- Fourth and last event of the project with the presence of partners, employees of the institutions and young people from exchange programmes.
- The project has lasted two years and has focused on the involvement of young people in European affairs.
28/06/2023, Brussels. Last Thursday 22nd June 2023, the closing event of the YOUth & EU project, focused on the involvement of young people in European affairs, took place. The event consisted of three panels in which the project partners (Finnova, Benaguasil City Council and Europa Union Frankfurt), officials from European institutions such as the Parliament and the Commission and young people with experience in exchange programmes took part.
The session started with the intervention of Juan Manuel Revuelta, CEO of Finnova, who reaffirmed the Foundation’s commitment to youth and pointed out some of the challenges that young people face, such as mental health or hate on social networks. In turn, Revuelta pointed to the lack of training and youth employment as another challenge to be addressed, while highlighting community actions such as the Youth Guarantee, which gives young people the opportunity to have a first professional experience when it comes to jumping into the labour market. To close the inauguration, Revuelta addressed the representatives of the other two partners of the project, the city council of Benaguasil and Europa Union Frankfurt, to thank them for their commitment to the project, “for joining a project that reflects the values of the Union”.
Klaus Klipp, President of Europa Union Frankfurt, also aligned himself with the ideas put forward by Revuelta, adding that his organisation advocates a stronger Union. Focusing on the project, Klipp highlighted several points, such as the fact that it is important to talk about the problems affecting Europe. Stephane Soriano, councillor for European funds of the municipality of Beniguasil, thanked the partners for the possibility of being part of the project, and considered that “a link has been created beyond the project”.
The second section, which focused on the importance of young people in the European Union, began with the participation of Tatjiana Babaruskiene, Head of International Relations of the Lithuanian Trade Union for Education, Training and Science at the European Economic and Social Committee. During her speech, Babaruskiene highlighted the creativity and enthusiasm that young people bring to their environment, and stressed the need for them to play a greater role in European policies. Babaruskiene insisted that the European institutions must open the way for the entry of “a younger perspective, because what is designed today will be the tools of the future”.
Naír Carrera took the floor to talk about young workers and the need to train them digitally. As she explained, “many of today’s professions use digital tools, and we must learn to use them as they improve efficiency and the results to be obtained”. In addition to providing context on job concepts such as soft skills (technical tools) and hard skills (interpersonal tools), Carrera took the opportunity to give some insight into the Digital Education Action Plan 2021-2027, an initiative to support the sustainable and effective adaptation of education and training systems to the digital age. To complement his explanation, Carrera listed different programmes that draw on the DEAP, such as the SELFIE programme or the creation of guides for teachers on artificial intelligence and disinformation.
The next speaker was Livio Lookbeek, head of public relations at the European Parliament Office in Belgium. In this case, the central theme was the involvement of young people in decision-making in the European Union, and he presented different examples that have been given in EU countries in favour of this proposal, such as the lowering of the legal voting age to 16. “The institutions approve initiatives that affect us in our daily lives, such as the limit on the use of single-use plastics or the universal charger,” he said, speaking of the need to have a politically active young population. Lookbeek closed the second panel by encouraging young people to participate in political life, bringing up examples such as the together.eu platform, which is dedicated to involving as many people as possible in the democratic life of Europe.
The last panel of the day revolved around the guide of opportunities and good practices carried out during the project and testimonials from young people who have participated in exchange programmes. The panel was opened by Alejandro Gutiérrez de Terán, junior member of the projects team at Finnova, who explained the details of a guide that has three main objectives: to tackle youth unemployment, promote cultural exchange and strengthen the workforce. The section on opportunities for young people includes initiatives and activities related to participation, education and culture, while the chapter on good practices highlights the use of innovative ideas previously tested to propose effective actions and successful Erasmus + projects.
This was followed by testimonials from young people in their respective exchange programmes, a round that was started by Julia Salabaraas, a participant in the Interreg Volunteer Youth programme. Salabaraas worked with the Interreg Atlantic Area project, part of the European Solidarity Corps, and was involved in communication and event planning.
The next speaker was Raúl Cortés, a member of the legal and European projects team at Finnova. “A vital experience” were the words of Cortés to define his stay in Poland in 2018 while studying Law, on the occasion of his participation in the Erasmus + programme. He took his turn to explain the skills he acquired during his experience, such as soft skills and knowledge of foreign law.
Alberto Pastor, a member of Finnova’s finance and administration team who is enjoying his first work experience thanks to the Erasmus + programme, closed the speeches. Pastor will remain part of the team until September and believes that this first experience will open him many doors for the future.
The day was closed by Juan Viesca, director of European Funds at Finnova, who insisted on conveying the activity of the EU and its institutions to young people. Viesca wanted to summarise the importance of the project in two ideas: the smooth functioning of the European Union despite its complexity and the message of peace and solidarity that surrounds the European project.
If you were not able to follow the event live, or if you want to listen to the presentations again, you can do so through this link on our Youtube channel.
About YOUth & EU
YOUth and EU is a project co-funded by the European Union, in the framework of the Youth Participation Activities of the Erasmus+ Programme, whose main objective will be to bring the EU closer to young people through training, mobility, employability and participation opportunities. About the project partners The project is led by Finnova in consortium with the Benaguasil Town Council and the Europa Union Frankfurt association.
Finnova is a Spanish-Belgian non-profit foundation based in Brussels and Spain, working for the promotion and development of innovation and entrepreneurship in the EU. Finnova’s experience in leading communication and dissemination activities for European projects is combined with a strong track record in business creation and entrepreneurship support programmes, such as accelerators, incubators and events, as well as its commitment to training and employability of young people.