just like in real politics!
The final debate of the project took place on the 21 of February 2014 in a special setting: thanks to the partnership with Europe Direct of the Province the Liège, the pupils were invited to the Palais Provincial, where normally the city councilors meet to discuss politics. This final political debate and presentation took place in front of a public of teachers, students, experts, partners, the local press and the political patron of the project MEP Véronique de Keyser. The opposing “parties” presented their manifestos and answered the questions of the “citizens”, which resulted in a very passionate debate. After the debate, the “European Elections 2030” took place and the party “Party of responsible consumers” won with 12 against 8 votes over its opponent “4 Leaves”. Among other proposals, the winning party’s manifesto aimed to: Increase available bicycles in cities and schools, further develop eco-labeling, have a self-sustainable European energy market, increasing nuclear safety through investment and inciting citizens through subventions and tax relief to invest in renewable energy and thus making it easier for everyone to "go green".
The student press-group documented the elections campaigns and the final debate in a press article, that is available here (French only).
Young Ideas for Europe is an initiative of the Robert Bosch Stiftung. In Belgium the project is implemented by the Young European Federalists [JEF Europe]. Its goal is simple: to create enthusiasm among European youth for the European project, to engage them in a meaningful dialogue and give them a chance to create their own visions for Europe. Since its launch in 2008, more than 2,200 young people from 26 EU Member States have taken part in project weeks as part of Young Ideas for Europe. Growing from 26 project weeks in 6 countries in the first phase, Young Ideas for Europe is now in its fourth phase, and is being implemented in all 28 EU Member States. Thanks to all the partners making Young Ideas for Europe possible
Find out more about the project on www.youngideasforeurope.eu
TV coverage of the final event by RTC Tele Liege (click on image to start video)