2015 has been a difficult year for Europe with the expansion of international conflicts, the inflow of thousands of migrants and the dreadful terrorist attacks adding to the already existing economic and social crisis. All these events have put the EU under extreme pressure, testing its capacity to react and act in a coherent manner and in accordance with its solidarity principle. Instead, these events have opened up new divides and created additional fractures among member states.
The young members of FutureLab Europe have felt deeply affected by such developments, hoping that 2016 will offer better prospects for their continent. Their work throughout the year has revealed a profound attachment to the core values of the European project.
2015 has been an active year for the programme in general. Our main activities included our Spring Conference with Director-General of DG Home Matthias Ruete, the presentation of our very successful publication on the integration of migrants, the participation of four FutureLabbers in the OECD Annual Forum in Paris, and the public launch of the documentary on hidden homelessness realised by two members of the programme. In addition, we welcomed the fifth generation of FutureLabbers in September 2015 at a very insightfulAnnual Forum, including speakers like Herman Van Rompuy, Laszlo Andor, Philippe van Parijs and Monica Frassoni.
Lastly, the FLE team undertook several new initiatives in 2015 such as the release of a monthly newsletter, a stronger presence on Twitter, and the creation of thematic dossiers based on the collection of several blogposts (like the one about the youth approach to the refugee crisis).
The programme will continue to be as active and ambitious in 2016. With European challenges remaining high, FutureLabbers will still raise their voice on issues that occupy the policy agenda and continue to reflect upon the programme’s three focal topics of democratic values, equal opportunities on the labour market for young people and European identity. Events (including a debate on social entrepreneurship in Ronda (Spain) on 25-26 February and our Spring Conference on the future of democracy in Europe on 22 April in Brussels), blogposts, publications and participation in social media will remain our main tools to make our voice heard.
The FLE Team looks forward to working with you in 2016 and hopes that this programme can contribute to bring the European project closer to young people.
With my best wishes for 2016,