The Community Enterprise of the Municipality of Thessaloniki – KEDITH- successfully implemented during Friday 12, Saturday 13, Sunday 14 and Monday 15 March 2021 the Transnational Workshop and Transnational Simulation of the European parliament activities in the framework of the EU funded project “Be Active – Shape Europe” from the Europe of Citizens Programme of the European Union.
At the online Transnational Activities participated 50 young Europeans aged between 15 – 30 years old from the 6 participating countries of the consortium partners, namely Greece, United Kingdom, Portugal, Italy, Slovenia and Bulgaria. Besides the young Europeans, the activities also attracted the interest of youth workers, civil society representatives, local authorities representatives, municipal employees, teachers of the Secondary education, but also several EU citizens, attracted to participate as observers to the discussions of youth on “The rise of Euroscepticism in Europe VS European elections”.
During Friday 12 of March, the Transnational Workshop begun, with the Trainers team introduction to the participants, set of the context of the activities and goals of the project, while an icebreaking activity followed. After that, participants were split into different working groups according to their assignments to the Simulation of European Parliament that followed, aiming to discuss and reflect their thoughts and concerns on the subtopics of the Agenda set, on:
– The new European Parliament: priorities and challenges of the new term
– Building the future of Europe focusing on green growth and the new green deal
– The European Citizenship and what EU should do to better reach its citizens
– Challenges of the EU’ s cohesion and solidarity: migration issue and financial crisis
– The Youth’ Voice in Europe, a reality or a utopia?
– Participatory democracy in the European Union
A short reflection followed between the Trainers and participants for the first day’s activities, expected results and impact to the participants.
On the second day, Saturday 13 of March, the Simulation of the European Parliament was held, after the official opening of the Project Transnational Activities, with the welcoming speeches of the Mayor of the Municipality of Thessaloniki, Mr. Konstantinos Zervas, the Vice Mayor of the Municipality of Thessaloniki and former President of KEDITH Ms. Ioanna Kosmopoulou and the presentation of the Project to the participants by the Project Coordinator on behalf of KEDITH.
During his welcoming speech, the Mayor of the Municipality of Thessaloniki congratulated the young participants for their engagement to the project’ activities, stressed the importance of youth to be supported by the European local authorities to raise their voices and be an integral part of the decision-making procedures of their societies, so as to feel member of it and also the ownership of the decisions on a local, national and European level.
The Vice Mayor of the Municipality of Thessaloniki and former President of KEDITH from her side, welcomed as well the young participants, expressed her gratitude for their willingness and motivation to engage into the project’ activities, but also, besides others, highlighted the intensive and integral role that KEDITH plays on the strengthening of youth voice on a local, national and European level, but also the dedication of KEDITH to disseminate the results produced by the young Europeans as their voice to the local society.
During the first day of the Simulation Activity, participants were split into the 5 main political parties of the European Parliament represented in their session, analogically to the votes each received during the latest elections of the Parliament, but also to the 27 EU Member States. After the guidance of the Trainers team and a short rehearsal among the participants to understand the rules of procedure, the Plenary started the session by setting the Agenda and reflecting on the topics as proposed. Several unmoderated caucuses followed where the participants interacted as political groups to shape their common lines on each topic according to the course they had selected to discuss them. The first day of the activity closed with a short reflection of the day between the Trainers and participants.
The second day of the Simulation Activity, Sunday 14 of March, begun with the overview of the discussions by the Members of the European Parliament of the previous day, but also the intensive discussions between participants in order to form the Draft Report of the European Parliament under the topics of their discussions. Participants formed an official document, as if they were under the framework of the European Parliament, with the guidance and support of the Trainers and also, proceeded to the Amendments procedure to further modify the document, before they enter the voting procedure.
Eventually, with consensus among the Members of the European Parliament, as simulated, namely all participants voted in favor of the final Report, they approved the document reflecting their position as young Europeans to the topics of the Transnational Workshop and Transnational Simulation, on Euroscepticism, participatory democracy, youth engagement to the decision-making procedures, to the development of a greener environment for the future of Europe, the green deal, the green growth and so many other up to date topics that concern the young Europeans for the future of Europe.
During the evaluation procedure for the activity as it was implemented and the reflection activity at the end that was implemented by the Trainers, participants expressed their positive feelings from their engagement into this activity, the gratitude that they were given the leading role to shape the future of Europe as if they were the elected young Members of the European Parliament, the professionalism of the implementation but also the importance of such activities to be implemented by the European Union, as funded by the Europe for Citizens programme.
The last day of the Transnational Activities, Monday 15 March, was marked with the Transnational Workshop where the Trainers further discussed and worked with the young participants on the outcomes of the Transnational Simulation of the European Parliament and the way to adjust all their proposals into proposals under a Policy Paper that will target their local authorities, national and European decision makers as the voice of youth. At the end of this highly attractive and innovative procedure, since participants played several games using KAHOOT application to reflect on the work done all the previous days, but also the “Butterfly effect” activity of non-formal education, participants evaluated the Transnational Workshop activity, followed by a short reflection of the 4 days with the Trainers team.
The Transnational Activities were closed with the presentations offered by the partner organizations to the participants, presenting the work and produced results by each in the framework of the project, but also the next steps they plan to follow so as to further disseminate the produced results, but also to support the sustainability of the results produced for the future of their youth. Last, but not least, the KEDITH Project Coordinator and Administrative team provided important information to the participants for the next steps planned for the dissemination and sustainability of the project results, the development of the Policy Paper, reflecting the produced results, but also the distribution of the material and the Certificates of Participation of all within the following days.