The European Union – yesterday, today, tomorrow

Program: Europe for Citizens, European Rememberance
Project leader: Reflections on Europe
Place of action:  Poland (Starachowice, Kielce), Italy (Treviso, Silea), North Macedonia (Shtip)
Duration: 1/01/2021 – 30/06/2023

Project summary:

The project “The European Union – Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow” aimed to raise awareness of the European Union’s history and show the benefits of EU membership, especially for young people.

Thanks to the participation of organizations from countries with different experiences of European integration (Italy – founding member), Poland (member since 2004), and North Macedonia (candidate country), young people have learnt about different perspectives of integration and approaches to the Union. What was equally important, our actions did not take place in large cities but in smaller locations, so we could reach people who have limited access to information.

Project goals:

-Increasing young people’s knowledge of the European Union and its future

-Presenting to young people the benefits of EU membership

-Discussing the goals of the European Union

-Reflecting on being a European by each participant

-Involving of people from smaller towns

Main activities:

A number of actions were planned under the project: 3 events entitled “EU Events” in each partner country with debates; table discussions; European workshops for young people; the European Union knowledge contest and the presentation of youth works. In addition to young people, representatives of all partner countries, external experts, local authorities, lecturers and seniors participated in the meetings.

A conference summarizing the project held at the end of the project. The works prepared by young people in the “I-European” competition were the primary result of its implementation. Winners of individual competitions went abroad to specific events with partners. In addition, a brochure summarizing the project was produced at the end of the project.

More about the programme: CLICK

Project progress:

1. Preparatory meeting in Poland – 16-18th of March 2022

Preparatory meeting was very important part of the project after long time of online meeting and postponing activities caused by pandemic Covid-19 and after started a war in Ukraine. We met with partners from North Macedonia and Italy in Kielce and Starachowice to discuss future timetable, agenda of EU Events in each country, contest for youth, final conference, technical and financial arrangements and what was crucial – risk analysis and what to do to avoid and solve potential problems and challenges.

2. EU Festival in Poland – June 2022

On June 7-10, a conference was held as part of the project “The European Union: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow” by the Europe for Citizens Programme.

We return to talks about the European Union among young people. Together with our guests from Italy and North Macedonia, we discussed the future of the EU in the context of youth, future threats and challenges facing the EU. The entire event was conducted in English.

The event was attended by experts who supported young people throughout the event and took part in the debate on the future of Europe: Joanna Jendrośka from Shuman’s Fundations, Katarzyna Gruszko from UJK Kielce, Juan Luis Ballesteros – Representative of European Commission a and Michał Sęk from the Geremek Foundation and representatives of Europe Direct Kielce.

Young people could ask questions via the Mentimeter platform and took part in a word cafe workshop on the EU from the perspective of 3 countries: Poland, North Macedonia and Italy.

Moreover, we concluded our competition “I, European” for the best poster/photo about the EU, in which the prize was a trip to Italy. Julia Łaszewicz, won the first place and participation in the international event in Treviso. The next places were taken by Martyna Giedych and Klaudia Chamera.

At the very end, we conducted a contest of knowledge about the European Union on Kahoot, in which you could win gadgets and a voucher for the Empik store, funded by Europe Direct Kielce.

We have also started training for young people in English conducted by Piotr Kaczyński.

3. EU Festival in Italy – July 2022

On July 7-10, project activities occurred in the Italian city of Treviso. During the meeting, our association was represented by Dominika, Ola, Mikołaj and Julia, who took part in the trip thanks to winning the competition for a poster/film/photo presenting the future of the EU through the eyes of young people.

The first day began with an event in which representatives of our project partners – Youth On Board (North Macedonia) and ETV EuroTreviso (Italy) also participated.

During the meeting, the subject of European values, youth policy and activity as well as challenges facing the EU were discussed. The subject of youth was particularly often present during a conversation with a former member of the local youth council.

The next day, project participants had a chance to hear about the history, functioning and institutions of the EU. The results of the “I, European” competition were also announced, the lucky winner of which will participate in the meeting in North Macedonia.

In addition, a simulation of the European Parliament session was carried out – each participant assumed the role of representative of a specific EU country and then had to speak and vote on a given issue on its behalf.

4. EU Festival in North Macedonia – September 2022

On September 19-22, we participated in the penultimate meeting with our partners @youthonboard and @etveurotrviso in the city of Štip, North Macedonia!

Together with Stefan Andonovski, we discussed international relations, the future of the European Union and the chance of North Macedonia joining it.

We also developed a vision of Europe in 15 years and shared our thoughts about our future.

We spent the second day of the workshop creating a referendum simulation. Four groups – political parties – had the task of convincing citizens on the issue of lowering or increasing the voting age, respectively. After the presentation of the political campaigns, real elections took place which revealed the winning side.

In the end, a competition entitled: “I European” was held, the winner of which will take part in the last project meeting in Poland.

The visit also had its cultural side, we visited the House of the first president of North Macedonia located in the town of Štip, and we managed to visit the beautiful capital – Skopje.

5. Final Conference in Poland – March 2023

The event consisted of the following elements:

? summary of the project results

? expert debate on topics proposed by the participants of the event by Mentimeter,

?competition for knowledge about the EU,

? 3 workshops in international groups (topics: past, present and future of the EU),

? summary of activities and presentation of posters developed by the groups.

? presentations of competition works from the entire project

? discussion about the EU with seniors

In March 2023, we met to summarize everything that has happened over the last two years. We invited young people from schools in Starachowice to this event. We met on 24th of March at the Senator Hotel, where we held workshops, debates and competitions. The whole event was held in English and was attended by representatives of partner organizations: 3 people each from Italy and North Macedonia.

Young people had the opportunity to take part in a discussion panel in which experts answered their burning questions. Then they tested their knowledge about the European Union by taking part in a competition on the Kahoot platform. Immediately after that, the young people were divided into groups of about 20 and took part in workshops on the Past, present and future of the European Union.

The workshops were conducted by our experts: Joanna Jendrośka from the Schuman Foundation, Michał Sęk from the Geremek Foundation and experts from our NGO. Each workshop was different and moved a different time of EU integration.

In the end, we met again and summarized all the workshops and the entire project. We familiarized the youth participating in the meeting with everything that has happened so far.

On the 25th of March, we met with seniors from the University of Third Age from Starachowice to discuss their experiences with The European Union.

We would like to thank each and every one of you for participating and contributing to The European Union: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow project. For us it was a great time during which we learned a lot in the context of the EU but also organizing events, working with young people and adapting needs. We couldn’t have done it without you!

We would like to thank all our partners for their help in implementing the activities, especially: Starachowice Youth Council, Schuman Foundation, Geremek Foundation, Europe Direct – Kielce.

6. I, European Contest – Summary

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