“Alejandra and I, both Faces of the Year 2013 in Spain for the European Year of Citizens, were invited to take part in a talk about the upcoming European elections in Burgos. I immediately confirmed my assistance, as I thought it was an amazing opportunity to have an open debate about the benefits we enjoy as Europeans. Also, we were being given the rare opportunity to co-chair with Mr. Díaz de Mera, European Parliament Deputy.
We arrived at the Forum Evolución of Burgos and were greeted by Mr. Ruiz Jiménez (from EuropeDirect Burgos), who kindly introduced us to everybody. Then with the participation of Mrs. Abajo Izquierdo, Citizen Participation, Consumption, Volunteering and Youth Council in the City Hall of Burgos, and Mr. Cristian Antón, President of the UBU Student Council, we were ready to begin. The audience was young, from 17 to 25 years, and being 23 years old, it was easy to relate to them because, as I had the chance to confirm later on, we have many of the same concerns.
We started off talking about our experiences and views, always welcoming questions from the young audience. To me that was the most important part, as we can only really create awareness about the European elections, if each citizen realises how important their participation is. As expected, most of their concerns we related to government aid and anxiety about their professional futures. We invited them to become more informed about the many opportunities there are in the EU. The presence of Mr. Díaz de Mera was key to helping answer more specific queries on European legislation and political institutions.
Even though I could feel the displeasure most of the young people were feeling, due to this complicated time, I think the event helped raise awareness of their role in the European Parliament and, with that, hope. Many weren’t conscious of how much the European Union means in their lives! I firmly believe that events like this help Spanish citizens really feel like European citizens.”
To read more about the ‘Faces of the Year’ for the European Year of Citizens 2013, from Spain and other EU Member States, click here.