Resolution on Identity, Culture and Education (YDE Congress 2018)

Strengthening European values and shared identity through culture and education

We, Young Democrats for Europe, see growing populist movements and Euroscepticism as a threat to European values and democratic societies. We consider the best way to address those challenges is through Education and Culture to improve open mindedness and develop multicultural comprehension.

Strengthen European shared identity

Our modern European societies are the result of a common history and not the result of a sum of single national narratives, we feel it is necessary for young Europeans to become aware of this reality. And what places would be more appropriate than schools to ensure a historical transmission and a citizen awakening?

Inexpensive and symbolic, history textbooks co-constructed between European countries may be an appropriate response. Recognizing the specificities of each culture, this manual may develop a transnational perspective of the relations between countries in order to propose a common and enriched History to high school students who could then better understand each national vision.

Now in a context of renewed internal tensions on the continent and in the face of the emergence of populist political forces, it is more necessary than ever to carry out this project.

In line with school education, Europe Day must be a crucial moment in the education of young Europeans. We propose to make this Day special in European schools in particular with special events on European History and values.

Improve mobility across Europe

Geographic mobility rates within EU countries and between EU countries are around one percent, which is twice lower than mobility rates in the US, Canada or Australia.

We know however that geographical mobility can be a powerful tool to fight youth unemployment and reinforce the European cohesion. We should also notice that today young people moving to another EU countries are rather well-educated and come from wealthy origins, which are less likely to suffer from long unemployment periods. Our challenge is therefore to develop geographical mobility for all young Europeans.

In past decades, Europe launched several programs to ensure Young Europeans are able to get education or work experience abroad. Former Leonardo program, current Erasmus+ and Comenius actions managed to increase awareness on intra-European
mobility for a short period of time, and lowered barriers to move abroad to study or work. But more should be done.

We advocate for new initiatives to be launched Europe-wide. We aim first at increasing support from the Erasmus program to associations. Young Europeans are engaged in many associations to lead and carry out projects in different fields from sport to poverty mitigation. Those young leaders should benefit more from EU action to foster youth commitment across the continent.

Second, we would like to set a common framework for secondary school’s final exam in order to initiate convergence in Europe for access to higher education and professional education.

Third, we think time has come to launch a renewal of the so-called “European classes” initiated by public authorities. More Europeans should take part in such classes and spend a semester in another European country before they turn 18.

Build a common cultural policy for young people

Since 1992, culture is a European competence. It is therefore very important in the process of European construction: it makes it possible to think of it as a global project and not only as the addition of national perspectives. Art and culture have a prominent role to increase the sense of belonging to a community, and ensure social integration, economic development, equity and inclusion. That’s why it makes sense to promote it at the European scale.

It is necessary to make culture accessible for as many people as possible. For that, on one hand, it could be interesting to connect territories in which culture is not always accessible.

First, like the European capitals of culture in terms of selection, we could imagine traveling exhibitions from the largest European museums in medium-sized city areas that do not have internationally known museums and thus give a new impetus to the local artistic community.

In parallel, long-term partnerships can also be created between different urban areas and more rural ones, thus bringing internationally renowned artists to areas that would otherwise not have had access to that, and reciprocally publicizing works that would not have been otherwise. For this, an European impulse would be relevant.

On the other hand, we have to admit that Eurovision is currently the only time of the year when Europeans find themselves side by side around their television. That is why we could imagine the creation of a European media dedicated to youth, which would raise awareness of our common membership while showing the richness of the diversity of our different nations.

Finally, a third proposal could be the creation of a European “culture voucher” that could be distributed to 18-year-olds through a system of partnerships with different cultural institutes allowing them to access a cultural offer for free. This would promote access to cultural practices of various kinds for all young Europeans: opera, theater, but also cinema and concerts.

These three proposals are therefore intended to raise the European public’s awareness of culture, even outside large urban areas, and also to sensitize the youth to the awareness of the richness that exists within the European Union.

Free InterRail passes for the European youth: a misguided proposal

Following the European Parliament support this week for an European People’s Party amendment to the long-term budget of the European Union securing funding for the initiative, the Young Democrats for Europe express their position on this misguided proposal

Violeta Bulc, the Commissioner for Transport, recently told the European Parliament that she was ready to carry through an old idea of offering free InterRail tickets to all young adults turning eighteen, sparking a wave of enthusiasm among MEPs and Brussels officials. These tickets enable their holders to travel by train freely through Europe for a certain number of weeks and has quickly become a masterpiece of the young European tool-kit. The aim of such a measure is clear: enhancing youth mobility and fostering the European feeling among new generations. However, if on the face of it, the plan may sound appealing, we Democrats consider it as neither a legitimate policy instrument, nor an efficient way of fighting Euroscepticism and increasing mobility.

First and foremost, this idea will be costly, tremendously costly. Estimates vary from 1,5 to 3 billion euros, between 1 and 2 % of the EU budget, at a time when this budget is precisely subject to fierce negotiations and is put under stronger pressure due to the financial impact of Brexit. Which program is going to be trimmed in order to pay for this generous plan? Which other source of financing is available? These remain open questions.

We do not mean to say that building a European sense of belonging is not worth a couple of billions. It undoubtedly does. But it is doubtful that offering InterRail passes is the best way of reviving the love for the EU among youngsters. Frequent trips throughout Europe are already a reality for many young Europeans thanks to InterRail and low-cost carrier flights. Alternatively, this money would be better employed to fund the Erasmus programme whose financing has been put under threat for the last years and which still remains inaccessible for many students. This money could also be provisioned for the programme of an apprenticeship Erasmus, put forward by our MEP Jean Arthuis.

This idea is also problematic on a political point of view. Is it really the role of a government to offer free journeys with taxpayer’s money? And even if it were, i should this be the role of the European Union? If something needs to be done to help the least well-off to discover their continent, it seems that national governments are perfectly capable, and better suited, to conduct such a policy. At a time where resentment for the Union is at a record high, when it is regarded as an out of touch and wasteful institution, it is not the moment to make its detractors right.

Moreover, the EU has better tools at its disposal to make travelling easier and cheaper for all European citizens. It could carry on with the opening of the European rail network to competition, especially international lines, currently in limbo. If the EU seeks to increase mobility as a whole, it should continue to break down barriers on the continent, a task it has been very good at for the last decades.

Simply, this plan is demagogic and clientelistic. It is just wrong to buy the love and support of the voters with gifts. It is ridiculous to expect to get the respect of young people by offering them a trip to explore Europe’s wonders. Youngsters are perfectly capable of rationally understanding why the EU is so important in their lives and for their future.

The EU is an extraordinary journey that has done more than any other institution to connect the European peoples, and this is precisely why it should give up this idea that undermines its credibility and will do nothing to improve it. We believe that long-term solutions and deep changes in EU policies are the only way to bring the necessary means to the European youth to gain its autonomy and embrace its European identity

Vincent Delhomme

This article was originally published on the College of Europe blog : https://blog.coleurope.eu/2016/10/14/free-passes-for-interrail/

Picture: MSc Utrecht

ALDE Summer Academy | 1&2 July

This 2015 edition of ALDE Group’s Summer Academy aims at explaining what the parliamentarian group represents and discussing solutions to get our continent growing and youth working. It will be an occasion to understand how the ALDE Group’s galaxy works for us: the parliamentarian group, its two European political parties (EDP and ALDE party), their political foundations (IED and ELF), their youth organisations, as well as the group at the Committee of the Regions.

We want to be given the tools to understand and confront the problem that most affect our generation: unemployment. For that youths will approach issues such as brain drain, mobility, free trade, entrepreneurship and apprenticeship. During these two days of intensive work, young Liberals and Democrats will gather in Brussels to work and network for a Europe that works for young people!

Democrat speakers will attend this event, amongst them: Marian Harkin, Jean Arthuis, Jean Marie Beaupuy, François Lafond.

Follow us during the Summer Academy on Twitter: #Youth4Europe

The 1st Summer Academy was organised in 2007.  This event brings together more than 100 liberal and democrat youths from all over Europe as well as from Macedonia, Russia, Ukraine, San Marino and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Academy provides a unique opportunity for the young people to come together, to listen to and discuss with Members of the European Parliament, representatives from EU Institutions and experts in the area related to the topic of the Academy.

More details here

 
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Europe, CAPPA: “Erasmus Generation believes in a political Europe”

Brussels – “The youth unemployment has reached a critical point as Van Rompuy and Barroso both declared this morning. Therefore it is urgent to address the EU summit of Monday with determination to this problem trying to reach consensus on a strategy for growth and job opportunities for young Europeans” this is what declared Marco Cappa, President of Young Democrats for Europe.

“Merkel said that she wants a political Europe; we answered: finally she got it! For such a long time she was the one putting obstacles and limitations to the process of European integration. Too busy to look at her electorate rather than to a ‘strong and united Europe “- continued Cappa – “No doubts. Erasmus generation totally supports the project of a more cohesive Europe that will bring more stability to the Euro and, as a result, to the economies of member states and to the future of youngsters”.

 

Marco Cappa

President

Young Democrats for Europe

Young Democrats for Europe (YDE)
Jeunes Democrates Europeens (JDE)
YDE is the youth wing of the European Party.We embrace the key role of democratic principles, underlined in the Lisbon Treaty and shrined in our political belief: democracy, freedom, equality, participation, sustainability and solidarity.

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