From the 15th to the 20th of April 2021, the city of Maastricht – birthplace of the modern European Union and probably the most European city of the Netherlands – was the backdrop for an online gathering of the European Youth Parliament. The project provided young Europeans with a platform to exchange perspectives, and engaged them in direct conversation with political decision-makers.
130 young people between the ages of 15-27 dialed in from 24 countries to discuss their vision for the future of Europe with each other and with policy-makers. Around twenty young organisers were present in Maastricht to set up and host the meeting from the city.
On the agenda was the theme of digitalisation, with topics such as online misinformation, cyber sexual harassment, and online distance education. For six days, young participants discussed these topics and exchanged perspectives. They reached across cultural and national boundaries to agree on solutions, experiencing European decision-making on a smaller scale. Afterwards, they presented their ideas to local and national governments, EU-institutions and companies. Their proposals can be found here.
The project has yielded many positive results. Bringing together 24 nationalities, participants indicated that they learned to appreciate cultural differences and made many new friends from other European countries, promoting a shared sense of European identity. They also said the event helped them understand how political decision-making works. 77,5% of participants said the project had made them more willing to become politically active. A full report on the results can be found here.