european-youth-forum-logoBrussels, 12th May 2014 // This weekend (9th-11th May), in Strasbourg, 8,000 young people came together to discuss ideas for a better Europe at the YO!Fest, part of the European Youth Event (EYE 2014). The two and a half-day event, which brought together young people from all over Europe, highlighted key issues that concern young people, with high-level debates, activities and workshops run by and for young people.

YO!Fest is the annual youth festival organised by the European Youth Forum. Mixing political debates and workshops with live music and artistic performances, for the 5th year running YO!Fest mobilised young people and youth organisations across Europe. This year YO!Fest was a prominent and key part of the European Youth Event (EYE 2014) organised by the European Parliament in its premises in Strasbourg.

Over three days, EYE2014 brought together 5,300 young people (aged 16-30) from all over Europe to meet, exchange and debate their “Ideas for a better Europe”, around five key themes: youth unemployment, digital revolution, future of the European Union, sustainability and European values.

As well as being a celebration, with music, dance and theatre and circus performances, YO!Fest  was also all about engaging young people in politics and in the issues that impact them in an often fun, but also challenging and stimulating way. The festival included debates on: European values, voting at 16, co-operatives, multiple discrimination, education and youth work, as well as workshops on volunteering, climate change and the future of the EU.

Throughout the event there was a Living Library of human “books” on discrimination, organised by the Council of Europe, as well as YO!Talks which saw young people give interactive and thought-provoking talks. In the evenings those attending the event, as well as young people from Strasbourg, were entertained by concerts featuring the bands Asian Dub Foundation and Puggy; with up to 8,000 people attending.

European Youth Forum President, Peter Matjašič, states:

“I am inspired and delighted by the energy and motivation that the thousands of young people brought to the European Youth Event and YO!Fest. This weekend, full of bright ideas and inspiration proves that Europe’s youth does care about its future and that now is the moment for our leaders to listen to their voice about the issues that concern them.

“The outcomes of EYE2014 and YO!Fest should have a particular resonance and importance, just two weeks before the European elections. I truly hope that the newly elected MEPs will take on board the voice of young people which has been loudly heard in Strasbourg this weekend.”

The European Youth Forum, along with the European Youth Press, which with over 100 young journalists covered every debate during the event, will be producing a report detailing the outcomes of EYE2014, which will be presented to the newly elected MEPs this summer.
Notes to the editor:

About YO!Fest
YO!Fest is the European Youth Forum’s annual youth festival. Mixing political debates and workshops with live music and artistic performances, for the 5th time YO!Fest, yet again, mobilised young people and youth organisations across Europe. YO!Fest’s main partners are: European Youth Event, European Parliament, City of Strasbourg and European Youth Forum. YO!Fest is also supported by League of Young Voters, Love Youth Future, InterRail, European Commission, Council of Europe, Arte, Top TV, COZE, Jeunesses Musicales International, Jeunes Agriculteurs du Bas Rhin, Euranet Plus, OFAJ, Allianz Kulturstiftung, Café Babel, Exposure and Youth4Media.

More information can be found on the YO!Fest website, here: http://yofest.eu/

About EYE 2014
EYE 2014 took place at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, 9th – 11th May. The European Parliament opened its doors to thousands of young people from all over the EU. Participants were invited to meet with European decision-makers and speakers with a wide range of professional experience to exchange ideas and perspectives on youth-related issues, develop new, innovative ways and solutions to crucial questions for the future and experience the rich cultural diversity within the European Union through the staging of various cultural performances.
For more information, see www.eye2014.eu

About the European Youth Forum
The European Youth Forum is the platform of youth organisations in Europe. Independent, democratic, youth-led, it represents 99 National Youth Councils and international youth organisations from across the continent. The Forum works to empower young people to participate actively in society to improve their own lives, by representing and advocating their needs and interests and those of their organisations towards the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations. For more information, visit www.youthforum.org  

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