Home>The European Union & Public Innovation: Integrating French Youth into the European Debate


The European Union & Public Innovation: Integrating French Youth into the European Debate

On the 12th and 13th of May 2022, ten Master 1 students from the School of Public Affairs had the chance to go to Brussels to present their projects developed in the framework of the Public Policy Incubator course to the European Commission. 

"How can we build Europe if the youth do not see it as a collective project and a representation of their own futures?” In his speech on 17 January 1989, Jacques Delors referred to the central role of young people in the construction and consolidation of the European project. Thirty-three years later, the European Union is dedicating the year 2022 to youth with the aim of achieving a representative, active and committed European youth. This set of objectives constitutes a major democratic challenge that was at the heart of the projects undertaken by our teams in the framework of the Public Policy Incubator, a programme offered by the School of Public Affairs at Sciences Po. 

>From January to May 2022, our team of ten students (divided into two groups) thought of and established solutions to the challenge launched by the European Commission's Representation in France: "How to integrate French youth in all its diversity into the European debate?”

After an initial phase of immersion and research, we devised solutions aimed at responding in part to the problem posed, then developed and tested these prototypes before presenting them in May in Brussels to various representatives of the European institutions. 

Public innovation: creativity, common good, collaboration

Firstly, the Public Policy Incubator introduced us to public innovation, combining creativity, common good and collaboration. 

Reflecting and preparing for the future requires providing concrete answers to the challenges of tomorrow and developing innovative and operational models for users. Thus, we dared and undertook new projects. We were free in our choice of solutions, which pushed us to be creative and innovative in our work.

Public innovation aims to improve the lives of citizens, and to respond to real issues of general interest, to serve the common good. In this sense, we have studied our target audience, reshaped the issue to offer a coherent and realistic response. 

Finally, collaboration is at the heart of the introduction of an innovative project. For five months we were led to make collective choices based on communication, listening and cooperation. This approach was particularly interesting in that it taught us to work in groups, to take initiatives while listening. Moreover, our teams collaborated with a variety of actors from the public, associative and/or private sector, such as the Maisons de l'Europe or Centres Europe Direct, but also students, high schools, teachers, officials from the Ministry of Education, the Paris City Council, and the European institutions (Committee of the Regions, European Parliament, European Commission). 

Our projects

Our group of ten students was divided into two teams in the first immersion phase: we approached the topic differently and proposed different solutions. 

Group 3.1: My Europe 

Group 3.1 focused on youth mobility. We found that there is a lack of awareness of European mobility programmes among young people. Participation figures in mobility programmes or Erasmus are low, especially among young people from rural areas in vocational training who do not feel involved. However, experiencing Europe is a way for young people to feel more European and thus to be included in the debate. Our solution aims to facilitate young people's access to programmes by going out to meet them, selecting programmes adapted to their profiles and facilitating the process. 

From this observation was born a system of solutions based on the accessibility of existing mobility programmes entitled 'My Europe', comprising two services:

  • A travelling bus (Erasbus) that goes out to meet young high school students in rural areas of France to promote international mobility, the European Union and its functioning.
  • An application (EUMatch) aimed at young people, which allows them to learn about programmes adapted to their profiles and desires through a playful customisation.

Video presentation of the project "Mon Europe" (in French)

Groups 3.2: European Uchrony

‘European Uchrony’ was born out of an apparent paradox: despite a positive perception of the EU, young people do not want to get involved in the European debate. Indeed, they often show little more than mild disinterest in Europe. With this in mind, Group 3.2 developed a scheme to create a 'need for Europe' among 18-24 year olds through the publication of an Instagram account entitled 'European Uchrony' featuring a young woman living in a world without the European Union. The project aims to encourage a peer-to-peer exchange on the contributions of the European Union, which is often seen as a complex and distant achievement.

Video presentation of the project "Uchronie européenne" (in French)

Presentation of our projects in Brussels 

The end of this adventure was marked by a presentation of our projects in Brussels. This stay was rich in meetings and exchanges. 

The first day took place at the European Commission and was punctuated by conferences on various current topics. In the morning, we had the opportunity to present our projects to representatives of DG EAC (Commission's Directorate General for Education and Culture), DG COMM (Commission's Directorate General for Communication) and SECGEN (Secretariat General of the European Commission). In the afternoon, we had the honour of meeting Ms Aleska Simkic, Head of Cabinet of the Commissioner for Crisis Management, Mr Antoine Colombani, Commissioner for Climate Action Policy and Executive Vice President for the European Green Deal in the Frans Timmermans Cabinet, and Mr Koen Hendrix, Team Leader for External Communication. 

The second day took place at the Committee of the Regions where we had the opportunity to meet with members of the European Parliament and the Committee of the Regions to discuss ongoing European youth projects. 

Finally, we would like to thank all the people with whom we had the opportunity to exchange during our project: students, high school students, teachers, members of Europe Direct and Maison de l'Europe, officials from the Ministry of National Education and Youth, the Paris City Council, the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions and the European Commission. 

Our thanks also go to our partner, the French Representation of the European Commission, and especially to Marine Siva, Jessica Larsson, Pauline Sauvage and Francesca Manchi for their guidance, kindness and support. 


A testimonial by Eva Lambert, student of the Master in European Affairs, Politics and Public Policy stream, for her group consisting of:

  • Émeline Pineau, Master in European Affairs, Europe in the World policy stream 
  • Benoît Weinachter, Master in Public Policy, Public Administration policy stream
  • Justus Boesschen Hospers, Master in Public Policy, Politics and public policy stream
  • Garance Martin, Master Corporate and Public Management (dual degree with HEC) 


  • Louise Souverbie, Master in European Affairs, Europe in the World stream
  • Anna Lelkes, Master in European Affairs, Europe in the World stream
  • Denis Baverez, Master in European Affairs, Politics and Public Policy stream
  • Oihana Sicard, Master Corporate & Public management (dual degree with HEC) 
  • Briac Chevalier-Chantepie, Master Corporate & Public management (dual degree with HEC) 

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