The project “Europe United: facing challenges, reinforcing solidarity” was a transnational initiative for 50 young people from seven (7) different countries – members of the European Union: Estonia, Italy, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Poland and Spain. EKO organized and coordinated the project, which took place in Athens, Greece, in 8-17 April 2019.
During the project the participants exchanged ideas and knowledge on the fundamental principles of the European Union and its function, on the significant benefits for the country members, on its key role in safeguarding peace at the global level, as well as on the major challenges the European Union faces nowadays. Important challenges, such as the financial crisis, the high youth unemployment rates, the ongoing immigrant and refugee flows, the rise of the far-right, and the upsurge of terrorism, were examined in detail. Great emphasis was placed on initiating in-depth discussions regarding effective and sustainable solutions for these challenges and for reinvigorating confidence in the idea of true European Unity.
Through their involvement in joint non-formal education activities (intercultural dialogue, personal testimonies, activation activities, interactive exercises and open discussions), as well as through a range of cultural visits, intercultural evenings and of by means of their direct interaction, the participants gained familiarity and cultivated their appreciation for other cultures and created an international network of friends and colleagues.
All in all, the young participants were expected to return to their home countries with a deeper understanding of the major values of the European Union, such as democracy, human rights and equality, better equipped to discuss policies and practices of the EU and how they can be adapted to facilitate universal socioeconomic integration, with an enhanced status as European citizens, and a well-developed European spirit of unity, so as to respond to the new challenges of the European Union.