Shortly before the European elections, young people show what future they want for Europe
Under the title “Young Europe”, the TUI Foundation in cooperation with the independent think tank iRights.Lab from Berlin launched a hands-on project on the future of Europe in November 2018. Young people in Germany between the ages of 16 and 26 were invited to talk about their vision of the future of Europe and how they imagine their lives in Europe. There were no limits to the type of contributions they could make. More than 100 submissions deal with the future of Europe.
All submissions formed the basis for the “Charta of Young Europe”. In early 2019, 20 of the young people who took part in the competition were invited to a workshop in Berlin. There they worked together on the Charter, and speakers from politics and the media had given them insights beforehand. On the basis of the submissions, the young people developed their own ideas for the Charter and intensively discussed them. The complete Charter can be downloaded from www.young-eu.com .
“With its work, the TUI Foundation wants to give young people a voice in the European political debate. In view of the upcoming European elections, the competition is an opportunity to become part of the public dialogue on Europe,” says Elke Hlawatschek, Managing Director of the TUI Foundation.
This week, some of the workshop participants have come to Berlin to personally present “their” Charter to German politicians. Just in time for the European elections at the end of May, they want to bring their ideas about the future of Europe directly into politics.
On Tuesday they were invited by the Federal President to Bellevue Castle. There the “Forum Bellevue” took place, a panel discussion on Europe. And on the fringes of the event, the young people had the opportunity to present a copy of their Charter to Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
The event continued on Wednesday: The leader of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, Ralph Brinkhaus, took his time to meet the group. For most of them it was the first time in the Bundestag – which is why the tour through the parliament buildings after the meeting was another highlight of the visit of the young people. Ralph Brinkhaus was particularly interested in whether the young people would like to continue their commitment to Europe after the European elections. In the group, most of them will definitely do so! The political Berlin continued on Thursday. The Secretary General of the SPD, Lars Klingbeil, also received the group in the Bundestag, he accepted the Charter from the young people. For him the youth today is clearly more political. Lars Klingbeil had lively discussions with the young people about topics such as digitisation, the strengthening of human rights, the promotion of education and European exchange as well as questions of a just and social Europe.
“After the committed work on content by all those involved in the process of drafting the Charter, our task now is to transmit the results to where political decisions are made. With the handover to the Federal President, the CDU/CSU parliamentary group leader in the German Bundestag and the SPD Secretary General, important and influential representatives have been reached. Now politics is in the duty and we remain on it,” said Philipp Otto, Managing Director of iRights.Lab.