Monday, 13 June 2011

What Does It Mean To Be European?

Evolution NOW asks young journalists what it means to them to be European!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Twist and Pulse Vs Politics

Evolution NOW had the chance to talk to Britain's Got Talent Finalists Twist And Pulse and find out what they know about politics!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Structured Dialogue: Political Evolution?

The Tree of Change?
‘Structured Dialogue’: initially, it’s all to easy to balk at the very mention of these two words and recoil in sheer confusion or simply gawp at them quizzically as if you had just been asked to recite pi to the 30th digit.

But upon further analysis, the literal meaning, dialogue that is structured – or even conversation – makes more sense.

Bizarre title aside, Structured Dialogue is something that is set to change the world of politics for the better.


The breakdown of SD is as follows:

The European Union (EU) has set a youth strategy, and Structured Dialogue (SD) is a big part of it. The SD helps the EU to look back on, put into action and follow up on the EU’s co-operation in the youth field.

Structured Dialogue: multiple branches

Since it involves all 27 EU Member States (and a few more countries besides), the SD is done in 18-month blocks. These blocks have three countries take charge per ‘term’: these countries are then known as the ‘presidents’ for that particular ‘term’.

Each ‘presidency’ is then given a subject area to concentrate on, known as a ‘thematic priority’. This is then divided into three key areas. Once each ‘president’ has been given an area, that country then invites its youth to come and discuss it and decide how they would like for it to be implemented.

Each president country has a set time to do this (6 months) with whomever is last wrapping up the process for that 18-month period, known as a ‘work cycle’.

The president country has a group of people know as a ‘National Working Group’ (NWGs) to pick the young people to get involved in the discussions.

The EU also has a group to communicate with the NWGs and gather the responses. This group is known as the European Steering Committee, made up of loads of representatives from several other groups – including one from the Youth In Action Programme.


So let’s use a car as a metaphor: the EU is the manufacturer, each Member State is a constructor and the youth is the customer buying this car.

The EU wants to build this car, bit by bit, taking the customers’ opinions into account included.

The EU starts with the front of the car and says to three of the constructors: “One of you design a bonnet, the other design the front wheels and the front doors.”

Each constructor then goes to their country and asks the customers what they’d like to see in a bonnet/front wheel/front door design.

Six months later, they return to the manufacturers with their suggestions and then, based on a Structured Dialogue, make changes to the car’s design.

This creates a vehicle of change for the customer, partially built by the customer.

So for the first cycle, it was the trio-presidential collective of Spain-Belgium-Hungary, discussing Youth Employment.

During the next work cycle, it is the turn of Poland-Denmark-Cyprus, set to discuss ‘youth participation’. Poland will focus on ‘youth and the world’, Denmark on ‘creativity and innovation’ with Cyprus focussed on ‘participation and social inclusion’.

With these thought-provoking topics up for debate, we in the UK wait with anticipation to see who we will share our presidency with, and what topics we choose…

Lem Leon

Wednesday, 25 May 2011


As inhabitants of an island that sometimes seems slightly removed from Europe, it can be hard for young people in the UK to remember that we are not alone, and that some of the very same hardships and tough decisions regarding our future are often the very same in the rest of Europe.

Some of those issues – unemployment and access to higher education, for example – are the topic of debate by youngsters from all over Europe at European Youth Week, where policy recommendations that could make a real difference to British and European youth are hammered out with young people themselves.

A recent study carried out by the EU was designed to take a look at how easy it is to move around Europe when it comes to the two biggest growing issues surrounding young people today (and focuses of European Youth Week) – higher education and job availability. This survey was conducted by The Gallup Organization, Hungary, upon the request of European Commission’s Directorate General of Education and Culture, in January 2011.

The flash barometer covered a range of subjects including the appeal of higher education, the longevity of working abroad, and perceptions of difficulty in finding a job.

When asked about the attractiveness of vocational training in the UK, 82% of people believed it was a beneficial and realistic prospect, placing it in the top 20.

European Youth Week debates the issues

When asked about the appeal of higher education, surprisingly, 75% were in favour of higher education. This figure is surprising given the huge backlash in recent months after the coalition Government raised university tuition fees, allowing some universities to charge up to £9,000 per year. That said, UK are placed quite further down the table in comparison to our immediate neighbours, Ireland with 86% looking to enter higher education.

Prime Minister David Cameron has often defended the rises, offering the opinion that the UK has one of the best education systems in the world. The figures appear to reflect this as over 90% of UK residents would not go abroad to study. It will be interesting to see if in two years time, this figure would change.

Looking at the benefits of studying abroad, out of the 31 participating countries, 57% responded that it greatly improved their ability to communicate in a foreign language, whilst 40% cited that it greatly improved their awareness of a foreign culture. This result only differed when it came to Ireland, where the main reason given was better academic knowledge, 34%.

In contrast to this, 37% of all participants stated they were not interested in going abroad at all to work or further their education. 33% of the respondents said not having access to funding or finding it too expensive, prevented them from going abroad, with Cyprus, Greece and Poland having a majority of more than 50%.

Looking to the future, young Europeans were asked what their biggest concern was regarding searching for a job upon completion of their studies. 53% of them were concerned about job availability within their city or region, and 42% were concerned about the salary not being adequate for a reasonable standard of living.

With London, being one of the most expensive places to live in Europe and with an ongoing campaign to introduce the London Living Wage, this figure is concerning in comparison to the figures from the last question.

When asked if they would be willing to work in another European country, only 23% of UK youth consider this a permanent option. With only four other countries having a percentage lower than this, are we viewed by our international neighbours as resistant to change?

In any case, 40% of young people wishing to set up a business in the UK is a respectable figure, with only a 1% difference between each country.

Maybe, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

By Lem Leon

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Evolution NOW At European Youth Week!

Mr Lem Leon offers his opinion on European Youth Week For European Parliament's official website!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Facts About The Workshops

We've asked 109 students so far in year 9 questions about politics and their experience throughout the workshops that was carried out in their schools .Below we have highlighted the three main questions that created the biggest response   

Did you you feel positive about politics before the workshop?

98 out of the 109 students didn’t see politics in a positive light before the workshops. Many described politics before as “Boring”, “long” and even “Dead”.

Do you think you have learnt more about politics after the workshop?

101 students felt that they have learnt more about politics after the workshop. This is in stark contrast to the large amount of students that didn’t see politics in a positive light before the workshops.
One student stated “I have learnt more about politics because I was taught in a fun way whilst learning at the same time.”

After the workshop do you think you are more likely to vote?

97 of students asked said that they are more likely to vote when they are of age, due to the workshop. This is very rewarding as it shows that we have made a difference and proved that politics can be fun.

(Results correct at time of print: 17/05/11)

Nathaniel Hinds

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Evolution NOW: Flashback Four!

Here are some videos showing the humble begins of Evolution NOW - April 2010!

Never forget where you came from...