An Italian initiative to bring the EU to schools and universities

“The spring of Europe” has more than one goal. The initiative, a project by EU Commission representation in Italy and the Italian office of the European Parliament, aims at bringing the EU at school in order to convince the young citizens to be active part of the democratic life. During one week Italy will be the theater of meetings, debates and workshops, with Europe and students at the core of every single initiative.

Under the initiative 39 different events will take place in the week of 21-29 March with more than 100 high schools and universities, involving a total of 5.836 young people (the number is likely to increase, as the invitation to join is open).

The first vote

The campaign has a dedicated website, with the calendar and all the information about the 39 events. It is about school meetings and school debates, focused on the importance of the democratic participation. In fact, the voting right is automatically acquired at the age of 18, when most of the young people are still sitting at school desk.

“My first vote for Europe” is the name of one of the event which is foreseen to replicated in Piedmont (north-west of Italy) at least six times, for a total of seven debates on the importance of the European elections and the duty of voting. Besides this event, the public meeting “Europe is you: let participate!”, scheduled for 18 March in Lombardy.

Initiative all across the country

“The Spring of Europe” will be made possible thanks to the active participation of the so-called “European antennas” at the local level, namely the Europe Direct Information Centers (EDIC), the European Documentation Centers (CDE) and the Eurodesk Youth Network (EYN). The activities already mentioned are those coordinated by EYN, mainly located in the northern regions of Italy, and involving 23 different high schools.

The other two “antennas” are responsible for the other part of the country. In particular Europe Direct has already a busy calendar of activities in all the regions Italy. Once again “EUandMe, #thistimeIamvoting” is among the different activity. The special campaign launched by the European election in the light of the European elections is the common thread of all the events put in place.

The scope of “The Spring of Europe” is to invite the young people to vote, to tell their friends to do the same, and raise awareness about the importance of the European Union and the threats for the near future.

The European Documentation Centers (CDE) are finally in charge of the series of debates on “European elections in a changing Europe”. A list of meetings whose goal is to explain what is and what could be at stake given the different political players, both inside and outside the EU.

The special European season will be the opportunity to explain Italians what the European Union does every day for them, starting from the only directed elected EU institution: the European Parliament.

The importance of nature

Last but not least, on 23 and 24 March the Italians and all the European citizens in Italy will have the possibility to visit more than 30 cultural and nature sites. Every year the Fondo Ambiente Italiano (FAI), the organization responsible for the protection of elements of Italy’s physical heritage, organises special days for the great audience. Basically all the 22 properties are open for visists, and in certain cases European funds have been allocated in cultural programs and the FAI benefited from the EU money.

In the context of the Spring of Europe all interested will have the opportunity to discover what Europe does for environment and culture. This is certainly a good argument in favor of the EU and the importance to participate to the European elections.

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