After the last edition held in February 2020, the last trip organised before the global pandemic, “ESN Italy goes to Brussels” returns during the European Year of Youth. 

Three days to discover the European capital and the European institutions to train the young volunteers who will shape the future of Europe itself! 

To provide information and important knowledge to the young Europeans of tomorrow, the trip, whose foundation had already been laid in January 2022, came to life in June, giving the opportunity to 31 participants (from all Italian Sections) to visit the European Parliament and the European Council, milestones of the European institutions, and the Parlamentarium, the visitor centre of the European Parliament. 

In addition, volunteers were given the opportunity to interact at meetings with senior officials of the European institutions: Maria Palladino, Education expert of the Permanent Representation of Italy in Brussels, and Svava B. Finsen, Policy Officer - Higher education / Erasmus+ for the Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG-EAC). 

Alice from ESN Venice says: "For a young volunteer, who spends herself on international mobility and feels like a convinced pro-European, being able to visit the main institutional seats of the EU, such as the Parliament and the Council in Brussels, was an important opportunity. Dialogue with the members of the Permanent Representation of Italy to the EU on the themes of Education, 35 years of the Erasmus+ project, sustainable mobility, and volunteering has made us feel part of the major European projects, which will see young people as protagonists. Every meeting we had and every testimony we have heard has left us something positive and encouraging to continue our lives as volunteers and above all as European citizens."

Instead, for Ilaria of ESN Naples: "This trip gave me the opportunity to enter into the beating heart of Brussels, to get to know the European institutions, and to establish a dialogue with its representatives. It was such a formative journey, that allowed me to deepen the mechanisms of a complex and fascinating system such as that of European and international law, to know the work that the European Union carries out and the opportunities it offers when it comes to active citizenship and participation. In particular, the discussion about international mobility has been productive and stimulating, providing ideas for a progressive improvement of the Erasmus+ programme. I think that ‘ESN Italy goes to Brussels’ is a very interesting initiative for young people and I hope that it will continue during the next years with an increasing number of participants.”

Riccardo from ESN Urbino, on the other hand, tells us that: "ESN Italy goes to Brussels is a well-structured event that acts as a link between small local Italian communities and European institutions. It gives young Europeans a taste of Europe, and allows volunteers to get to know who's behind it, pulling the strings of this great reality called ESN.”

Lidia from ESN Udine says: "I am very happy to have participated in the "ESN Italy goes to Brussels" project because it was an experience that enriched me both on an ESN and on a personal level. It was exciting to get to know the European institutions and meet the Board of ESN International. I am so grateful to have shared this wonderful experience with such amazing people.”

A heartfelt thank you goes to the Honourable Brando Benifei, who supported ESN Italy in this initiative. 

Egi Ivanaj

Translation by Desiré Merlo & Emma De Rosa