Let´s imagine you are living in Austria where it is cold and snowing. Then let´s say you get invited to come to Lisbon in February and spend a few days learning and discussing Youth Goals in amazing company whilst siting in the Portuguese sun. What do you think you would do? Exactly!
So welcome to Portugal! “The Lisbon Strategy” was the first event of three WYA events this year, which aim to empower young people to form policy proposals that align with their needs and prepare them for the European Elections in the end of May. So, from the 14th to the 16th of February, thirty-six young people from all over Europe got together to discuss the Youth Goals in order to create ̋The Lisbon strategy”.
Wait – what exactly are Youth Goals? Basically, the EU wants to include us young people in the decision-making process. Therefore, in April 2018 young people from all over Europe got together in Sofía, Bulgaria and presented 11 Youth Goals, that were formed before through engaging in structured dialogue. The goals were demonstrated under the slogan “We are shapers, not listeners”.
The main attempt of the Lisbon Strategy was to study these Youth Goals and put our own spin on it. Thus, for the next few days we had the chance to dive into the decision-making process of the European Union. Moreover, we engaged with decision makers and with each other to gain a better perspective of what we want and how we could raise our voices, so politicians can hear us better.
By Saturday – after various intense discussions – we had written, amended and voted a declaration called “The Lisbon Strategy”. This document highlights our spin and emphasis on four of the Youth Goals whilst being the perfect combination of Portugal, Spain, Croatia, Belgium and Austria.
I must admit, I quite was exhausted but very proud of every single paragraph of “The Lisbon Strategy” as we sat down to a final traditional Portuguese dinner on the last night of this perfect weekend in Lisbon. While looking around, I was amazed of how a group of virtual strangers can become a group of friends in such a short time.
To be sure, you shouldn´t underestimate the feeling of unity you gain while finding something worth fighting for.
Therefore: GO VOTE!!!!
Written by Anna Gudenus, a WYA Chapter Coordinator in Europe