Around 4,800 young Europeans gathered in Strasbourg from October 8-9 at the European Youth Event under the motto "The future is in your hands". Among them: our alum Dominik.

"Actually, we would have traveled to the European Youth Event (EYE) last year together with a group of Mercator Alumni, when the event was originally supposed to take place. However, due to corona the event in 2020 had to be cancelled. As nice as it would have been if the whole thing had worked out as initially planned, I was pleased to have been lucky with my individual registration for the catch-up format.

Through a variety of formats, there was the opportunity to exchange perspectives and gather ideas, including how to achieve an ecological economy or how to promote respectful coexistence and, crucially, what responsibility and opportunities the younger generation has in this regard. The EYE2021 was so large in scale that at first I was downright overwhelmed wandering through the parliament building and the surrounding tent village. There were workshops, brainstorming sessions, Q&As, role-playing, discussions, music & dance and much more at numerous locations in and around the parliament. Everywhere in between, in all the corridors or the small cafes in the parliament, there was laughter and respectful discussion, in a variety of languages.

At the big closing plenary in the Hemicycle of the EU Parliament, several participants had the chance to pitch concrete ideas for a better Europe, in front of the eyes of Othmar Karas (Vice President of the European Parliament) and Anne Sander (Member of the European Parliament) and hundreds of EYE participants. The best ideas were selected by voting among all EYE interested parties. In addition, other participants could have the floor if they had a question for the senior EU representatives or if they had a personal message in their luggage. Here, I was particularly impressed by one participant who told of Islamophobic experiences in everyday life and also at the EYE itself. Her comment can also be understood as an allusion to discriminatory heckling by right-wing nationalist groups in a workshop with an Afghan refugee. She continued with a thank you for having met predominantly many respectful participants who instilled her belief in a Europe that stands up against discrimination of any form, with which she moved the "Parliament" to a standing ovation ...

Whoever belongs to the young generation, is interested in European issues, has always wanted to experience the EU Parliament up close and  likes to meet new people from all over Europe and learn with & from them, should definitely try registering for the next EYE."

Dominik Nientiedt (Alumn of meet! Mercator Europa Tour 2018)