Together with its Bulgarian, Slovak and Polish partners, Das Progressive Zentrum kicks-off with a new project focused on mobilising voters for the May 2019 European elections. The objective of this initiative is also to hear the voices of young European citizens: what European Union do they wish for in the future?
EUact – “EP Elections and Beyond: Active Participation of EU Citizens at All Levels” is a Europe for Citizens civil society project that aims to encourage sustained and active civic engagement of young people at the EU level. Brussels is often criticized for being “too far away” from EU citizens, especially from younger generations. The turnout of the European Parliament elections is low. Nationalist populism and Euroscepticism are not yet defeated. What can be done about this? How can we enhance citizens’ understanding of the EU, broaden ownership of the European project, and build trust in the EU’s promise of a better future for all?
What is the goal of the initiative?
The project partners aim to encourage sustained and active engagement of citizens, especially young people, in the decision-making process of the EU. Additionally, the partners aim to enhance the democratic legitimacy of the EU by offering valuable recommendations to EU policymakers.
What steps will be taken?
Four partners – GLOBSEC (Slovakia), Das Progressive Zentrum (Germany), Higher School of International Relations and Social Communication (Poland) and Slavyani Foundation (Bulgaria) – have developed a multidirectional project. The organizations will use a bottom-up approach, involving young people directly and giving them an opportunity to influence policies in the EU, through:
• conducting focus groups
• drafting policies and practical solutions with young leaders’ involvement
• creating “get out and vote” videos, geared towards young people
• organizing public debates
• introducing our recommendations to EU policymakers
Within EUact, there will be 28 deliverables, involving young people, experts, EU policymakers, representatives of NGOs, media, primarily but not only from Bulgaria, Germany, Poland, and Slovakia. The direct participation for all events will be at least 540 people, with an indirect reach around 500 000 persons.
In this context, Das Progressive Zentrum has selected six young professionals and activists from a large pool of applicants across Germany to participate in the first Transnational Reflection Group, which will take place from 29-30 November in Bratislava. In addition, Das Progressive Zentrum is organizing Focus Groups (in German as well as in English) to enable young students from Germany to share and debate their perceptions of the EU and to make their voices heard in Brussels.
What are the desired outcomes?
• more educated and motivated active EU citizens
• a contribution to agenda-setting and policy changing at the EU level
The final report “European Elections and Beyond” will be presented and hand-delivered to relevant EU policymakers in Brussels in fall of 2019.
The implementation period is from 1 September 2018 to 31 January 2020.