Citizens’ Reflections on the Future of EUrope

TITLE: “Citizens’ Reflection on Future of EUrope – FuturEU”

PROGRAM: The project « Citizens’ Reflections on the Future of EUrope» was funded with the support of the European Union under the Programme “Europe for Citizens”. Applicable to the Strand 2 – Measure 2.3 “Civil Society Projects”

PERIOD:  January 2018 till  December 2020

VENUE: All partner countries

PARTNERS:

  • Europe House Slavonski Brod, Croatia
  • BIDA e.V. Kultur und Bildung, Germany
  • The University of Nicosia Research Foundation, Cyprus
  • Polska Fundacja im. R. Schumana, Poland
  • CHANGE IT, Czech Republic
  • EIC, Bulgaria
  • Altius Spain Foundation, Spain
  • Fondazione Caritas Ambrosiana, Italy

OBJECTIVE:

The project “Citizens’ Reflection on Future of EUrope” (FuturEU) addresses the most important European political topics laid down in the White Paper for the Future of Europe and the thematic reflection papers. By organizing local forums (Citizens’ Advisory Councils), the project gives citizens of 8 European cities the chance to explore how specific policy fields based on the themes of social Europe, globalization and migration, economic and monetary union, EU finances, EU defense, digital Europe, youth – make an impact on the local and regional social environment in which citizens live and how they will reflect the everyday life in Europe in implication of the five scenario. Local findings and reflections will be discussed during 8 international citizens’ forums in 8 local communities; the results will be publicly presented in the 8 communities and discussed with local, national and European policy- makers. The citizens’ forums will be accompanied by number of local exhibitions, Facebook competition, study visit, story-telling session, solidarity actions, street festival (Schuman Parade) in Warsaw that will involve also young people and EVS volunteers. The final event,
Citizens’ Parliament Session, will discuss, issue and vote a Citizens’ Reflection Paper on the Future of Europe that will be disseminated to the newly elected EP MPs. By involving directly 910 citizens and indirectly over 8000, allowing them to meaningfully relate European policies to their social life and reality, the project intends to stimulate an informed public debate about benefits and challenges in major EU policy fields and its future. Thus the project foster the sense of belonging to the European family and EU among its citizens and provide them with the opportunity to interact actively, to participate and construct a closer Europe to become united and stronger; to have their say and their interaction for the future of Europe, future of EU and enroll them actively in the coming 2019 EP Elections

 

Preparatory Activity – FuturEU Kick off meeting

Participation: The event involved 17 participants, including
• 2 participants from the city of Warsaw (Poland),
• 2 participants from the city of Suhl (Germany),
• 2 participants from the city of Madrid (Spain),
• 2 participants from the city of Prague (Czech Republic),
• 2 participants from the city of Nicosia (Cyprus),
• 2 participants from the city of Milan (Italy),
• 1 participant from the city of Slavonski Brod (Croatia),
• 4 participants from the city of Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria)
Location / Dates: The event took place in Sofia, Bulgaria, from 20/02/2019 to 22/02/2019.
Short description:
The aim of the preparatory activity was to gather representatives of all partners to exchange ideas, divide responsibilities and set a detailed project timeline. The target groups and thematic areas per partner countries were specified and reconfirmed. Additionally, proper research tools, the methodology were discussed and the programmes for the international events drafted. The partners drew up the lay-out of the project website & FB page, specified the impact indicators and agreed on the project ethical code and dissemination plan. The partners discussed and agreed on the accompanying events for each countries and discussed the preparation needed to be done. The partners also agreed the project logo, drafted by
young person from Spain. At the end of the meeting, all partners (experienced and newcomers) achieved to clearly understand the transparent logistic of the activities to be implemented in the frame of the FuturEU project. The budget regulation was thoroughly explained by the coordinator and partnership agreements were signed between EIC and each partner. The project evaluation strategy and working methods for the national teams were also approved.

8 international events have been carried out within this project:

Event 1
Participation: The event involved 48 citizens, including
• 2 participants from the city of Prague (Czech Republic),
• 2 participants from the city of Warsaw (Poland),
• 1 participant from the city of Milan (Italy),
• 2 participants from the city of Suhl (Germany)
• 2 participants from the city of Slavonski Brod (Croatia)
• 2 participants from the city of Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria)
• 3 participants from the city of Athens (Greece)
• 34 participants from the city of Nicosia (Cyprus)
Location / Dates: The event took place in Nicosia, Cyprus from 20/03/2019 to
22/03/2019
Short description:
The aim of the event was to raise awareness on EU reflections on security and defence, to give an open space for debating the EU role at global arena and to hear the citizens’ reflection ideas and recommendations on security and defence policy of the Union. Participants of 7 countries shared views,
analysis and policy expectations related to the European security and defence in the changing world, based on the Reflection paper on the Future of EU on security and defence and the impact of the five scenario implications. The forum debated on the changing forms of radicalization, violence, terrorism, the threats and the concerns of the citizens. The discussion was enriched by comparative examples and public surveys results from the participating member states, shared by the international participants. The hosting organization UNRF shared their experience on the work and activities with the migrants in the camps situated in Nicosia (UNRF had been running 2 camps at the time if the event), that really turned into a very
effective sharing session enriched by the Italian and Greek contribution. Citizens’ recommendations on security of the Union were drafted by the participants. The event continued with an educational visit to the dividing border with the Turkish part of Nicosia, where still the signs of the aggression were vital.

Event 2
Participation: The event involved 81 citizens, including
• 3 participants from the city of Suhl (Germany),
• 4 participants from the city of Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria)
• 3 participants from the city of Madrid (Spain)
• 4 participants from the city of Prague (Czech Republic)
• 3 participants from the city of Milan (Italy)
• 4 participants from the city of Slavonski brod (Croatia)
• 4 participants from the city of Warsaw (Poland)
• 56 participants from the city of Warsaw and surrounding (Poland)
Location / Dates: The event took place in Warsaw, Poland, from 09/05/2019 to 12/05/2019.
Short description:
The aim of the event was to provide a space for open debate and know-how sharing on youth inclusion in public and decision making on local, national and European level as raising the awareness of young people on EU reflections on youth and specific policies. The event consisted of international youth debate on the future of Europe and its youth, the youth policies implemented and foreseen, the youth needs, believes and
expectations. The young participants shared their experience in community and youth engagement, presented interactive presentations on the role of youth in decision-making and shared their local campaign experience for the EP2019 Elections, just few days before the elections. The open atmosphere, work in small groups, story-sharing and presenting created an atmosphere of inspiration and mutua l understanding, knowledge and experience gathering and inspiration for new joint youth ideas and campaigns. Youth recommendations of how young people see the future of the Union were drafted by the participants. Young people prepared interactive presentations, city games and interventions in public space, messages to
European MEPs and participated in the Schuman Parade, actively sharing them with the other participants. In the Schuman Village, in the tent of the partner PFRS, the participants had an open space to communicate with the passing citizens and to explain them the importance of civic voting and participation. Thus they multiplied the effect of the meeting by sharing their inspiration with the thousands of the Parade participants. For the international group was organized an educational tour in the footsteps of the events of March ’68 as of Jewish Heritage through the streets of Warsaw.

Event 3
Participation: The event involved 78 citizens, including
• 1 participant from the city of Warsaw (Poland),
• 1 participant from the city of Milan (Italy)
• 2 participants from the city of Prague (Czech Republic),
• 1 participant from the city of Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria),
• 1 participant from the city of Suhl (Germany)
• 1 participant from the city of Madrid (Spain)
• 1 participant from the city of Athens (Greece)
• 70 participants from the cities of Slavonski Brod and Zagred (Croatia)
Location / Dates: The event took place in Zagreb, Croatia, from 27/06/2019 to 29/06/2019.
Short description:
The aim of the event was enriching knowledge on the economic and monetary union and their future developments as EC sees it and in the context of the 5 scenario implications and its regional aspects and raising awareness on Europe of the regions and the trans-border cooperation effects as well to improve comparative knowledge on investment, competitiveness, job opportunities and living standards in EU. Participants from 7 member states discussed the economic and monetary union and the possibilities of introduction the EURO in Croatia, the future of the fiscal union and the measures and reforms that need to be taken in order to deepen the economic and monetary union, including the presentation of the best practices relevant to development certain parts of the European Union. The experiences of some newer EU member states on the political and economic aspects of joining the euro zone were also presented. During the second part of the forum, 52 young people were divided in thematic groups on the most important
European political themes set forth in the White Paper for the Future of Europe and other thematic documents, in particular those relating to the status and future of youth. The objectives of the European Youth Strategy for the period 2019-2027, which are the product of the previous cycle of structured dialogue, were analysed. Citizens’ recommendations on how citizens see the economic future of the Union, were drafted by the participants.

Event 4
Participation: The event involved 69 citizens, including
• 3 participants from the city of Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria),
• 2 participants from the city of Madrid (Spain)
• 2 participants from the city of Suhl (Germany)
• 2 participants from the city of Prague (Czech Republic)
• 2 participants from Belgium
• 2 participants from the city of Warsaw (Poland)
• 1 participants from the city of Nicosia (Cyprus)
• 1 participant from the city of Slavonski Brod (Croatia)
• 54 participants from the city of Milan and surroundings (Italy)
Location / Dates: The event took place in Milan, Italy, from 25/09/2019 to 27/09/2019.
Short description:
The aim of the event was raised awareness on social Europe and the specifics of social solidarity in different MS; creating an environment of sharing citizens attitudes, concerns and threats on social issues in 8 MS and debating the financial instruments for social change and the national specifics of the social policy in the EU member states. The forum took place in wo parts as it was planned. In the first one, the theme of social Europe was presented by EU social policy experts, including the European Parliament member Patrizia Toiu. Other speakers addressed issues relating to the involvement of society in the formation of a social Europe or the current problems of social policy in Italy – for example, social housing and its use. That was followed by a round table where the main topic was the impact of national and local social policy, the solidarity issue in times of crisis. Caritas Ambrosiana shared its pilot solidarity projects and campaigns in the youth exchange of experience “Ask Animondo”. The citizens’ forum elaborated on reflections and advocacy on social Europe, solidarity in crisis, marked citizens’ expectations on social aspects in Europe and the different country faces of solidarity. The discussion among the participants and the EP member Patrizia Toiu provoked many questions about the fair future and everyday life in the Union. The participants drafted recommendations on the desired social policy.

Event 5
Participation: The event involved 99 citizens, including
• 2 participants from the city of Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria),
• 2 participants from the city of Warsaw (Poland)
• 1 participant from the city of Suhl (Germany)
• 1 participant from the city of Milan (Italy)
• 1 participant from the city of Slavonski Brod (Croatia)
• 1 participant from the city of Madrid (Spain)
• 91 participanst from the city of Prague (Czech Republic)
Location / Dates: The event took place in Prague, Czech Republic, from 08/10/2019 to 10/10/2019.
Short description:
The aim of the event was enriching knowledge on digital technologies and their impact for re-connecting citizens to EU e-democracy; improving knowledge on the digital single market and raising awareness on digital job opportunities, digitalized work environment, sustainable smart growth among citizens and among young people and entrepreneurs. The conference focused on the possibility of using online services such as filling out forms for authorities over the Internet, eliminating excessive bureaucracy and corruption, simplifying public administration processes, and the security of Internet and social networking. There was also a topic related to the increase in misinformation and the spread of fake news, or fake
news. This English-language debate was attended by the general public, together with students from high schools, together with partners from Bulgaria, Italy, Poland, Germany, Spain and Croatia. The meeting was divided into two parts, the first part devoted to discussion and dealing with issues in both the Czech Republic and partner countries, and then a quiz for participants was prepared, where the topic of the quiz followed the introductory part. The participants drafted recommendations on the digital policy, fight with fake news and e-democracy and e-governance.
During the forum, exhibition for general public and students on best photos of Facebook competition was opened and results and awards announced. The winning photos have been presented both – on the project website and in the FB project group.

Event 6
Participation: The event involved 43 citizens, including
• 1 participant from the city of Nicosia (Cyprus)
• 2 participants from the city of Slavonski Brod (Croatia),
• 2 participants from the city of Warsaw (Poland)
• 2 participants from the city of Milan (Italy)
• 2 participants from the city of Prague (Czech Republic)
• 6 participants from the city of Madrid (Spain)
• 7 participants from the city of Vilnius (Lithuania)
• 10 participants from the city of Suhl and Berlin (Germany)
• 11 participants from the city of Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria)
Location / Dates: The event took place in Berlin, Germany, from 27/11/2019 to 29/11/2019.
Short description:
The aim of the event was getting knowledge on the logistics of the EU budget and financial policy and their future developments as EC sees it; improving knowledge on the Investment Plan instrument and other financial instruments for ensuring growth and jobs in EU; raising awareness on EU new financial framework 2020+ and structural funds policy and its effects on the regions. The forum first part started with presentations on the multiannual financial framework, the coming 2020-2027 MFF, Investment Plan  instrument introduced the topic, followed by a mini citizens’ dialogue, dedicated to the banking and the economic Union and the future of Europe. Interesting discussion arose on the Investment policy in EU,
detailed debating on the investment priorities, warm welcome of the different examples from member states on the InvestEU project implemented. The participants had four workshops and presented four SWOT   analysis on the Climate change and the expected Green Deal of the new EC; the future of the Euro and its role as a tool for ensuring the future of the Union and the happiness of its citizens, credits for youth entrepreneurship and SME developments and online payment security and its future. Recommendations from the presentations of the groups occurred for final project forum in Bulgaria in May 2020 were drafted. An exhibition was held in the premises of Europe Direct – Berlin on Investment Plan funded projects as
part of the event, and it stayed opened for the general public and students after the end of the event. The photos presented the implemented funded projects under the InvestEU in the member states.

Event 7
Participation: The event involved 136 citizens, including
• 7 participants from the city of Suhl and Berlin (Germany),
• 2 participants from the city of Warsaw (Poland)
• 2 participants from the city of Slavonski Brod (Croatia)
• 2 participants from the city of Prague (Czech Republic)
• 2 participants from the city of Bologna (Italy)
• 3 participants from the city of Madrid (Spain)
• 115 participants from cities in Bulgaria
• 1 participant from the city of Athens (Greece)
• 1 participant from the city of Craiova (Romania)
• 1 participant from UK
Location / Dates: The event took place in ethnographic complex Arbanassi, city of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria, from 29/07/2020 to 31/07/2020.
Short description:

The aim of the event was summarizing the analysis, comparative research, raised questions and agreed answers on the hot topics on Future of Europe that had been discussed and raised by the citizens during the international project meetings. The event was planned to be the final summarizing project conference – Citizens’ Parliament session. As the conference took place in unique circumstances after the first lock-down in Europe, it turned to be celebration of the solidarity and believe in the future of Europe and shared hopes on the end of pandemia of COVID-19 and return to normality. The time was remarkable also due to the fact that the new EP and new EC after the EP Elections 2019 were constructed, EU priorities announced by the Von der Leyen Commission and the challenges of COVID. The conference was a sound example for the belief, the trust and the desire for join, common future and development in EU. The conference had a plenary and six workshops, each dedicated to a thematic policy (youth, social issues, digitalization, Green Deal, security and defence, finance and Euro). The international participants together with politicians, policy makers, business stakeholders and civil society leaders voted a Citizens’ Reflection Paper on the Future of Europe that was sent to European and national leaders (members of EP, EC, Committee of regions, national parliaments and institutions, Ombudsman, lobby groups etc.)

Event 8
Participation: The event involved 37 citizens, including
• 4 participants from Italy,
• 4 participants from Poland
• 1 participant from Bulgaria
• 2 participants from Germany
• 2 participants from Cyprus
• 32 participants from Spain
• 1 participant from Romania
• 1 participant from France
Location / Dates: The event took place in Madrid, Spain, from 19/11/2020 to 19/11/2020
Short description:
The aim of the event was to better know the globalization effect on human ‘s everyday existence; get knowledge on the practical respond to globalization through solidarity and promotion of intercultural dialogue and tolerance; and raising awareness on EU reflections on globalization and debating on EU role at global arena. Spain, and in particular Madrid, has been several times under lockdown since March 2020, for which the
FuturEU event in Spain was celebrated in small groups, adjusting it to the local circumstances. In this last project phase, Altius Foundation implemented a huge campaign supporting people in need to foster the European solidarity and humanity in times of crisis. Many collaborators and staff of the foundation (including international members) acted as volunteers to ensure the everyday food and other first need resources of the people, suffering difficulties. In small group sessions, we raised the awareness of the EU values and policies in times of crisis, and all EU initiatives to limit the number of people with problems of any origin. The proposed recommendations cover broad diversity of our small group audiences – this diversity that makes EU rich, stronger together and united.

Citizens’ Reflections on the Future of EUrope

Connectivity je trogodišnji Erasmus + (2019-1-NL01-KA204-060276) projekt, koji je započeo 1. rujna 2019. godine pripremnim sastankom u Italiji, a završit će 31. kolovoza 2022. godine. Cilj projekta je razvoj metoda održivog uključivanja nezaposlenih odraslih osoba u život društvenih zajednica, pomoću edukativnih aktivnosti održanih na otvorenim prostorima. Projekt okuplja 7 partnerskih organizacija: Olde Vechte Foundation iz Nizozemske, Praxis iz Grčke, Active Bulgarian Society iz Bugarske, Europski dom Slavonski Brod iz Hrvatske, YOBBO – Youth Beyond Borders iz Italije, Rota Jovem iz Portugala i Parcours le monde ILDF iz Francuske. Sve partnerske organizacije rade s pripadnicima ranjivih skupina i imaju za cilj podržati njihovo aktivno sudjelovanje u zajednici uz pomoć različitih alata i metoda neformalnog obrazovanja. Stvaranje pristupačnog i primjerenog okruženja za osnaživanje skupina ljudi koji se nalaze u nepovoljnom položaju iz bilo kojeg razloga čest je izazov u cijeloj Europi, posebno kada su u pitanju odrasli. Cilj projekta je pružiti podršku edukatorima iz partnerskih i pridruženih suradničkih organizacija, koji će raditi s nezaposlenim odraslim osobama, omogućujući ima stjecanje novih znanja i naprednih metoda podučavanja kako bi svojim ciljanim skupinama mogli pružati kvalitetno učenje usklađeno s njihovim potrebama. Dodatno, nezaposlenim  osobama bit će ponuđena mogućnost uključivanja u rad partnerskih organizacija i na takav način će imati priliku preuzeti aktivniju ulogu u zajednici, steći znanja i kompetencije, te postati zapošljivijima i u drugim radnim kontekstima. Tijekom trajanja projekta provodit će se aktivnosti na otvorenimm prostorima; dosadašnje je iskustvo pokazalo da su one najučinkovitije jer su jednostavne, lagane I pristupačne, bez obzira na socijalne kompetencije ili obrazovnu/kulturnu pozadinu ciljane skupina. To mogu biti kratke igre, hodanje, biciklizam ili bilo koje druge aktivnosti koje mogu biti dobrom podlogom za učenja. Kako bi se osigurala što bolja podrška partnerskim organizacijama u razvoju inkluzivnog okruženja za nezaposlene osobe, kreirana je internetska platforma koja sadrži razne materijale prikupljene tijekom trajanja projekta (aktivnosti, alate, publicirane članke, videozapise, fotografije) te novosti. Bit će ažurirana tijekom cjelokupnog trajanja projekta, a uključivat će i informacije o drugim događajima povezanim s projektom, koje provode partneri na projektu ili njihove pridružene suradničke  organizacije. Platforma se sastoji od različitih kategorija i služi kao izvor informacija za sve zainteresirane za ovu temu ili za mogućnosti koje se nude u sklopu projekta. Osim toga, platforma služi i kao sredstvo komunikacije između partnerskih organizacija i drugih stručnjaka, volontera i članova ciljane skupine, jer pruža prostor za interakciju, dobijanje povratnih informacija i razmjenu I ravoj novih ideja. Platformu možete posjetiti na sljedećoj poveznici: https://connectivityproject.eu/