Baia Mare, Maramures (ROM), 27 August 2006
The European project cannot be constructed by politicians and treaties alone; its success depends upon the involvement of citizens and the organisation of concrete initiatives in our regions. This is the main idea behind the Assembly of European Regions’ (AER) Summer School and Youth Summer School, organised in Maramures, Romania, from 27 August to 2 September. Opening the event, Marinel Kovacs, President of Maramures County Council, said: “Romania is now at the eve of EU accession; we understand very well that the true benefits of membership can only be realised once the citizens understand and grasp the opportunities that the EU brings. It is up to the regions to play a key role in promoting the benefits of European integration and to ensure that our citizens are fully prepared to take advantage of them. The AER Summer Schools give us a very concrete opportunity to do just this and to exchange experience with our counterparts in other regions throughout Europe.
‘One of the key resources we have in promoting European integration is our young people,’ continued President Kovacs. ‘They are keen to become involved in European activities and can act as great multipliers, demonstrating the benefits of EU membership to their peers and to other sectors of society’. The AER Youth Summer School 2006 will launch the AER European Youth Ambassador’ scheme. 80 young people, representing youth councils, youth NGOs and other youth organisations from across Europe have been nominated by their regional authorities to participate in this programme. The role of the European Youth Ambassador is to inform young people about European issues and to help to explain to politicians regional, national and European – what young people want from Europe today. During the Youth Summer School, the European Youth Ambassadors will be provided with training to enable them to organise a concrete activity in their region to promote youth involvement in European affairs. Activities are expected to range from debates on the European Constitution, to international youth exchange projects and information campaigns on what the EU is doing for young people. Once all the projects have been completed, the European Youth Ambassadors will travel to Brussels to meet Vice-President of the European Commission, Margot Wallström, in order to inform her of the outcomes of their events and to help the Commission to understand what young people want from Europe today.
The Youth Summer School is being organised alongside a Summer School for regional politicians and officers, attended by 80 regional representatives from over 20 countries. The Summer School, now in its 11th year, provides participants with the skills they need in order to implement grassroots co-operation projects with counterparts in other countries. Participants benefit from training in project management, intercultural communication and press and communications work. They also have the opportunity to work together with the European Youth Ambassadors, developing fresh ideas for engaging young people in European affairs in their own regions.
The Summer School is one of a series of projects that the AER is implementing in Romania, assisted by its office in Alba Iulia (RO), aimed at assisting regions to prepare for EU membership.
The AER thanks the Summer School Organising Committee regions for their support: Brussels Capital-B, Friuli Venezia Giulia-I, Istra-HR, Maramures-RO, Olomouc-CZ, Vestfold-N, Wien-A, Wallonie-B and Zurich-CH
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