For two days, I had the privilege of travelling to Strasbourg to attend the EYE 2021 at the European Parliament, a multicultural event that brought together thousands of young people from different countries.
It was encouraging to see how these different backgrounds and national contexts merged in this place where we set aside our differences to share common excitement and the belief that a better future for Europe is possible.
One of the things I found most enjoyable was feeling an atmosphere full of energy, ambition, new perspectives, and innovative ideas on current European issues that youth genuinely care about, like sustainability, education, employment, communication skills, leisure time, or migration. During our workshop CHANGE: building a society where everyone is welcome, our young participants engaged in a dynamic self-awareness Q&A to discover their own preconceived notions towards forced migrants, and shared ideas on how to contribute to better conditions.
I took part in a spirited discussion on youth (un)employment, which helped me discover ALMA, an upcoming European youth unemployment programme aimed at finding jobs in different member states. It was interesting to participate in a conference with a different dynamic from the usual: not only did the participants learn from the panelists, but the panelists took inspiration from their young audience’s thoughts.
In the field of social policies, the workshop Bridging the gap: social inequalities on the rise? created space to critically reflect on the effectiveness and conditions of Universal Basic Income, which concluded in the need for more specific regulation and careful management.
Besides the academic seminars, there was time to enjoy the surprisingly sunny weather outdoors at the EYE Village, where I had the chance to try martial arts like Taekwondo and Aikido and listen to some live music.
All in all, it was an enriching, positive experience that left me feeling that with a collective and multilateral effort, things can improve.
written by Julia Sanz, JRS Europe volunteer with the European Solidarity Corps programme