The Youth on the Move event (17-19 October), in the heart of Belgian city Liège, provided strong testimonials on three important benefits for European citizens, which included: the freedom to work abroad, the right to volunteer on a pan European level and the freedom to study abroad. Three rich, insightful sessions from the event gave the event participants a snapshot of the EU benefits and rights to which they have access.
A testimonial from Fanette Duchesne provided the event attendees with an insight into the opportunities and challenges involved with work and live abroad. As the local EURES contact point, she was able to provide the audience with a genuine insight into the EURES programme. The purpose of EURES is to provide information, advice and recruitment/placement (job-matching) services for the benefit of workers and employers, as well as to any citizen wishing to benefit from the EU right to freedom of movement. Today, the programme offers over 1 800 000 job vacancies across Europe. From the Youth on the Move event it was evident that many people from all ages and regions in Europe take the opportunity to move work across borders. Besides the warning to be prepared to tackle some administrative challenges, Ms Duchesne emphasised the importance of the learning of languages to further utilise the benefits that come with EU citizenship.
Mana Livardjani, from cafebabel.com, gave a passionate presentation on the European online magazine published in six languages. Cafebabel.com aims to contribute to the development of a European public opinion through their publication (magazine and blog) as well as through debates and conferences.
The 2500 ‘babelians’ have the aim to create a media for the Erasmus generation, considering the European dimension. Another important part of their 500 000 monthly readers is constituted by the generation of 65+ who are ‘children’ of the European construction, and who have experienced the war or post-war period before.
Post-Erasmus programme insights were presented by Laura Hauseux from the Erasmus Student Network. After experiencing the benefits (‘friends for life’), cultural differences (‘bikes unlocked in the street’) and apprehensions (‘will I make friends?’) related to her Erasmus experience in Finland, Laura explained what the Erasmus Student Network does to facilitate the social and personal integration of international students. Their 12 000 members offer help, guidance and valuable information to 150 000 exchange students annually, in order to offer each exchange student the same lifetime experience as Laura had in Finland. Through her experiences in the Erasmus Student Network she feels much more European, she said.
In the framework of the European Year of Citizens 2013, the Youth on the Move event in Liège, as well as those held across the EU throughout this year, was important to bring to life the advantages the European Union offers its citizens.