From the 12th to 19th of April 2019, six representatives from CET platform Macedonia attended a youth exchange “I am free European”, which was the third part of the “European Mobility Dream” project. It was hosted by CET Platform Polska in Krzyżowa, Poland and coordinated by Youth i Initiatives of Ukraine. The project includes organizations from 10 countries (Ukraine, Poland, Croatia, Greece, North Macedonia, Italy, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia and Georgia). The organizations of Greece, Croatia, Poland, Italy and North Macedonia participate in the CET Platform network.
It gathered 60 participants, youth workers and young leaders from involved organisations and communities. It consisted of non-formal educational activities on the topic of European mobility, integration and cooperation. Throughout the 7 day period while the project lasted, the participants were actively involved in strengthening their knowledge about many topics, youth mobility and what Erasmus+ has to offer, to young people all around Europe. In combination with theoretical knowledge about the European Union and its institutions, values and goals they have peaked in each other’s position in the European family, the inner working and issues of each of the countries, and worked on an outcome for each.
The sessions were very challenging and fun to be part of, firstly because each country had the opportunity to be involved in leading a session and secondly because everyone had the opportunity to participate in every either debate, workshop or presentation. The learning process was done through a simulation of the European Parliament and with each workshop leading to the same goal, it made the learning process more interesting and exciting. We started out by getting to learn more on the European Parliament, and how it functions, we then learned more on each of the different fractions and soon enough we were divided, each of us supporting our political party. In the following days we were learning of the process behind a campaign and had to make our own for a representing candidate, supporting it with video promotions, posters and public speaking. The main goal was to strongly support our party’s values and gain more voters.
On the last day we had each party’s candidate present their solution on the migration issue, as the last chance to gain voters, after which we had the election with a voting stimulation. Once we had the winner, the last workshop that followed was a final debate. Macedonian team had a workshop in which was included planning a debate on the topic of the migration solution that got the most votes. We divided the group in 6 different groups from which 2 of the groups were pro the idea, 2 were against and 2 were neutral. The debate was constructive and a high percentage of participants took part in it. In the end, there was a vote in which the neutrals decided who won the debate.
To conclude, this was one of the best experiences that we had, not only because we had the opportunities to gain knowledge about the EU institutions, but also implement it in practice and see first-hand how the EU elections are working. Sharing the knowledge that we previously had with the participants from all of the 10 countries helped us widen our views on many topics not just on youth mobility, youth participation and EU institutions. We hope that we will continue our cooperation and conduct many more projects like this in the future.