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Our Europe - Our Future! (or ?)
Start date: Aug 1, 2015, End date: Jul 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The "Our Europe - Our Future! (or ?)" project aims to react to a recent wave of Eurosceptic attitudes in many European countries, including the Turkey. The last elections to the European Parliament meant a significant victory for various Eurosceptic or anti-European political parties. The global economic crisis and structural problems within the Eurozone left many people in precarious situations. Rightly or wrongly, the European Union is often blamed for this. European countries are divided in how to react to key global development, such as the conflict in Ukraine or the threat of Islamic extremism. These differences also weaken the credit of the European institutions. Recent election results in Greece are another sign that it is difficult to find common solutions to European economic problems. The reasons for Euroscepticism are different in the France, in Bulgaria, in Italy or in the Spain. However, there is a strong underlying crisis of confidence in the European integration. Young people from the various groups involved in this project felt a need to discuss and reflect on this crisis. The aim of the project is not to promote European integration without any critical thinking. Our objective is instead to explain the role of the European Union , its institutional and political processes and how they influence our every-day life. We believe there is a lack of understanding of what the European Union really does and how. A few young people interested in European affairs decided to put together a programme that would use non-formal education methodology to help young people understand the EU. This would then be the basis for discussions and reflection on the future of Europe. Why is there a crisis of confidence? Why do people vote anti-European political parties and what does it mean? Why do some countries even consider leaving the EU? Is there any way to reform and save the European Union with its 28 Member States? Young people often think that nobody listens to their voice and they cannot participate in the political processes. However, any kind of political participation presupposes some knowledge about the processes and how to take part in them. Thus, we decided together to organise a youth exchange dealing with these issues in an interactive way. Young people will not be only recipients of lots of information, they will create the programme themselves and be responsible for their own learning process, they will play simulation games etc. We hope that by this approach, we can encourage them to be more interested in European issues and then hopefully spread the European awareness to their peers, families and communities. The theme of European citizenship and increasing of the European awareness are priorities of our organisation and we develop various projects dealing with this topic both on the local and on the international level in the framework of our organisation. The project also aims to encourage youth participation. Young people can be important social actors driving positive change in their communities and promoting active citizenship. During the simulation game, they will take part in simulated political processes, have to listen to each other’s opinion, shape their own views, present their arguments and come to a compromise. These are important skills for young citizens and it will help them to participate in the future. This project should motivate young people to become multipliers in their own local communities and promote European citizenship. At the same time, the youth exchange will also be an opportunity for intercultural learning for the young participants. They will be able to get to know different countries, different cultures, make themselves more open and tolerant. This is also part of the concept, since the topic of European citizenship is very much an intercultural one and it is very important to look on it from different cultural points of view. Participants will come from different backgrounds and they will bring different approach to the theme. We will try to involve young people with fewer opportunities in the project. We will discuss the profile with the partner organisations during the APV and invite them to include in their teams also disadvantaged young people.
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