On 8-9 October 2021, 5000 young Europeans descended on the European Youth Event in Strasbourg. Within the walls of the European Parliament, #StandForSomething held two workshops dedicated to enabling young people to share their views with Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).
Overall, 89 young participants joined the workshops with a further 22 youth activists leading the conversations. Four MEPs joined the panel sessions for these debates: Alex Agius Saliba, Eleonora Evi, Assita Kanko and Maria Walsh.
Both workshops followed the same format – first a set of simultaneous group discussions allowing every participant to share their thoughts in a safe space, followed by a plenary interaction with MEPs – but differed in the topics tackled. Six topics were discussed: Youth employment, Mental health, Discrimination, Sustainable consumption, Education and Youth democratic participation.
Participants highlighted a range of issues and opportunities. Many noted the necessity of strengthening mental health prevention in schools. Fighting discrimination with cross-border learning through education and social activities was also underlined, as well as the need for a reform in the education systems, to prepare young people for the needs of the 21st century.
Among the proposals brought up, participants put forward concrete ideas favouring sustainable consumption, such as introducing a clear labelling system across the EU countries with minimum standards, in order to reinforce accountability and awareness amongst EU citizens. Also on a hot topic was the idea of creating a climate change taskforce comprising sustainable farmers, climate activists and citizens from areas affected by climate change. The task force would be invited when discussing climate and environmental laws.
Regarding the topic of youth democratic participation, participants considered the implementation of a quota-system to ensure social diversity and ethnic inclusivity. The goal is for such a quota system to be transitional, with the ultimate aim for inclusivity to come naturally. Another proposal was centred around creating an EU platform with an age limit to gather all the documents related to young people. This would allow young people to access any information they need, but could also be used as a consultation tool of young generations.
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