Vice-President Schinas and Commissioner Gabriel open the EU Youth Conference and digital Hackathon to increase youth participation in political processes

© European Union, 2021, Source: EC - Audiovisual Service© European Union, 2021, Source: EC - Audiovisual Service

Tomorrow, Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, together with Prime Minister of Portugal António Costa, on behalf of the Presidency of the Council, and Minister of education, Tiago Brandão Rodrigues will open the EU Youth Conference in Portugal. Commenting before the event, Vice-President Schinas said: “Youth is at the heart of the European project. This project is not a given, but is constantly evolving. We should strive to improve it continuously for, and with, the next generations. We need young people who are committed to building and shaping the world we want to live in. We need young people who carry high the values and ideals that inspire them, those of a more united, resilient and prosperous Europe.” The Conference is part of the 8th Cycle of the EU Youth Dialogue, and has the theme: “Europe and youth, youth and Europe: a space for democracy and participation”. As a side-event of the Conference, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, will open a 48-hour digital hackathon “Solve the gap”. The Hackathon, open to all EU residents between 16 and 30 years-old, will seek innovative digital solutions to tackle barriers to youth participation in political processes. Participants will have 48 hours to present ideas to address challenges like youth abstention or youth engagement in policy. Winners will be announced on 15th March, receiving a €10,000 and technical support to finalise their project prototype by the next EU Youth Conference in October 2021. Commissioner Gabriel said: “I welcome this initiative, which will encourage young people to take an active part in society and have a say in the political processes in Europe. This Hackathon demonstrates the enormous potential of young people across Europe to create positive change. It promotes and supports youth-led digital innovations which are crucial to advance our European project. I wish all the participants the best of luck and look forward to seeing the results of their work.” Empowering youth participation in the democratic political decision-making process is one of the objectives of the Commission’s EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027. The strategy focuses on fostering youth participation in democratic life, supporting social and civil engagement and ensuring that all young people have the necessary resources to take part in society. The event can be followed on social media with the hashtags #SolveTheGap and #EUHackathon.