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About the event

From March 30th to April 1st 2023 the eighth edition of the European Youth Debate took place. The forum is organised by the student association European Generation, and this year it was in collaboration with Regione Lombardia, the European Parliament Liaison Office, and the Hanns Seidel Foundation Rome. The topics were wisely selected keeping in mind the global tensions surrounding us, and the actions which must be taken to make our voice heard. Four roundtables, then, were created:

European Defence

How does nationalism in member states relate to a common European response to security issues and further integration? How would a more coherent EU defence and foreign policy change the EU’s relationship with other actors? How effective are sanctions as a foreign policy tool?

European Energy: Security and Transition

Strategic autonomy of the energy infrastructure may only be experienced if there are guaranteed energy supplies. The roundtable was focused on investigating concrete policy interventions conducive to the achievement of the so-desired sustainable green transition, as well as to the strengthening of the European energy infrastructure.

European Industry and Welfare

How can the EU maintain its role as a competitive global industrial power by adopting a twin green and digital transformation? The roundtable’s objective is to discuss the current strategies adopted by the EU as well as the continued and emerging challenges it must overcome.

European Democracy

Cultural change: How to promote political participation as an integral feature of European citizenship?; Strategy: How can we develop a common strategy targeting citizens’ involvement?; 2022 was the European Year of Youth. Even though many initiatives were organised, the turnout was very limited. What channel is Europe lacking to communicate with the younger slice of the population?

Day one: The opening conference and first brainstorming

The first day of the EYD began with an opening conference hosted by one guest for every roundtable.

The session began with an introduction and general reflection of current economic events by Carlo Altomonte, Associate Professor of Economics of European Integration at Bocconi University and Economic Advisor for the Italian Government (2021-2022). Then, Massimo Lombardini followed - Associate Research Fellow at the ISPI Energy Security Programme and Directorate General of Energy of the European Commission (1994-2019) - inspiring the “European Energy” Roundtable.

Massimo Lombardini giving its speech on the energy crisis

Our second guest was Maurizio Molinari speaking for the “European Democracy” Roundtable. As Head of Office at European Parliament Liaison Office in Milan, he presented all the initiatives aimed at involving young citizens into politics and awareness of their important influence.

For the “European Defence” Roundtable, the Senior Associate Research Fellow at ISPI and Advisor of Women in International Security Serena Giusti explained the current progress made in the sector and potential future interventions.

Finally, the Vice-President of ISPI, Member of the European Parliament (1994-1999) and Member of the Italian Senate (1994-1996) Carlo Secchi gave a keynote speech for the “Industry and Welfare” Table, proposing and comparing strengths, weaknesses and potential.

Serena Giusti for European Defence

Carlo Secchi for European Industry and Welfare

In the afternoon, the participants of the four roundtables started getting to know each other and exchanging the first ideas on the topic. A special guest was invited to conclude the first day of debate: Antonio Parenti, Head of the European Commission Representation in Italy.

In the evening, a social dinner was organised.

Antonio Parenti debating with the participants

Day two: The drafting of proposals

The second day has been the most intense: the entire morning and afternoon were dedicated to the drafting of concrete policy proposals.

Furthermore, two special guests were invited. Roberto Ranalli - Legal and Policy Officer at the European Commission - for the Democracy group, and Giacomo Spinola - EU Policy Advisor at Edison SpA - for the Energy Table.

Day three: The Plenary Assembly

On the last day, participants reunited for the plenary assembly. Every roundtable elected a speaker presenting the policy document drafted and then the real debate started, through amendment proposals, objections and clarifications. In the end, a final vote on the entire document approved all the policy proposals, rewarding the hard work of participants.


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