Action Plan to Promote the Commitment of Citizens in Europe
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Action Plan to Promote the Commitment of Citizens in Europe Action Plan to Promote the Commitment of Citizens in Europe Document Transcript

  • CONVENTION DES JEUNES CITOYENS EUROPEENS 2013 Action plan to promote the commitment of citizens in Europe ENGLISH VERSION
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  • 2 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS We would like to thank the animation team for their perfect supervision and for those 10 fascinating, enlightening and positive days. This convention created some wonderful memories for us all, thanks to this great team. We have learned a lot, developed our opinions and exchanged our different points of view. We would also like to thank the Centre de Conférences Internationales de Cluny and the Ecole des Arts et Métiers Cluny for having welcomed us in their school. Thank you to the co-presidents Christine Chevignard and Aurélien Besnard. Thank you to Serge and Mireille for their warm welcome and the flawless organization of this week. We thank the mayor of Cluny, Jean-Luc Delpeuch, for supporting the convention the way he does. Thank you to the experts who came to share their experiences with us: Diana Wallis, Willem Maas, Martine Méheut, Chiara Palieri, Philippe Lambert and Francesco Marchi. Last but not least, we thank the cooking team who prepared very good meals for us every day. We are all very happy with this experience, and think it will be a very valuable asset for us in our future endeavors. We strongly encourage other young people to participate, because we believe they can help us create a bright future for Europe. Thank you all. The Cluny convention participants.
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  • 4 TABLE OF CONTENTS Acknowledgments...................................................................................................................... 2 Introduction................................................................................................................................ 8 Institutional Setting.................................................................................................................. 11 Description............................................................................................................................ 11 Tasks......................................................................................................................................12 Financial Support .................................................................................................................. 12 Tasks of our Association...........................................................................................................13 Youth policy........................................................................................................................... 13 Education........................................................................................................................... 13 Employement..................................................................................................................... 15 European Citizens Rights.......................................................................................................17 Communication..................................................................................................................... 19 Media.................................................................................................................................19 Citizens............................................................................................................................... 20 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................ 25
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  • 6 FROM THE 7TH TO THE 17TH OF JULY 2013, THE CONVENTION OF YOUNG EUROPEAN CITIZENS GATHERED 33 PARTICIPANTS FROM 20 EUROPEAN AND EXTRA-EUROPEAN COUNTRIES. This year’s topic, “Europe: a citizen's choice” has given the participants an opportunity to engage in interesting debates and fruitful discussion about different perspectives of citizenship not only within the member states of the European Union but also outside. This dynamic group of young citizens was joined by many experts from the European institutions and public space during the ten day program. Thanks to the special technique of the “open space”, students discussed various topics and learned how to listen to others while exchanging different kinds of ideas. The participants are very pleased to present you the results of their discussion, the common project, which is supposed to influence young people in the EU: the Action Plan to Promote the Commitment of Citizens in Europe.
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  • 8 INTRODUCTION 2013 is dedicated to the citizens of Europe, as it marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of European citizenship under the Maastricht Treaty. The main challenges proclaimed by the European Commission are raising awareness of citizenship rights, stimulate citizens’ active participation in EU policy-making and develop a debate about the impact as well as the potential of the right to move freely. We, the young inhabitants and therefore citizens of Europe, feel the need to express our ideas on the promotion of the European citizenship, because we strongly believe that it is one of the most important projects of the European Union. We also perceive that the right to move freely is the basis for our common evolution and a united future. Although we are painfully aware that a genuine European identity has not developed yet, we are convinced that our generation represents the beginning of one such identity. We all feel European at some level, and a growing number of people already identify themselves as Europeans when travelling outside of our continent. The foundation of Europe is solidarity. However, there are many centrifugal factors at work in the Union, and outside, at the moment which are threatening this principle of friendship and cooperation. Especially during these troubling times, it is therefore of the utmost importance to remind ourselves of what Europe is all about. Europe is our future, and that is why we came here and drew up this action plan. Thus, we have to move beyond the current concept of retribution and contempt triggered by the financial crisis, and focus on the greater good that Europe can help us to achieve together. Citizenship is at the heart of the Union, but it has to be strengthened to contribute to our everyday life. Right now, Europe is losing touch with its citizens. The gap between institutions and people is becoming ever greater. European citizens have to get more involved and dedicated. Hence, we propose this action plan to promote the commitment of citizens in Europe. The plan focuses on raising awareness, as the crucial overall principle. As part of that, Europe has to emphasize its interaction with the ordinary citizen, portray itself in a more attractive way, and advertise citizens’ rights on a greater scale. While looking at various ways of engagement, we mainly focused on active citizenship. So what can each of us do? Due to the apparent failure of the EU to engage with its people, citizens therefore have to become active themselves. In this light, we perceive the need for building a bridge between the EU institutions and the European citizens, in order to make them feel like their voice is heard.
  • 9 Our main action thus consists of the establishment of a nonprofit association of Young European Citizens, registered in Belgium, which is open to everyone. It will organize events at the local level and EU-wide, centralize and circulate information. Meetings will take place at least twice every year, and the board of directors shall keep frequent contact. This action plan therefore proposes the principal actions of our association, which focus on youth policy, citizens’ rights and communication. Each of these topics is developed in turn.
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  • 11 INSTITUTIONAL SETTING Our goal at the Young European Citizen’s Convention in Cluny was to tackle the problems that impede the European citizens to ‘feel’ the EU to be a support and not only some external entity far away. With the outcome of the public space sessions we did in the last couple of days and after synthesizing the various contributions we arrived to the conclusion that in order to reach our goals in an effective and coherent way the best choice is to establish an association. Bearing in mind the concreteness of the actions we propose and the vast and encompassing dimensions of the challenges, we realize that our actions will be a drop in the ocean but even the most daring enterprise starts with one small step. DESCRIPTION The proposed Association will be a “not-for-profit association” named “#######” and will be registered in Brussels, due to its closeness to the EU institutions and to the flexibility of the Belgian legislation in terms of the activity abroad. The Association shall be registered for an unlimited duration. The principal goal of the Association is to create a bridge between the EU institutions and the citizens by addressing their needs in a concrete way and to enhance the feeling of a Union that supports and promotes citizenship rights. In order to do so, the Association will focus on the areas of education, communication and legal affairs, which are developed in the later chapters. The Association’s finality is not set, and therefore open to other realms which may be included in a more mature stage. Membership of the Association is granted to the founders of the Association and can be extended to everyone who is willing to commit to the goal of the Association according to the accession rules that are still to be defined. The Association will be run by a group of young and enthusiastic Europeans who will coordinate themselves principally by online sessions and eventually meet for plenary sessions not less than twice a year in the home country of one of the members. During these plenary sessions, the general direction of the Association will be discussed. Taking advantage of these meetings, the Association will also organize a series of events for the locals to promote and discuss about EU citizenship. The principal tool of the Association will be a web page on which the visitor can find the following: - A menu of services and freely downloadable informative material according to the different thematic areas. - A blog/ short articles on current EU issues.
  • 12 - A counseling service on citizenship rights in the EU. - Contact information. TASKS In order to achieve its objective, the Association will be entitled to the following not exhaustive set of tasks: - Apply for EU Funds - Lobby on all political level in order to raise awareness - Initiate and support petitions - Organize events - Engage in partnerships - Perform tasks appropriate to the goals, as long as they are not contradictory to the law FINANCIAL SUPPORT The Association will be supported by: - Yearly membership fees - EU Funds acquired for the projects - Private sponsors - Voluntary contributions of like-minded citizens - Fees of the seminars proposed
  • 13 TASKS OF OUR ASSOCIATION As we stated in the previous chapter, the tasks of our association are divided into three main areas of interest, which are crucial to achieve our goals. In this chapter, we present the principal actions of our association which will help raise awareness among the citizens of the European Union. YOUTH POLICY The main objective of this division is to promote the widespread knowledge of what their citizenship entails amongst European citizens. We decided to focus on education and employment issues within Europe and find ways to integrate a more European framework in our education systems. We believe that the ERASMUS and other exchange programs provide the necessary international experience, promoting the essence of European citizenship. The first four actions improve the general context of education in Europe, whereas the others are set to achieve concrete goals. EDUCATION ACTION 1: TO MODIFY THE ERASMUS & OTHER EXCHANGE PROGRAM Certain aspects should be reconsidered and need further development to enhance the study experience. For this purpose, we suggest to petition the EU on the following subjects: - Altering the reputation of exchange programs by promoting a more professional approach. We suggest eliminating exchange courses made primarily for exchange students, to encourage integration and interaction. - Adjusting the distribution of money by allocating the financial support after the final selection of all exchange students. - Introducing a common credential system (ECTS) avoiding a prolongation of study. ACTION 2: TO IMPROVE THE COOPERATION AMONG NATIONS AND RAISE THE LEVEL OF COMMUNICATION Considering that language is the foundation of communication and understanding, we focused on several different aspects of language education that would improve the coherence within the European Union. Furthermore, there should be a greater emphasis on ventures that contribute to the understanding of institutions and provide European citizens with academic experiences.
  • 14 For this purpose, we suggest: - Supporting language education at a young age, due to the fact that children assimilate more easily to new languages. - Facilitating connections between schools to encourage exchange programs and organize international summer camps. - Organizing a short stay in cities in which institutions of the European Union are residing. - Promoting bilingual school programs. - Encouraging internship networks and job forums to expand job markets for first and second year Bachelor students looking for the opportunity to gain working experience. - Supporting start-up businesses through the implementation of entrepreneurship courses in Universities. ACTION 3: TO EXTEND EQUAL ACCESS TO EDUCATION For this purpose, we suggest: - Campaigning for an improvement in recognizing diplomas/qualifications from other Member States, or at least set out clear rules: make the information accessible to everyone, on how their qualifications will be perceived, for better predictability. ACTION 4: TO PROMOTE THE EDUCATION OF EUROPEAN UNION HISTORY, INSTITUTIONS AND ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP For this purpose, we suggest to introduce Europe-wide seminars as part of the curriculum and extracurricular activity in secondary schools, concerning EU history and institutions, and active European citizenship which will promote social and political participation among young people. The seminars concerning the topics of European History and European Identity will be a compulsory component of the curriculum schedule, while schools will be able to decide whether to include the topics concerning European Economic Foundation, Introduction to European Union Institutions and Youth Involvement and Employment approaches as a part of the curricular or extracurricular schedule of the students. The seminars will be accessible to every willing student, offering academic recognition for their involvement and participation. Member States will be free to decide on the amount of extracurricular seminars per school year, the time at which they are held and their duration. Possible topics include:
  • 15 - Understanding European History: Effects and Consequences (compulsory curriculum): In this topic, students will be given an insight into the European history and its link to current European events. - European identity (compulsory curriculum): An interactive presentation for better understanding of the different levels of identity –national identity and European identity. - The Concept and Practice of European Citizenship: Many students are not familiar with their rights as European Citizens. In this topic, students will discuss their rights and will build and share their vision for the future of Europe. - Introduction to European Union Institutions: In this topic, students will gain an understanding of the different institutions of the European Union and their individual roles in the EU decision-making process. - Youth Involvement and Employment approaches: In this topic, students will be encouraged to engage in continuous dialogue with policy makers, to participate in various democratic institutions and to engage themselves in as many activities as possible. - Basic European Economic Foundation: As European Citizens we need to be aware of our current economic situation in order to engage and to understand the difficult measures needed to recover our economies. ACTION 5: TO CREATE A LIAISON BETWEEN YOUNG EUROPEANS AND THE FEELING OF BEING PART OF THE EU As the imaginary gap between the institutions and the citizens is widening, we believe it is extremely important to use this situation to bring especially young citizens closer to the EU and to actually get in touch with the EU institutions. For this purpose, we suggest: - Liaising with the Comité des Stagiaires of the European Commission in order to organize other social and cultural activities in Brussels EMPLOYEMENT ACTION 6: TO STRENGTHEN THE COOPERATION BETWEEN UNIVERSITIES AND CORPORATIONS/BUSINESSES For this purpose, we suggest: - Lobbying more businesses to offer their services in exchange and internship programs (Double degree programs, traineeships and graduate programs).
  • 16 ACTION 7: TO REWARD UNIVERSITIES WITH HIGH GRADUATE EMPLOYMENT RATES For this purpose, we suggest: - Petitioning the EU to collaborate closely with national governments in equally distributing monetary incentives to universities according to the employment rate of their students immediately after graduation. ACTION 8: TO PROMOTE EU-WIDE ENTREPRENEURSHIP COMPETITIONS Since the start of the global economic crisis in 2008, the youth unemployment has been on the rise in most European countries. Possible solutions lie with entrepreneurship, individual projects seeking outside funding, salary mechanisms and renewable energy – in which the youth of each member states could have an important role. The overall goal is to: create new jobs in the field of renewable energy, make member states more energy independent, emphasize interdependency among member states as well as through innovation in research, raise the competitiveness of Europe with respect to USA and Asia. For this purpose, we suggest: - Creating competitions on the local level for young business starters and social entrepreneurs with the support of local (national) budgets and external funds such as the European Social Fund (ESF). The participants should be: freshly graduated new entrepreneurs planning to set up their own business, aged from 18 to 30, residents of any EU member state. The decision about the winner of the competition will be made by local commission according to the profitability and competitiveness of the project. - Starting a citizens’ initiative or directly finding lobby organizations revolving around renewable energy/cleantech:  Sharing the know-how between member states: e.g. Finnish engineers and Greek solar power.  Involving the governments as well as private enterprises into the joint venture to guarantee the effectiveness of operations, directing generated revenue to the respective member states (instead of revenue flow out of the participant member states) and to make sure worker’s legislation is followed accordingly.  Funding for the joint venture may also come from EU innovation and youth unemployment funds - Promoting an action plan for better stimulation of youth employment: Costs of young employees (which includes salary, health insurance and social security) should be shared by the employer and either local or national government, or from a European fund, who would pay about 25 or 30 % of the full costs. Young employees can apply in the age of 18 – 26, if they are no more than 1 year from graduation. Support will
  • 17 be provided for 1 year. The minimum duration of this work relationship is 18 months, and their job has to be connected to their studies. EUROPEAN CITIZENS RIGHTS Our goal is to direct the European Union's actions towards a more unified citizenship, all the while protecting national identity and diversity. We want to ensure that every citizen can effectively exercise his/her rights fully and equally. For that purpose, the legal affairs commission identified several issues in which there is room for improvement. ACTION 9: TO RAISE AWARENESS ON EU CITIZENS’ RIGHTS AND HOW TO EXERCISE THEM In order to make EU citizens active participants of the community, they need to be well informed of the possibilities attached to their EU citizenship. It should be clear that they have a crucial role to play, and that their participation does have an impact. For this purpose, we suggest: - Creating citizen guidelines documentation: collect information and present it in a way which is accessible to a wide variety of individuals, and adapted to the targeted audience. It should be available in all 24 official and working EU languages (e.g.: guide book, posters etc.). Anyone who is interested could then use this documentation and present it in schools/universities/town halls etc. - Actively promoting European Parliament elections to come: organize conferences, meetings, presentations in the local communities, if possible with MEPs or other EU representatives. - Informing EU citizens of the actions and projects of the EU: at a local level, organize regular public conferences and workshops, with the participation of EU or state officials. ACTION 10: TO EQUALIZE EU CITIZENSHIP SO THAT ALL EU CITIZENS CAN BENEFIT FROM THE SAME RIGHTS IN THE SAME MANNER We need better integration in several areas in order to achieve equality between citizens. We have indeed noticed that although all Member States share the same set of fundamental rights (Charter of fundamental rights, European Convention on European Rights and other general principles), they are not implemented equally in all Member States, which leads to discrimination amongst citizens. We believe all EU citizens should be able to enjoy the same rights, no matter where they reside in the EU.
  • 18 For this purpose, we suggest: - Petitioning the EU and Member States to unify the EP voting systems in all Member States for an equal access to democracy. - Encouraging productive debate within and between Member States, by organizing trans-national events. ACTION 11: TO MAKE EP ELECTIONS MORE EUROPEAN The EP should represent EU citizens as such, rather than national citizens, in order to achieve a true European identity. The distinction and complementarity of EU citizenship should be put forward. For this purpose, we suggest: - Petitioning for the idea of European lists of candidates for elections, so that citizens can vote for a candidate who truly represents them, without regards for his nationality. This implies European-wide information about the candidates and their parties, for example by the creation of adequate documentation and the organization of events, such as teleconferences with candidates or their representatives, visits from the candidates or representatives in other Member States, easier access to contact the MEPs directly. EP elections should also be held at the same time in each Member State. ACTION 12: TO INTRODUCE NEW RIGHTS AND DUTIES To ensure that the EU continues developing in a democratic manner, citizens need to be more active. For this purpose, we suggest petitioning to: - Make voting mandatory. - Implement a more direct democracy by directly electing the commissioners and holding more referendums concerning EU affairs. - Instate a more powerful control over the implementation of fundamental rights, by a body independent from the States. - Establish a mandatory 3 months internship in an EU institution or the administration of another Member State, for students or other young citizens who finished school. This would enable them to truly understand the challenges which are raised at the EU level in any field they are interested in. This “European gap year” could be either paid or compensated by covering living expenses (accommodation, food, transport etc.).
  • 19 COMMUNICATION Our main goal is to reduce the distance between European citizens and the European Union’s institutions and officials. We want the citizens to be informed, interested and active. To reach an interactive relationship between those two actors, we want media to show transparency, to criticize in a constructive way and to promote the advantages of the European Union. MEDIA ACTION 13: TO PROVIDE AN OBJECTIVE WAY OF INFORMATION FOR THE POPULATION Mostly, media is focusing on negative aspects of the European Union instead of informing people about the European Union to make them reflect about it. We want media to be an objective source of information. For this purpose, we suggest: - Campaigning for more constructive media coverage: Media should create public pressure on politicians in order to make them act by proposing solutions and criticize them in a constructive way instead of just blaming them. This will have an impact on both politicians and citizens who will start reflecting about current issues instead of just agreeing on media’s denunciations. ACTION 14: TO STRENGTHEN THE VOICE OF EUROPEAN CITIZENS In order to assure that the citizens’ opinion will be heard by the politicians, we propose a more intensive coverage of grassroots projects that are organized by the civil society. For this purpose, we suggest: - A department monitoring different activities of citizens concerning European issues to show that people try to contribute to the well-being of Europe and to implement European policies. ACTION 15: TO PROMOTE THE IDEA OF EUROPE THROUGH BRAND AMBASSADORS Our main goal is to construct a European identification between ordinary people and celebrities from different European countries. For this purpose, we suggest: - Finding and encouraging brand ambassadors:
  • 20 Brand ambassadors are famous persons who have an influence on media and whose popularity can be used to promote the advantages of being a European citizen and to improve the unity among European countries. This can be famous actors, leaders, singers, politicians, sport players, etc. European citizens should be able to identify with the people they admire and who share the same European values. They should give an honest example of active European citizenship and induce European citizens to reflect about the European Union. ACTION 16: TO REINFORCE THE FEELING OF A EUROPEAN IDENTITY We want to give a broader range of political, economic, but also cultural information about the European Union’s member states that is not biased on national convictions. For this purpose, we suggest: - Campaigning for the launch of a European channel, in the manner of the Franco- German channel Arte: Arte television is a partnership between different European countries. We would like to transform this channel to a partnership that includes every member state of the European Union. Each country will share its own culture with the rest of Europe. Each program will be translated or subtitled to avoid any exclusion, but at the same time to make people hear other languages. It will help people to become more open and interested in other people’s work and lifestyles. The European channel will be focusing on general European matters such as brief news from different countries but also on political and economic matters. Point of views from each member state will be shared. It will be a news program for European citizens and not for “national citizens”. The European channel will become a vector of the European movement’s works, ideas and authors. Europe and the member states will subsidize this program and they will divide the airtime equally to each country. CITIZENS ACTION 17: TO REDUCE THE DISTANCE BETWEEN POLITICS AND THE WIDE PUBLIC Interaction of politicians with the citizens is necessary because, due to the democratic system of the European Union, they are accountable to the public who gave them their power and whom they represent. For this purpose, we suggest: - Petitioning to appeal to the politicians to make a move towards the citizens:
  • 21 Politicians should visit public institutions and public places in order to interact directly with the citizens and to share their personal views with the public. They should listen to the citizens and take their ideas and suggestions into consideration. ACTION 18: TO COUNTERACT THE DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT Since the problem of the democratic deficit in the EU is a sensitive issue deeply concerning European citizenship, it should be treated by the enhancement of representation of EU citizens. The main goal is not only to change the perception of an exclusionary EU, but to pay attention to citizens whose ideas could contribute to our development. For this purpose, we suggest: - Creating The Citizens’ Forum for Democracy: The Forum would be an international, democratic forum for the discussion of ideas and proposals concerning the EU and would provide the infrastructural conditions and a largely accessible lobby organization for those self-organizing local or international civil associations, NGOs, non-profit organizations etc., which could offer a proposal concerning the EU. The Forum could be financed by the European Foundation for Democracy, which defines its goals as: “building broad coalitions with transnational organizations” and “supporting through discourse: democracy and freedom, human rights, rule of law, gender equality, security, stability, and peace.” ACTION 19: TO RAISE AWARENESS OF THE YOUNG PUBLIC ABOUT CITIZENSHIP AND EUROPEAN COMMITMENT The aim is to entice young Europeans to develop a critical point of view on EU citizenship, on its advantages and its weaknesses. For this purpose, we suggest: - Extending the application of “serious gaming” to a wider public (30-60 years old Europeans with kids) and to educational environments. - Petitioning to assure a better communication with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs concerning the insertion of this type of educational support in the educational program. This will be realized through a playful approach, based in the concept of classic games. During the different stages of the games, people will discover different projects and systems like the Erasmus program, the elections of the MEPs, the introduction of the Euro, the freedom of movement, the common agricultural policy, the main treaties, the Charter of fundamental rights and its application. This will lead to a reflection on the future of
  • 22 European identity and engagement. Without idealizing the European Union, the term of Europeanness will be brought closer to the citizens in a simplified way which will result in a more visible and stronger expression of the European citizens’ engagement. ACTION 20: TO SUBSIDIZE COMMUNICATION CENTERS IN DIFFERENT REGIONS AND LOCAL PLACES European actors have already understood that they are too far away from the citizens. That’s why they have decided to work in a more local aspect. To respond to this problem, Europe has created a network of information centers, documentation centers and speakers in every EU country. However, many people are not aware of their existence. Nowadays European actors are too passive, they are waiting for people to ask for information. We want them to get more active in the local society thanks to local European events, games or contests. For this purpose, we suggest: - Improving the structure of Europe direct. We would like to give more money to it, in order to guarantee a bigger impact of Europe direct in local places. Actors will interact with the local public administration to help them be present at any local event and to organize many discussions about European matters. ACTION 21: TO MAKE THE FIRST STEP TOWARDS EUROPEAN CITIZENS AND TO GUARANTEE EXCHANGE We want to reach out to the Eurosceptic population and to facilitate an exchange of ideas and opinions. We want to create a participatory campaign that travels directly to the people, into their villages and towns. For this purpose, we suggest: - The travelling caravan: The caravan is a mobile meeting space where citizens can express themselves and exchange their hopes and fears concerning Europe. The hosts of the travelling caravans, young European citizens (for example former participants of the Cluny Convention) invite to discussions in public spaces in their country, libraries, universities, old age homes, community centers etc. They listen to people’s stories to find out why Europe is leaving so many people indifferent. At every destination, new testimonies are added, creative ideas for the future of Europe are shared. We will involve a maximum of people through art workshops and welcome parties (similar to the European evening of the CCIC Convention) accessible to everyone and promoted by the media as well as in social networks. The
  • 23 caravan will become a symbol for European mobility, bringing people from different backgrounds together. ACTION 22: TO ENHANCE AND PROFIT FROM DIVERSITY AND TO REDUCE THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE EU AND EU CITIZENS Our common European future depends on our ability to openly accept and encourage our different cultures, which are making the European Union unique and exceptional. The media only shows a narrow vision of EU Member States. Even worse, they completely disregard some of them. Citizens don’t feel concerned and connected to other Member States. For this purpose, we suggest: - Creating European Cultural Centers. These centers will aim to establish a common European idea based on a cross-cultural understanding and tolerance. They should be established in every major city in Europe and should be set in an easy-access location. The centers will serve European cultural interests by hosting a variety of events. Potential future projects of the Cultural Centers include: - Cultural Festivals: Everyone will be able to come together and celebrate and explore new and exciting cultural differences. - Explore EU Cuisine: Cooking Seminars in which participants will get to try a variety of different European foods as well as the opportunity to exchange recipes and present their own masterpieces. - Language Cafés: These ‘café sessions’ will offer the unique opportunity for language exchange. Participants will exchange common knowledge, and the dialogue will be conducted in a multitude of languages from all around Europe. - The week of Europeanness: This project unites local, national and European initiatives concerning European aspects of solidarity and the European citizens’ initiative. Inspired by the « semaine de la Francophonie » and « semaine du goût », this annual event would be a chance for citizens to discover how the EU works, to think about the notion of Europeanness, and to get a better idea of EU workers. The activities proposed are aimed in priority at citizens aged between 12 and 25 years old, but also at extra-curricular entities working with young people (such as associations, local communities, youth centers etc.). Most activities should be free of charge. During a week, several activities and events will take place, to bring EU institutions closer to the citizens: open days, debates, conferences, concerts, contests, exhibits, discussions, workshops etc.
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  • 25 CONCLUSION The main goal of the Association is to raise awareness amongst young citizens of the European Union. We want to tackle this issue by targeting activities at young people, as we believe they are the future of the European spirit. We propose these actions as a way to strengthen the position of the EU, inform the public about their rights, and most importantly to reduce what is perceived as a gap between the institutions and young citizens. With these propositions, we hope to make EU institutions closer to citizens, and make them feel like their voice is heard. All of these actions can be accomplished with a little bit of motivation by anyone interested in participating in these projects. We want to create a platform of young people who believe in the European goals and want to be involved. They would become organizers of these activities within their own countries and also at the European level. The Association proclaims to work on the basis of equity and equality. For the more technical points, petitions to the EP should be made. To help us achieve this project, the support of anyone already involved with EU affairs or with decision-making powers at a more local/regional level would be greatly appreciated. European citizenship is the first link for an ordinary citizen to feel the presence of the European Union. We therefore appeal to our fellow citizens to take the initiative and try to create a better Europe for all of us, and especially for the next generations.