The EYE (European Youth Event) brings together thousands of young people from all over the European Union and the world at the European Parliament in Strasbourg and online, where they share and shape their ideas on Europe’s future. It is a unique opportunity for 16- to 30-year-olds to interact, inspire each other and exchange their views with experts, activists, influencers and decision-makers, right in the heart of European democracy.
Two young people − Patrick and Leah − were selected and supported by Eurodesk Ireland to participate as part of the Eurodesk delegation in the European Youth Event from 8 to 10 June in Strasbourg, France.
Here are Patrick’s reflections on the Event…
1. Why did you participate in the EYE?
The EYE was a platform where my voice could be heard and my ideas could make a difference. Through discussions, debates, and sharing experiences, I had the opportunity to contribute to the shaping of policies, strategies, and initiatives at the European level. By participating in the EYE, I aimed to have a positive impact on the decisions and actions that would shape the future of Europe. Overall, my participation in the EYE was driven by a strong belief in the potential of young people to drive positive change. I wanted to connect with fellow European youth, learn from experts, contribute to decision-making processes, celebrate diversity, and grow personally. By taking part in the EYE, I aimed to be a part of a larger movement for a better future for Europe and its young generation.
2. What did you find interesting/beneficial/surprising?
The EYE demonstrated a strong commitment to empowering young people and including their perspectives in decision-making processes. It was refreshing to witness policymakers, representatives from institutions, and influential individuals actively engaging with youth participants, seeking their input, and valuing their ideas. This emphasis on youth empowerment highlighted the belief that young people have a crucial role to play in shaping the future of Europe.
Also, one of the most intriguing aspects of the EYE was the diverse range of participants. People from various countries, backgrounds, and cultures came together under one roof to share their ideas and experiences. It was inspiring to witness the richness of perspectives and the multitude of voices contributing to discussions. This diversity fostered an inclusive and dynamic environment that truly represented the spirit of Europe.
3. What is your learning from the event?
Overall, the European Youth Event provided me with a transformative learning experience. It empowered me to recognise my own potential, embrace diversity, collaborate with others, and advocate for change. The event reinforced the importance of youth engagement, highlighted the power of collective action, and equipped me with valuable skills and knowledge to contribute meaningfully to society. I am grateful for the lessons learned and I am inspired to continue my journey of active citizenship and positive impact.
4. How can you use this experience in the future/your work/activities in the organisation?
From attending this event, that I quite enjoyed, I will now encourage all young Irish Travellers to attend a European Youth Event, because it’s important that we have good representation at these events, as young Irish Travellers rarely get their voices heard, and rarely get the opportunity to attend such events.
5. Would you recommend attending EU youth events to other young people?
I would highly recommend this event to anyone who is interested in making change, sharing their ideas and getting to meet great likeminded people.
EU youth events offer an invaluable platform for young people to engage, learn, collaborate, and advocate for positive change. They provide a space to connect with peers, gain new knowledge and skills, influence policies, and be part of a larger movement for a better future. Attending such events can be a transformative experience that equips young people with the tools and inspiration to make a difference in their communities and beyond.