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Your Europe, Your Say 2013! Envisioning 2030 societies

One hundred school students from all over Europe came together in Brussels to make their voices heard at the Your Europe, Your Say simulated plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). Part of the event featured an interactive brainstorming session facilitated by the Digital Futures Task Force. During this session, the students discussed their vision of the future of Europe focusing on the fifteen visionary priorities proposed by the EESC, i.e.:

  1. Develop the European concept of access to first-time employment
  2. Erasmus for all
  3. European universities
  4. Respect gender parity
  5. European internet access
  6. European statutes
  7. A common teaching syllabus in secondry schools
  8. Recognition for a European identity
  9. Replace dubbing with subtitling
  10. Make better use of space programmes
  11. Develop the idea of a European mainstream television channel
  12. EU bursaries for students from low-income families
  13. Encourage youth entrepreneurship
  14. Involve young citizens in EU decision making
  15. Encourage environmental measures as a source of economic growth

The event aimed to contribute to the EESC's objective of collecting student's views regarding the new EESC political priorities, so as to help to frame the scope of EESC future activities during its next mandate. It ended with the students voting to select the top 3 most important priorities, which the students then presented to EESC President, Mr. Henri Malosse. The top 3 selected priorities were (in order of preference):

 

 

Below is an account of how the interactive brainstorming session went


Imagine a bright, airy room located at the heart of the European Quarters in Brussels. Picture 15 neatly arranged desks, equipped with large sheets of paper and colourful marker pens. At the front of the room, mic’d up and ready to begin, stand Maria and Odysseas, a pair of facilitators. Finally, envisage the key component of this scene: students and teachers coming from each of the EU’s 27 Member States filling every seat in the room. Seated round the same tables are also EESC representatives. Is it a dream? Not at all! It is the wonderful group of people who came together for the Your Europe, Your Say Youth Plenary Session, to discuss the future of the EU. And who better to discuss the future with than with Europe’s young people, the future personified?

To start off the session, Maria and Odysseas welcomed the participants and explained the purpose of the workshop: envisioning the future of Europe, with a focus on the fifteen visionary priorities proposed by the EESC. Then, to energise the group, open minds and trigger the creativity, students were taken through an ice-breaking “constellation” session. Moving across the room, they formed groups according to the region they came from (North, South, Central, East and West), their favourite topic at school and their perception of the level of change in Europe. 

With everyone’s engines warm, it was now time to set off for the future by imagining the news headlines of 19 April 2030: what do they say? Which of the 15 priorities have happened? What has changed in the world?

 
Students then shared their visions with the rest of the group – but not just as a presentation. The formats were among the most creative, ranging from sketches of a news broadcasting programme to an adaptation of Armstrong’s “What a wonderful world” into “What a wonderful Europe”.  

Next came the “ritual dissent”: based on the future visions elaborated in the previous session and on each of the 15 priorities (one per table), students spelled out the key actions they thought would need to take place from 2013 onwards in order to make the priorities materialize. These actions took the form of an elevator pitch for the 15 priorities. This was a true co-creation exercise, as each table appointed a spokesperson who presented the pitch to three other groups and gathered their comments and suggestions. Having shared this feedback with the original group and refined and polished the pitch accordingly, the elevator pitches were presented to the room.
 
The session ended with participants diving into a democratic vote of the 15 priorities, to select the three most important ones that would be presented to the President of the EESC, Mr. Henri Malosse, and the plenary.  
 
Date & Time: 
Friday, 19 April, 2013 - 09:00 to 17:30
Venue: 
Brussels, European Economic and Social Committee
Event Type: 
conference
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