7. April 2022

Kick-off participation formats in Brussels

Our new workshop series was kicked-off with a three-day event in Brussels. Five participants from our network met in the EU’s capital to learn more about different ways of playing an active role in society: through activism, street art, and politics.

From March 30 to April 1, we met in Brussels to launch a new project: the Understanding Europe participation formats. These formats are developed by our network members from Armenia, Austria, Germany, Portugal and Romania and aim to get young people in those countries involved.

Based on a broad understanding of involvement, we compiled a programme enabling participants to meet with people who are all passionate about participation but pursue their passion in very different ways: through activism, art, and politics.

  • The participants from Armenia, Austria, Germany, Portugal and Romania

  • Talking with EPC researchers about the Conference on the Future of Europe

  • Workshop with Young Feminist Europe

  • Discussion with MEP Daniel Freund

  • Workshop with Jonathan Moskovich and Fionna Saintraint from Brussel’s French-speaking parliament

  • Discussion on the European Green Deal & Smart Cities with experts from E3G and EPC

  • City tour with „The City is Your Playground“


After arriving and grabbing a first lunch where we got to know each other a little better, we walked through Parc de Bruxelles to our ‘home’ for the next days, the European Policy Centre (EPC). We were welcomed by Sophie Pornschlegel who also moderated a first introductory talk about the Conference on the Future of Europe. The Conference was analysed by researchers from EPC as a way of political participation on European level. In the afternoon, we met with Young Feminist Europe, whose members Irene Queralt and Melanie Bernhofer had prepared an interactive workshop on how to use intersectional activism to fight for change in society. For dinner, we went to a wonderful Thai-restaurant in Ixelles.

On the second day, participants first presented their workshop ideas to each other. Afterwards, Daniel Freund, Member of the European Parliament, visited us to talk about how we can all fight for our rights and demands on a European level (hint: find an MEP who supports your cause). The second part of the day was well spent with a workshop in which two advisors to Brussel’s French-speaking parliament explained how deliberative comittees can be used to change existing democratic structures. And last but really not least, artists of The City is Your Playground guided us through Brussels and showed us how they engage with local communities through means of street art.

The last day was filled with summarising learnings and a discussion with experts from E3G and the EPC on the European Green Deal, the concept of Smart Cities, and on top-down vs. bottom-up processes for a sustainable future.

What’s next?

Inspired by people from these fields and by each other, the participants and their teams will now develop new formats that seek to engage young people in their countries on topics they care about. More information on the workshop ideas to follow soon!

Many thanks to the European Policy Centre for hosting us as part of the Connecting Europe project and to our funding partner Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft.