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Auf Tuchfühlung mit Brüssel (In Touch with Brussels)
Start date: Feb 1, 2015, End date: Aug 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project "In Touch with Brussels" really brought young people in touch with decision-makers and decision-making processes in Brussels. The aim of the project was to make transparent the law-making procedures on the EU level and to foster the exchange between young people and decision-makers on the EU level. The Europa Zentrum Baden-Württemberg organized in cooperation with 24 – instead of planned 15 - very different groups of between 9 and 46 people , most of them between 16 and 30 years old while 556 people all in all, a "game day" for each group. These "game days" took place from 2015 to 2016. Different places in Baden-Württemberg were chosen: Tübingen, Stuttgart, Heidenheim, Heilbronn, Heidelberg, Bühl, Schwäbisch Hall, Engen, Karlsruhe, Ludwigsburg, Villingen-Schwenningen, Blaubeuren, Winnenden, Sillenbuch und Bad Liebenzell (some of which with more than one „game day“). The game, which was played during the "game days" is called "Legislativity". It displays the EU legislation process (co-decision procedure) in a very amusing and enjoyable way. Due to the mixture of random and strategy, the game can be qualified as innovative method of non-formal youth education. The players take on a role as an idea for a regulation or directive, f.ex. for a new toy directive or a new regulation on eco labels, and they have to try to bring their idea "through", meaning, that they - after having gone through different procedures in Commission, Council, and European Parliament – made it to an adopted EU law. However, the wrong strategy, unluck, sudden events or jealousy can bring their ideas to fall... Real decision-makers – one, two or three during each "game day" - will take part in the project as co-players. They play the game together with the young people – who were chosen by local partners, such as youth initiatives, schools, youth associations, administrative units etc. - and later discuss with them the processes and the difference between game and reality. This discussions were moderated as a dialogue on the same level, so that decision-makers (MEPs, lobbyists, staff from ministries etc.) could inform the young people about their work and what forces them to act in one way or the other, but also that young people could inform the decision-makers what they think about the transparency of the processes and about the work of the decision-makers in general, what they like and dislike. In this way, both sides could take impulses, knowledge and new competences out of the project. Something, which the organizers did certify with the help of the Youth Pass. The young people contributed strongly with their active participation to the success of the project. Already during the preparation phase they took an active role in choosing the right place, the right surrounding, the suitable side-conditions a.s.o. But also for the advertising and the dissemination of the project/project results the young people helped while using their social media channels. This fact displayed the preparedness and the willingness for their active participation. The direct impact of the project on all the 556 participants was very, very high according to the open evaluation rounds of the “game days”. Learning effects could be registered as planned. The combination of joy and learning has been proven to be helpful. Sustainable positive project results deem to come up: Because of the great demand of local groups to become partners in the project, the Europa Zentrum has planned further “game days” in 2017, supported by the non-profit Europa-Union Deutschland e.V. – Plus, with the help of the project results (the feedback of the young people and the experts on the game) the Europa Zentrum could bring forward the “Legislativity” game on its way to get professionally produced. Furthermore, the project "In Touch with Brussels" gave answer to the increase of critical comments such as "the EU is undemocratic", "the EU decision-making procedures are too intransparent", or "participation in those processes is impossible and 'those in Brussels' do what they want anyway", because project feed-back showed: The EU legislative process is not as complicated as one think, and it makes sense as it is.
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