2024 voices - Citizens Speak Up!

6 March

In September, the IYTT launched a collaboration with the Brussels-based think tank Friends of Europe, through Youth Fellows Lisa Lundgren and Silvia Papic. They have spent their autumn and winter facilitating focus group discussions with 100 Swedish citizens on the four themes of economy, climate, democracy, and security. The results from the focus group discussions, as well as from a survey, are the keystones in the newly launched report 2024 voices – Citizens Speak Up!

Collaborating with Friends of Europe was an invaluable experience for us, as we not only got to, recruit to, and facilitate focus groups but also interpret overarching opinions and themes, and produce a Swedish report on the findings. At one point in the fall, we went to Brussels and got to visit our office and meet our colleagues in real life, which was a true highlight.

The findings from the Swedish focus groups were expected in some ways, since we both belong to the age group that was studied. However, some opinions stood out and what was most surprising to us was the strive and ambition that many people showed. The way in which individual citizens choose to bike to work in the rain instead of driving their car, how they engage in civil society organizations or political parties, how they have limited their fast fashion shopping or try to eat more plant-based. These are choices that are not always seen by others, things that are done in one’s own home and one’s private life, that actively contribute to a better society for all.

In times of economic recession, armed conflicts on several places in the world, and antidemocratic forces gaining power, it is easy to become cynical and pessimistic. After these focus group discussions, we have even more faith than before, in youth. We were astonished by all the solutions that young people presented on societal issues. We are the generation that will make things right.

We thank Friends of Europe for this great collaboration and look forward to more projects in the future!

Silvia Papic & Lisa Lundgren

Youth Fellows