The panel, entitled “The EU and Youth – Communication Noise”, was devoted to communication between the EU institutions and citizens, in particular young people.
Many citizens are not acquainted with the responsibilities of the European Parliament, European Commission, European Council, and the Council of the European Union, and young people in Croatia are no exception, even though they have been living in the EU for nine years now.
Sunčana Glavak, a Croatian member of the European Parliament from the European People’s Party group, said that changes to the education system were needed so that young people learned which EU institution was responsible for what.
“I think it is too late, for example, for political sciences students to learn about the EU’s political system in the final year of their undergraduate program. By comparison, while I was in secondary school, we were taught a lot about the system of the country I was living in at the time,” she told young journalists at the panel, referring to the former Yugoslavia.
Former Green MEP Davor Škrlec said that for a long time there had been a prevailing opinion among the citizens that “everything is in the hands of the European Commission, while the European Parliament is just some sort of nuisance, which of course is not true.”
“Young people experience the European Union only at university, through the Erasmus Programme. They should be informed about EU policies earlier and should be given a chance to say what bothers them and how they can resolve a certain problem,” Škrlec said.
Young people should be encouraged to think about and discuss current problems and future challenges, the panel was told.
Glavak also raised the issue of the language used by EU politicians and institutions, which is often unintelligible to the public in general and puts them off from following EU policies. “Politicians should simplify their language. We are stuck in archaic forms of communication, and young people have no time for that,” she noted.
Nikica Stijepić, a student at the Faculty of Political Sciences, said he agreed that the names of the EU institutions were confusing, but that a priority should be given to programs that would inform young people about European topics, such as the European Youth Parliament.
“Through the European Youth Parliament I had a chance to learn about problems my colleagues from other countries were thinking about,” Stijepić said.
Last year the EU institutions launched a Conference on the Future of Europe to get closer to the citizens and hear their ideas about the direction in which the Union should be developing. In September, 800 randomly selected Europeans were invited to four panels and three discussions to adopt recommendations for the EU institutions as to what they expected from the European alliance.
This panel within the Conference on the Future of Europe was organized by Hina in cooperation with Radio Student and Global, the newspaper of political sciences students.
For more, check out our politics section.