Over the last several years, many EU countries have seen a rise in support for populist, nationalist, antiestablishment political parties. These parties are often termed “Eurosceptic” because many have also been fuelled by worries that too much national sovereignty has been relinquished to Brussels. Although not a completely new phenomenon in the EU, the recent uptick in support for such parties largely began in response to Europe’s economic stagnation, refugees crisis, austerity measures, and the eurozone crisis. Increasingly, however, heightened fears about immigration and the sizeable migrant and refugee flows appear to be driving rising poll numbers for populist and/or Eurosceptic parties, especially those that harbor anti-immigrant sentiments.
As member states fall into the hands of Eurosceptic and nationalist parties, for many the future of the Union seems hopeless. People are disillusioned, failing to see the added value in the community of nations they once voted to join. Institutions are struggling, unable to regain their citizens’ trust, or even to reach them at all. Consequently, the EU is facing its biggest threat in its history, a crisis of European identity.
In order to overcame this threat, European leaders have decided to meet on 17 November 2017 in Gothenburg to discuss the future role of education and culture in strengthening the European Identity, the sense of belonging together and being part of a cultural community. According to EU leaders, education and culture have to play a pivotal role for people to know better each other across borders, and experience and be aware of what it means to be “European”. Moreover, a common vision (also called vision for 2025) coming out from this meeting is a Europe in which people have a strong sense of their identity as Europeans.
Considering all this, the main aim of “EUnique identity” is to strength the sense of belonging together and equip youth workers with competences and methods needed for transferring the common fundamental values of our society in their local context.
The project will involve 24 youth workers/youth leaders, with no age limit. Socially active youth workers with a role in local communities and interested in promoting EU initiatives, EU common identity and sharing of EU values in their local contexts.
The project methodology will be based on non-formal education (NFE) methods, valorising the knowledge and experiences of the participants. Methods will include inputs, working groups, exercises, debriefing, ice breakers, energizers, reflection groups and working into intercultural subgroups and facilitated discussion.
This project will have a positive impact and longer term benefits on participants because participants will:
-Develop new skills and knowledge in key concepts of European Citizenship and raise the impact of their work;
-Know the existence and how react to the spread of “fake news”;
-Develop the capacity of networking and of working in an intercultural team;
-Improve the sense of criticism by evaluating their previous youth projects in an auto-critical way;
-Increase the attitude of an active and conscious participation in the democratic life of the EU in their local contexts, starting from the next European parliament elections of 2019.
-Increase the network with colleagues from other countries and organizations with the aim to create initiatives to respond to the common challenges of populism, xenophobia and terrorism that threat to EU values.
-Improve ability to manage youth mobility projects.
-Act as multipliers of knowledge acquired in their local area, especially of other Erasmus+ projects giving educational opportunities to the youth of the local context.