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«Understanding our need as EU citizens: a resilient Europe» aLMUSSAFES (SPAIN)

«Understanding our need as EU citizens: a resilient Europe» aLMUSSAFES (SPAIN)

During the closing event of the FUTUREU Program, a meticulously planned agenda was executed and all activities were carried out successfully and with great success.

On November 21, the participants arrived and were accommodated at the Bartos Hotel. The day concluded with a warm welcome dinner held at the same hotel.

November 22 began with a meeting of the participants in the assembly hall of the Llar dels Jubilats, where attendees were welcomed and their attendance was documented. The day included presentations on citizen initiatives, which included analysis of the future situation of the EU, identification of challenges, selection of initiatives and concrete definition of objectives and steps for their implementation.

After a coffee break, dissemination activities and presentation of the project results were carried out in the afternoon. Each partner presented their achievements in 5 to 10 minutes, covering social media posts, press releases and local project-level activities.

November 23 marked the closing session of the project. A sustainability agreement was signed and a final video of the project was produced, with brief interviews with the participants for its creation.

The day concluded with a lunch break and an afternoon free of programming for the participants, followed by a closing dinner to jointly evaluate the project activities.

On November 24, the partners left Almussafes, returning to their respective locations.

The event was an enriching and successful meeting. Participants were immersed in debates, workshops and presentations focused on understanding the needs of EU citizens and strengthening a resilient Europe. During this meeting, the future challenges and opportunities for the European Union were discussed in depth, developing specific citizen initiatives. The event demonstrated notable collaboration between partners, resulting in the successful dissemination of project results and the creation of a sustainability agreement. In short, it was an impactful event that fostered insightful debates and laid the foundations for concrete strategies towards a more resilient and participatory European future.

From Local to Global – Bucharest (romania)

From Local to Global – Bucharest (romania)

24/10/2023

Arrival of Participants from each partner delegation. Welcome dinner.

25/10/2023

The session was held in the conference room of the Ibis Hotel, where the participants were accommodated. The session started with a welcome speech by the president of the Impressum Association, Mihai Valeriu, in the framework of the FuturEU project, but also provided information about the role of the association and a summary of the situation in Romania regarding the active participation of young people at local and European level. The president focused on the role of the country in European approaches and how European directives, values and perspectives are integrated. Ms Valeria Paraschiva then took over the session. Participants introduced themselves and the association they represent. An energizer and icebreaker session was opened: using unrealistic and figurative images, participants had to choose an image that represents them and how they position themselves on the path of active community participation. The common insights from the debriefing process were: the need to act in the present moment, the need to reduce the barriers that both communities and organisations feel in terms of active participation, and the presence of potential and opportunities offered by young people themselves in our community environments.

Then the «From Local to Global» presentation session began. Each partner presented their expertise on the evolution of the countries, ways and best practices of engagement and development of the Union and how citizens could contribute to the development of European citizenship. In this way, participants could learn about other participation mechanisms, especially for young people, in which they can play a leading role in the European framework.

In the afternoon, Miss Valeria Paraschiva opened the session – Europe for You. Young people, most of them volunteers in student associations or volunteers from different national NGOs participated and exemplified and supported the need to involve young people, but, more importantly, what are the barriers they encounter that stop or reduce their willingness to participate. It included discussions about experiences in civic projects, the influence young people had on local and national policies, barriers to involvement, the use of technology and social media, successful local initiatives, essential skills for civic engagement, motivation for youth participation, and how to balance civic involvement with other responsibilities. Additionally, it considered the role of educational institutions in promoting and facilitating civic engagement among students.

The partners stressed the need to identify ways in which volunteering can be better presented to the community: the direct and indirect, personal and community benefits, the need to identify a means of communication that appeals to young people, and the possibility of better including volunteering in school or university.

The first day session ended with the start of the role play activity –  Gamification. In this session, we explored how participants made a difference in EU policy through local initiatives by engaging in educational games. The role-play game assigned participants roles representing different EU stakeholders, including EU Commissioners, MEPs, lobbyists, NGO representatives, and citizens. Teams were formed based on these roles, creating a mix of stakeholders to simulate real-world dynamics. The participants were divided into two large groups, and each received a scenario that identified a dilemma to be solved. Resolving it required each role to analyze their perspective and bring it as authentically as possible into the role-play.

26/10/2023

The day began with a visit to the City Hall of Sector Three in Bucharest, as this local administration was chosen due to Impressum’s activities in Sector Three, offering clear insights into the relationship with the municipality. Mayor of Sector Three, Robert Negoita, engaged the participants in an open discussion, sharing the roles held as a member in the European Committee of the Regions, former President of the Association of Municipalities in Romania, and describing the ongoing efforts to maintain community relations and support youth projects and initiatives within Sector Three’s municipality. The participants learned about the digitization process and how it has enabled the City Hall to be closer to the citizens and their needs. Until lunchtime, participants had free time in Alexandru Ioan Cuza Park, a point of attraction and pride for Sector Three.

The second part of the day began with a debrief and discussion regarding the role-play game: problem-solving, how participants felt in their assigned roles, and what they would take away from the activity. Participants expressed that it is relatively impossible to solve such a dilemma when all involved roles are rigid, fail to understand other perspectives, and are not willing to identify solutions that satisfy all parties involved. They emphasized the need to thoroughly understand the roles of all social and political institutions to seek their assistance, the importance of young people/community having genuine, accurate, and valid knowledge about institutional processes to participate in joint actions, and the importance of being flexible and adaptable in response to changes in the surroundings.

The day continued with a feedback session, planning for future activities (both personal and those of the represented partner or the project, dissemination), and the distribution of participation certificates.

27/10/2023

Departure of participants.

MEETING IN ROTTERDAM (NETHERLANDS

MEETING IN ROTTERDAM (NETHERLANDS

TOMORROW’S EUROPE, YOUR EUROPE

The developed agenda and the whole organization of this event was targeting to Disseminate the values and rights of the Conference on the Future of Europe in civil society, improve the governance of municipalities by disseminating European values, examine and debate Euroscepticism from a closer approach, teach and bring closer the participation mechanisms of European politics, improve understanding of the decision-making processes of the European Union, encourage civil society and especially young people and promote new opportunities for social and intercultural engagement.

Participants had the chance to develop their awareness regarding the importance of these European values through debate, information and best practices sharing and dialogue with interactive and informative activities. An important point always had in mind was the enormous importance of their role in decision-making processes and their responsibility as European citizens in building a more inclusive Europe, both through exchanging views with other participants, such as through the discussions and debates.

What we did?

• Each partner presented their organization, their aims and values, their actions, the local policies, the current situation of citizenship means for people in everyday life and youth participation and involvement – which was undoubtedly a great opportunity to understand how those values are actually implemented and taken into consideration in Spain, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Malta and in the Netherlands

• Presentation of Netwerk Nieuw Rotterdam (one of the biggest youth organizations in Rotterdam) followed by Ms Yukio Oosterling (representative of the Netwek Nieuw Rotterdam) who accepted the invitation of visiting our FUTUREU meeting and sharing valuable information and inside of the current situation in Rotterdam. Participants were interacting and had the chance to exchange opinions but also to address any question they had

• MATRIX Map creation of Citizens means have created/ developed after exchange of opinions, best practices consideration, targets to be reached and brainstorming among participants

• Round table of Values and rights on the Future of Europe in civil society and a workshop of Role play (titled “Future of Europe”) followed with the active and full of energy participation of all attendees

• Debate “Tomorrow’s Europe, Your Europe” (focusing on the upcoming European Elections followed with the participants separating to two groups, organizing and justifying the values of youth and the views of older (adults representatives of municipalities etc) – How important is for youth to participate active to European decision making and to European elections? What youth are missing for being more active? The most crucial response received among all was “INFORMATION – PROPER, REAL AND CLEAR INFORMATION”

• Partner countries developed a plan for being able to come closer to young people, targeting to get them closer and supporting them of becoming an active part of our societies

• During a creative LAB we also created a video, with each participant describing the meaning of FUTUREU for them, by using only one word.

• Slogan for the project have been developed => “FUTUREU: motivation-participation-cooperation-progression”

 

All in all, a very satisfactory meeting where it was possible to discover the culture, food and traditions of Netherlands and share experiences among the participants from different countries.

MEETING IN DIÓSD (HUNGARY)

MEETING IN DIÓSD (HUNGARY)

The activities of the event took place in the House of Culture of City Diósd, located in the centre of the city.

The basis of the professional work was a lecture accompanied by a ppt presentation, the topic of which was: ‘Presentation and rules of application of the European citizens’ initiative’ (ECI). In addition, some Hungarian internet-based interfaces supporting civil initiatives were also presented, showing concrete examples of initiatives.

After the presentation, the partner delegations held a joint discussion on the topic. As part of this, short written answers were given to the following seven point questions:

1) Have you heard about European citizens’ initiative?
2) How do think this procedure can be effective?
3) At the European level, what kind of topic would be useful to choose?
4) Do you think that citizens want to participate in EU programs in order to change the EU?
5) How could you motivate people to deal with common European issues?
6) Do you think Euroscepticism is the reason why people do not want to participate in such activities?
7) Could you say examples of initiatives at local, national and EU level?

Participants were ready to express their opinions to the questions.

Another professional topic of the meeting related to the theme of ‘Conference on the Future of Europe’, which dealt with the two-year program initiated by the EU, carried out by involving all member-states in the period of 2020-2022. The theme was introduced by a ppt presentation (8 slides), and followed by a discussion in the frame of a working groups titled: «European Citizen Initiatives based on the Conference on the Future of Europe’s ideas report». Participants were prepared for a common discussion, and the lead partner led the workshop activity by listening and gathering the opinions of the delegates. Additionally, the materials of the National Activity Report of each country could be used for setting up a Compendium of the European Citizen Initiatives.

In line with the Agenda, the actual status and tasks of the project implementation, communication and dissemination activities were discussed in a session led by the project coordinator of Lead Partner Municipality of Almussafes on June 2.

As a complementary activity related to the theme of the project, a guided tour of the Hungarian Parliament building took place. The importance of the role of the parliament in the democratic society was supported by a personal view of the historic building, hearing about the most significant events of the Hungarian parliamentarism, connecting the topic with the recent theme of the project: ‘Understanding our need as EU citizens, Resilient Europe’.

All in all, a very satisfactory meeting where it was possible to discover the Hungarian culture and share experiences among the participants from different countries.

Meeting of the FUTUREU project in Gharb (Malta).

Meeting of the FUTUREU project in Gharb (Malta).

From 14th to 17th of March, the FUTUREU project meeting took place in Gharb (Malta).

The meeting objectives were to bring together the partners from 6 partner countries and 31 local citizens to discuss, debate and share good practices and ideas.

The activity started with a welcome by host Genista research foundation Dr Mark Causon.
During the activity we addressed these issues:

 

    • EuroMuncipalisim- what is it and its effects on citizens, a talk was given by Mark Causon followed by a discussion on the subject from a local perspective.
    • Visit to the Gharb local council and meeting with the Mayor of Gharb Mr David Apap who has served as mayor for 25 years were we discussed citizen initiatives and collaboration between the council and the citizens. The Mayor gave an overview of the various initiatives undertaken and discussed with the participant’s good practices. A number of questions were asked to the mayor which he replied especially focusing on the importance of volunteers and collaboration and assistance by the council to various initiatives.
    • The municipalist revolution was to be presented by Dr Eleonora de Majo however due to other commitments could not attend so her presentation was given by another speaker. It focused on the importance of starting from local initiatives which can create a ripple effect on a country level and then transnational.
    • A workshop “New participation tools for building an inclusive Europe” EU policies and its application at local level was held with the participation of all participants.
    • Discussion session- Collecting ideas for European Citizen Initiatives. Participants were grouped into 3 small groups and each group discussed and presented their ideas to the whole group.
    • Visit to ta Dbiegi crafts village. During this session participants will improve knowledge about European cultures and particularly about Maltese culture, traditional practice of ceramic, glass making, iron forging, silversmith and pottery.
    • Workshop and open discussion, participants were split into 3 groups and each group came up with a number of ideas for citizenship participation.
    • Cine-Forum” were we discussed Citizen Participation in the EU including a debate on “new participation tools”. Through the ideas shared by the participants these were reflected in the form of conclusions to be able to later make some publication in social networks or some material for dissemination of the project.
    • Workshop with local youth and international participants. «Euromunicipalism, beyond EU capital cities» Young stakeholders discussing and elaborating strategies for getting involved in the EU participation policies.
    • HE Dr Mark Causon Ambassador of Malta to Denmark Ministry of Foreign affairs gave a talk on International Diplomacy as a tool to forge relations between cities.
    • Discussion session- Participants were invited to discuss and share their good practices on cultural diplomacy initiatives.
    • Workshop session were participants created a video of the project on «EU Civic Participation awareness video». The video has different spots: Documentary video divided into awareness spots on the importance of citizen participation in a Euromunicipalism environment and its impact on European policies. This video, as well as the rest of the activities, will be linked to the Future of Europe conference.
      Panel 1 – «Stronger economy, social justice, jobs, education, culture, sport, digital transformation» – Recommendations
      Panel 2 – «EU democracy, values, rights, rule of law, security» – Recommendations
      Panel 3 – «Climate change, environment, health» – Recommendations
      Panel 4 – «EU in the world, migration» – Recommendations
    • Visit to Wied il-Mielah it-Tieqa ta’ Wied il-Mielaħ, limestone natural arch were the participants could see the 3 initiatives undertaken by the Gharb local council which turned a derelict valley for the benefit of the citizens through creating a proper path for easier access to visitors, embellished the natural arch area for tourist enjoyment, fixed and built a water channel so flood water is now diverted into the channel and the gathered water is used for free by the farmers, through this initiative the area is now a protected Natura2000 site and the citizens feel that it is theirs so not dumping is now taking place.
    • A Tour of the Cittadella was organised. The Cittadella is medieval fortified city in Gozo, visiting lace making workshop, silver filigree workshop.
    • Visit to Dwejra- the Inland Sea is one of Gozo’s most scenic, natural sea water pool with a deep, narrow, 80 metre long tunnel through the cliff leading to the open sea.
    • Project coordination meeting were representatives of each partner present and other leaders who joined online discussed some specific topics

Euromunicipalism, beyond EU capital cities

Information and schedule of working days in Gharb (Malta)

Project partners and interested people from Malta, Spain, Poland, Rumania, Greece, Hungary and Netherlands, will discuss about:

-EuroMuncipalism

– Citizen initiatives and collaboration between the council and the citizens

-The municipality revolution

– EU policies and its application at local level

– Regional government
– “New participation tools for building an inclusive Europe” EU policies and its application at local level.

– Collecting ideas for European Citizen Initiatives

And much more about Maltese culture and traditions.

 

 

Meeting in POLAND

From 29th November to 2nd December the FUTUREU project partners met in Warsaw (Poland) for the third meeting of the project.

During the meeting, we visited 3 of the cultural centres »Waweskie Centrum Kultury’ and all the participants could see the work that children, young people and adults do there (theatre and improvisation, music, pottery workshops, reading workshops, yoga and much more). Furthermore, they shared experiences of good practices so that each partner can further improve their municipality and involve young people in local life.

Each partner from Malta, Hungary, the Netherlands, Greece, Romania, Poland and Spain involved young people as a stakeholders to participate in the project and this has been very satisfying because we have been able to share many experiences and different points of view.
Among the work carried out, the working group discussed how to encourage civil society, and especially young people, to participate actively in political life. They designed the «ideal city», the «ideal high school», the «ideal youth centre», the «ideal school» and the «ideal town hall» to try to achieve this.
In addition, there was time for an Oxford-style debate on whether it is appropriate for a country to set the voting age at 16. In this debate, young people and adults participated and contributed their views and very interesting arguments both for and against.

Finally, it should be noted that the members were able to enjoy a beautiful and Christmas-like Warsaw, as well as its gastronomy.

All in all, this meeting has been very enriching for the whole group.

We can’t wait to meet again at the next meeting in Malta.

FUTUREU-BUCHAREST PARTNERS MEETING (ROMANIA).

The second meeting of the FUTUREU project took place in Bucharest from 7th to 10th of September. Partners from Poland, Malta, Hungary, Netherlands and Greece attended the meeting in person. While the partners from Spain witnessed it online

They were two days of work in which first of all, the Romanian partners were in charge of welcoming and presenting the functioning of the European citizens’ initiative that they carry out from Romania. They explained how these initiatives became a reality, the process and how exactly the message reaches the main beneficiaries. In this way, the participants were able to learn about other participation mechanisms, especially for young people, in which they can play a leading role within the European framework. Several representatives of the National Union of Romanian Students were also present at this seminar.

In addition, the participants had the opportunity to visit the Information Office of the European Parliament (House of Europe) where they learned more about local European initiatives and how young people can have local initiatives. The visit took place in the form of a dialogue, both between the young people, the partner delegations and the representatives of Europarl Romania.

During the meeting there was time to discuss good local initiatives that promote citizen participation, such as the Bucharest citizens’ initiatives fair. Mr. Daniel Enachescu, responsible for Asociatia Impressum of the FUTUREU project, explained to the attendees its main features and functionalities in the local reality of Bucharest.

On the second working day a dynamic workshop took place in which all partners shared some examples about their local activities and how they promote citizen participation.

After all the activities mentioned above, work started on the common infographic containing the best practices in terms of citizen participation and the best practices in terms of civic engagement in the municipalities of the partners that were worked/displayed during the event in Bucharest.
This infographic will be prepared and presented at the next meeting that will take place in Poland during the month of November and December.

KICK OFF MEETING ALMUSSAFES

During the days from 7 to 10 June, the City Council of Almussafes received the European partners from Romania, Poland, Greece, Netherlands and Hungary that are part of the European Project CERV (Citizens-Town) called FUTUREU.

With this project, which is based on the Charter of the Conference on the Future of Europe, the aim is to work to increase the participation of citizens, and above all, of young people in Europe. Another objective is the promotion of European values and the fight against Euroscepticism.
European citizenship, and more specifically youth, must put on the table the debate on what should be Europe’s challenges and priorities for the coming years.

8 are the meetings and work packages that have to be held throughout the 18 months of duration of this project in the cities of the different partner entities.
The first meeting was held in Almussafes, as the Almussafes City Council itself is the entity that launched this project as the coordinating entity and to which the rest of the interested entities have adhered.

This first event was a great success. Among the programme was the visit of Ana Enguidanos, General Director of Relations with the European Union and the State, from Europe Direct- Generalitat Valenciana and the presentation of two examples of good practices of participation of the City Council of Almussafes.

Among these, Alfonso López, Education expert of Almussafes City Council, presented the process for the creation of the Council for Childhood and Adolescence in Almussafes; a small sample of what the Council works with children; what implications it has for the municipality, the province and the State; as well as presented some of the actions that have been carried out in Almussafes born from the ideas that have been launched from the Council itself, both urban, as cultural programming, and involvement for equality, vulnerable groups, etc..

In addition, Elena Pardo, Psychologist of the Department of Social Welfare presented the space »Som Salut’’ (We are Health). This has been a space designed to gather the concerns and needs of citizens in terms of health combined with the vision provided by municipal technicians and health professionals from our health department. Three representatives of associations from the municipality accompanied Elena to explain what their experience has been like in the space and what changes are going to be implemented in the municipality to improve people’s health in terms of health and urban planning, among others.

During the afternoon of the 8th, a day of citizen participation was held in which needs and proposals for action were collected to be transferred to Europe through the platform created by the European Commission »Raise your voice and have your say» in which young people can launch through voice notes their ideas for improvement of what they would like to change.

On the 9th the partners met to determine the roadmap for the development of this project in the coming months.

All in all, a very enriching meeting was held for all the European partners and the citizens who were involved. In addition to working towards the objective of this project, the coexistence between the people who have participated in these days has provided new lines of work for other areas that go beyond what is proposed in this initiative. And surely, this is also what the European Commission pursues with the design of the different European programmes: to increase social cohesion, cooperation and the active participation of citizens.