Brexit, euro, right-wing populism – pupils from Albert-Einstein-Schule Laatzen and IGS Roderbruch discussed European issues of interest to them with Lower Saxony State Premier Stephan Weil in the framework of “Europe live”. The format, run by TUI Stiftung/Foundation, regularly brings politicians and pupils together for active and critical debates on Europe.
For many young people, the prospect for peace, contributing to the sense of identity in the framework of the process of European integration, is often far removed from today’s real life. At the same time, European unity and its numerous benefits – from the single currency and freedom of movement all the way to intercultural exchange and free travel – are taken for granted in particular by many young people as a natural part of their everyday lives. Nevertheless, many of them also show a lack of interest in Europe or voice Euroscepticism.
Based on two videos on Europe made by the pupils themselves, pupils from IGS Roderbruch and Albert-Einstein-Schule Laatzen discussed Europe with State Premier Stephan Weil on 13 March.
What is the young generation’s view of Europe? How close is the fundamental idea of the European Union to them today? With the series of Europe Live! events, TUI Stiftung aims to ofer young Europeans the opportunity to raise questions to experts from politics, business and European institutions and discuss European affairs with them.
State Premier Weil said: “The European peace project can only succeed if it is also supported by the young generation, who already live Europe in many dimensions. Social media, mobility and internationality are taken for granted by young people. In particular in times of crisis, we have to defend Europe’s central values - freedom of opinion, tolerance, rule of law and solidarity. The questions rased by the pupils give me a great deal of confidence. They manifest interest, openness to criticism, and the willingness to show commitment to Europe.”
For Thomas Ellerbeck, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of TUI Stiftung, Europe Live! delivers an essential contribution towards promoting the European idea. “Time has come to step up our joint commitment to Europe. Apart from the challenges, we should also focus on the opportunities resulting from European unity and generate enthusiasm for a common Europe among young people. Committed, open dialogue marks a successful start.”
Carolin Jünemann, who takes part in the project for the first time with her class from IGS Roderbruch, emphasized the pupils’ interest in Europe Live!. “The pupils are enthused about the project and have shown great commitment in preparing for the event. I am surprised to see the large number of different aspects of Europe the pupils have dealt with.“