European-led housing policy to reduce isolation, an exchange programme for school pupils and discounted multi-country rail travel could all lead to a stronger, happier and wealthier Europe according to young people.
These were just some of the ideas generated by young people from Scotland and 9 other European countries at an event held at Scotland House in Brussels on Monday (13th March 2017).
Organised by the Scottish Government and Young Scot, the event brought together eleven young Scots and twenty-seven young people from other parts of Europe.
Together they examined how to promote Human Rights, improve international security, increase opportunities for working and living across Europe, encourage more people to study or travel across Europe and how countries can work together to improve the environment.
The groups selected five key areas to look at in more detail proposing ideas for collaboration at a European level.
The five final ideas presented by the groups were:
- A day where all countries across Europe celebrate the cultures, traditions from each of the other member nations over a single day.
- To encourage greener transport to lower emissions the group suggested promoting rail travel through incentivised cross-border travel tickets.
- In order to promote educational opportunities abroad, a school pupil exchange programme was suggested to encourage further exchanges later in life.
- The young people agreed that cultural and media misconceptions about refugees and asylum seekers need to be addressed so refugees can be settled successfully.
- The young people discussed how isolated and marginalised communities, especially in major cities, contributed to xenophobia. Shared European strategies and policy on housing migrants to spread diversity were suggested as a common solution.
The group were joined by Michael Russell, Minister for UK negotiations on Scotland’s place in Europe and a representative from the European Commission’s Directorate for Youth Policy and Programmes, Graeme Robertson.
Michael Russell said, “It was clear from the conversations that young people from across Europe are passionate about our shared future and have many common ideals. The Future of Europe belongs to them and I was pleased to see great ideas for international collaboration coming from young people.”
Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot, said, “Young people have told us they want to have the opportunity to experience other countries and culture. These are ideas range from big and bold ideas and to the everyday policies that shape all of lives. At their heart is collaboration and co-creating stronger ties between nations.”
The full findings of the session will be published in a report in April.