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EYE Hearings - empowering young people

Who says young people don’t want to get involved? Last year 6,000 young Europeans gathered in Strasbourg for the European Youth Event (EYE) 2014 in order to come up with fresh ideas for a better Europe. Some of the best ideas have now been presented to MEPs by some of the participants.

Over the last few weeks the European Parliament hosted the EYE hearings. Former EYE participants had the opportunity to present the ideas from the event to seven parliamentary committees and receive feedback from European policy makers.

The hearings kicked off on 2 December 2014 with a presentation to the employment and social affairs committee and continued throughout January with presentations to six other committees: constitutional affairs; culture and education; foreign affairs; industry, research and energy; civil liberties, justice and home affairs; and environment, public health and food safety.

The ideas presented touched on several topics that are important to young people, such as the voting age, internet access, recycling, as well as immigration, European values and youth unemployment. The EYE participants also argued in favour of education that better prepared students for the demands of the labour market as well as more support for internships. They also talked about security and foreign affairs issues. 

To find out more in detail what was discussed during the EYE Hearings, check out the Storify page or watch all of the sessions online.

EYE Hearings: from fresh ideas to new initiatives

Thousands of young people took part in the European Youth Event (EYE) at the European Parliament in Strasbourg last May with the aim of producing ideas for a better Europe. Some of the participants will now present these ideas to seven parliamentary committees to serve a source of inspiration for new EU initiatives.

The EYE hearings kicked off on 2 December 2014 with a presentation to the employment and social affairs committee. The hearings will continue in January with presentations to six other committees: constitutional affairs; foreign affairs; culture and education; environment, public health and food safety; civil liberties; justice and home affairs; and industry, research and energy.

How to follow the hearings

All of the hearings will be shown live online on our streaming page and you are also able to join the discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #EYEHearings. MEPs will also be able to see your comments as tweets will be displayed on a live twitter wall during the hearings.

EYE legacy: ideas for a better Europe

What happens when you throw more than 5,000 young people from all over Europe together? They come up with innovative ideas for improving Europe! The European Parliament hosted the European Youth Event (EYE) in Strasbourg in May when participants generated many ideas. These have been collated in a final report that was handed to MEPs and will be presented to parliamentary committees to serve as inspiration.


Within days of the event ending, the European Youth Press, the European Youth Forum and more than 100 journalists covering EYE put together a final report. This report was handed over to MEPs during the first session of the new legislative term in July.Key ideas collected from EYE participants during the closing ceremony were organised thematically in the form of an ideas map.Some of the key ideas will soon to be presented to relevant EP committees.

EYE 2014

The EYE event took place in the EP premises in Strasbourg on 9-11 May 2014, serving as a forum to share ideas and opinions on issues such as youth unemployment, the digital revolution, the future of the EU, sustainability and European values. It was attended by more than 5,000 young people aged between 16 and 30.

EYE2014: Fresh perspectives for a better Europe

The European Youth Event final report has now been handed over to the MEPs. Last May, a few days before the European Elections, the European Parliament welcomed thousands of young people from across the continent to Strasbourg to share and discuss their ideas for the future of Europe. The European Youth Event (EYE2014) took place from May 9 to 11 and involved 5,500 young people aged 16 to 30 from across the continent.

EYE2014 served as a forum for Europe´s youth to share ideas and opinions shaped during themed activities such as youth unemployment, the digital revolution, the future of the EU, sustainability, and European values.

In an effort to collect and highlight these fresh perspectives, the European Youth Press, the European Youth Forum and over one hundred journalists covering the event have put together a final summarizing report. This report has now been made available to new MEPs as a source of inspiration as well as a guide to the hopes and concerns of Europe´s youth.

Young people voice their opinions on Europe's future

The European Youth Event (EYE 2014) brought together 5,000 Europeans aged 16-30 to exchange ideas on youth-related issues in Strasbourg on 11 May. They took part in panel discussions on topics such as human rights, youth employment, the digital revolution and sustainability and talked about their ideas for the future of Europe with politicians, journalists and other decision makers. Their ideas will be handed to the newly-elected MEPs during the first plenary of July.

More than 200 workshops and seminars took place with participants, including 180 speakers and MEPs, exchanging ideas on Europe's future direction. After three days of debate, people came up with proposals including stronger legislation to protect trainees, uniform EU election rules and better education on European affairs.

Young journalists attended all debates and will compile a report with the results to be presented to Parliament in July.

Meanwhile the YO!Fest, organised by the European Youth Forum, took place outside the Parliament building. Young people had the opportunity to explore stands run by various youth organisations, while also enjoying activities and entertainment provided in the YO!Village. There were also two Instameetings, encouraging people to explore the Parliament building while professional photographers showed them good spots for taking pictures. Afterwards the participants uploaded the photos to Instagram with the hashtag #EPinstameet.

Attendees' impressions

Among the 240 volunteers from Sciences Po Strasbourg was Wendy Carazo, 24. She attended a debate on human rights in the Parliament's chamber and expressed her belief in a barrier-free Europe where we are all like a "real family".

High-school student Ola Michalska, 18, who travelled from Złotoryja in Poland, described EYE2014 as "an amazing event" while Colin von Ciriacy, a 21-year-old student from in Passau in Germany, said young people must be convinced of the importance of Europe as "this is the only way the EU can exist in the future".

Zsolt Marton, from Hungary, said: "I hope the future Europe will be open, with possibilities for young people to move around between countries to move and work - and I hope it will happen in the near future."

As EYE 2014 came to a close, participants already asked for future editions.Muriel Grégoire, 30, from the Netherlands, said: "In Europe, the best thing we can do is try to make it a better place for everybody, try to reconcile all the different opinions and find what we call in Dutch the golden middle way. I think that is the key to the success of Europe - and to its future."

EYE 2014: enabling young people to have their say on Europe’s future

The moment thousands of young people have waited months for has finally arrived. This weekend the Parliament building in Strasbourg will host the European Youth Event 2014 (EYE 2014), a unique opportunity for the next generation to generate ideas, discuss opinions and set the agenda for tomorrow’s Europe! In addition a mobile app will help participants to get around to the hundreds of performances and workshops being hosted in and out the European Parliament buildings.

EYE 2014 features hundreds of activities grouped around five themes:youth unemployment, digital revolution, future of the European Union,sustainability as well as European values. The event will welcome more than 5,000 participants, 200 speakers and dozens of supporting partners and youth associations.

A free mobile application has been released - available for Apple and Android devices - to allow participants to make the most of their weekend. The application offers speakers' information, the full programme, geolocalised maps, and even gives participants a personalised schedule with notifications to help them navigate their way through the event.

Even people who are unable to attend in person are able to participate as they can follow 16 top activities live, including Sunday's closing ceremony in the Parliamentary chamber. They can also debate with speakers and participants live on Twitter using the hashtag #EYEstream.

In addition the European Parliament organises the first Instameet for all the participants passionate about photography coming to Strasbourg. Here they will have the opportunity to work with professionals and post pictures on Instagram of unique spots inside and around the Parliament building.

There is also the YO!Village, organised by the European Youth Forum, featuring music and other forms of entertainment.On Friday night, the European Youth Forum and the city of Strasbourg will host an open an air concert in Place Kléber with performances by Asian Dub Foundation and La Fanfare en Petard. On Saturday the YO!Fest Club Night will feature Puggy, DJ Falcon and DJ Riva Starr.

EYE2014 Mobile App

A mobile app is now available to help you make the most of the European Youth Event 2014.

The free app, available for both Apple and Android, enables you to view the programme, maps, speakers' information as well as to bookmark activities, receive the latest updates or connect to social media.

EYE2014 participants can log in using the unique code that was emailed to them. Everyone else can simply register through the app.

To download the mobile app, please scan the QR code with your smartphone (IOs and Android only) or click on the links below.

United in diversity: the values that bind Europe together

Is there more to bind Europeans together than just sharing a single market? The financial crisis these last few years not only forced us to rethink how Europe operates as an economy, but also how it functions as an idea. To reinvent Europe, new ideas are needed, especially from young people. What do they propose to make Europe a better place to live in?

United in diversity is the EU's official motto, but is it really true? With the variety of cultures present in Europe, are there also common European values? And if so, what are they?

According to Olli Rehn, vice-president of the European Commission, the borders of Europe are not only a matter of geography, but also of values, such as freedom, solidarity, tolerance, human rights, democracy and the rule of law

During EYE2014, participants will discuss if European values are present in our daily lives or if they are a somewhat abstract idea. What happens when those values are violated? What is necessary for our democracy? Can the younger generation eventually bridge the gender gap? What can we do to make the internet safer and avoid cyber bullying? What can we do to combat poverty and child exploitation?

Participants will have the opportunity to answer these questions and to share their ideas for (re)defining European values for the 21st century and thereby creating a better Europe!

Sustainability: creating a greener Europe

The world around us is changing and Europe needs to act quickly in order to find answers for the new challenges facing us in these first decades of the 21st century. Not only are natural resources such as petrol and gas finite, but global warming threatens to create havoc on our planet. The EYE2014 invites young Europeans to find solutions and share their ideas for sustainable policies.

The word sustainability immediately brings to mind natural resources and the energy market. A recent Eurobarometer study shows that energy has become a key political issue for 90% of Europeans.

The European Commission has set several energy targets to be implemented and achieved by 2020. Greenhouse emissions must be reduced by 20% from 1990 levels, energy efficiency must improve by 20%, and 20% of all energy consumption must come from renewable resources.

Natural resources also directly affect foreign policy. In the midst of the Ukraine crisis, Russian company Gazprom raised the price of gas pumped to Kiev by more than 80%. These developments put further pressure on the European energy market, as 30% of Europe's gas imports come directly from the Russian Federation.

How will societies of the future deal with natural resources? Are we bound to continue using fossil fuels or will we finally succeed in switching to renewable sources? How can we fulfil our energy requirements in an environmentally friendly manner?

However, sustainability is not only about managing resources. It is also about how we choose to lead our lives. What does it take to have a sustainable lifestyle? Is it really necessary to own when you can share? How can we shape a better economic system? What have we learnt from the financial crisis?

During EYE2014 the Ideas Labs will invite participants to discuss these questions and share their vision for the future of sustainable policies.

In the Ideas Labs, participants will decide on the agenda and then report on the outcome of the debates. They will be able to share their criticisms and concerns on the "EYE2014 Ideas Labs" website as early as 10 April, while during the event itself, participants will work together to come up with answers to the criticisms of current policies most frequently raised during the online phase.

Click on the links below for more information.

Reporting from the EYE2014

When the newly elected MEPs convene in July for the first time since the May elections, they will be presented with a report brimming with ideas and proposals from EYE2014. Young journalists from across Europe will be in charge of summarising the ideas and suggestions from the event.

Putting together ideas and visions from 55 workshops and more than 90 expert panels is not an easy task. However, young journalists from The European Youth Press, an umbrella association of 60,000 young journalists in Europe, will do it, as part of the annual European Youth Media Days which this year exceptionally takes place in Strasbourg.

They will closely follow the activities, interview speakers, take down the main ideas and suggestions, and finally draft a report, which summarises the five key themes of EYE2014: youth unemployment, digital revolution, sustainability, European values and the future of the EU.

The aim is to provide the newly elected MEPs with a clear idea about young people's concerns, dreams and future perspectives.

Follow the EYE2014 live on ARTE

Franco-German television network ARTE, the official media partner, will broadcast from the event and provide support for various activities, including "World of Work" - Where are our jobs, an interactive workshop examining young people's employment expectations and their views on the current job market.

ARTE will broadcast a special edition of ARTE Lounge, in which classical music stars will meet pop music artists. You will be able to follow it live on ARTE's online music platform.

For more information click on the links below.

EYE2014 - young people for a better Europe

Ever since its creation, the EU has always been a work in progress, evolving constantly as time passes by. Moving into the 21st century, we are faced with new obstacles and challenges to overcome and the decisions taken at the EU level today will have a profound impact on the opportunities available to Europeans tomorrow. Therefore it´s crucial that politicians and institutions are not only open to the demands of the younger generations, but actively seek to understand them.

Six years after the financial collapse that plunged the world into the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, European economies are showing the first signs of improvement. However, youth unemployment still remains very high, leading people to question what direction the EU should take.

To what degree should the European Union regulate the financial sector? Which values will be the most important in tomorrow's Europe? Which decisions should be taken at the European level and which ones at the national level? Will further integration bring about a stronger shared European identity or will it lead to more Eurosceptism and how would that affect the European project?

One of the long-standing criticisms concerning the EU is its alleged lack of democratic legitimacy. Is it enough to have a directly elected European Parliament? How can European policy makers become more accountable to the people?

The European Youth Event 2014 will include a series of more than 30 activities discussing issues related to the Future of the EU. The Parliament, its partners and a broad range of youth associations from all over Europe will organise debates, workshops, role play games, creative ideas labs and challenging ideas checks, where participants will be asked to present their vision for the future of Europe.

For the full EYE2014 programme, click on the programme link. If you can't make it to Strasbourg, you'll have the opportunity to follow several debates and activities online and take part in the debate through the social media channels of the EYE2014. Check the link below to discover how to take part online!

Shadows of the web

The internet and social media offer unimaginable possibilities for communication, however they also have their drawbacks. While enabling mass communication at little or no cost, they also facilitate spreading hateful and racist ideas and messages.

While the internet has provided us with easy ways to stay in touch with our friends and family and share content that we love, it has also opened a huge window for hateful comments and personal harassment, with consequences that are anything but virtual.

How can we tackle bullying in cyberspace? How do we protect young people and ensure that human rights are respected?

The Council of Europe has decided to take a stand against cyber bullying by launching a large scale youth campaign to support the principles of equality, dignity, human rights and diversity on the internet. The "No Hate Speech Movement" aims to raise awareness about the negative consequences of online hate speech and it encourages young victims to stand up for their rights.

During the EYE2014 event, the Council of Europe will present its campaign, which will kick off the debate on human rights on the internet. In the YO!Village outside the Parliament's buildings, the Council will showcase its Living Library. This involves 25 people who have been a victim of discrimination talking about their experiences and how it has affected their lives.

Discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation is nothing new on the web, it happens every day, and the consequences are serious. A Eurobarometer study shows that cyber bullying among children and teens can affect their school performance and often leads to depression or even suicidal tendencies among the victims. For instance, in Belgium more than a third of all teenagers claim to have been victims of cyber-bullying at least once.

European Youth Event – take part online

Thousands of young Europeans have now applied to take part in the European Youth Event (EYE2014) in Strasbourg in May. For all those who won’t have the chance to attend physically, there will be several other ways to follow and participate in the event online.

​Thousands of people from every corner of Europe, including neighbouring and candidate countries, have applied for the EYE2014 event. They come from schools, universities, youth organisations as well as spontaneous groups formed with the help of EYE social media platforms, as individual applications could not be accepted

However, this event is not only for those who can be there in person. The European Parliament will enable everyone to participate in the event online. They will have the opportunity to follow several workshops, panel discussions and performances via web streaming.

By using their PCs or tablets, online participants will be able to ask questions via Twitter and participate directly in the discussions and debates taking place in Strasbourg. Workshop moderators will select the best questions coming from the web and include them in the live discussions.

In Strasbourg, giant screens inside and around the Parliament's building, will show the live streaming of the meetings and discussions, together with Twitter and Instagram walls. The Parliament will also provide participants with a mobile application containing all information about the events, including a personalised schedule and maps, as well as the biographies of all speakers. The application will be launched in April.

When it comes to engaging people through social media and online communication, the European Parliament has always been a pioneer among public institutions. Nearly 70% of MEPs have a personal website and more than 60% are active on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. The European Parliament has almost 1.3 million Facebook fans, making it the biggest parliamentary Facebook community in the world.

Youth empowering youth

How do you organise a youth event that is relevant to young people? The solution is to involve them as much as possible, through youth organisations by and for young people.

​The European Parliament will not be alone in welcoming more than 5,000 participants to the European Youth Event 2014 in Strasbourg in May. The European Youth Forum, representing 99 youth organisations in Europe, will play a leading role, offering debates and workshops as well as concerts and DJ sets. Its mission during the EYE2014 is to showcase the impact youth organisations can have and to highlight the positive contribution young people make to Europe.

All these activities are going to be part of the 5th edition of the Yo!Fest, including a YO!Village, outside the European Parliament, where national and international youth organisations organise discussions, sport activities and artistic performances. But it's not all about worthy events and profound debates...The city of Strasbourg and Youth Forum will also organise a concert in the city's main square on Friday evening as well as a club night with live bands and DJs on Saturday evening inside the Yo!Village. The "Jeunes Agriculteurs du Bas Rhin", a young farmer association and a partner of the EYE2014 event, will contribute to the catering in the Yo!Village, offering a wide variety of fresh and healthy meals.

Stay tuned on this website for more updates on the Yo!Fest programme. If you want to know more about the activities of the European Youth Forum and the Jeunes Agriculteurs du Bas Rhin, please check out their website by clicking on the links below.

The future of the digital revolution

Widespread access to internet, smart phones and social media are just some of the elements of the digital revolution. In two days’ time, the European Youth Event 2014 will hold a series of ten activities branded "Digital Revolution”. This, will offer young Europeans, who are most affected by these sweeping changes, a chance to find out how and to what extent the digital world will continue to reshape our lives.

The digital revolution is affecting everyone and everything: in areas such as research, innovation, business, as well as public communication and social relations. According to Eurostat, two-thirds of Europeans had access to the internet in 2012 and nearly 60% of them had purchased products or services online. In 2013 more than 40% of the EU population interacted online with public authorities and institutions. This is only 9% below the ambitious targets set by the European Commission in its "2020 Digital Agenda" to digitalise the EU economy and get the most out of it.

However, the extensive use of social media also raises various issues:  will Facebook, Twitter and other social networks make politics more transparent and revitalise democracy? How can the interests of US internet giants be reconciled with the need to protect people's privacy? Will new employment opportunities arise through digital entrepreneurship and e-commerce?

At the Digital Agenda event, various experts, including researchers and government and industry representatives will share their views with participants and offer their expertise. The European Youth Event 2014 will work together with the European Young Innovators Forum (EYIF), the leading foundation for youth innovation in Europe, to prepare several of the activities.

The first confirmed speakers are Mr Björn Vöcking, head of marketing at EA Sports, and Ms Sanna Lukander, vice president of learning and book publishing at Rovio Entertainment Ltd. They will launch the debate on the impact of online games on social behaviours and discuss if games can serve as a learning tool for new generations.

EYE 2014: Finding answers to Youth Unemployment

With just over three months left before the start of the European Youth Event 2014. From May 9 to 11, 5.000 young Europeans, aged between 16 and 30 years old, will come to the European Parliament premises in Strasbourg to discuss their vision for Europe. It will also be an opportunity for them to debate European values, the future of the EU, as well as sustainability, the digital revolution and youth unemployment.

Most young people in Europe are better educated than their parents but they face much tougher competition for jobs. Even if they do manage to find work, it is usually temporary and below their educational level.

The latest figures show how much youth unemployment has risen during the crisis. While overall unemployment in Europe is about 11%, youth unemployment is more than twice as high at 23%. Greece, Spain and Portugal are in a particularly difficult situation with more than half of all people under 25 currently unemployed.

The European Youth Event 2014 aims to seek ideas for creating employment for the young and bridging the gap between what people learn and what employers need. Many important issues will be tackled: Do schools and universities educate young people well enough for them to succeed in a tough job market? Can politicians and policies truly reduce youth unemployment? Do ERASMUS and other programmes make it easier to find work abroad? Are there civil society initiatives to support young job seekers?

EYE2014 participants will seek to find answers to these questions through debates, workshops and exciting role-play games. Experienced business leaders and young entrepreneurs will actively participate in the debate, discussing the needs of today's job market and share best practices and success stories.

EYE: what is it?

From 9-11 May 2014, Parliament will open its doors to up to 5,000 young Europeans to come and participate in the European Youth Event. They will have to be aged between 16 and 30 and come from one of the EU member states or the candidate countries.

European Youth Event

Find out what EYE is all about

What is it?
The European Parliament will openits doors to thousands of young people from all over the EU and invitethem to meet with European decision-makers and speakers with a widerange of professional experience to exchange ideas and perspectives onyouth-related issues, develop new, innovative ways and solutions tocrucial questions for the future and experience the rich culturaldiversity within the European Union through the staging of variouscultural performances.

On 9-11 May 2014, from Friday morning to Sunday noon.

Strasbourg, France, inside and outside the European Parliament's premises.

TheEYE 2014 will include a large variety of activities run under the motto"Ideas for a better Europe" in a political, social and cultural sense.Activities will focus on five main themes: youth unemployment, digitalrevolution, future of the European Union, sustainability and EuropeanValues.

Altogether, the three-day event will offer politicaldebates and workshops, roleplay games, a youth village and a festivalorganised by the European Youth Forum, a concert and a street festival

Young Europeans from EU member states, candidate states and neighbourhood countries aged between 16 and 30 years.

The European Youth Event is your chance to share your ideas

For three days, the European Parliament in Strasbourg will open its doors to young people from all over Europe. Young people will debate hot topics and discuss with inspiring personalities. You will have the chance to meet other young Europeans, enjoy three days of political debate and a fun-filled time!

Martin Schulz

Martin Schulz: We want to hear from you about what Europe should look like in the future

We want to hear from you on how the crisis is affecting your lives and what you believe still needs to be done.
We want to hear from you about how we can restore confidence in Europe's future and regain your trust.
We want to hear from you about what Europe should look like in the future.
We want to hear about your dreams and hopes for our continent and beyond.

The European Parliament will become a forum to debate issues you care about.
My colleagues and I will listen to your ideas and take them on board into the next European Parliament legislature.

The EYE is your chance to make a difference to our work!
The EYE is your chance to set the agenda for the next five years!
The EYE is your chance to re-invent Europe from the bottom-up!

Make your voice heard - Make a difference! I look forward to meeting you, listening and acting on your ideas. Enjoy the event!

Martin Schulz
President of the European Parliament
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