Europe’s youth says that more opportunities for learning languages, through travelling, more accessible European cultural sites and preserving culture through crafts, folk and national cuisine can motivate young Europeans to discover different cultures and become more aware of common cultural heritage. These were the recommendations that 99 students from around the continent suggested to EU policy makers during the annual youth event – Your Europe, Your Say (YEYS 2018).
Organized by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the event took place in Brussels and welcomed students from 33 high schools in 28 EU member states and 5 candidate countries. 2018 being the European Year of Cultural Heritage, YEYS focused on culture and selected the theme United in diversity: a younger future for European culture. To that end, the EESC Vice-President, Gonçalo Lobo Xavier, stressed the importance of listening to young Europeans and taking their ideas into consideration. “This incredible project called ‘Europe Belongs to Everybody’, it is built by everybody and everybody has a voice. That is exactly why you are here”, said Mr Lobo Xavier as he welcomed students to the event.
The participants discussed how to preserve European cultural heritage and make it more appealing to young Europeans. The ideas included highly debated topics such as security, integration, and equality. Preserve culture, learn from the past and use it to build the future – was also one of the recommendations that the students gave to the EU leadership. Other proposals included creating a special study exchange program with language classes as well as experimenting with culture. By the latter the participants meant to bring culture and cultural heritage closer to everyone by creating traveling theme festivals and avoiding concentrations of museums in big cities.