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Europe after the pandemic: what is your vision?

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The COVID-19 crisis has changed our lives and young people have been particularly impacted. The way we work, study, shop, travel, and think of health, relationships and leisure has been profoundly affected. With lock down measures easing, it’s time to look ahead and think about how the “new normal” will impact all the different areas of young people’s lives - and how it should impact policy making in Europe.

  • What are your ideas for the future of young people in Europe after the pandemic?
  • What can the European Parliament and its Members do to support young people in these times?
  • What is the role of young people in Europe’s recovery?

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Pavlen Avramov
21 May 2020

I proposw universal basic income across EU, also urgent investigation of internal corruption in the EU, in countries such as Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Poland. Misuse of EU funds is common practice in my home country. I'd like to see drastic changes to the system, since what we have now is not sustainable.

Konstantinos L
21 May 2020

Myself being a Greek, I view that emigration, be it to another EU country or outside the EU, will remain my only option for professional success, as unemployment will rise substantially. I am also concerned about Northern-Southern European tensions, particularly in Italy.

22 May 2020

As we all know, the future and the strength of every country is its youth population. Therefore, the EU will be able to progress past the difficulties, that will obviously arise as a result of the pandemic, by actually listening to what we want and what we expect from Europe so it can be a friendly and stable environment for us all. According to my way of thinking, the main aspects we should all focus on are:
- Giving young people the opportunity of having access to workplace. A main aspect of economical problems in many countries of the EU (especially in Greece) is the youth unemployment of ages 22 - 29.
- Protecting the values of democracy and equality for everyone. Hungary and Poland are currently in the middle of passing extremely conservative laws that do not belong in the 21st century.
- Continue striving for the protection of the environment and the fight for climate crisis
- Advance the level of the educational system of every country-member. The solution to ignorance has always been education and we are able to improve the future of the next generations by improving the education.

Our main goal should be a progressive society based on democracy, human rights, a fair economic and work environment and a healthy planet.

21 May 2020

I feel strongly European, but during this crisis my mind about EU Changed.
I live in The Netherlands since 5 years and only now I truly realized (speaking with Dutch friends about the crisis) how many pregiudices towards Italy they have.
There is some work to do to create a more real sense of what the problem of south Europe are (for example is not that Italians are lazy, but more about Corruption, people not paying taxes and so on). So that maybe addressing this problem as EU they might be solved for good.
Also I am a master student and a freelancer professional classical musician, both categories needed more help during this crisis and either in NL or Italy we received it.
Although I considered myself strongly European my fate in EU during this crisis become less, for how little cooperation I saw between the countries especially when the problem was only about Italy and Spain. I did not felt EU was a strong referential point during the crisis. I believe there is hard work to gain that trust back. Imagine for those who were not supporters of EU from the starting point.....
I hope we can be EU together without pregiudices between "frugal countries" and "south europe".
Also in some countries welfare worked fast and efficiently. In Italy for example some families saw the first helps only yesterday. This is something that should be more equal in all Europe if we want to be a nation.

21 May 2020

I think that the European Union institutions need to find a way to give more voice to the young people. We are really into technologies and people like us who face different challenges with online schooling and entrolments in universities might have amazing ideas on how to make the time during pandemic a little easier. Yes we use face timing to see other people we know that everyone is thinking of a way how to adapt to the situation but right now our group/ the young people are really vulnerable. A lot of people need emotional support and maybe creating an online anonymous line for calls and video chats would really help people who are getting anxiety or depression over the current situation. Also people like me who will have state exams during the pandemic are worried too because there are things that make us nervous, going inside there with that much people is okay, but the stress we experience while answering our questions and having so much people with masks and products for disinfection really makes us stressed and nervous. It would be great if maybe the European Union can communicate with the universities and ask them for lower admission grades exactly in the state exams or at least a little understanding about what we are going through. I know it will be hard as everyone is trying to keep up with the regulations but I think if these ideas come true it will be a lot easier for young people.
Thank you

Maria Dolores Teresa Quirimit
26 May 2020

I envision a Europe strong and united.
But when Covid-19 came into the surface from China, not only Europe but also the rest of the world didn't take the necessary measures to prepare for such pandemic (even though WHO has given a detailed guide on what to do in such situation on 2005).
The Europe of today has accomplished many achievements, but also has many flaws and made mistakes. Not being able to have a fast response resulted in the deaths of many people. And so this crisis most of the time has been taken care on a national level.
The question is what can Europe do in the aftermath?
I propose a Universal Basic Income (UBI) across EU, as a necessary policy that should be implemented on all European Counties. But on its core UBI is an unconditionally granted to all on an individual basis, without means test or work!!
So in much simpler terms FREE MONEY for everyone without having any requirements as long as you are an adult and live in Europe.
There are many benefits to count, but on my opinion it can also boost the economic growth of country, while improving the lifestyle of the people.
Think of it as an investment that the governments will give to its people. Hypothetically let's say the government gives 1000€ for each individual. The people will have the freedom to manage their own money whether they buy product goods from their local markets or being able to pay a significant portion of their taxes and etc. In a way the money will be given back to the government, but on the same time it will improve the living condition of the people.
There are 3 popular questions when UBI is concerned:
-Where can we find the money?
- Why rich people should be part of this granted?
- Why is not only limited to the poor? And etc...
I could give you the answers, but I believe it is a matter that is important to be researched individually (to examine the pros and cons), and not to have an "impression" of what we believe UBI is, without making the necessary research.
What I ask from EU institutions is to take UBI in a great consideration since is not limited in a certain ideology but you can match it in many different ideologies (feminism, environmentalism, human rights etc.)
OH and one important thing, UBI is on the same page with the goals and values of EU.
Also It would be ideal if each EU country examines the potential of having a UBI based on their own ecomic capabilities, since not all countries follow the same economic model.
I know that my whole point seems kinda utopic, but I certainly believe it can become a Reality.
Thank you for giving us a platform to voice our concerns, since we are a generation that will determine the future.
If we want a strong and united Europe, then we need to have similar strengths in terms of economy without corruption, a diologue between cultures and a strong sense of where we want to be heading towards. If that happens then it will truly be a discussion "equal to equal" / "ίσος προς ίσο".
A nation cannot be called "a developed country" if it ignores the needs of its people and Europe needs to acknowledge its mistakes, forgive them and move forward.

21 May 2020

The youth of Europe plays a key role for the continent’s recovery in post-pandemic times. Jobs should be accessible for fresh high school and university graduates, especially in the green sector.
With that said, it is the perfect time for Europe to step up on it’s green economy policies. We need subsidies for zero-carbon low-skill and high-skill jobs so that more young people can go into those fields. Perhaps a carbon tax should be introduced for the big corporations.
Illegal immigration should be dealt with much more effectively, EU members should work together, improving security along the borders of the Union and deploying more troops. This will provide for a better wellbeing of each member’s citizens.
Poorer regions of the EU need more supervision in every aspect - from infrastructure building quality to ensuring the correct usage of European funds and grants. In my opinion this is especially necessary for Bulgaria and Romania.
Young people need opportunities and EU can provide them!

Stephanny Ferreira de Araujo Ulivieri
21 May 2020

I believe that the pandemic and its crisis have made clear many of the deficiencies of the European community, specially regarding the immigrant population. I talk out of personal experience, because I am an immigrant in Spain myself.

First of all, it seems sad that only European voices are willing to be heard in nice initiatives such as this one. When identifying myself and inputting my personal data, it only gave me the option to choose a European country. I'll be wrongly labeled as a Spaniard, which I am not. I am a Brazilian national, resident in Spain, who has lived, studied and worked within the EU for almost 8 years now.

Secondly, and in the case of Spain, there has been a huge gap when dealing with the virus regarding nationals and foreigners. In the most specific case of the Community of Madrid, masks are being handed out for free in the pharmacies. But, there is a catch: only if you are in possession of a European Health Card for example, a document that many immigrants living in Spain do not have access to because of the status of their visa (students for example) or the complete lack thereof. Are immigrants also not in danger of getting contaminated and contaminating others? Even in terms of cultural citizenship, are "madrileñ@s" only those born in Madrid? Madrid is an international city and a hub for spaniards from all over Spain alike. I feel outraged that such a discriminatory initiative has been approved by the government. Masks should be handed out to every one, regardless of their country of origin or legal status in the country.

Thirdly, as a precautionary measure, most university classes have been confirmed to be conducted almost entirely online in the following course (2020-2021) but the Spanish Education Ministry has decided against the lowering of taxes. It does not seem fair to any student to continue to pay the same price as if they were going to classes, but even less so for foreigners who pay almost 5 times more than EU students and might find themselves in financial difficulties for finishing their studies.

To conclude, I would like to express my sincere admiration for what the EU has managed to achieve. Nevertheless, with it having been built with idea of collaboration and cooperation, such flaws cannot continue to exist anymore.

Isbat Hasnat
21 May 2020

I think this is a really good opportunity to bring people together. EU institutions have long been looking for opportunities to bring Europeans together with a same mindset and agenda. Be a European citizen, not just the citizen of a nation. Be it employment, education or culture, everywhere there must be a clear reflection of European diversity and togetherness of the European youth. Being an international student myself, I would love to see integration with Europe and other parts of the world as well. If anything this crisis has taught us is that in a global world we can't survive by our own merits.

21 May 2020

We need way better cooperation and integration.
We have to boost our industries and technologies stop relying on China and USA.

24 May 2020

Stop Fiscal Paradises inside the European Union and Basic Income for people unemployed

25 May 2020

Make China pay for the damage caused by the virus. It was their fault.

23 May 2020

The EU is a monetary union rather than a political one at the moment - the original idea was that by integrating economically we would then move towards a political integration. This hasn't happened; instead we have individual countries pushing for their own agendas - there is no political or ideological cohesion -
The EU parliament, while it is elected by the people, doesnt represent the power of the people - it is elected from existing national parties, and lacks power and vision.
The commissions are groups of country leaders, each pushing for their own agendas, not taking into account European integration.

We need an EU constitution, that provides the basic principles of our Union.
We need representation, that is free of national party politics.

We also need public works that connect us- why not a railway spanning across Europe connecting every capital? (its also way more environmental than air-travel) at them moment there is no direct connection between Paris-Berlin let alone Greece.

And finally communication; it is often the case that national governments take the credit of all good done and blame all the mistakes at the EU - communication, and transparency

24 May 2020

Universal basic income. We're responsible enough for freedom.

Kai Capuzzo
23 May 2020

The European Union should convert into a new form of European Federalism, with shared debt, army, government, laws etc and bet on the Green Revolution inciting the countries to evaluate the multiple uses of the Cannabis plant.

Giorgio A. Sciara
26 May 2020

The Covid-19 crisis has put the European Union in front of its weaknesses and showed the need to reform its institutions and competences.
The lack of unity in the first phase of the infection has increased the eurosceptic sentiment across the citizens of the most hit countries (Italy and Spain first); we must regain the popular consent around the European project but to obtain this we have to be sure that the EU will be near to our people trough concrete aids and solidarity.

The European Recovery Fund should be financed by Eurobonds (common debt) which will unite the national economies even more; this debt would be repaid thanks to European taxes (Web tax, Carbon tax...) which would also become the first core of a European Union's own budget, independent of single states contributes.

Another important issue is the reform of the European institutions: the Council of the European Union has shown its incapacity of deciding in quick times due to the divisions between the European states, in light of this facts it's important to abolish the unanimity system and transfer the legislative power entirely to the European Parliament, giving the right of initiative to the EMPs.

The post-pandemic world will see an high polarisation between USA and China; the European Union must avoid divisions inside Europe and the only way to do this is trough the construction of an European army and a common foreign policy, both directed by the European Commission.

To surge stronger from this terrible pandemic we must unite in our diversity!

Mary A.
22 May 2020

I think that the situation of lockdown due to the pandemic was food for thought especially for young people but also a hard time. I believe that the increase of unemployment is going to be one of the hardest things young people will have to deal with but from a more optimistic point of view I think that this whole situation has been an opportunity for young people to reconsider out priorities. Apart from economic support from the EU I believe that young people really want to feel that the European Union is not only there in crisis but in our every day lives. It is in our hands to contribute to the rebuilding of the Union with actions and not only words in order to feel that we are all part of the Europe.

24 May 2020

I imagine a future in which we are all more awake and more responsible for our destinies as well as for the future of our countries. I hope young people will become more engaged, more critical and more focussed. I dream of a Europe with more creative industries, with more people making things happen, keeping alive our traditions yet preserving our freedom. We will keep taking the walls away.
The EU needs to help young people to find opportunities in their villages, towns and homelands. We need more long term policies rather than superficial and limited programmes. We need solid bases. Migration has to be an option and not a requirement to survive. We need to encourage the youth to think they can play active roles in developing and shaping their own country. Frustrations have to be replaced by an idea of self responsibility and gratitude.
Young people are the keepers of the European values. They will be the future workforce, taxpayers, leaders, scientists, activists and politicians. Young people need to channel their own challenges into solutions while getting enriched from intergenerational dialogue. We need to keep promoting all the good Europe has achieved together. We need to be proud of our past and present yet keep our eyes wide open and make human dignity a European value again. We have so much to protect and still some smaller mountains to climb together.

24 May 2020

The virus is the fastest spreading in densely populated cities. The European Union and the Member States should pursue a policy of developing smaller towns. Investments, online job offers, housing support programs and business opening in smaller cities can reduce the problem of overcrowding in metropolises that are already an unhealthy, polluted living environment.
An example of such a program was "active residency allowance" in the Italian Molise Region. An underpopulated region in southern Italy offered newcomers € 700 per month for three years to live and start business in one of its villages.
More such programs are needed.

Laura Valentina Steca
21 May 2020

Young people are the future of our society, of our EU, of our world. I’ve been exchange student in 2019/2020 and I had to come back to Italy because of the virus.
In my opinion students in Italy will have less opportunities than in the other European countries, because our family are all more or less pour and nobody helps us. I feel lucky, but many of my friends are in trouble. They don’t feel a part of the EU because just some people from the other EU countries help us. Think for a moment about the internet connection. If you don’t have the connection you can’t use computers to attend the lessons or to chat with your friends... you are alone and you feel alone.
I suggest something: why don’t the EU help as much as possible the pour countries (Italy, Greek, Hungary...), especially young people? Money is not the only important thing in this world. We want more right for young people, more attention, more opportunities, more ways to feel part of this big community. It’s not easy, I know, but simple things are the ones that change our life.
Why don’t you think about building an online community for EU young people or present some projects which can involve us and teach something about the EU government and politics? We can know better each other, share opinions, suggest ideas and... create a big family where people are not alone!

Georgi Bozhidarov
23 May 2020

Stable and well-financed healthcare systems. Platforms that allow coordination between all member-states in case a global healthcare crisis occurs again and departments for emergency scenarios on a national and on an EU level. In case all of these things exist - optimize!

Konstantinos Ps
22 May 2020

Εurope is going through a crisis of both supply and demand. Dynamically changing labor market trends will mainly affect the new generation of european citizens. In addition to the unimpeded movement and work of young people within the EU, the institutions must design appropriate policies to assist the governments of each country and promote radical reforms so as not to affect the number of current workers so much with the digital transition. the above are general observations to a large extent. as for the pandemic, i come from the country that overcame the curve and was a positive example for Greece, even though it has been experiencing a socio-economic crisis for 10 years. I propose to immediately strengthen the air carriers in european countries, of course, before the passengers do the necessary tests in order to strengthen the tourism and catering structures of each country. Let's motivate businesses not to lay off workers because with rising unemployment rates, young people will find it even harder to find work if external competition increases. Let's look beyond economic benefits and expand social welfare. Social groups such as people with disabilities, the elderly, the long-term unemployed and young people without adequate training to accept with planning and resources through state support programs to reduce social injustice and their marginalization. The forthcoming european strategy for education, training and employment should focus on human with the sole purpose of improving his quality.

Omar mofeed
25 May 2020

Hi, thank you for organising this event in this difficult time.
I’m half Irish half Palestinan, currently living in the UK.

I have two questions please:
1 during and after this pandemic, most of the people will be effected, what are the plans the European Parliament have to support the (young) medical, and health workers as they worked hard, there traning program has been suspended, and we need them to be strong to safe us in the future

2 Israel announced the during this Pandemic, the annexation of the palestinan land, a plan to make the occupation of most of the West Bank legal, and to make the illegal Israeli settlements part of Israel, The Israeli government announced that this will happen in the next few weeks. The EU is the biggest trade partner with Israel, also the Israeli army is doing the army research in the EU using the EU research fund, one more thing, the Israeli universities in the illegal Israeli settlements are getting fund to build campuses in the palestinan land, what is the European Parliament plan to do i this issue?

21 May 2020

In my opinion we need to make it clear that we are all truly one reality and that Europe exists for this.

Institutions must show themselves to young people, on social networks and by organizing various types of webinars, they must make it clear that they are not alone, and will be their points of reference.
But most of all, I believe that in order to guarantee a "right to study", which allows them to train for the world of work, it is necessary to intervene on teaching methods.
The example that I would like to propose is precisely to increase the number of teachers, thus smaller classes would be created and there would be both greater security in terms of social distancing, and in this way, the students being few, would be followed as it must be from the teachers.