THE YOUTH NEEDS TO BE HEARD
Young people are important change-makers and are essential to build peaceful and democratic societies. Europe wants and needs to help build our future, and young people increasingly want to be part of this process. Young Europeans face distinct concerns, e.g. youth unemployment, changing labour markets, climate and ecological crises etc., which impact young people’s current and future lives. Simultaneously, there are signs of tangible challenges to European youth quality of life in areas of personal rights, freedoms, and choice and in navigating the growing digital sphere. COVID-19 has not only highlighted but enhanced these said issues. 'Make Your Voice Heard' is a collection of advocacy tours, where we will discuss why and how young people should be listened to and how access to democratic practices should unfold in the coming years. Young people are at the forefront of the digital world, and with the awareness of how the digitalization brings both opportunities and challenges, we will discuss how EU legislation and initiatives can secure the democratic participation among young people and strengthen youth rights.
Participants from Young Europe Sustainable Democracy Builders travelled to the Danish island of Bornholm to participate in the biggest people's meeting of the year in Denmark. The people's meeting is a large democratic festival held every year, and is visited by over 60.000 people counting politicians, civil society organisations, stakeholders and engaged citizens.
YESBD-participants took part in panel discussions related to youth issues in the EU and visited different events and tents during the days and interacted with decision makers, stakeholders and other young people from Denmark and abroad.
This Advocacy Tour was open for participants of the Academy of Change who wanted to express their views and test their political recommendations in debates with politicians and other decision makers.
In collaboration with the Portuguese Platform for Women's Rights, participants took part in different meetings and events. On the 9th of May, Europe Day, participants took part in an event to discuss Gender Equality and Rights in Europe.
Furthermore, the exhibition Art of Fundamental Rights, based on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, was exhibited in Lisbon being the center for debates about rights, values and democracy in Europe.
The conference, Participation, Democracy and Rights in a Digital World, focused on strengthening young people across Europe in discussing and participating in political processes. We invited young people from across Denmark and a smaller group of young people from different European countries to participate in the conference and discuss democracy in a digital world with a variety of high-level political decision-makers.
The youth debated with Morten Løkkegaard, Renew, Mikkel Vinter, Kritik Digital, Martin Ruby, and the Danish Foreign Minister, Jeppe Kofod. The discussions and recommendations from this conference were uploaded at the Conference on the Future of Europe platform, for concrete input on youth participation, democracy, and rights.
Participants participated in Brussels Economic Forum in Brussels which was marking the European Year of Youth and had a spotlight on youth in the program. Participants listened to the opening speech, and to panel discussions on accelerating the green transition in time of crisis, securing the future for Europe’s Youth with Kira Marie Peter Hansen, macroeconomics, and sustainable economic models.
This is how Anna, from Young Europe, described the demands of the European youth on the climate agenda when she was with Nyt Europa in Berlin in 2019 and spoke to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
Anna was subsequently allowed to comment on Ursula von der Leyen's speech at the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, on behalf of Nyt Europa.
Representatives from ‘Young Europe is Voting’ went to Brussels for the official launch of the ‘Ungdomsøen Manifesto'. Here they presented their demands to politicians and representatives from the European Parliament, the Commission, the Danish representation and lobby organizations. Both Danish members of Parliament and Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, spoke at the official presentation.
In Nyt Europa, we are fighting for citizens, and especially young people, to have more say in the debate. The Young Europe representatives were also given the opportunity to present the ‘Ungdomsøen Manifesto' to important decision makers.