'Young people are the future of Europe, please listen to us!' Carrying this message, twenty-one 'European Youth Ambassadors', aged from 18 to 24 years and coming from twelve different European Regions, met today the European Commissioner in charge of Communication Margot Wallström, joined by major EP deputies.
The European Youth Ambassadors paid a visit this afternoon to the Berlaymont Building in Brussels, home to the European Commission Headquarters, joined by European Parliament deputies Graham Watson (Liberals), Jan Wiersma (Socialists) and Pierre Jonckheer (Greens).
'We're the future, we're the real grass roots of the Union, as we belong to and we're deeply-rooted in the core of the EU... its regions!' told the Youth Ambassadors to Commissioner Wallström. 'So if you want a real exchange of ideas with the European citizens, have a chat with us', was the message they gave her at the meeting, chaired by Michael Roth (Baden-Wuerttemberg).
"You are very important, you are the real VIPs. It is up to you to be tomorrow's decision-makers. You're going to take over Europe and shape it." This was the welcome Commissioner Wallström gave to the group. She added: "Without the local and regional level we wouldn't be able to communicate all that we need in Europe. I see our EU communication policy as a tool for democracy".
The meeting provided also the opportunity to present to Commissioner Wallström four of the projects carried out by the Youth Ambassadors in their regions, a direct result of last year's AER Summer School in Maramures - Romania. These projects focused on communicating Europe among youngsters ("Projekt Mio", Norrbotten - Sweden, and "Europeers", West Sussex - UK), health issues ("Target Health", Vestfold Norway) as well as the knowledge of Europe among school pupils in Brussels ("Europe?!", Brussels Capital - Belgium).
The 'European Youth Ambassador Scheme', supported by the Assembly of European Regions (AER), aims at expanding the knowledge of Europe among young people from the regions: the Ambassadors are in charge of involving them in the discussions about Europe and which role should youngsters play in it. Moreover, the Youth Ambassadors are themselves a forum of regional young activists, through which they exchange experiences and work on common projects.
The European Youth Ambassadors are appointed each year during the AER Youth Summer School (YSS). The next YSS will take place in Devon (UK), between the 26th August and the 1st September.
For more information: www.a-e-r.org/events/youth-summer-school.html
The Assembly of European Regions-AER (www.a-e-r.org) is the political organisation of Regions in Europe and their spokesperson at European and international level. Its vocation is to defend the Regions' interests in the political process and develop interregional cooperation. AER brings together 250 Regions from 32 European Countries and 14 interregional organisations.
AER Contacts: Martin Mühleck, Policy Coordinator for Committee 3, firstname.lastname@example.org, +33 3 88 22 74 47, or Sergio Nava, Spokesperson, email@example.com - Tel.: +33 3 88 22 74 36, Mobile: +33 678 69 52 35.