Last Thursday, You&EU won the Europaeum Scholar’s Prize for their social media campaign. The award was sponsored by The Financial Times and was presented by Ben Hall, the FT's European affairs editor at a special Europaeum conference which featured presentations by the Scholars. You&EU is a product of the Europaeum Scholar’s Programme, that brought together 30 PhD Candidates to formulate projects and policy recommendations to make Europe a better place. Three other projects competed with You&EU and featured 1) ideas of trying to curb energy poverty, 2) strengthening the European Parliament’s ‘European Citizen’s Initiative' and 3) improving the EU's online public consultation tool.
You&EU’s campaign took place across many European countries in a bid to boost youth participation at the 2019 European Parliamentary elections. For those that did not follow the campaign, it featured content across different social media platforms, primarily Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We worked on the theme of elucidating the EU’s work to voters, describing the rights they gained from key European legislation. We also produced several videos for the campaign, highlighting what would be lost if we did not have the EU.
The campaign ended after the elections in June. This gave us time to look at the figures we collected about our impact in the elections. Using these statistics we formulated a set of policy recommendations, revealing the outreach and cost-effectiveness that can be achieved through social media and civil society participation within European elections.
The prize-giving took place within a wider conference entitled ‘Europe in the Age of Xi and Trump’. The conference featured speakers such as former EU Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso, former director-general of the WTO, Pascal Lamy as well as Oxford academics Peter Frankopan, William Hutton and Rebecca Foot. Topics revolved around the current trade war and how Europe could find a place in this clash of the Titans.
On behalf of the project team, we would like to thank everybody who supported us - not only the Europaeum and Financial Times, but also our teaching fellows Lukas Schemper and Barry Colfer, our video directors Saara Mansikkamäki and Marek Dobeš, and actors Peter Kanerva and Tomáš Vítek, Pür Shop for its support as well as University of Helsinki and Hero Clan for their professional consultations. And last - but not least - to all of those engaged in our collage videos, following our campaign, liking and sharing our posts and spreading our message forward. Without all of you, the project wouldn't have achieved the results it did!