31 days, 25 cities and 16 countries since the departure from Brussels on 9th April, the Europe on Track 2 teams arrived at their last stops: Strasbourg and Budapest, respectively.
Europe on Track, winner of the 2013 European Charlemagne Youth Prize,was asked to present the project to inspire the more than 5,000 young people meeting in Strasbourg for the European Youth Event 2014. The session was moderated by Mrs Katrin Ruhrmann, director for Information Offices of European Parliament, and Mrs Bettina Leysen, vice-chairwoman of the Charlemagne Prize Foundation.
Réka Salamon, project coordinator, and Mathieu Soete, traveller from the first edition, had the chance to debate the conclusions of the project with a full room of youngsters from all EU member states. The audience proved to be very active, especially regarding the topics of youth participation and youth employment. A secondary school student from Cyprus demanded more complete education on democratic participation to be able to better exercise their right to vote. “The system of our parents’ generation doesn’t work anymore”, remarked one of the participants when asked how to enhance their chances of employment.
Mrs Katrin Ruhrmann ended the fruitful session encouraging the participants to keep voicing their demands and ideas through projects like Europe on Track, ensuring that the input gathered does reach policy makers.
At the same time, the second team of travellers took part in a conference in the Corvinus university of Budapest aiming to raise awareness of the upcoming European Parliamentary Elections and of the importance of active citizenship. AEGEE-Budapest, ESN Hungary, the National Youth Council, the Higher Education Student Organizations Association and GovFaces participated in the presentations that later gave way to a lively discussion. Students raised contrasting opinions on the importance the Hungarian society gives to active participation when living in a reality of economic decay and disillusionment with politics.
AEGEE will embark now on the last phase of the project, analysing all the input received to support its advocacy work both in Brussels and at local level. Similarly to the previous edition, AEGEE will collect all opinions and recommendations in a results booklet and a documentary giving an insight into how the youth wants to shape the future of Europe, their future.
“We are extremely proud of how far AEGEE´s Europe on Track initiative has reached, how it has been able to mobilize not only AEGEEans all over the continent, but also concerned young people wanting to share their visions and to participate in the construction of a new Europe. Thank you to our partners Interrail, the Open Society Foundation, Youth For Public Transport, Debating Europe and to the team and ambassadors, for allowing to develop this tool for young people from young people to bring a strong youth and student message to the institutions in Brussels.”
Luis Alvarado Martínez, President of AEGEE-Europe.