Review of the event in Brussels


On 15 and 16 February, the YOULEAD youth delegates met in Brussels to prepare for the meeting with European representatives in the Commission in joint workshops. Through the exciting and varied methodological work of trainer Paola Plaku from FTAO (Fairtrade Advocacy Office), they learnt a lot about how the EU decision-making process works and were able to develop a deeper understanding of the political landscape.

The workshops covered the following areas:

  • Youth representation at EU level: How can young people participate? Including youth strategy of the EU Council, external youth work of the EU Commission etc.
  • Discussion of the potential of youth-led campaigns (e.g. in the area of climate change)
  • Reflection on the goals, strategies and effects of youth engagement
  • Practical exercise on EU lobbying: the participants developed an advocacy strategy themselves and thus simulated the process of influencing important decisions at EU level.

Of course, they also took a closer look at their own manifesto and practised presenting it, the spokespersons were also determined together.

After a lunch break, the young people from Austria, Slovenia, Greece & Italy went to the interactive Parlamentarium. The Hungarian group met with a Hungarian Member of European Parliament who was not able to welcome the whole group due to limited space capacities.

And then the time had come: On the afternoon of 16 February, the youth delegates handed over the Youth Manifesto in the EU Commission building to a Greek representative of the European Commission, Mr Charalampos Papaioannou, Policy Officer at the European Commission, SNE - Youth policy and Programmes. He also deals with youth and climate issues and was a perfect dialogue partner. They were able to raise their concerns with him and gained an insight into the work of the Commission in an interesting discussion. Mr Papaioannou was impressed by the manifesto and announced that it would be published on the internal EU Commission's website.

That´s what the young people learnt: Through interactive sessions and practical exercises, they gained a comprehensive understanding of the EU decision-making process, the work of interest groups and campaign strategies.

The workshop followed a participatory, interactive and experiential learning approach, the simulated exercises in political communication provided them with practical skills that they could then apply directly during the interview at the European Commission. Space for discussion and reflection was opened up. In addition, the collaborative nature of the workshop encouraged intercultural exchange and networking opportunities, allowing participants to learn from each other's experiences and perspectives. This greatly enriched the entire event.

By presenting their manifesto directly to a high-level representative of the European Commission, the delegates experienced a tangible opportunity to influence decision-makers and shape policy at EU level. This experience not only validated their efforts, but also gave them a sense of strength and confidence in their ability to effect positive change.

In addition, the conference fostered a strong sense of solidarity and community among the participants. Through shared experiences and collective advocacy, delegates forged lasting connections and networks, laying the foundation for future collaborations and joint initiatives.

The impact of the conference went beyond the delegates themselves, as the Youth Manifesto gained visibility and recognition among influential actors within the European Commission. This visibility has the potential to make young people's voices heard and trigger important discussions at the highest decision-making levels.

The successful day was then celebrated with a joint dinner. Everyone - the young people, accompanying adults and YOULEAD partner organisations - was delighted with the event. The accompanying programme also made it possible to get to know the EU capital a little bit and make new friends.

The evaluation of the event showed that the young people were very satisfied with their participation in the entire YouLead project and also with their participation in the preparatory meeting and the conference in Brussels, which we were very pleased about. The methodically varied work of the preparatory meeting was appreciated, as was the opportunity to meet with an EU representative.

The young people also stated that they had learnt a lot about EU rights, advocacy work and climate change and show great interest in taking an active part in shaping democracy. Whether through petitions, volunteering, expressing their own interests and concerns to politicians, taking part in peaceful demonstrations or actively exercising their right to vote - the group is highly motivated to get involved!


The Event in Brussels was a full success, Thank you all for this outstanding experience!

This individual travel report of two Austrian participants also provides additional insight.