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Spring Day for Europe 2009: Launch event in Strasbourg

The launch of this year's 'Spring Day for Europe' campaign to encourage school students to take part in activities to raise awareness of European issues took place on 25 March in Strasbourg. Commission Vice-President Margot Wallström and Katerina Batzeli, Chairwoman of the European Parliament's Committee on Culture and Education, met a group of students visiting the European Parliament to mark the occasion. The event took place on the eve of June elections for the European Parliament.

Spring Day for Europe is an annual event organised by a network of 31 Ministries of Education in Europe, European Schoolnet, funded by the European Commission. This year's motto is: 'Ideas Move Europe', and the event is linked to the Year of Creativity and Innovation. Activities are being organised until 30 June in schools throughout Member States and in other European countries, including Norway, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Switzerland.

Margot Wallström, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy and MEP Katerina Batzeli, Chairwoman of the Committee on Culture and Education, during the event in Strasbourg

Activities include discussions with guest speakers on Europe, on-line chats with Commissioners and other European public figures, debates, competitions and other projects to stimulate awareness of European issues. Young people are invited to network in a dialogue on the future of democracy in Europe.

"This is a great opportunity to raise young people's awareness of the importance of the EU and its Parliament – as future voters, they need to make their voices heard now about issues important to them" said Margot Wallström.

"Communicating Europe to its citizens and even more to Europe's youngest generations, to students, is not only an EU priority but the most basic element of the agenda for the future of Europe" said Katerina Batzeli. "Spring Day for Europe" is a way to inform, to involve, to activate the school society in a way that they may exercise their right to participate in the democratic life of the Union."

“We look forward to innovation and creativity in abundance from young people as they shape the future of Europe' said Ján Figel’, Commissioner in charge of education and training. He has already taken part in an on-line chat with schools. 'Each year, tens of thousands of young Europeans take part in European programmes specially designed for them. Access to good information on Europe and opportunities to discuss our future are essential training in citizenship.'

Previous Spring Day for Europe campaign themes have included intercultural dialogue, debating our future, and enlargement of the European Union.

Over 4,000 schools have registered so far to take part in events, supported with resources available via the project website, available in 23 languages at: www.springday2009.net

Speakers who wish to visit a school can register their interest by visiting this page. The list of guest speakers already includes more than 30 MEPs, three European Commissioners and several representatives of national and regional authorities, as well as University Professors, experts and ex-Erasmus students.

Related information

Video: Launch of Spring Day for Europe in Strasbourg (Source: European Commission, Audiovisual Service)

07/04/2009 by: European Commission