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Europe and the US: What is the role for young people?


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Historically, the US and the EU have been close and traditional allies, sharing common interests and values. Yet, the past four years under US President Donald Trump have led to doubts on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

  • What have we learned from the past four years?
  • What do you expect to change for young people with the election of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States?
  • How would you like to see the transatlantic relationship evolve concerning topics such as trade and climate change?

The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) has selected some of its resources to provide young people like you with background information and insights linked to the topic above.

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The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) has selected some of its resources to provide young people like you with background information and insights linked to the topic above.

At a Glance, September 2019

"EU Legislation in Progress" Briefing, November 2018


Clodagh Hanna
10 March 2021
I think that with the election of President Joe Biden young people want to see the issues that matter to them be tackled. After four years of the trump presidency the divide between left and right in the United States has grown and both sides has become more polarized. This has led to a lack of attention being given to the issues that young people care about such as climate change, poverty, racism, sexism, gun control and the rich-poor divide. In my opinion the young people of America want a fairer, more equal society with less money being spent on the military and intervention in foreign conflict and more money spent on making America a better, safer and more united place for it's citizens.
Christos Leventis
16 February 2021
I think the past four years have taught us that Europe should stand at its own two feet and not be relient to anyone. Of course the US is still going to be one of , if not the most, important ally of Europe, especially under the Biden administration. With that being said I think the two sides should cooperate in a deeper level when it comes to climate action ( the partnership should become an example of the action needed to be taken ) and youth programs , such as internships etc
Teodor Kostadinov
10 February 2021
If we are talking about defense politics, I reckon the EU will be weaker during the rule of Joe Biden, mainly because the United States pays the biggest amount of money for external defense than any other NATO nation (which is normal, given the fact that the US is the largest country in NATO). I believe that the European Union will be safer if it has a common military, which would be independent of US influence so that Europe will be able to protect itself during a period of war.

If we are talking about financial cooperation and cohesion, though, the United States under the Joe Biden administration will be a better partner of the European Union, mainly because Biden is a proponent of free trade and greater cooperation with Europe.

An idea, which will be beneficial towards young people from both the EU and the US, would be the creation of programs that would make education cheaper or free. Such a change can increase the number of international students in the United States.
Alex marius Konstantes
29 January 2021
Create a framework of students exchanges between EU and USA. Use some of the funding of erasmus in order to facilitate european students in the U.S.A. Universities.
22 January 2021
I think that should be more projects between EU and US, mostly for young people. There is too much gap between the United States and Europe. Going into US is very very expensive for normal young people, and it's a lost occasion! We need different types of opportunities to discover this amazing State. As a multicultural nation, why can't we be part of it? Even if for short time. With more collaboration and projects I think we could be great things. And this could be also an opportunity for Europe, bringing some American young people to discover our wonderful continent! Americans come in Europe just for vacation and holidays. They don't really explore the best part of EU which is our lifestyle. I think they could be caught and fascinating from that. Cultural exchanges, intership projects, study opportunities, work experiences. We need more of them.
Christopher Edosa
12 November 2020
Good day every citizens of the house, I like to use this medium to thank the organisers of the great programme for still been able to put things in place amidst this critical time of our collective human experience lifetime. My idea is 'why can't we factualise the fact that we're all humans in our collective co-existence together, mother nature in her infinite love grant us the upmost unique sovereignty over our future including that of nature itself'. Life can be as fantasy as we so desire if we're honest to ourselves enough, it is of a dreadfully corny mindset found percentage in abundance among few set of individuals in publice managinary positions, we the future of humanity irrespective of any other thing stand to put a stop to the ceremonious core negligence and killing of nature our only realm of physically conscious existence, we are in 20th century according to our modern phase of time calculation, where as in real nature calculation it could be our actual estimation multiplied by itself in itself in figure to figures of our own calculation, for the love of humanity and nature we can do far greater than an ordinary fiction in a single generation lifetime, this is our heaven and its time for us to make it a physically conscious reality paradise................@Orhomes
Ármin Ladányi
10 November 2020
Reply to the idea of Domokos Péter Kovács:

Unique idea that not just make a huge impact in EU-US relations but also do not require tremendous work to elaborate since good-practices already exist.

I would suggest further development in terms of research and job-related joint projects to appear in the application for university students. This could enable resource sharing.

Once again, original idea is great because as Schuman and the great founding fathers and mothers dreamt it, peace and prosperity depends on whether young generations know each others or do they refer to each other as the unknow.
10 June 2020
One big difference between the EU and US when it comes to young people is civil society.

Here in Europe, we have much better-developed systems of civil society on youth (national youth councils, youth movements, etc...) than in the US. I believe this is one of our strong points. As a young European it is much easier to make your voice heard, and actually listened to, than it is in the US. The benefits of this are clear: young people make up a large part of society and are, by nature, inclined to think in the long run because they know that decisions made now will probably impact them the most, as they still have their whole lives to live.

As such, more young people in decision making roles, or roles with an impact on public policy will lead to better decision-making and more representative decisions being made. This is what the US lacks, it does not involve its young people in polic-making and therefore is not able to create policies that benefit the whole of society or that are modern.

A striking example of the difference between EU and the US is the average age in parliaments. Looking at the US Congress, the average age of a congressman is 57 years old, while MEPs are on average 50 years old, which is much closer to a representation of actual society. This also impacts voter turnout. If young people have the impression they are being represented in parliament, they will be much more likely to go and vote, and will probably vote for younger candidates closer to their own age. As said above, a younger, more representative parliament will lead to better decision-making.

Consequently, it is important that, as EU, we keep supporting and reinforce are youth civil society and keep listening to our young people. They are the future.
As regards the US, it is important that we keep understanding each other and support initiatives that will also reinforce youth civil society across the Atlantic.
Vasco Cambotas de Medeiros
27 May 2020
A tremendous and magnificent idea that enables, both American and European youth, to understand the meaning of globalization and bilateralism, A project needed to broaden European and American transatlantic and historic relations, fundamental for understanding both the history and the foundational democratic values between the two regions.
Domokos Péter Kovács
27 May 2020
Mobility program for young Americans in the EU.

European and American youth differ in many ways, but even more similarities can be discovered in their activity and determination.

Thanks to the U.S. State Department’s Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Summer Institute education program, U.S. and European high school students can spend a month together at a U.S. university working on a variety of social, political, and other interesting topics and developing projects.

There are many forms of transatlantic cooperation, but the opportunities for youth and high school students need to be strengthened.

I therefore propose that the EU develop a mobility program that will enable American students to learn about the culture of the EU Member States, the cultural diversity of nations and the institutional system. Get to know determined young people in Europe and work together for a better future.

The program should be open to U.S. high school and college students. Also include a section in which the participant knows a particular Member State and lives with a host family. The total program should be 1 month long. Non-EU Member States should be involved in the development of the program.

In German/Auf Deutsch:
Mobilitätsprogramm für junge Amerikaner in der EU.

Europäische und amerikanische Jugendliche unterscheiden sich in vielerlei Hinsicht, aber noch mehr Ähnlichkeiten lassen sich bei ihrem Engagement und Entschlossenheit feststellen.

Dank des Bildungsprogramms des Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Summer Institute des US-Außenministeriums können US-amerikanische und europäische Schüler einen Monat zusammen an einer US-amerikanischen Universität an verschiedenen sozialen, politischen und anderen interessanten Themen arbeiten und Projekte entwickeln.

Es gibt viele Formen der transatlantischen Zusammenarbeit, aber die Möglichkeiten für Jugendliche und Schüler müssen gestärkt werden.

Ich schlage daher vor, dass die EU ein Mobilitätsprogramm entwickelt, mit dem amerikanische Studenten etwas über die Kultur der EU-Mitgliedstaaten, die kulturelle Vielfalt der Nationen und das institutionelle System lernen können. Lernen Sie entschlossene junge Menschen in Europa kennen und arbeiten Sie gemeinsam für eine bessere Zukunft.

Das Programm sollte US-amerikanischen Schülern und Studenten offenstehen. Fügen Sie auch einen Programmteil hinzu, in dem der Teilnehmer einen bestimmten Mitgliedstaat kennenlernt und bei einer Gastfamilie lebt. Das Gesamtprogramm sollte 1 Monat lang sein. Nicht-EU-Mitgliedstaaten sollten in die Entwicklung des Programms einbezogen werden.

In Hungarian/Magyarul:

Mobilitási program amerikai fiatalok számára az EU-ban.

Az európai és amerikai ifjúság sok dologban különbözik, de aktivitásukban és elszántságukban még több hasonlóságot lehet felfedezni.

Az Amerikai Külügyminisztérium Benjamin Franklin Transzatlanti Nyári Intézet oktatási programjának köszönhetően amerikai és európai középiskolás diákok tölthetnek el egy hónapot közösen az Egyesült Államok egyik egyetemén, ahol különböző társadalmi, politikai és egyéb érdekes témákkal foglalkoznak és projekteket dolgoznak ki.

A transzatlanti kooperációnak sok formája lehet, de meg kell erősíteni az ifjúság és középiskolás diákok számára kínált lehetőségeket.

Ezért az javaslom, hogy az EU dolgozzon ki egy mobilitási programot, amelynek köszönhetően amerikai diákok megismerhetik az EU tagállamainak kultúráját, a nemzetek kultúrájának sokszínűségét és az intézményi rendszert is. Megismerhessenek elszánt európai fiatalokat és együtt dolgozhassanak egy jobb jövőért.

A program legyen nyitott amerikai középiskolás és egyetemi hallgató diákok számára. Tartalmazzon egy olyan részt is, amelyben a résztvevő egy adott tagállamot ismer meg és fogadócsaládnál lakik. A teljes program hossza legyen 1 hónap. A program fejlődése során vonjanak be más európai országokat is.
Miguel Alonso
27 April 2020
The USA is undoubtedly a country that shares a culture with Europe, just like Canada, Australia, or any "western" country you could think about. However we are increasingly realizing how the American people are developing the idea that they don't need the rest of the world to face the modern problems with us. Many people won't believe it, but the American youth is pretty much the reflection of their old generations. Many of them believe in the "America First" idea. Therefore the European youth must not expect a bright future with America, we hope everything will get better, but it doesn't look clear from my perspective. We, as young people, need to focus on new horizons, because America has left us. Erasmus is the clear representation of what Europe can do within its own territory. What we need to realize is that we don't need America to unleash our own potential. North America is a great territory for innovation, investment and entrepreneurship... but we can have this in our continent too. We need to boost our cooperation with the countries that really want to share with us. Africa, Asia are the future and Europe can be part of such future too, but we can't until we realize that we won't do it if we continue to insist on a partnership with the US that is fading in front of our own eyes.
And answering the question: what can we learn from our different elections? Well, once again we have seen, with the disappearance of Bernie Sanders how America is losing its core values (Sanders was indeed, the most (European-minded candidate, as he proposed free health-care, solidarity, inclusion, transparency, openness to the world) and how Europe is, because of America's influence in our society, losing its values too. Let's not forget that Steve Bannon, the far-right American politician, openly supported Le Pen, Salvini, Orban or Abascal... To make it simple: the west is losing the values of Enlightenment (Freedom, Equality, Fraternity) and maybe it's because we haven't opened ourselves to new horizons. America is leaving us, and we cannot insist, the European youth must promote a change and increase our exchanges within Europe and with the countries representing the future. America is indeed the past.
Dimitar Bozov
08 August 2019
I studied in an American school and I had the opportunity to see the differences in mentality between the American and European youth. It is unfortunate to say that but young Americans are much more goal oriented and are much entrepreneurial than Europeans. Young Europeans do not have a tenancy to take risks, start business or make investments. I believe that this is due to the fact that the state plays a very big role in our lives here. Also most of the young Europeans i have met had little or no work experience up until their late 20s something that Americans have. Last but not least most of the Europeans tend to identify themselves with their nationality. Nothing wrong with this but there is a missing feeling of being an European, something that Americans do have.