This year we are celebrating Europe Day in an extraordinary context. On one hand, the war in Ukraine reminds us of the importance of peaceful cooperation. On the other hand, 2022 is the European Year of Youth, focusing on the importance of youngsters, who are the future of the EU.
Promoting the relations not only between states but also among citizens from different countries and cultures is essential to avoid wars. Building bridges and having common goals is the best way to assure peace and offer a bright future to the next generations. That is, in fact, one of the main objectives of the Union’s foundation.
Current youngsters have been born and have grown up with an established European Union. The Euro, the Erasmus projects, the Schengen area… are part of their daily life. Most of them have not known the Europe of internal borders and the different, national currencies. And, still, the Union is something remote for them.
Young people will be responsible for maintaining the European collaboration in the coming years, but how can they be involved in something they barely know? We need to reduce the distance between the European institutions and the young people in a systematic way, not only in specific contexts or moments.
Young people need to understand the Union, how it works and who is involved so that they can feel part of it. Making the EU accessible, in all senses, will empower and encourage them to become active European citizens. And that is our network’s goal: to build a more inclusive and participatory Europe by bringing it closer to the younger citizens.