Sara from Antwerp, Belgium, asked: “Active European citizenship is a very popular term but for me, it is not very clear what exactly it is. So I would like to ask you how you would encourage youngsters to be active citizens in Europe?”
Viviane Reding, the Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Citizenship, Fundamental Rights, and Justice: “Before you can be an active citizen you must know what Europe is, how Europe functions, who’s taking decisions on what. So I think that this is where we need to start to get the information to the young people so that they can be informed and then come into a debate where everybody knows who’s doing what. And that is the important element – the information, the basic knowledge about what are the instruments, how you can influence them. Then you can exercise your influence. So we welcome young people to engage themselves at the local level because I believe that grass roots politics should start there in the normal environment where they are, at the level of their Member States with discussions with their national parliamentarians, and then discussions with European parliamentarians also in order to have a say during the European elections. What future do the young people want from Europe? I’ve been so happy when I made the internet consultation about the Future of Europe that very very many young from all over Europe came in and gave their opinions.”
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