10 Years Is Just A Beginning: Impressions of a YEA after the EaP Launch Event

author: Vladislav Kaim  13-03-2019

In an October morning of 2018, almost 500 young leaders around the EU and EaP countries got letters that they had been waiting for for so long - they officially became part of Class 2018-2019 of Young European Ambassadors. Their mission was indeed special, as they embarked on this very interesting ambassadorship journey at the dawn of celebrations of 10 years since the launch of Eastern Partnership at May 2009 Prague Summit. 100 of the Ambassadors were especially honored to be selected to participate at the EaP 10th Anniversary Launch Event, that took place in Brussels on February 14-15. The program was planned to be quite intense and captivating, and we as participants were happy to get on board with it and make the Event top notch thanks to our contributions.

One of the most memorable contributions, that of course made its way in all corners of Europe via power of the Internet, was the flashmob, in which through dance and fun we demonstrate our commitment to be stronger together not just in the hashtags we use, but in action. All participants from the EU and 6 EaP countries took on the challenge that proved to be a huge success. The flash mob was a strong message that we see our present and future together, in a Europe of common values. This feeling increased substantially when we were brainstorming with and asking various officials who honored us with their presence. They were keen on bringing us together to come with various solutions to a multitude of challenges that we face in promoting European values in our home countries. Hearing from them about their perspectives of the EaP and what happens next was also extremely useful. The headline speech and answers to our questions were delivered by Vice-President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis. It was nice to hear from official of such a high-rank that Young European Ambassadors are heard, important and have the potential to change things to the better in the implementation of 20 Deliverables for 2020.

Second day of the event was dedicated to even more brainstorming activities, the main one being the challenge of creating a concept of the project that could be made by YEAs, promote European values, and get the highest reach possible with minimal resources. The atmosphere in which each member of the team was delivering their own views and perspectives gave birth to some amazing ideas that, once implemented, will have significant impact. Of course, one cannot pass by another headline of that day - the media challenge #10yearschallenge, tailored to our personal stories of how Eastern Partnership influenced and changed our lives during its 10 years of existence. The stories by Ambassadors from almost all EaP countries that made into the final were very inspiring and helped us remember what a milestone we are taking part at and that the future of Eastern Partnership is in our hands.

Both days also brought to us warm and pleasant atmosphere of the receptions kindly hosted by the Embassy of Estonia and DG East. Regional cuisine, live music and opportunities for networking with fellow YEAs as well as various officials left an amazing impression about those evenings and gave the opportunity to discuss further ideas on how to maximize our impact back home. It was sad to notice that the event finished that fast, but time is used to fly when you are in an amazing place with amazing people trying to implement amazing ideas for the future of Eastern Partnership we are responsible for. The luggage we brought home from Brussels was new projects, contacts and activities whose impact will go past 2019. But the warm memories about the place and time they were made will remain.