“Listen to what we have to say, ask us what we need and then act!” was the verdict of Europe's young people after the first ever EU Youth Summit.
Addressed to EU leaders, the Rome Youth Declaration [78 KB] , adopted on Sunday 25 March by more than 200 young delegates from the EU's 27 member countries, is more than just a vision for tomorrow’s Europe. It contains concrete proposals for the EU leaders gathered the same day in Germany to adopt the Berlin Declaration [64 KB]
. The Youth declaration calls for a European constitutional treaty and a leading role for the EU in a globalised world. Crucially, the document sheds light on the issues of most concern to young Europeans today: sustainable development; education for all; a society that is both prosperous and fair, and more scope for young people to participate in the democratic life of the European Union.
Gathered in Rome at the historical site of the EU’s conception 50 years ago to the day, the young delegates worked over two days to summarise a month’s hard work and adopt the declaration, which they then presented and discussed with the EU institutions at a special panel debate.
The Youth summit was officially opened by commission vice-president Margot Wallström, who encouraged participants to seize this opportunity. “We want to listen to you. What is your vision of Europe's future?”
The 50th anniversary marks the opening of a new chapter for the EU, said Bettina Schwarzmayr, president of the European Youth Forum. The declaration announces that the younger generation is ready and willing to take responsibility for helping shape the Europe of tomorrow.
To discover what happened at the Youth Summit, watch the recording of the closure of the summit.
Young people also had the opportunity to quiz political representatives:
"United in diversity" is the EU motto, what does it mean for you? What would you expect from the EU in future? What are the main challenges that the EU will face in future? What have been the most significant achievements and failures of the EU in its first 50 years? Could you imagine Europe today without the EU?