Youth competition



"My Road to Europe starts at home" is a competition, which addresses team of secondary school students in Poland. The competition purpose is to encourage young citizens to get familiar with the EU Budget, to search for relevant information, write a joint essay, make a presentation of the essay conclusions and submit an entry to the competition website.

While preparing entries to the competition, the participating student teams are expected to acquire and consolidate skills of searching, classifying, and categorising, summarising information and presentation design. They are also expected to experience peer-to-peer discussions on the EU Budget, team work and decision making on the essay's structure, style and presentation.

Before taking part in the competitions, participants are advised to check the online resources on the EU Budget, which are provided on the competition website. The resources contain information about the budget, how it works, and how it influences the day-to-day life of Europeans.

The use of the online resources may help increase the understanding of the EU Budget related questions and may contribute to improving the quality of the competition entries.


The youth competition is launched in the second semester of 2011, when Poland has taken over the European Union presidency. The competition takes place under the patronage of the EU Commissioner for Financial Programming and Budget Mr. Janusz Lewandowski and of the EU Officials who take part in the "Back to School" event in Poland, scheduled in the week of 3 -10 November 2011.

Age group

The competition is open to students who attend secondary and vocational schools in Poland. Participants should be grouped in teams (from two to maximum four members) and be led by a teacher.

Competition theme

The competition theme is "the EU Budget".

Format of the competition entry

The competition entry should be in two parts:

  1. A joint essay

    Participants are invited to choose one of the following questions and answer it through an essay:

    • How did the EU Budget contribute to developing my local community?
    • If you were the Commissioner responsible for EU budget, what would you suggest to be financed from EU budget?
    • In your view, what is the added value of the EU Budget?

    The essay must not be longer than 1000 words, including the header (title).

  2. A presentation of the essay conclusions

    Participants are encouraged to organise and introduce their essay conclusions through a presentation which can be in one of the following formats:

    • a Power Point presentation (pdf, ppt, pps, pptx, ppsx, odp or any other piece of software for presentation),
    • a short video of maximum three minutes (Recommended formats: wmv, mov, swf or avi),
    • an audio file (preferably mp3, which is the most common audio format),
    • a webpage (HTM or HTML),
    • or .epub or .djvu

Whichever format, the presentation must include the conclusions of the joint essay.

When ready, both essay and presentation can be entered to the competition by accessing this online form.

Each entry must be accompanied by specific information about the participants, school and coordinating teacher.

Entry language

Both parts of the competition entry must be in one of the following languages: English, French or German. This would be an opportunity for the participants to experience essay writing and presentation in a second language. The competition is also an opportunity for language teachers to propose a European-related activity into their curriculum, whose outcomes can get European visibility.

How to organise the competition in the classroom

  • Teachers can invite individual students to get organised in teams (minimum two members, maximum four members);
  • A team chooses one from the three given essay questions that are proposed by the organisers;
  • Based on the teaching and learning online resources from the competition website, or any others, the coordinating teacher assigns the responsibilities within the team;
  • The team establishes the key elements of the essay, namely introduction, paragraphs, evidence, conclusions.

    Some suggestions for the essay writing:

    1. Introduction: context and background, interpretation of the question and structure outline (informing reader about how the text is structured);
    2. Paragraphs: introducing the paragraph's purpose, presenting evidence and comments, linking with the next paragraph;
    3. Evidence adds credibility to arguments, increases viewpoint authority. Evidence may consist of experts' opinions, personal judgments or results from studies and real life situations;
    4. Conclusion: it should demonstrate that the writers have answered the essay question. It should summarise the main arguments and highlight the major essay viewpoints.
  • The team drafts and edits the essay to compress the essay in no more than 1000 words, including the title;
  • The team gets organised to draft a presentation and choose one of the four given options of its format;
  • The team submits the final version of the entry (which must be in two parts, an essay and presentation), by accessing the competition website.

Terms and conditions

  1. Eligibility

    All schools and organisations that are in charge of curricular and extra-curricular school activities, and which are based in Poland, can encourage students to submit entries to the competition. Only the entries supported by a school or an organisation in charge of extra-curricular school activities will be considered. The entries must be supervised by a teacher.

  2. Number of entries per school/organisation

    There is no limit to the number of entries that may be sent by a school or organisation.

  3. Competition deadline

    The deadline for submissions is 31 January 2012 midnight. Any entries that are submitted after this date will not be considered.

  4. Evaluation

    Evaluation will be carried out by a group of judges, following the closing date, in two phases, in February and March 2012.

    In the first evaluation phase, the judges will select the best 10 entries for each of the three languages. This shortlist will therefore include 30 finalist teams who will be announced on the competition website.

    In the second evaluation phase, the judges will select three winning teams, the best entry to each language section of the competition: English, French and German. The judges will also award a special prize for the most original presentation.

  5. Evaluation criteria

    Both the essay and presentation must convey a clear and well-structured message. The entries will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

    1. Essay

      • Argument: a strong central idea that is related to the essay question;
      • Organisation: a clear, logical organisation of the text with well developed major points that are supported with concrete and specific evidence; clear introduction, middle and conclusions; effective transitions between ideas and appropriate language and expressing ideas freshly and vividly;
      • Mechanics: free of mechanical, grammatical, and spelling errors.
    2. Presentation

      • Introducing the essay conclusions: relevance to topic (key message is visible and well expressed throughout the presentation, no matter what form of expression is chosen);
      • Originality: original ideas that convey a message which is embedded into a balanced visual/audio composition, its concept, style, layout and design;
      • Audiovisual impact: an attractive work showing quality of the design, care and effort to communicate a clear and relevant message.
  6. Prizes

    The 30 finalist teams will receive prizes by regular mail. The four winning teams together with their coordinating teachers will be invited to attend a ceremony awards in Brussels, around 9 May 2012.

    All participants will receive EU gadgets, a certificate of participation and a thank you letter signed by Mr Janusz Lewandowski, Commissioner for Financial Programming and Budget.

  7. Legal and ethical issues

    The European Commission reserves the right to adapt the rules and awards at any time. Any notifications on possible changes will be published on the competition website and will apply from the publication date.

    All participants must comply with European copyright laws. Entries may not contain statements, facts, information or quotations that may denigrate or harm any person or group of people.

    Entries may not contain statements, facts, information or quotations that may encourage persecution of people on the grounds of race, opinion, nationality, sex, profession or other persuasion, nor may entries encourage crime or the breaking of laws.

  8. Disqualification of entries

    The European Commission may decide to disqualify an entry if it has not been submitted in time, partly or as a whole; or if the entry breaks any of the rules under "Legal and ethical issues".

  9. Reproduction rights

    The European Commission reserves the right to improve, edit, expand, modify and reproduce the entries from the date of submission.

  10. General information

    The competition is being managed by Directorate General for Budget (DG BUDGET) of the European Commission. Questions about the competition can be sent through our contact page.

Teacher guide

This guide is intended to provide basic information and some technical details that should be considered by the teachers who involve their students in My Road to Europe starts at home youth competition.

  1. Entry format

    Entries to the competition must be submitted online by using the appropriate submission forms. Each entry must be accompanied by specific information about the school, teacher(s) and contributing students.

    An entry (contribution) to the competition should be composed of two parts: 1) an essay and 2) a presentation.

  2. Essay format

    The text of the essay can be either prepared prior to the submission or typed online in the required field of the online submission form. If the text is prepared beforehand, it should be saved on a computer. To add the text to the submission form, teachers are advised to open the text file and proceed accordingly to copy and paste the content into the required field(s).

  3. Presentation format and size

    The presentation format can be one of the followings: a Power Point file, a short video (of maximum three minutes), an audio file (preferably mp3) or a webpage. The presentation must accompany the essay.

    The file size should not exceed 10 megabytes (MB).

    If the presentation is larger than the accepted size limit we recommend teachers and their students to reduce the size accordingly by using the appropriate software. They can also ask for help and guidance the ICT teachers in their schools.

    The participants must make sure that the size and format of the file accompanying the essay text comply with the requirements mentioned above. The European Commission cannot accept responsibility for lost, damaged or incorrectly resized files.