Dear (cross-border) youth, 2022 is your year!

    Back in 2020, to mark Interreg’s 30th birthday, a group of European young people developed the Youth Manifesto. They presented their ideas on Interreg: how to align European Cooperation Policy to their expectations, how to influence Interreg policy making. The voices of these youngsters have been heard, and in September 2021, President von der Leyen announced that 2022 would be the European Year of Youth (EYY), to be celebrated across directorates, countries, instruments, and initiatives.  Interreg programmes have been invited to join efforts, to ensure young people are involved in cooperation activities and engaged in programme implementation, in a sustainable and meaningful manner. This is how the campaign Youth4Cooperation was born.

    Youngsters have been particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, locked away from dreams and endeavors. Today, the European Commission is putting them at the heart of its response to the health crisis: it is taking on board their opinions and ideas, to shape a new vision of society.  Europe and its neighbours need the imagination of the next generations, their passion and engagement to build a greener, more digital, and inclusive future.

    While the focus of this new initiative is on the European Youth, cooperation under Interreg programmes can mark a more inclusive celebration, bringing together European and non-European young people, sharing their perspective and experiences of cross-border activities, hearing their hopes, dreams and aspirations, maybe to find out they are not so different, after all. This is the ENI CBC world, touching on cooperation across the external European borders. Within this frame, the Youth4Cooperation campaign will enable initiatives to be showcased across the EU and beyond; it will inspire communities and organisations, it will push decision and policy makers in engaging more with the youth, to further learn from them and about them. In fact, while young people have never been more connected worldwide, they are not being heard enough. On October 22nd 2021, the European Commission launched an online survey among young people: 62.9% of respondents said they do not know or are not sure how to make their voice heard, or express their opinion. 2022 will be a year dedicated exactly to reverse this trend. The EYY is an occasion for them to promote their goals, to show their potential, to share how they perceive their place in the future. An occasion to explore and highlight which steps should be further taken to make their involvement a permanent feature of Interreg programmes. Overall, the EYY is a message of hope for the youngsters:  it aims at mobilizing action for a long-lasting, positive impact on their future.

    As we enter a year that will honour youth, TESIM has decided to dedicate to this very special target group its 2022 first edition of the Newsletter (don’t miss a chance to subscribe!). Today we are launching a series of videos and interviews with young people, to get to know their opinions, expectations, and contribution to cooperation projects across the EU and its neighbouring countries. 2022 will bring plenty of learning opportunities, encounters, and broader exchanges for them: stay tuned and listen to the voices of the ENI CBC youth.  

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