the3million Young Europeans project   

 

A project about young Europeans, by young Europeans

 

Most EU citizens come to the UK to work or study when young. But we rarely hear the voices of young Europeans (and young migrants in general) in media and political debates about migration.

 

the3million’s Young Europeans project, coordinated by Alexandra Bulat, started in early 2019. The project focuses on both rights and representation issues which are relevant to young Europeans. The project aims are:

  • Listening to young Europeans’ voices, in particular, those from underrepresented socioeconomic groups;

  • Doing research-based advocacy and promoting participatory policymaking on young Europeans’ issues;

  • Training, engaging and mentoring a group of young Europeans to become strong voices in their communities.

Photo: Alexandra Bulat (Young Europeans, the3million) giving evidence on EU citizens’ rights for the APPG “A Better Brexit for Young People”, 2018


 

The Young Europeans Citizens’ Led Engagement Programme (2019-2020)

 

The Young Europeans Citizens’ Led Engagement Programme ran between March 2019 and May 2020 and was supported by the Greater London Authority (GLA). This research project is about young Europeans and was carried out by young Europeans from the design stage to dissemination. 

 

We asked two key questions. First, what are young Europeans’ concerns regarding their rights in the UK? Second, how can young Europeans become more engaged in their communities and have a voice in policymaking?

 

Research-based advocacy

 

Young Europeans are interested in policy changes that improve the rights and representation of this particular group, but also of all migrants in the UK. The project works on the principle that advocacy is most effective when driven by community research. It promotes a culture of listening to (in particular underrepresented groups), rather than speaking about migrants.

 

Young Europeans peer researchers conducted 20 focus groups in London with 11 European nationalities who were identified by City Hall to be less represented in policymaking. We focussed on socio-economic groups who are less heard in public debates: those in pre-university education, in lower-paid jobs and young migrants with caring responsibilities. 

 

The research explores three main themes: settlement (with a focus on knowledge and experiences of the EU Settlement Scheme), access to citizenship and political participation. The research findings were launched via an online event on 20 May 2020. 

 

The report and the briefing paper with its recommendations were discussed by panellists involving representatives from the youth and migration sectors such as British Future, My Life My Say, Polish Migrants Organise for Change (POMOC) and We Belong, as well as experts from the Migration Observatory and some of the Young Europeans peer researchers and the Greater London Authority (GLA).

Photo: Alexandra and peer researchers Asia, Anaïs and David planning a focus group, 2019.
 

Participatory policymaking

 

Alongside research-based advocacy, Young Europeans are particularly interested in participatory policymaking. We believe that people affected by particular policies should have a say in the policymaking process. Before we even started the Citizens’ Led research project, we ran a series of focus groups listening to young people and exploring their own understanding of settlement, citizenship, political engagement and other aspects that concerned them in the Brexit context.

 

One of the key findings of the Young Europeans research report was that the young people consulted felt unrepresented or underrepresented in politics in the UK - both as young people and as migrants. It is crucial that EU citizens preserve their current political rights (voting and candidacy rights). However, we also need to increase our collective efforts in raising awareness about the role of politics and political institutions in everyday life and how migrants can get involved in their local communities.

Photo: Young Europeans informal exploratory focus group exercise, 2019.
 

Young Europeans documentary

 

Alongside the focus group research, the Young Europeans also filmed and produced a short documentary highlighting some of the concerns of young European Londoners.

 

The documentary, based on interviews with young Europeans, local councillors and representatives from the youth and migration sector, shows the patchy access to information on citizens’ rights and the risk of young Europeans missing out on their rights after Brexit.

 

A trailer can be viewed here and the full documentary will be launched in July 2020 - watch this space! 

Photo: Young Europeans Documentary, 2019.


 

Get involved in the Young Europeans movement

 

Following our successful Young Europeans Citizens’ Led Engagement Programme, it is time to move onto new and bigger projects for and with young Europeans. We have a lot planned for the next few months, from setting up a regular the3million Youth Forum, where young people can discuss the issues that matter to them, to launching various social media activities involving young European voices. 

 

Please contact us if you are interested to find out more about our ongoing work and volunteering opportunities. We welcome proposals for mini-project ideas and also wider collaborations. Please contact Alexandra Bulat (alexandra.bulat@the3million.org.uk) for all enquiries relating to Young Europeans.



 

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