New project to re-engage young people on why Europe matters

24 March 2017

Europe will only overcome the current political crisis if the next generation of Europeans cares about the EU and is ready to engage to further advance the European project.

  • A major new initiative labelled ‘Why Europe Matters’ is today being launched to re-engage Europe’s youth in a multinational debate with politicians and business leaders
  • The European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT) and JA Europe are to survey more than 10,000 youngsters about their hopes and concerns
  • The cross-border project – launched to mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome – aims to increase enthusiasm and interest in forging a stronger Europe

The aspirations of those Europeans most affected by economic and political turmoil across Europe in recent years are to be addressed as part of a major new initiative that seeks to re-engage young people in a cross border debate.

Terrorism, politics, the Euro and migration have dominated the front pages of newspapers across Europe and have taken their toll on the hopes and ambitions of people aged between 16 and 24-years old. While youth unemployment continues to fall across the content, a fifth of all those aged between 16 and 24-years-old remain out of work.

Yet Europe’s youth remains the EU’s greatest source of inspiration and opportunity, the very foundations of the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community on 25 March 1957. Only by making youth a priority and re-engaging with the visions, concerns and ideas of young people can Europe hope to overcome the challenges which have rocked it and renew confidence that stability can return.

 “By teaming up with the ERT, we aim to contribute to a stronger and more entrepreneurial Europe—one that is making the most of its youngest human capital. We need more entrepreneurs and new growing businesses in Europe and these, in turn, need skilled and enterprising employees. We also need to hear what young people think about Europe and what they want it to become. It’s their ideas that will sustain it in the future,” says Caroline Jenner, CEO at JA Europe.

 “It is vital to understand the hopes and expectations of young people to further advance and improve the European project. This joint initiative with JA Europe is an attempt to re-engage young people in a dynamic dialogue on where they think Europe should be heading.” says Brian Ager, Secretary General at ERT.

The partnership aims to involve young people in a series of activities around the theme of ‘Why Europe Matters’. Based on a survey among young people and their perceptions of Europe’s future, several design thinking workshops will be organised across Europe involving young people and business leaders. They will exchange views on their vision about the EU, how they do/would like to benefit from it, how to better hear young people’s voices, and discuss topics such as Europe’s economic development and youth employment. A final event gathering all stakeholders involved in the project and EU policy-makers will take place in the 1st quarter of 2018.

 Promoting a stable and peaceful Europe is a shared responsibility.