The EU Crash Course: Understanding Europe is a workshop which introduces the EU in an interactive way. It works with the peer-to-peer principle trainer teams come to make the course happen. “Understanding Europe” is the name for EU Crash Courses offered by European Youth Parliament’s umbrella organisation, the Schwarzkopf Foundation Young Europe in Germany since 2009. With the support of the European Youth Parliament the EU-Crash Courses is offered also in other EU member states: Italy, Lithuania, Austria, Ireland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Belgium and Ukraine.
The concept of the courses is based on the Peer-Education-Approach. Young, trained, seminar moderators are coming as trainer-tandems to the school. As multipliers for European ideas, they are at the same time mediators of the process. The EU-Crash Course serves at providing space for questions of the pupils concerning the context of the European integration and to impart and visualize basic knowledge about European politics.
As Ukraine has signed the political part of the Association Agreement, we feel the necessity to increase the role of high school students in the EU integration process of Ukraine by raising awareness on EU basics. Hence, we aim to:
- Make people get acquainted with the structure of the EU through non-formal approach;
- Increase pupils’ interest in the EU-related issues and encourage them to participate;
- Offer a platform for pupils’ questions and offer them room for dealing with controversies.
The course focuses on three main topics:
- Why does the EU exist? – Milestones of European history
- Who is the EU? – Actors of the EU
- What does the EU do? – Relevance of the EU and its competencies
In addition, the course offers not only the theory in general but the opportunity to use all knowledge gained during proposed workshops. As well, we encourage our participants to have open group discussion to share their opinions on EU-related issues or any topic chosen by students, and then have a chance to take part in the European Youth Parliament’s activities.
Understanding Europe in Ukraine has made a significant influence already. After being introduced, the project has reached over 350 pupils through 17 crash-courses in 2014-15, including both open-registration workshops as well as those especially dedicated to various EYP-events. Trainers are selected by the project core team, whose work is supervised by the national coordinator. Ukraine was the first non-EU country to take up the initiative and develop it in an innovative way, whose example was later on followed by other non-EU countries.