On June 9th and 10th, thousands of young people gathered at the European Parliament in Strasbourg to participate in the European Youth Event (EYE):
- The EYE aims to bring young people between 16-30 to interact in-person, inspire each other and exchange their views with experts, activists, influencers and decision-makers in order to shape the future of the European Union.
- The Youth Group of Unconditional Basic Income Europe participated for the third time, this year with a delegation from 12 people representing 10 countries.
- The two UBIE workshops at the event attracted over 50 young people from all around Europe, discussing how basic income is linked to issues such as freedom, mental health, economic inequality and sustainability – also degrowth, self-fulfilment and education received attention.
- This experience taught us that young people in Europe see the need for UBI initiatives, and many of them are ready to work on convincing decision makers to implement it.
UBIE at the EYE 2023
The Youth Group of Unconditional Basic Income Europe participated for the third time at the EYE, second as an Activity Organizer! For four days, our group of young representatives from several countries across Europe were engaged in the pursuit of Unconditional Basic Income through the organization of a workshop with the title The Future is Ours: Build our Ideal Society.
In addition, the QR code on our T-shirts with the slogan Unconditional Basic Income is Freedom, helped us advertise and collect data to research the perspectives of young people towards UBI. It was also our responsibility to attend other workshops and activities on topics of our choice and most importantly, network with people who might be interested in our cause.
Our delegation consisted of 12 people coming from Ireland, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Romania, the Czech Republic, North Macedonia and Lebanon. The overall experience for our members was overwhelmingly positive.
“I really enjoyed my time at the EYE2023 in Strasbourg. It was almost magical to see young people passionate about contentious topics whilst collectively aiming to bring viable solutions to some of the most challenging problems in society.”
Gaston Slupski, UBIE member.
To ensure everyone in the delegation could participate, we started a crowdfunding campaign. Thanks to our generous donors and the European Parliament’s grant, we were able to fully reimburse the travel and accommodation expenses of every participant and partly cover food. The Youth Group of UBIE is proud to have made it possible for everyone to attend the event and prevent unfair situations, embodying the values of Basic Income.
We were given the chance to host our workshop twice, attracting a total of over 50 young people from all around Europe. The design of our workshops was a mixture of methodologies of non-formal education with activities such as ice-breakers, group brainstorming, socratic debate and working in small groups, using digital and more conventional tools. Our two experienced facilitators, Marijana and Costin, were able to engage the audience brilliantly.
What an amazing experience it was to host a workshop and find other like-minded people. Now we can join forces and lobby together for UBI!” Marijana Asprovska, UBIE member and workshop facilitator.
After an initial icebreaker aimed to build a sense of community and a short presentation given by Alessandra debunking the common myths and misconceptions about UBI, participants provided input through a digital application (wooclap) which presented live pool interactive answers. At the end of the process, participants were asked in which political area they wanted to see improvements to build their ideal society and imagine how Basic Income was going to be impactful. We then voted on the main five ideas we wanted to work on further and divided participants into five groups accordingly. Thus, the second half of each workshop was reserved as a space for the expression of the ideas of young people on how they can make society better and how UBI can be a basis for those improvements. Their task was to develop a concrete proposal and organize for a presentation.
Although the topics were not identical between the two sessions, many were similar. Issues such as freedom, mental health, economic inequality and sustainability were brought up both times and were very popular. Interestingly, one group presented UBI linked with degrowth, and another dwelled into the concept of self-fulfilment and education.
The winning teams were those presenting ideas around freedom and democratizing economies. Their presentations perfectly exposed the benefits of a Basic Income on personal freedom often linked with work and exploitation as well as in reducing economic inequalities. Our delegation also realized how mental health issues became really important for young people in a post-covid era as almost every group had a discussion about it in both sessions.
The overall feedback from the participants was positive. Some were interested in becoming UBIE members, others followed the social media channels of the organization but most importantly Basic Income revealed itself o be a great tool to build a more desirable future for almost all of our participants.
Takeaways and future plans
This experience taught us that young people in Europe see the need for UBI initiatives, and many of them are ready to work on convincing their local governments to implement it. For our group, our trip to Strasbourg served as an immense learning tool vis a vis the issues that Universal Basic income activists continue to face and will continue to meet into the future. Debunking myths around UBI and bringing tangible scientific arguments to the common misunderstandings around the topic was very much appreciated by our audience. Still, it also served as an enriching experience to all that left us all thinking about where we could bring this topic into the future and how we could develop the broader public’s understanding of UBI. And, through our workshop in particular, as well as the general questioning of UBI that we received, it also helped to show us that the concept of Unconditional Basic Income is one that young people do want to engage with as well as support.
Members of the Youth Group will be present in Barcelona for the Study Visit for Mayors and will continue to be active in other UBI-related activities and projects as well as in their local communities. Our work has just begun; see you at the next EYE!
It was absolutely fantastic to be at EYE 2023. I met lots of like-minded and passionate young people, discussing key political topics and how we can be more efficient in our campaigning. Being in the EU Parliament was a fantastic experience. To help put on a workshop about UBI and hear others’ opinions was eye-opening. But the best part was making new friends at UBIE!Louis Strapazzon, UBIE member.