Will I have the right to travel around Europe without the passport? Why are my cucumbers the shape they are? What does the European Parliament actually do? The number of potential questions about the European Union is endless. With the EU regulating everything from the environment to trade, and agriculture to travel, it’s sometimes difficult to understand what the EU does and how it affects our lives. But a group of young researchers is aiming to fix this.
Based on research institutes across Europe, and on a range of backgrounds, the You&EU project is attempting to confront the obscure nature of much of what the EU does and what it is about. This lack of knowledge of European affairs is partially down to the technocratic nature of the EU, which has often found it difficult to publicise the work it does, and how it affects especially younger citizens. Moreover, there has been a barrage of fake news and rumours regarding the EU such as the tyrannical regulation of the curvature of bananas, or the meat content of sausages, and of what we can and can’t call chocolate.
With the European elections taking place in May, You&EU has launched a social media campaign on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter made up of videos, blog posts and visual content aimed at encouraging young people to participate, to use their vote and to have their say. Despite being directly affected by EU membership, young people often fail to turn up to elections in sizeable numbers, and thus remain under-represented at EU-level, and this is something You&EU hopes to change. By raising awareness of the EU’s role in our lives, You&EU hopes to motivate people to take to the polls and to influence the future of the EU.
See the video “Dinner without EU” on how the EU single market affects our shopping in supermarkets (directing Saara Mansikkamäki, actor Peter Kanerva):
You&EU campaign is run by members of the Scholars Programme of the Europaeum network. The University of Helsinki is a member of the Europaeum network.
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