Alongside the Festa dell'Unità in Florence, Italy, the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions together with EUDem, a youth organization from the Partito Democratico, organized an International Summer School with a focus on Building a New Social Europe. This year's edition was attended by young Social Democrats from Italy, Germany and the UK with the aim to develop closer ties between young people involved in politics across Europe.
Heijo Höfer (Mayor of Altenkirchen and CoR rapporteur on the European Pillar of Social Rights) introduced the young participants to the European Commission's recent proposals on social rights and strategies for social investment. After an input of Luigi Berlinguer (former Italian Minister for education and research as well as former Member of the European Parliament), a fruitful discussion was held with the audience on the need to reform and make changes in the European Union. As a result, all participants agreed that a more social Europe with concrete steps needs to be achieved.
The workshop presentations of Micaela Fanelli (Mayor of Riccia and CoR rapporteur on harnessing globalization and the challenges of climate change and digital age) and of Ulrike Hiller (Secretary of State for European affairs and CoR rapporteur on EU coordination of social security systems) brought grist to the mill of a vivid discussion on inequalities and social injustice in Europe with approximatively 70 participants present in the room.
Finally, Jennette Arnold (CoR member and Labour politician in the London Assembly) presented, together with young activists from the association "My Life, My Say", how young people can be better involved in politics and in policy-making. The case study on organizing "Brexit cafés" and "Café Europe" was used to show how the involvement of young voters in the Remain-campaign was made a success. These experiences can now inspire many Summer School participants to organize political discussions over a cup of coffee or tea within their own national, regional and local campaign strategies.
The Summer School also gave the opportunity to participants to visit the Historical Archives of the European Union in Fiesole where are kept documents of the European Institutions, papers coming from European pioneers, visionaries, political leaders as well as from numerous European voices of movements, associations and political groups.