Under the title “Young Europe”, TUI Foundation launched a collaborative project on the future of Europe in November 2018 in cooperation with the Berlin-based independent think tank iRights.Lab. Young Germans aged 16 to 26 were invited to talk about their ideas regarding the future of Europe and their life in Europe They were free to contribute inputs of all kinds. More than 100 submissions dealing with the future of Europe were received.
All submissions formed the basis for the “Charta of Young Europe”, developed by 20 of the young participants in the competition, who had been invited to take part in a workshop held in Berlin in early 2019. Following inputs from speakers representing politicians and the media the young people jointly worked on the Charter. Based on the submissions received, the young people developed and intensively discussed their own ideas for the Charter. The full charter is available at www.young-eu.com.
“The goal of the work performed by TUI Foundation is to give young people a voice in European political debates. In the light of the forthcoming European elections, the competition has offered them an opportunity to get involved in public dialogue about Europe,” said Elke Hlawatschek, Managing Director of TUI Foundation.
This week, some of the workshop participants travelled to Berlin to personally hand over “their” Charter to German politicians. Their goal was to directly present their ideas regarding the future of Europe to politicians in good time before the European elections held at the end of May.
On Tuesday, the Federal President invited the young participants to Bellevue Castle for “Forum Bellevue“, a panel discussion on Europe. As part of the event, the young people had the opportunity to hand over a copy of their Charter to Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Their programme continued on Wednesday: The Chairman of the Christian Democrat and Christian Social (CDU/SCU) parliamentary group, Ralph Brinkhaus took the time to meet the group. For most of the members of the group, it was their first visit to the German parliament – the guided tour through the parliamentary buildings following the meeting was therefore another highlight of their visit. Ralph Brinkhaus was particularly interested to hear whether the young people are planning to engage in further action to support Europe following the European elections. Most of the group participants will definitely do so! The next meeting with Berlin politicians followed on Thursday. The group was welcomed by the Secretary General of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Lars Klingbeil, at Bundestag and handed over a copy of the Charter to him. In Klingbeil’s view, young people have become far more political. Lars Klingbeil engaged in lively discussions with the young people about digitalisation, the strengthening of human rights, the promotion of education and European exchange as well as issues related to a just and social Europe.
“Following the committed, substantive work of all those involved in the development of the Charter, the next step will be to communicate the results to political decision-makers. With the handover of the Charter to the Federal President, the Chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the German Bundestag and the Secretary General of the SPD, the Charter has reached important and influential stakeholders. It is now for the politicians to take responsibility, and we will closely follow their activities,” said Philipp Otto, Managing Director iRights.Lab.