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Kärntner EuropaCafés 2015
Start date: Jan 1, 2015, End date: Jun 30, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Participating in the "Carinthian Europe Cafes" pupils (from the age of 16 onwards) are given an opportunity to phrase topics and content of an interactive dialogue with politicians and in particular with Members of the European Parliament. The aim is to close the gap between young European citizens and politicians to motivate young people to social and democratic commitment. In six one-day events pupils of various school types and levels of education (in average 90 pupils per event) deal with political topics mainly focusing on the European Union, its democratic methods of functioning, opportunities for participation and EU policies. Austrias membership in the EU for 20 years now is the vantage point to deal critically with the before mentioned aspects. The exact topics to be dealt with will be selected by school-teams. Split up in several smaller groups (the so-called E-Cafés named after European capitals, e.g. E-Café Vienna), the young participants discuss basic questions and compile messages/answers or even further questions to policies. Also involved in the two successive workshop-rounds are politicians and furthermore testimonials who have experienced an European Volunteer Service, time as Erasmus student abroad or had participated in other projects funded by the EU. All statements/messages/answers/questions are written down and will subsequently be answered and made available for participants and politics on the internet . Immediately following both workshops, those messages/answers considered most important by the workshop-groups will be presented to the present Members of the European Parliament and politicians, who are asked to answer immediately, thus giving the young people a quick and personal feedback. Beside the information and awareness raising about Europe and membership in the European Union, young people actively experience processes of opinion making - social and democratic - with politicians. They intuitively recognise and learn about ways of how to influence the configuration of society. Furthermore politicians are challenged by the often unconventional ideas of young people to revise their opinions and to pursue other objectives in their decisions.
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