The European Planning Meeting (EPM) is an annual thematic conference of AEGEE that provide a space for the Network to exchange views and ideas on a topic decided by the Spring Agora and on the Focus Areas of the Strategic Plan. The EPM aims to foster learning and reflection among young people and enable them to contribute to safeguarding the European common values and responding to existing crises. This year’s edition was particularly exciting for us as it was our good friends, AEGEE-Krakow who organized EPM and as expected they did a great job ? ? ? ?. For 3 days, we took part in numerous lectures, workshops and exercises that helped us to improve our team management skills and increase the effectiveness of the activities undertaken. Commitment and hard work resulted not only in amazing results, but also in newly acquired friendships that know no boundaries ? Unfortunately, all good things come to an end one day. We returned to Warsaw full of inspiration and eagerness for action ?.
This year’s conference, focused on understanding and reflecting on shared European values and their impact on European multi-level governance and the future of the European project. We attended three parallel thematic tracks covering political activism, social justice, and digital activism. We learned from experts in the field and European Bodies about the challenges facing the continent and how young people could contribute to addressing them.
One of the key outcomes of the EPM was the drafting of the Action Agenda, which set the thematic goals for AEGEE and its Locals to collectively reach in the upcoming year. The drafting process was facilitated by the Strategy Committee, who guided participants through the process of choosing one of the three Focus Areas, brainstorming on what AEGEE could achieve, making a first draft of Actions, receiving feedback within their Focus Area group, refining their draft, receiving feedback from the other Focus Area groups, implementing that feedback, and finally creating the final draft.
Overall, the EPM served as a valuable platform for young people to come together and discuss pressing European issues, learn from experts, and collaboratively work towards creating a more inclusive and sustainable future for Europe.
This year focus areas were:
The Bridges of Dialogue – aims to promote peaceful and constructive dialogue among young people in order to prevent and resolve societal conflicts. Success is measured by providing means for constructive dialogue, cooperating with stakeholders, and advocating for peaceful dialogue. The European Union has recently set up the European Peace Facility to enhance its ability to prevent conflicts, build peace, and strengthen international security. The Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research publishes an annual report on conflicts worldwide, including in Europe. The interdisciplinary field of civil conflict management, which includes areas such as sociology, human rights, and peace studies, is a good source for developing this project’s focus area.
Digital culture – AEGEE aims to educate and empower young people to participate responsibly in a digital society that values open discourse and protects freedom of speech and expression. The digitization of data has profound effects on all aspects of our lives, and it is important for everyone to have basic digital skills to keep up with the digital economy. However, not everyone has equal access to technology and the internet, particularly girls and women. Bridging the gender digital divide is essential for economic growth and development. The European Commission aims for at least 80% of the EU population to have basic digital skills by 2030.
Eco-Responsible Society – AEGEE aims to help young people contribute to an eco-responsible society that respects planetary boundaries through gaining reliable knowledge, developing competencies, and advocating for sustainable decisions. Planetary boundaries define the safe operating space for humanity with respect to the Earth system, which we need to stay within for future generations to thrive. The European Green Deal is a package of policies aimed at fighting climate change, but urgent action is needed to address other planetary boundaries like biodiversity loss and overconsumption of natural resources. Discussions are ongoing about different concepts for a more environmentally sustainable society, including circular economy, doughnut economy, degrowth, green growth, and sustainable development.