EU office: Newsletter - February 2022

2022 declared the European Year of Youth

On 15 September 2021, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivered her annual State of the Union address to the European Parliament, announcing major policy initiatives and setting priorities for the year ahead. Part of her speech focused on young people, on whose vision and ideas the strength of the EU will depend in the years to come. Von der Leyen declared 2022 the European Year of Youth and announced that she would be involving young people closely in the ongoing discussions on the future of the EU. The European Union has declared a variety of themed years since 1983. The first step was to conduct a survey on the European Youth Portal between 22 October and 17 November to collect initial opinions and ideas about what it should look like. The results of the survey can be viewed here.

The decision to declare the Year of Youth was made against the background of the pandemic’s unprecedented and uneven impact on young people’s education, employment, social inclusion and mental health. Europe’s young adults have also demonstrated their support for other generations, sacrificing many of the valuable experiences that are key to being young. In order to ensure that this EU-wide project is inspired by the actions, dreams, hopes and viewpoints of the upcoming generations, the European Year of Youth needs to be uncompromisingly inclusive. In the words of President von der Leyen, “Europe needs all of its youth”.

The European Year of Youth is interdisciplinary and draws on all EU programmes whose aim is to empower and enable all young people to lead a better life. Its funding comes from the ERASMUS+ programme and the European Solidarity Corps, for example. ERASMUS+ will turn 35 in 2022, and the European Year of Youth is a great opportunity to celebrate the ten million young people who have taken part in the ERASMUS adventure since 1987. But this new programme will be attracting participants to its many and varied strands ‒ education, training, youth and sport.

More information on the European Year of Youth is available from the official website.

International, bilingual and cosmopolitan: Say hello to the new Stefan-Heym-Gymnasium

The Stefan-Heym-Gymnasium will be located in a former factory building at Seumestraße 2-6, very close to the Schloßteich pond.

As a school with an international focus, the Stefan-Heym-Gymnasium seeks to turn out young people who engage critically with contemporary events, understand cultural diversity as an asset, and are capable of making appropriate decisions with regard to themselves and society in the context of a complex world. Collaboration with national and international partners is of great importance in the school's efforts to help students develop freely and fully. It is also incorporating the latest research findings into its subject teaching, which helps create a climate that is conducive to learning. The goal is for English to be one of the school's official languages and for it to form part of internal communications as well. A number of curricula and sessions are to be taught in English, on the basis of total immersion, to enable pupils to communicate across cultural and national borders and give them an open, cosmopolitan attitude.

ZEUS teaches the use of facial expressions and gestures

A still from a ZEUS project seminar in Romania.

The ZEUS (Zooming Expressions Unitary Study) project, run by the solaris Förderzentrum für Jugend und Umwelt gGmbH Sachsen (the solaris Saxony Educational Centre for Youth and the Environment) aims to teach teachers to make targeted use of non-verbal communication, showing participants how to engage learners' emotions and make learning interesting through the use of facial expressions and gestures. Participants thus add aspects of neurolinguistic programming (NLP) to their personal tool kits.

The project, which runs until 31 August, is funded through ERASMUS+. In addition to the solaris Förderzentrum für Jugend und Umwelt gGmbH Sachsen for Germany, it is also being delivered by Trainifique Srl (Romania), INFOR ELEA (Italy) and CEFE Macedonia (Northern Macedonia).

Logo of the ZEUS project

Colourful roofs to be created as part of the R-EU-FTOP roof network


Since 2021, Chemnitz has been a member of the Nomad Academy ‒ an initiative run by the European Creative Rooftop Network ‒ which aims to develop sustainable and innovative ideas for roof design. The goal it has set for itself is to encourage Chemnitz to blossom ‒ in the truest sense of the word. So Chemnitz will be gaining a roof network to be known as “Bunte Dächer”, of Colourful Roofs. The project is currently still in its early stages, mapping areas to identify roofs that might be suitable. The ever-growing European Rooftopedia database provides an overview of how things are evolving in Chemnitz, as well as in other places that are also members of the European Creative Rooftop Network.

EUROCITIES annual general meeting from 3 to 5 November 2021 in Leipzig

Panel discussion at the Annual General Meeting

The theme of the annual conference, which was run as a hybrid event, was The power of cities - transforming society. It looked at the responsibilities of cities faced with crisis situations and discussed how they can deal with them.

Representatives of various member cities talked with EU Commission Vice President Dubravka Šuica, EU Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans and Fridays for Future representative Janine O'Keeffe about, among other things, the impact of the pandemic and what role cities will need to play in the future. On a different note, a warm welcome was extended to the new member cities of Bochum, Wiesbaden, Marseille, Reggie Calabria, Taranto and Valencia.

EUROCITIES president Dario Nardella called for European mayors to meet regularly with the European Commission to take forward work on the European Green Deal.

EUROCITIES Awards ceremony in Leipzig

Mayor of Leipzig Burkhard Jung with the prizewinners from Nice

The Annual General Meeting included the presentation of the Eurocities Awards, which took place on the evening of 4 November 2021. From a total of nine finalists, winners were announced for the three categories of “zero pollution”, “planning public spaces” and “from farm to fork”, with the cities of Nice, Copenhagen and Ghent each scooping an award. Copenhagen also received an award in a new category created last year, following a member vote. The full list of finalists and a presentation of their projects is available on the EUROCITIES network website.

New chapter for EUROCITIES Secretary General Anna Lisa Boni

Former Eurocities Secretary General Anna Lisa Boni

Anna Lisa Boni left her position at EUROCITIES in December 2021 to join the Bologna city government. Having lived and worked in Brussels for 21 years ‒ a city where she felt very much at home ‒ she made the decision with a heavy heart. She once again emphasised to network members how much she loves EUROCITIES, but how she has to follow the call to her home town of Bologna. Deputy Mayor for EU funds and RRNP, international relations and ecological transition, she will continue to be involved in EUROCITIES from this new vantage point. Boni takes her leave confident in the knowledge that the network is stable, and that its many members are incredibly committed and professional. The process to appoint her replacement is expected to run until April 2022.


EU publications to browse and discover

A EUROPE DIRECT Vogtland information stand with a selection of EU Commission brochures and materials, which is located in the town hall of Plauen and elsewhere. (From left to right: Maxi Schulz, Plauen’s Lace Princess; Christina Schmidt and Kristin Gerhardt of EUROPE DIRECT Vogtland; Petra Klein of EUREGIO EGRENSIS; and Ralf Oberdorfer, former Lord Mayor of the City of Plauen, at the entrance of Plauen Tourist Office)

There are a number of ways to stock up on reading material about the EU. One way is through the EUROPE DIRECT centres; a new centre joined the fold in Plauen in May 2021. The centres always offer plenty of material for schools and youth organisations to browse, borrow or order, and can of course help with any questions about the EU. A second option is the EU Bookshop, a portal of the Publications Office of the European Union. This platform publishes a variety of documents such as reports, studies, teaching materials for schools and universities, maps and children’s books. Most publications can be downloaded free of charge; some publications are also available in hard copy. The Representation of the European Commission in Germany also has an order form enabling selected brochures, flyers, posters and materials for children to be ordered free of charge. The aim of these services is to provide people with reliable material so that they can learn about the European Union.

European dates from March to May 2022



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