The first EULECTIONS’19 event in Portugal took place on May, 10, 2019, at Iscte- Instituto Universitário de Lisboa. This full event involved 92 citizens from the city of Lisbon, Portugal, mostly university students, for a full day dedicated to the European elections and the future of the EU.
This event aimed to bring awareness to the importance of youth participation at the 2019 elections for the European Parliament, question populist and extremist views and promote an informed and open debate about the current and future challenges of the European project and ways forward.
The event included various activities and methods (brainstorming, quizzes debates, workshops) and involved students, teachers, researchers, media, government officials and youth activists.
The day started with the participants’ welcome and registration at the event desk where everyone received a bag with promotional gifts, workshop materials and a brochure with information about the project.
In the first activity of the day we invited participants to think and express their views about a very important topic for the 2019 European elections: the rise of populism. The “Tree of Europe” was built from the perspectives on the topic and showed youth’s perspectives about populist ideas and the elections.
Considering the central role of information in questioning populist and extremist views, and also in promoting electoral participation, we invited participants to gather in groups and play the “Who wants to be an European Expert” quiz. This question and answer activity aimed to improve participants’ understanding of the importance and presence of the European Union in our daily lives and engage young people in the debate about Europe and the 2019 elections.
After the “warm up” activities, participants had the opportunity to discuss with academics, the rise of populism and its threats to the European Union, in a round-table entitled “Populism and democracy: what´s at stake?”. The debate aimed to give a broader view, based on research, of the challenges to the European democracies brought by populist and extremist movements and explore how citizens and governments at the national and European level can respond to these trends. The debate was moderated by the Executive Editor in Chief of the Portuguese newspaper “Diário de Notícias”, Catarina Carvalho.
Following the debate with academics and the media, we welcomed the Portuguese Secretary of State of European Affairs, Ana Paula Zacarias.
In this activity, entitled “The citizens meet… Ana Paula Zacarias”, participants had the opportunity to learn more about the work done within this State Secretariat and to present questions about the European neighbourhood policy and the future of the European Union. This conversation was hosted by the project coordinator, Ana Isabel Xavier.
This activity aimed to promote a closer interaction between young citizens and government representatives in charge of European affairs and contribute to a better understanding of how European institutions work, the EU current challenges and ways forward.
The last part of the event was the training session “May the vote be with EU: workshop on future scenarios”. It started with a “EU dating” in which participants had to share with each other theirs answers to questions like “What does it mean to be an European Union citizen” and “Why will I vote for the future European Parliament elections?”.
Afterwards, divided in small groups, each group had to discuss the pros and cons of each scenario reflected in the “White Paper on the Future of Europe: Reﬂections and scenarios for the EU27 by 2025” of the European Commission and present it to the whole group. In the end of this activity, each group created what they considered to be an “ideal scenario” for the future of European Union, with their recommendations and opinions.
This event ended with the presentation of the web-course “ChangEU Multipliers” and with each participant showing a card to the actual European Commission, where Green meant that they feel European Commission aligns with their interests and opinions, Yellow meaning that they somehow feel connected with the European Commission work, but they feel some lack of representation and Red signalizing that they don´t feel represented at all by the work done by the European Commission.
During this event, some of the young participants also shared with us their expectations regarding European Union and the European Parliament.
Watch the videos from participants testimonies: