It has been one of the most awaited launches. A few months after the creation of a new project in our Focus Area ‘Spreading Europtimism’ was announced, the Network was eager to know more about an initiative that aims to engage our members and other young Europeans in a discussion on the future of Europe.
We are now slowly getting to know further details: “Your vision for EUrope” will be the official name of the project, and the team members are working hard on planning their activities and a campaign on informing about the impact of the European Union in our daily lives. The AEGEEan spoke to the Project Manager, Lara Killius (AEGEE-München) about the first steps of this newcomer in our Network.
The AEGEEan: Lara, you are the Project Manager of the upcoming “Your vision for EUrope” team – Why did you decide to join?
Lara: For some time, I have been very interested in joining a European project. When I heard during Autumn Agora Cagliari 2014 that the Comité Directeur had plans to start this project, I was immediately interested. I think the subject is extremely important, since even in AEGEE there are so many people that don’t know how the European Union actually works, and especially how they can participate. I think everyone should know how the European Union (EU) is influencing our lives and how they can bring their opinion to the higher levels. I would like this project to trigger an active discussion about the EU and motivate people to express their opinion and willingness to believe in it. At the moment, many things are changing in the EU and it is important that the people don’t forget the basic idea and all the positive things it is bringing. I think this project is coming at exactly the right time.
What is going to be the aim of the project?
“Educate young people about the EU and encourage an informed discussion on its current and future state in order to empower them to propose constructive solutions to pressing European issues, as well as to reconnect them to the European integration process”.
It is very important for us to trigger discussions and to make young people think about the EU and to speak up. And an important base for this is education. We would like to bring the voice of the young people close to the EU policy-makers. For example, one way to do this would be to reduce the gap between youth and EU policy-makers by facilitating a dialogue between them.
What does “Europtimism” mean to you?
For me, Europtimism doesn’t mean to be the biggest fan of the EU or to support without exception everything that the EU is doing. For me, being europtimistic means to believe in the basic idea of the EU, meaning to have a Europe with open borders in which we can move freely and to believe that the different countries should help and support each other. A big part of this is also to deal with issues and criticise in a constructive way, because one can criticise actions of the EU without being against the EU itself. I think especially now, everyone, but mostly the youth in Europe, should stand together and show that we still support one another. I also love all the different cultures we have in Europe and I think a united Europe means in no way to give up cultures or traditions, it is much more about keeping your own traditions while being open for others as well.
Which activities do you plan to carry and how would you like to involve the Network?
Is it very important for us to not only work together with antennae in the EU but also with the ones outside of it. The politics of the EU are influencing also the countries around it, and everyone should be informed about how the EU is working. We are planning to create trainings everyone can use. This way, all antennae, also the small ones, can organise events connected to the project. Besides that, we would like to organise two bigger conferences and a campaign, in order to reach even more people. Our team is not complete yet, so a lot of things still have to be defined, since it is important that the whole team stands behind our activities.
Do yo have any plans for the project before Agora Kyïv?
At the moment we try to create the first trainings and, besides that, we would like to apply for funding to make our activities more successful. We are also already planning one campaign so I am sure you will hear from us in the next weeks.
You had your team meeting in Brussels. What can you tell us about it, and about the project team members?
The kick-off was great. I didn’t meet the biggest part of the team personally before and I was very happy to see how enthusiastic everyone was. We were happy that we all had the same ideas about the project and finding an aim we were all happy with was relatively easy. It’s great to work in such a good team and I believe we are all good in what we are doing. Besides that we all live in different countries, some countries that have in general a more positive view about the EU, some from countries in which the basic mood is less good, countries inside the EU and also outside of it. So I think we will be able to cover different views on problems and solutions.
If you want to contact them, check their page on Members Portal or send an email to email@example.com.
Written by Anna Gumbau, AEGEE-Barcelona