WORKSHOP - THE EUROPEAN UNION IN YOUR DAILY LIFE
This activity aims to highlight 10 aspects of daily life strongly influenced by the activity of the European Union, in order to raise students' awareness and point out to them that the European Union is actually present in our lives and is not limited to being an institutional and political reality, distant from citizens.
For each topic there is a BLANK SPACE for you to test your knowledge, discuss and list some of your ideas. After brainstorming, click the find out more button and discover a short theoretical explanation for each topic, followed by a game, an activity or a question of opinion that the student can carry out both individually as a starting point for personal reflection and confronting his/her opinion with his/her classmates by developing a small debate about it.
Solution and activity
Do you know there's a logo that allows you to distunguish European products? Look at their label! Directive 2000/13/EC governs the rules for the labelling of foods and food packaging to be delivered to consumers across the EU. The Directive states that all ingredients in foods, including alcoholic drinks, must be listed on the label and that the label must clearly warn of any allergens, such as nuts and soya. European producers are in competition with countries with less strict production requirements (environmental standards, legal obligations and labour costs), knowing where the product comes from and its main charateristics facilitates consumers in buying what is appropriate for them.
However, labelling isn’t strictly ruled just for food products, can you recognize some other labels and tell what they are meant for?
Solution and activity
All EU citizens have the right to study (at any level of education) anywhere in the EU under the same conditions as nationals; work anywhere in the EU and benefit from the opportunities offered by an EU-wide labour market.
Would you like to study abroad? Have you ever heard about The Erasmus+? It is a programme launched more than 30 years ago to allow students to do part of their studies at a university in another EU country. Todays' programme, Erasmus+, is not only for university students but also offers many other opportunities also to train or work as volunteers.
40% of former Erasmus students move country at least once after graduating, between a quarter and a third of Erasmus alumni have created a start-up or are planning to do so, and in general Erasmus students are twice as likely to find employment within a year of graduating.
An Erasmus experience could also affect your personal life, indeed a study has found that young people who went on an Erasmus exchange were nearly three times more likely to form a long-term romantic relationship with someone from a different country and that as many as one million babies could have been born as a result since the programme started in 1987!
Besides Erasmus, there are many other programms of student mobility supported by the EU, which cooperates with 48 European countries, to improve the compatibility and comparability of their higher education systems.
Watch some direct experiences: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbPgsC9Ql9w
Solution and activity
Travelling in Europe is extremely easy nowadays. The Schengen Agreement has removed border controls between most EU countries. What does it mean? Literally that if at any moment you want to go to another state of the Union the only thing you have to do is pack your suitcase and leave! You can now cross most borders within the EU without showing your passport, and stay in another EU country for up to three months without the need to complete any administrative formalities or to full any conditions. Freedom of movement has meant that for European citizens visiting family or friends, sightseeing, shopping, or simply taking part to an event abroad, as normal part of their normal life. It is estimated that about 17.6 million EU citizens live in another EU country, mostly to work or study.
The Schengen area also includes some states that are not part of the European Union: can you guess which ones?
DISCUSS WITH YOUR CLASSMATES!
KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH FRIENDS
Solution and activity
We are in the age of smartphones, we are now constantly communicated on the net. Thanks to EU action, roaming charges for calls, text messages and data were abolished in 2017, meaning you can use your phone abroad, paying the same as you do at home.
Furthermore, as of May 2019, a new maximum price applies for all international calls and SMS within the EU, to lower the prices for consumers.
Communication costs have been greatly reduced (more than 90 % since 2007). All citizens have a right to have access to internet and voice communications services. EU consumer protection laws, meanwhile, aim to guarantee a reasonable quality of service at affordable prices, ensure free access to emergency telephone numbers, the right to a written contract lasting just two years, transparent information, and the possibility to switch providers in a day without changing phone number.
Who do you think spends less on communication?
a. USA citizens
b. Europeans citizens
c. Japanese citizens
Solution and activity
Everyone happened to buy something online and regret it or to receive a product that we didn't like. It is thanks to the European Union that you have the right to cancel your order or return your purchase within 14 days, without declaring any specific reason. EU law protects consumers when they order or buy goods anywhere other than in a shop. If you sign a subscription or contract in he street or buy online, you are allowed by law to change your mind.
Moreover, you have 30 days to receive your order, and if you do not, you have the right to cancel it.
EU rules also forbid sellers to automatically redirect you to an online shop intended for your particular country (sometimes with higher prices) or to charge you more for hotel stays, car rental, or tickets for sports events or music festivals depending on the country you are based in. From May 2022, when you shop from an online marketplace such as Amazon or eBay, you will have to be informed how the search results are ranked, whether the price is personalised to you specically, whether an item is sold by a business or an individual and whether, consequently, you are protected by consumer rights. Last but by no means least, Europe is also working on reducing prohibitively high delivery prices for online purchases.
LET'S GO TO THE BEACH
Solution and activity
Typical summer holidays are seaside but is it possible to swim safely anywhere? Not everywhere, but in Europe it is! You can enjoy clean bathing and drinking water in the EU, since the EU has introduced compulsory, Europe-wide limits on air and water pollution, and the countries must make sure that these levels are respected. 85% of bathing sites monitored in 2018 met the European Union's highest and most stringent 'excellent' quality standards.
To allow Europeans to make informed decisions on where to go to best enjoy Europe’s inland and coastal bathing sites, an annual assessment briefing is prepared by the European Environment Agency (EEA) in cooperation with the European Commission's DG Environment.
FEELING SICK ABROAD
Solution and activity
Hoping that this information will never be useful to you, you might fall ill or have an accident while you are in another EU Member State and as an EU citizen, you are entitled to any medical treatment that cannot wait until you get home. With the European Health Insurance Card you will receive state- provided healthcare abroad and pay the same fees as locals. Basically, EU legislation gives you the same right to state-provided healthcare as people insured in the country concerned, and if you carry the European Health Insurance Card, you can avoid paying upfront in most EU countries. Another example of EU provision for people in emergency situations is the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, which supplies coordinated assistance to victims of natural and man-made disasters. This can include health assistance from the European Medical Corps, who send doctors and medical equipment in response to emergencies in and outside the EU.
The EU has set up an emergency phone number to enable you to get help quickly, no matters if you need local police, ambulance or fire brigade: do you know what it is?
The common European currency, called EURO, was introduced in 12 EU countries in 2002, and 19 have now replaced their national currencies with the euro. More than 340 million EU citizens, i.e. 75 % of all EU citizens, use the Euro on a daily basis. Why did the European Union incourage the adoption of an unique currency? Which are the advantages of being in the Eurozone? First of all its important to stress how the European Union was initially born to enstablished a single market where people from different countries trade together. With the use of a common currency within this market, consumers can better compare prices more easily at home, abroad and online; companies can calculate and charge customers in one currency and are not at risk of exchange rate fluctuations, and getting rid of transaction costs keeps prices stable.
The single currency creates new energy and opportunities resulting from the integration and size of the euro area economy, making the single market more efficient. Globally, moreover, thanks to its size and solidity, the euro area has become an attractive place for third countries to do business, thereby promoting trade and investment. Prudent economic management makes the euro an attractive reserve currency for third countries and gives the euro area a stronger voice in the world economy.
The institution responsible for the monetary is the European Central Bank (ECB). It decides on the quantity of banknotes to be printed in the euro circulation area, but physically most banknotes in circulation are printed by the national banks of the Member States, or by authorized private printers
All the coins have a common side that portrays a map of Europe, but on the other side each country has its own design. Can you recognize where this Euros come from?
We all have a document that defines our identity and serves our recognition. Each state has a different state, especially there are currently at least 86 different types of identity card, and 181 different types of residence document, in circulation in the EU. These differences and the fragmented regulatory framework, could cause problems regarding the security of travel. Indeed, identity documents play a key role in the fight against terrorism and organised crime, that’s why a new set of rules has been designed to boost security in three areas. The main objectives are to avoid fraudulent documents, potentially used by terrorists and criminals to enter the EU from non-EU countries, to regulate the status of Union citizens living for more than three months in another EU country, to armonize the period of validity of ID cards (10 years as a rule, reduced to 5 years for minors), and to collect biometric identiers. The new rules will apply as of 2 August 2021 therefore ID cards that do not meet the new requirements will be renewed in the new.
What about your ID card? How does it look like? Which are the datas on it? Can you name 3 situations in which it is required to show it?
In this time of pandemic, health has inevitably been a focus of attention. In particular, the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine has been a priority and an important historical event in recent times. As in the past for other pathologies such as smallpox, polio, and diphtheria,the discovery of the vaccine could determine the control of this pandemic. What has the European Union done about it? Together with international partners, the EU hosted a worldwide pledging marathon on 4 May 2020 to mobilise funding for vaccine research. Since January 2020, the EU has already set aside nearly €50 million for research into coronavirus; so far, it has approved grants for 17 projects involving 136 research teams. One one side, European countries are responsible for managing their own healthcare systems, and this includes vaccination programmes; on the other hand the EU can help by coordinating research. This means that scientists pool knowledge and resources instead of working separately in 27 countries. Since 2014, the EU's Horizon 2020 research programme has paid out €500 million in grants to international research projects on vaccines for infectious diseases such as Zika, inuenza and Ebola. Apart from funding research, the EU also cooperates with a wide range of partners on vaccination, including developing countries, pharmaceutical companies and the World Health Organization.
It is important to stress that the European Union has not contributed to tackling the pandemic only through vaccines, but that it has immediately acted to support national healthcare systems both financially, through the emergency support instrument, and practically, implementing guidelines on science-based and coordinated risk management and response measures.
All available resources have been mobilised to tackle the pandemic's economic impact. This includes the coronavirus response investment initiative, flexibility for the cohesion funds, relaxation of State aid rules, re-focusing of the long-term budget towards saving jobs and businesses, extension of the scope of the EU solidarity fund, and a variety of investment programmes. At the heart of the EU's recovery is the so-called Next Generation EU, a EUR 750 billion instrument agreed by EU leaders in July 2020 to help Member States' economies recover from the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Health is not the only issue covered by the Next Generation EU plan. There are six areas on which the proposals for projects, reforms and investments of the Member States must focus: find out which ones!
employment and smart, sustainable and inclusive growth
social and territorial cohesion
health and resilience
policies for the next generation, including education and skills
What does the word “RESILIENCE” means for you? If you were to tidy up the six missions based on their priority, how would your list be?