The Generation What Survey of the European Broadcasting Union has shown that 59% of young people between the ages of 18 and 34 have little or no trust in Europe and the European Institutions. Nevertheless, 71% of survey participants regard the EU as important and do not wish for their country to exit the Union. Almost one million young people in Europe participated in the study between 2016 and 2017.

The low levels of trust among young people is a significant risk factor for the EU. Although the survey shows that a majority supports the European project. It is paramount to demonstrate to young people before the European elections in 2019, that the EU is a vibrant democracy, offering numerous possibilities for participation and deserving of their trust.

In this context the organisations of catholic non-formal youth education AKSB, BDKJ, JHD, KEB and FEECA deem it essential to provide additional training in EU politics education to their youth workers and teachers.

Youth workers and teachers are well aware of the need to communicate the EU. many wish for more professional cooperation and an expansion of training opportunities to reinforce their skills in this area. According to our assessment, better training of teachers on EU politics education would lead to an expansion of educational activities on this topic on the ground. The seminar “Every vote counts – The European elections 2019 and active EU-citizenship” set out to remedy this situation. The seminar had the objective to analyse key challenges of EU politics education, identify solutions and develop concrete concepts for new educational activities.

The seminar took place from the 4th to the 5th of December 2018 in Brussels and targeted teachers of non-formal youth education. Since registrations filed up quickly, capacity for participation had to be expanded several times. In the end 37 people participated in the training.

On day one of the seminar participants encountered several best practice examples. Frederik Kempf and Titus Möllenbeck presented the European Youth Weeks, a youth exchange at Haus am Maiberg in Heppenheim. Katharina Zey-Wortmann presented the Europe work of KEB-Trier. A presentation by Märthe-Maria Stamer, phd-student at Georg-August University Göttingen shed light on the state of research in the field of didactics of politics education on the matter. Michael Hoppe, head of electoral campaigning at the S&D party group in the European Parliament, presented a view from outside the box.

A guided tour by project leader Michael Manz from the European Parliament through the Parlamentarium presented participants with a further best-practice example. The following study period ended the input-phase and provided participants with an opportunity to grasp activity themselves. In several working groups teachers analysed the key challenges of teaching about the EU and discussed solutions for better politics education in this field. Subsequently, working groups were asked to develop and present concrete proposals for new education activities.

In their discussions participants came to the conclusion that the EU cannot be taught through traditional teaching methods alone. Education formats which allow for multidimensional experiences are needed. The various approaches discussed involve young peoples´ emotions and aim for the active involvement in an activity.

Politics simulations and visits of authentic places were discussed as education activities providing the needed elements. “Discovering Europe at home” so a proposal could be the topic of city rallies allowing young people to find out how closely their hometown and Europe are interlinked. The results could be documented in photo-stories and provide good dissemination material. The proposal for a photo-competition on “what does Europe mean for you” strikes a similar cord.

The self-assessments of participants before and after the seminar show clear skill improvements across all areas. An improved monitoring of education activities on the ground shows a significant expansion of courses linked to the seminar. The project accomplished all objectives successfully. The effects can be regarded as very positive.

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