PILC students as “inspirational chairs” to the Council’s Youth Working Party

What better way to engage the Youth in EU decision-making, than by reversing the roles and giving the baton in policy work to the youth itself? On 12 December 2019, the students from LLM in International and European law (PILC) had this unique opportunity as a part of the ALL-YOUTH research project that BSoG researchers Ferran Davesa, Jamal Shahin and Harri Kalimo have been contributing to over the past two years under the lead of Tampere University. The project analyses ways to involve the youth better in political decision-making. To actually chair a Council Working Party was an innovative way to break new ground on the matter. The PILC students had worked as four teams, facilitated by Prof Harri Kalimo,  on key themes of youth participation – online, social media, non-discrimination and education – and provided the Council experts their insights on what they considered as main barriers and bottlenecks in these areas, as well as policy solutions to solving them. The students (Selkuçhan Unekbas, Arjen Banerjee, Maria Enescu and Javier Lopez) then each chaired the ensuing discussions with the panelists, which included Prof Jamal Shahin, and the members to the Working Party. The host of the event from the Finnish Presidency praised the input as “inspirational”. Indeed, the Flemish representative invited the PILC group afterwards to give the presentation also for the officials in Flanders. In the Working Party, Ferran Davesa also co-presented the results of the research that the ALL-YOUTH team thus far: “the decision-making needs to be where the youth are, so it needs to go online at the same time that it reaches the schools, the associations, the cultural centres and the local communities”, was a key take way. The Working Party event took this finding even a step further!