The European Youth Event (EYE) is an opportunity for young Europeans to make their voices heard. The second time this event took place − in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 20-21 May 2016 − a group of young people participating in the STYLE project took part. The next event will take place in June 2018.
In May 2016, 7,500 young people aged 16-30 made their way to Strasbourg, France, to raise their voices and come together to debate, discuss and mobilise. A report of the EYE 2016 is available online, while EYE participants had the opportunity to present the most concrete ideas produced by young people to a number of parliamentary committees and to receive feedback from Members of the European Parliament.
Innovative experience of political participation
As part of the EYE, the European Youth Forum organises the YO!Fest – Youth Opinion Festival (EYE 2016) – a political youth-led festival taking place in front of the European Parliament. This festival aims at bringing young people closer to political institutions and giving them a space for dialogue. Thanks to its combination of high-level political debates, interactive workshops, education activities, simulation games, live music and artistic performances, YO!Fest creates a unique, fun and innovative experience of participation in political life for young people.
Young people’s recommendations
Many groups of young people took part in this experience; the STYLE SQUAD of young advisors to the project were there – making it loud! The STYLE SQUAD came from Poland, Spain and the UK. During the event, they exchanged ideas and perspectives on youth-related issues, developed innovative solutions to crucial questions for the future and met with European decision-makers and speakers with a wide range of professional experience.
Let’s youth up politics
When 72% of 16/18-24 year-olds do not vote but more than 50% of 65+ year-olds do (EES 2014), young people’s interests are less and less a priority for political institutions − and this cannot be justified by a ‘disengagement’ of young people from politics. There are some common misconceptions regarding young people’s so-called ‘disengaged’ relationship with politics, and it is time to recognise the need to look beyond elections and electoral turnout. The emergence of individualised, immediate and non-representative styles of politics − associated with protests, petitions and social movements − presents challenges to traditional politics but also many opportunities (EYF 2015). We need to find ways to bring young people’s issues into the political arena and to adapt political institutions to the political imagination of young people – these are two objectives of the EYE event!
Join the EYE 2018!
The third EYE will take place on 1-2 June 2018 with the motto of the event being ‘the plan is to fan this spark into a flame’. Young people who want to take part need to register on the website of the European Parliament (#EYE2018) between October and December 2017. Let’s show again next year that there is an interest among young people in the politics of organising, mobilising and contesting power from the outside.
EES. 2014. European Parliament Election Study 2014. http://europeanelectionstudies.net/european-election-studies/ees-2014-study.
EYF. 2015. Young People and Democratic Life in Europe, European Youth Forum, 2015. https://www.youthup.eu/app/uploads/2015/11/YFJ_YoungPeopleAndDemocraticLifeInEurope_B1_web-9e4bd8be22.pdf.