In May, ICF Mostra successfully concluded the writing competition for the European Commission Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR). The competition was launched in all 28 EU Member States in October 2014 and received 730 applications from young European citizens. The winners travelled to Brussels for a study trip and debate at DG NEAR.
After successfully having launched the campaign, ICF Mostra handled stakeholders relations and communication with the participants. We also coordinated the collecting and screening of all submissions and the organising of national juries, which selected one winner per country. In order to successfully run this decentralised campaign, we collaborated closely with our international network of partners and also with our promotional partners – College of Europe and Café Babel.
In early May, 25 of the winners came to Brussels to visit several European Institutions and representatives from DG NEAR. ICF Mostra organised visits to the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament, and DG NEAR. Before getting their awards, the youth winners had a Q&A session and panel debate about ‘EU Enlargement’ at DG NEAR.
The writing competition was launched last year in response to national press and politicians criticising EU Enlargement Policy. The European Commission aimed to promote reflection from young people (ages 18-25) on their experiences of EU enlargement and how it will help them meet the challenges of the future. The competition’s theme, ‘So Similar, so different, so European’, resulted in each essay having its own voice and opinions about the benefits (and occasional challenges) of EU enlargement, with some youth reflecting on their experiences pre- and post-EU membership, others reflecting on their Erasmus experience, and more.