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WATCH AGAIN – Beyond Borders Breakfast Debate #6: European Youth for Cross-border Cooperation

On Thursday 3rd February, the Border Focal Point Network organised the sixth episode of the “Beyond Borders: Breakfast Debates” series. 2022 is the European Year of Youth and central to this is the recognition that full cooperation and social cohesion can only be possible with the involvement of young people and their active participation in civic life. This edition of the series focused on how youth can play an active role in promoting cross-border cooperation in their region. The event was inspired by the 2020’s “Manifesto for Young People by Young People to Shape the European Cooperation Policy”, and the IVY volunteer programme.

This episode opened with remarks from Louise Floman, who spoke of the importance of prioritising the role of youth in cross-brooder cooperation during the European Year of Youth under the Youth4Cooperation slogan. She highlighted that youth, which were affected particularly negatively by the pandemic, are also passionate about critical issues such as the green transition, and this should be acknowledged and utilised in shaping Europe’s future.

Following on from this was Bektha Djilidjel, a co-author of the 2020’s “Manifesto for Young People by Young People to Shape the European Cooperation Policy”. Bektha highlighted the opportunity to integrate the priorities of the manifesto into Interreg programmes during the new programme period 2021-2027, and also referred the audience to the Interreg Youth Summit which will take place this May.

We then heard from two youth engagement examples, namely, the ALCOTRA Prgramme (FR-IT) and the RoBulUs project (RO-BG). Maria Rosaria Valentini emphasised ALCOTRA’s history of success in engaging youth, while Tzvetalina Genova, speaking on behalf of the RoBulUs project, identified lack of education on civic participation as a key obstacle for youth engagement.

The event included two polls to initiate a conversation with the audience: first, participants considered promoting cross-border exchanges between schools/universities or via ‘city twinning' programmes, and the implementation of a curriculum in schools about cross-border cooperation, as the key methods of improving young citizens involvement in cross- border collaboration. The second poll then revealed that people felt that cross-border projects can encourage young people to address issues that are important to them, such as boosting employment and educational opportunities and facilitating a dialogue between youth and local/national/EU authorities.

Before the closing remarks by Louise Floman the episode saw a fascinating and impassioned panel discussion then traversed through several key issues: Beniamino Brunati reinforced the importance of civic education; Birte Wassenberg highlighted the hesitance sometimes found at national level of letting local level authorities become involved in cross-border cooperation; questions of increasing the diversity and inclusion of those participating in cross-border programmes was discussed, as was the possibility of extending the reach of a new MOOC on European Territorial Cooperation beyond students, to benefit institutions as well.

 

If you could not join us for this event or if you would like to watch it again, the recording is available here:

More information on the topic and useful websites:

 

The 'Beyond Borders: Breakfast Debates' series has been designed to highlight ways in which cross-border regions can be supported in tackling specific problems, building on their many assets. The debates will provide the opportunity for stakeholders and policy experts to convene and discuss the continued challenges and obstacles to cross-border cooperation.

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