The final closing event of the project took place on 12-13 December in Budapest. All those assisting is in running the Europe Labyrinth and actively participating at the local citizens’ agoras.
On the basis of experience gained during project activities and summarised at the concluding event in Budapest in mid-December 2019 it can be stated that
- it is not only a possibility but a must to talk to and engage ordinary citizens into a meaningful dialogue on cohesion policy matters not only within the safe walls of a conference room but in their natural daily environment: at a railway station, at a market place or simply in the street; our labyrinth set up in several public spaces not in capitals but in five regions in Central and Eastern Europe with its innovative and eye-catching character proved to be an ideal tool to attract many ordinary citizens and reach the anticipated result;
- cohesion policy per say – no matter how important and deeply-rooted is in an EU dictionary – is practically unknown among ordinary citizens; but the case is not hopeless: if you put it into a proper context explaining how local concrete projects implemented with cohesion funds influence positively their daily lives – the whole notion becomes understandable and this is the point where a meaningful discussion can start;
- content is important but style is key: you should not act as a master of ceremony but be a partner, be attentive and demonstrate that you are one of them with your own questions or even with hesitations. Let’s search for answers together! This approach was successfully tested and practiced not only during the Labyrinth Tour but at the citizens’ agoras as well;
- a huge challenge is the typical inward-looking nature of thinking in the region sometimes coupled with selfish, nationalistic attitudes; to counterbalance this tendency with a European message, with an attractive European agenda is a real challenge! The messages emerging from the new Commission are encouraging signs in this direction;
- the active interest of young people – our main target group – is an important positive result of our labyrinth experience together with the citizens agoras; their open and receptive mind is the best guarantee that the Europe project is not lost, and we can count on their support and commitment;
- the “We are Europe” approach offers a workable solution with its bottom-up orientation to the current situation; it complements in a meaningful manner the EU top-down decision-making process;
- the reactions of directly and indirectly involved citizens indicate that the overall project evaluation is definitely positive; our communication exercise is a modest but committed contribution to the process leading to the success of EU cohesion policy for and by citizens.
The final project booklet gives you a full review of project activities and achievements.