EUYouth VS EUsceptics: Building Bridges through Twinning and Civic Engagement

Writers: İlke Atican and Adessa Zadia

The regions of Reggio Calabria and Achaia recognized the value of inter-regional exchange and having links between different areas. The project “EUYouth VS EUsceptics: European opportunities for youth access to rights in rural, peripheral, disadvantaged areas” brought together 100 citizens of different ages from Patras, Erymanthos and Reggio Calabria, in order to know better the common Greek heritage in a European perspective and build together an Action Plan for access to rights of young people from disadvantaged areas, based on solidarity, volunteering, youth work, self-entrepreneurship and contrast to Euroscepticism. 

The project took place between the 28th of March to the 1st of April and highlighted the modern concept of town twinning through promoting cultural and educational similarities by raising awareness about European opportunities, rights and civic engagement. At the same time participants from the two regions came together, allowing them to experience and explore each other’s cultures and customs and proposing future actions for impact. Participants were a mixture of university students, youth workers, and municipality officials from Patras, Erymanthos and Reggio Calabria. They took part in many non-formal educational activities, discussing EU rights and eventually coming up with an action plan to promote it through the perspectives of the youth. 

The twinning between the Metropolitan City of Reggio Calabria and the Greek city of Erymanthos was sealed with a twinning ceremony. Representatives from both cities signed the agreement pact, and the local community was introduced to the purposes of the twinning and the adoption of a plan of concrete future activities. During the ceremony, the youth took the stage to introduce the action plan they had developed, taking on an active role to promote EU rights and fight Euroscepticism. The audience also had the chance to enjoy the rich Calabrian and Greek music heritage.

This was the start of many more quality exchanges that involve all sectors of the local and regional society to embrace their similarities and work towards common contemporary issues.