Patrons and Special Voices 2016

Also in 2016 outstanding personalities  recognize the work of EYA Winners and congratulate them on their efforts and  engagement!

EYA kindly thanks them for their support!


Once again the European Youth Award has showcased the wealth of talent, innovation and compassion that can be found among Europe’s young people. I would like to congratulate all of this year’s winners and nominees. I don’t know what’s more impressive: their skillful use of new technologies, or their commitment to improving the lives of others. Either way, they set an example to us all.

Thorbjørn Jagland

Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General, Council of Europe

 

The Congress welcomes this new world and all initiatives that allow youth to make an impact on society. The established political bodies and elected representatives must understand this change and include in their practices more participatory elements. Young people can have an impact on society if their voices and actions are considered politically desirable and legitimate in building a more stable and inclusive future.

Gudrun Mosler-Törnström

President, Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe

Young entrepreneurs hold the key to Europe’s future. They are the very engine of our economy and job creation. They do not only use the ongoing digital revolution, they shape it. Next to the economic value of their work, the European Youth Award highlights its social importance. All participants this year have at least one thing in common: their creativity and digital know-how improve the lives of other people around them.

As European Commission we do our utmost to support entrepreneurship and social innovation. There is no better investment than investment in people’s skills and talents. This summer, we launched a Skills Agenda: our action plan together with Member States and stakeholders to develop people’s skills across Europe, this includes a focus on entrepreneurship skills. And we’re making financing more accessible to help people get their ideas off the ground with the European Social Fund and a dedicated fund for Employment and Social Innovation, the “EaSI” programme.

This way we aim to see many more promising projects and start-ups as we’ve seen under this year’s Award, contributing to an economically and socially strong Europe.

My sincere thanks to the organisers and congratulations to the winners – and my best wishes for your future projects!

Marianne Thyssen

Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, European Commission

Without any doubt digitalization is the future of our society. But the impact of digital technologies on our daily lives and realities is very often underestimated. New technologies bear the potential to change our economic system and our society fundamentally. It is not enough to analyze this process and react to it. We want to shape the digital world actively and foster positive developments. Digitalization is not only a technical and economic issue; it is also a very political one and creates challenges for diverse fields of politics. Digitalization should create prosperity and a higher quality of living not only for small elites but for all of us.

Hence, the European Youth Award following the spirit of “Digital Creativity improving Society” is a project we highly appreciate. We are happy to support the special award for the highest social impact. We are proud of these young and innovative people who participated. At the same time we hope that this award encourages more digital natives to use their talent for creative solutions in order to improve our society. Congratulations to all the winners!

Muna Duzdar

State Secretary for Digitalization, Federal Chancellery Austria

The future challenges like sustainability, education, employment, social cohesion, cultural diversity and climate change are going to be more and more complex and have to be dealt with in a new way. The EYA is a unique competition for young people facing these challenges by using social media. It is the young generation who has to be motivateded to create ideas improving our life by using digital technologies. This competition is an incentive and an important platform to present smart solutions.

I very much appreciate the category „Go Green“ and the innovative projects that were submitted under this title. I want to congratulate all the winners and wish all people involved in the organization of EYA all the best for the future.

Elisabeth Freytag-Rigler

Director of the EU Coordination Environment , Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management

The world has never been as tightly networked as it is today. The digital revolution affects all areas of life and business. Digitisation is an engine of growth and productivity – for the European economy and our society – and we clearly have to proactively seize and make use of this once-in-a-century opportunity.

Seeing the commitment of our youth in this area and the winners and winning projects makes me confident for the future. When I think about the many participants in the EYA Festival, I know we can shape digital transformation! I hope everyone enjoys and is inspired by this year’s European Youth Awards.

Hans Jörg Schelling

Austrian Federal Minister of Finance

A strong digital economy is of decisive importance for the European Union’s growth and its global competitiveness. In order to fully exploit the benefits of a Digital Single Market it will be essential to increase Europe’s digital innovation capacity within all sectors of economy and of society at large.

The Austrian government, as one of the first governments worldwide, has recently adopted an Open Innovation Strategy. The strategy aims at generating new knowledge by systematically reaching out across borders and sectors. On the international level, together with the Austrian Economic Chambers I have initiated OPEN AUSTRIA, Austria’s representation in the Silicon Valley, which has recently opened its doors as an interface between innovative business, applied science and public actors.

It is important to have young innovators – inventors, designers, service providers and other creative brains – all over Europe focussing on the opportunities as well as the challenges of the digital world we are living in. The European Youth Award is an ideal platform for doing so and provides an excellent opportunity for looking into the digital tool box of generations to come. It is a great pleasure to see that over the past five years the community of young change-makers participating in the European Youth Award has grown to such an extent. The digital solutions awarded this year once more show an impressively wide range of challenges tackled with uniquely creative solutions.

I am especially pleased that a special category has been introduced this year to honour efforts to tackle Europe’s current biggest challenge: “migration | integration | inclusion | refugee movement. 

Over the last year, Europe has been faced with the most severe refugee and migration crisis since the Second World War. Austria has been directly and substantially affected both as a transit and as a host country. Our country has managed the migration flows well so far, but we cannot take in an unlimited number of asylum seekers. The Austrian government has always and will continue to show solidarity with those in need, including by enhancing its development assistance to improve living conditions for people locally. At the same time, we urgently need to strengthen the protection of the EU’s external borders in order to stem illegal migration flows and put an end to the business model of people smugglers.

The current refugee situation also faces us with the challenge of integrating those persons who are allowed to stay in Austria as successfully and as quickly as possible into our society. Alongside the acquisition of German language skills and the communication of fundamental values shared by Austrian society, the access to the Austrian labour market plays a pivotal role. If refugees find a job and contribute to our societies then integration can be a win-win situation for all of us. The Winning Project Refugees Work helps accomplishing this task in an excellent way.

On the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the Award, I congratulate the organisers and I wish all participants all the very best on their important journey to Europe’s new digital horizons.

Sebastian Kurz

Austrian Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs

Without any doubt digitalization is the future of our society. But the impact of digital technologies on our daily lives and realities is very often underestimated. New technologies bear the potential to change our economic system and our society fundamentally. It is not enough to analyze this process and react to it. We want to shape the digital world actively and foster positive developments. Digitalization is not only a technical and economic issue; it is also a very political one and creates challenges for diverse fields of politics. Digitalization should create prosperity and a higher quality of living not only for small elites but for all of us.

Hence, the European Youth Award following the spirit of “Digital Creativity improving Society” is a project we highly appreciate. We are happy to support the special award for the highest social impact. We are proud of these young and innovative people who participated. At the same time we hope that this award encourages more digital natives to use their talent for creative solutions in order to improve our society. Congratulations to all the winners!

Jörg Leichtfried

Austrian Federal Minister for Transport, Innovation and Technology