The final conference of “Y-FED: Europe is what we make of it” took place on 27th September 2021 in Brussels, Belgium. Around 80 people have met on site and online in an event gathering policy makers, EU and youth representatives, participants, and project partners.
The activities and outcomes of “Y-FED” implemented by the project’s partnership were presented and served as an introduction to the future plans, spanning beyond the project’s lifetime. The event brought together young people and decision makers in order to discuss the Conference on the Future of Europe and to reflect on the role of the Civic society organizations in the process. Among the participants were Sandro Gozi (UEF President & Renew MEP), Domènec Ruiz Devesa (UEF Vice-President & S&D MEP), Biliana Sirakova (EU Youth Coordinator – DG for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture) and Martina DARMANIN (ESU President) who discussed with the participants on how organizations and individuals can get involved and participate in decision making within the EU policies.
The Conference on the Future of Europe was the main focus point, presenting new and ongoing processes, showcasing the realities of inclusion. And while all participants have agreed on the idea being valuable, innovative, and praiseworthy, a lot of questions and concerns were raised with concerns to its actual exploitation. The main question posed was: ‘’What happens with the recommendations and inputs provided by European citizens’’?
As a conclusion of the conference, a common understanding was reached to include a reporting phase which would enable the citizens to look into the outcomes and the reasons of the decisions made. The representatives of institutions have also stressed one point: “Participate, reach out! We are eager to hear from you. There is still room for improvement, and we want to make it with you’’.
In the end, the Y-FED conference has provided an invaluable opportunity to get involved. In the words of a young participant at the conference “What is one year in discussing Europe’s future’’.
All we can hope is that the Y-FED model becomes the “New Normal”.