Reinventing Democracy in Europe: Youth Doing Politics in Times of Increasing Inequalities.
INTRODUCTION Young people are often at the forefront of political and social change. A decade of financial, political and social crisis across Europe and at its borders has marked more than one young generation. Instead of accepting the status quo, many of these young people have organised in new ways across borders to do politics differently. Through this web documentary you can hear some of their stories, and access the research results and recommendations of the EURYKA research project into the ways the political participation of young people is changing in Europe today.

"Subtitles in different languages are available on YouTube"

Chapter 1:
Employment: the mobilisation of transnational riders

Industry 4.0 has revolutionized the labour market. At a time of deep economic crisis affecting the entire European continent, many companies use the latest technologies in everyone’s pockets to change the nature of employment.



Everything goes through an App: you can work there for years and never meet your superior. You interface only with your smartphone’s screen.


Riders are a recent but emerging reality. Every individual, especially young people entering the labour market for the first time, is free to choose how to approach the job and whether to take it as their main source of income or just as a way to make some extra money. Many associations have been set up with the purpose of standardizing these types of contracts and, most importantly, turning them into ordinary jobs with social security protections, rights and paid holiday.


The first chapter of the documentary illustrates this reality through the eyes and stories of the riders and their associations in Milan, Bologna, Berlin, Madrid, and other cities where this phenomenon is on the rise.



“Everything can change in the job market except the safety conditions and the dignity of the workers, whatever the type of platforms are used.”


Chapter 2:
Migration and solidarity The topic of migration is one of the most burning issues in Europe. Faced with an increasingly large group of people that position themselves against solidarity and integration, hundreds of organizations and individuals throughout the continent are fighting for the rights of migrants.

Many young people are at the front of these initiatives either in their communities or organising through campaigns.


Rescue at sea, initial welcoming, solidarity for migrants in transit, education, integration into the labour market, and hosting families are all pieces of a large puzzle, held together thanks to the profound sense of solidarity that animates the hearts of thousands of European citizens.



Bottom-up activism, in these cases, seems to be one of the few instruments able to address the problems that come from political failure.


“What we see everyday in the Mediterranean is not a refugee crisis, it is a political crisis”


Chapter 3:
Transeuropa Caravans: Connecting struggles building alternatives With the Transeuropa Caravans 2019, five different caravans travelled on different European routes to provide support, resources and training to EU citizens to take action to promote electoral rights in the place they live.

The main objectives of the activists on board the Transeuropa Caravans was increasing EU citizens’ awareness of the importance of the European Parliament elections in May 2019, the rights EU citizens must stand up and vote for, as well as the tools they have at their disposal to engage with European Institutions.


In this chapter we follow the Western and Central Eastern European routes of Transeuropa Caravans on the search for new forms of political engagement and youth mobilisation across Europe.

“With our trip we want to communicate that political participation does not begin and end in the polls, but takes place every day, in our neighborhoods, in our places of work, in our places of cultural gathering and in the streets.”


Chapter 4:
Climate change and environment The climate crisis is mobilising young people across the planet. In cities including Berlin, London and Paris, young protesters are taking to the streets to urge their leaders to take action.

Since the beginning of 2019, thousands of students have skipped school to join marches demanding better protections of the globe’s fragile climate.


Banners reading “School strike for Climate '' and “Skipping school? No. We fight for our future”, have highlighted the marches









The global movement, known as Fridays For Future, demands an end to the age of fossil fuels and climate justice for everyone.


This chapter follows Greta Thunberg in her first visit to Rome and the direct action techniques of the Ende Gelande Stop Coal Movement in Lusatia.


“For too long, the politicians and the people in power have gotten away with not doing anything at all to fight the climate crisis and the ecological crisis. But we will make sure that they will not get away with it any longer.”

Chapter 5:
Sports and political participation Sport can be a reaction to a political and cultural crisis: big cities are turning more and more into non-places, spaces in which the concept of civic duty and the idea of belonging to a community are missing.

Throughout Europe, the spontaneous establishment of communities and associations focused on sports together with cooperation and togetherness represents an  effective and efficient response to this urban issue. In the suburbs, local sports centres are a target of budget cuts and keep being replaced by huge high-end sport ‘megamalls’, too expensive and inaccessible to most people.


Community gyms are a practical and effective reaction to the problem, as well as being a driver for active citizenship. Through simple boxing or dance courses, people discover a new connection with their territory and new ways of social participation. They get involved, they organise, and they work together to build a service for their community, to make it a better place to live in.



"We have created a space in which young people come together to share not only our daily life but also social and community values. We have created an active local grassroot network that is much more than a simple sport center”

In this documentary YOU will meet: RIDERS UNION BOLOGNA Riders Union Bologna is a group of riders working in the world of delivery food and social activists working in Bologna to protect their rights of precarious workers. When they started meeting, they realized that their working conditions, although different, had in common a strong precariousness and lack of protection. They mobilise to make their voices heard in defence of their rights for a safer job and a safer city. LA PAJARA La Pajara is a cooperative project of riders in Madridoffering an alternative to large platforms. They exchange knowledge and tools with a network of social and solidarity initiatives, at the local, national and European level. REFUGEE RESCUE Refugee Rescue is a grassroots NGO operating a skilled Search and Rescue (SAR) team on the North Shore of Lesvos, Greece. The boat crew and rescue vessel ‘Mo Chara’ are on call 24 hours per day, ready to assist those in distress at sea. Onshore, the land teams man spotting operations that keep watch along the treacherous coastline, and work alongside partners to provide emergency relief for those who have just arrived. Refugee Rescue was founded in response to inadequate SAR infrastructure in 2015 when thousands of people were arriving on the island by boat, having been displaced by war, conflict and persecution. REFUGEE FOR REFUGEES Refugee4Refugees is a non-governmental organization, with no political, religious, or ethnic affiliation that works at the front line of the humanitarian crisis in Greece. Mission. It aims to offer sustainable support, humanitarian assistance and emergency response to migrants from all nationalities who arrive at the shores of Lesvos and Samos seeking asylum in Europe. FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE #FridaysForFuture is a movement that began in August 2018, after 15 years old Greta Thunberg sat in front of the Swedish parliament every school day for three weeks, to protest against the lack of action on the climate crisis. She posted what she was doing on Instagram and Twitter and it soon went viral. The hashtags #FridaysForFuture and #Climatestrike spread and many students and adults began to protest outside of their parliaments and local city halls all over the world. This has also inspired the Belgium Thursday school strikes. ENDE GALAENDE It is a broad alliance of people from the anti-nuclear and anti-coal movements, the Rhineland and Lausitz climate camps and the Hambacher Forest anti-coal campaign. They are from grassroots climate action groups, large environmental organisations, left political groups and many other campaigns, groups and networks. They all believe that in order to stop climate ,citizens need to take action using civil disobedience as a powerful signal for real action to put our climate before profit. PALESTRA POPOLARE VALERIO VERBANO The Palestra Popolare Valerio Verbano,Escuela de boxeo guantes manchados in Rome and the Escuela deportiva Atalaya are popular gyms that believes in sport as a universal right for citizens. The right to participate and to play sports with the only purpose of seeking well-being for all. Are popular gyms where sports are not sold as a commodity, where sports are free from any social, economic, sexist or racial prejudice and that offers to everyone the opportunity to practice sports at affordable prices. ESCUELA DE BOXEO GUANTES MANCHADOS It is a local project with the aim of making the neighbourhood more dynamic and attracting young people to a different leisure alternative. ESCUELA DEPORTIVA ATALAYA It is a popular gym project that aims to propose different sports activities for the neighbourhood focused on youth and located in the CSO Atalaya in Vallekas.
WHAT IS EURYKA? EURYKA is a cross-national research project which provides systematic and practice-related knowledge about how inequalities mediate youth political participation. It aims to study the relations between inequalities and young people’s ways of doing politics and to advance scenarios for future democratic models and political systems in Europe that are more inclusive for young people. It suggests novel democratic models to help reimagine a more inclusive European politics. It brings together researchers and civil society practitioners from nine European countries: France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. With the aim of strengthening European democratic life, the project intends to reach a better understanding of the conditions, processes, and mechanisms underpinning how young people do politics: how do they form opinions and take action to bring about social and political change? At the core of EURYKA’s conceptual framework lies the idea of youth political participation as forms of coping mechanism for dealing with inequalities. The project, thus, investigates the norms, values, attitudes and behaviors underpinning such mechanisms and how these relate to issues of democracy, power, politics, policy-making, social and political participation (online and offline) and the organization of economic, social and private life.
Resources Report on the policy framework of youth participation across Europe Policy Brief on policy framework for youth participation Report on youth in the media Rejuvenating Europe's Democracy Download Pdf Download Pdf Download Pdf Download Pdf
Université de Genève University of Sheffield Scuola Normale Superiore Uppsala Universitet Universität Siegen Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques Panepistimio Kritis Uniwersytet Warszawski Universitat Oberta de Catalunya European Alternatives Funded by This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 727025.