issue 4, year 2

Spotlight: dissemination & networking


ECIT Summer University on European Citizenship


From 30th August to 1st September 2017, students, academics, policy makers and civil society representatives from all over Europe met in Brussels at the Maison des Associations Internationales (MAI), to exchange views on the gaps and future challenges of European citizenship. The Summer University - “European Citizenship 2017 – Countering threats to European citizenship across borders, reconfiguring its future”- organised by the ECIT Foundation, under the patronage of the European Parliament, represented an interesting opportunity for dialogue and exchange of ideas between civil society organisations, policy makers and scholars who have a focus on European citizenship. The programme included interactive plenary sessions, thematic workshops, a public debate and a roundtable on different topics, including Brexit, strategies to make citizens’ access to EU Institutions more effective and participatory, Education for European citizenship and citizens’ lobbying.

The CATCH-EyoU consortium (represented by the Coordinator Elvira Cicognani and the WP10 leader Cinzia Albanesi) participated to the Summer University as partner and organized two workshops, in order to present some findings of our research, and collect ideas and suggestions from participants.

The first workshop was titled “Learning (or not learning) about European (active) citizenship in school? What teachers and students want”. Building on WP6 findings, the introductory presentation focused on teachers’ views on their own role and the role of textbooks in European citizenship education, particularly in Italy. Italian teachers involved in WP6 are critical about textbooks and feel that their approach to the EU and civic and political issues is insufficient. Moreover, they emphasize several constraints: they feel that they lack adequate training on the EU and citizenship education, that there is insufficient substantive space for citizenship education in schools’ curricula, and that time and resources to mobilize young people’s interest towards EU issues is limited. The world cafè discussion on the results of teachers’ interviews produced really interesting suggestions and recommendations from our participants, that will be incorporated in our final report.

The second workshop “Europe on young people’s mind. Does the road lead to E(yo)U? presented some preliminary findings of WP7 (see also section 5a) with the aim to collect questions and first thoughts from a broader audience, including non academics. Participants were eager to know more, and to get all the details on how young people, of different economic and educational backgrounds across the consortium countries, viewed Europe and their role as citizens. Some findings will be published in a forthcoming special issue of the European Journal of Developmental Psychology. We also invited participants to join our next conference, in which we will present more detailed results on the cross national and longitudinal study, as well as on the other work packages.

Besides offering two workshops we had the opportunity to attend some other sessions. One of these, that we found really interesting, was organized by the NGO CUBE –Your talk on Europe on “How do we make participatory tools accessible to young people”. The aim of the workshop was to evaluate formats of participation in the EU in terms of their applicability to youth: structured dialogue programmes, consultations, contributions to law making procedures, ECI, petitions to the European Parliament, etc. The workshop was moderated by Verena Riedmiller, co-founder of the NGO CUBE - Your Take on Europe, who discussed with Michalis Moschovakos, Policy Officer at Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture of the European Commission and Valentin Dupouey, General Secretary of JEF EUROPE, amongst the others. One important conclusions was that more efforts are demanded in order to make participatory tools inclusive of the full variety of young people, but some good practices and strategies are already available.

Another interesting session, coordinated by Tony Venable (Director of ECIT Foundation) and An Fonteyne (ETH Zurich) (“Optimism – Building for Europe! A European House of Citizens?”) shared with participants a project aimed at building a European house of citizens through the contribution of students of architecture, in the effort to increase the visibility of the EU and EU sense of belonging.

Overall, the Summer University was an excellent opportunity to get to know the current concerns, activities and endeavors of the participating organisations and institutions and we could collect many useful stimuli for our work.
We thank Federica, Tony, Eleonora and Ed of the ECIT Foundation for offering us the opportunity to contribute to the Summer University and for their warm welcome, their support in the organization and their contagious enthusiasm!!!


CATCH-EyoU has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement n. 649538