Life can be funny in many ways and one of them is symmetry: ending something the way it started. Here we are thus, in Spain, where the kick-off conference took place, to end the Y Vote project with a bus tour through the Northern half of the country. Quite obviously, our quest for promoting active citizenship wouldn’t have been as credible and successful without the bus tours which increase substantially our reach, precisely in the places where it is needed most.
Of course, a great idea would mean very little if it weren’t put into practice, and so began 10 months of preparations for the bus tour in Spain. A large part of the long hours invested were coved by logistical aspects – for which we counted on 10 different antennae (local branches) and incredibly motivated young people- and fundraising, which -given the grant offered by the European Commission- implied a very consistent co-financing. Our goal was realistic but at the same time ambitious: to cover 10 cities in 14 days and approach between 3000-4000 Spaniards, in the streets, high schools, universities or retirement houses, in addition to travelling across the country and debating with politicians and local citizens on the present and future of Europe.
In this context, it is only fair to give our special thanks to Nuria Viñuela (AEGEE-León, National Coordinator of the tour in Spain), the local antennae that worked with us throughout the project, the main organisers in each city we went through, and anyone who contributed to the project at some point. From the bottom of our hearts, thus, we send our thanks to Sergio Recuero, Javier Uceda and AEGEE-Madrid, Javier Sinovas, Alba Pérez and AEGEE-Valladolid, Pauline Létard, Adrián Gutiérrez and AEGEE-León, Ruth San José and AEGEE-A Coruña, Alba Laguna, Víctor González Llistó and AEGEE-Oviedo, Marta Martínez and AEGEE-Santander, Nerea Gutiérrez and AEGEE-Bilbao, Rubén Puras and AEGEE-Burgos, Cristian Morales and AEGEE-Zaragoza, and Elsa Martín, David Martín and AEGEE-Barcelona, for their incredible work. Without them none of this would have been possible. Working with them on the planning of the bus tour was a real pleasure, and the programme drafted together, resulted in a wonderful combination of seriousness, fun and cultural visits, that allowed us to be all the more efficient.
What moves us is our passion for the European project and our belief in the values it promotes. Ultimately, Y Vote is not about encouraging citizens to be pro-European, but about promoting democracy and active citizenship, irrespective of their political choices. By doing so, we hope to bring the EU citizens closer to Europe. Because “Europe” is not an unfriendly “Brussels machinery”, but us. And Europe will never really be ours, unless we become actors instead of spectators. It will not be an easy task and we are well-aware of our limitations. However, this doesn’t stop us from dreaming and doing, and above all, hoping that our enthusiasm becomes contagious.
Louise Pahisa, AEGEE Paris – Logistics Responsible/ Content Responsible
Lea Charlet, AEGEE Paris – Project Manager/ Content Responsible
Lavinia Manea, AEGEE Bucuresti – EU Affairs Trainer/Content Responsible