Young people have their say on the future of the EU

The Conference on the Future of Europe is running from 2021-2022 to engage EU citizens, civil society and policymakers to have their say in what the EU should work on in the future. To hear directly from young people about topics that matter to them, in May this year the EU also launched a Youth Ideas platform where young people could submit their ideas on what they want the EU to achieve.

From May until October, a staggering nearly 2,500 ideas were submitted to the platform. Within these, the Youth Parliament submitted four ideas based on their EU policy recommendations. These four ideas covered: universal healthcare, environmental impact on health, social inclusion for young patients, and digital care.

The most popular ideas were collected by a group of editors to bring to ideation workshops at the European Youth Event (EYE). The EYE is an event for 16-30 year-olds which took place on 8-9th October in a hybrid format. Over the course of two days, panels and workshops were held to hear directly from young people on current topics important to them. The ideation workshops invited young people to discuss and finalise priority ideas from the Youth Ideas platform for a final report delivered to the Conference on the Future of Europe.

The Youth Parliament led discussions at the European Youth Event

The Youth Parliament attended the workshop to advocate for and shape their idea on environment and health to call for an awareness raising campaign on the impact climate change has on health, as well as to ask for concrete measures to reduce its consequences.

Creating a health-in-all-policies approach to tackling climate change is urgent for young people living with allergy and asthma. The increasing number of climate hazards include catastrophic floods, heatwaves and dryness over Europe, as well as extended pollen seasons. This has been proven to be linked to worsening disease symptoms, daily life limitations, and higher medicine intake for patients.

The outcome of the workshops were 20 key ideas from young people to be included in a final report. On the second day of EYE, a public vote was launched for all young people to vote for the top 5. The Youth Parliament was thrilled to find that their idea on climate change and health was voted into the top 5. It is a clear statement that young people are increasingly concerned with the dangerous impact climate change has on their health, and calls for authorities to commit to taking action to prevent long-term consequences that young people will suffer the most from.

Laura Stenz, who participated for the European Allergy and Asthma Youth Parliament, reflected on the consultation process: “Being part of the EYE ideation workshop and handing in our own ideas showed me once more that my voice and the voice of young patients in general matters. I could stand up for fellow young patients and have an impact for them during the consultation. I found my voice, and so can you!

What is next for the youth ideas

The ideas are included in the “Youth ideas report for the Conference on the Future of Europe”. This report will be presented to Members of the Conference on the Future of Europe and the Members of the European Parliament in the next Conference Plenary Session on 23rd October 2021. It will be used to help shape the political discussions taking place and to ensure that the voice of young people, including young allergy and asthma patients, is heard by policymakers.

The Youth Parliament will continue to follow the developments of the Conference to see that the report is taken on board, for future climate policy to consider health at its heart.

If you are interested in joining the European Allergy and Asthma Youth Parliament, click here to find out more.