30 Oct 2017   |   Network News

Cross-national mobility strengthens young people bond with Europe

Increased mobility is accompanied by more favorable attitudes and by a stronger identification with the EU, researchers from the University of Bologna find

A study coordinated by a group of researchers from the University of Bologna shows that cross-national mobility during adolescence and youth is one of the crucial factors for strengthening the sense of belonging and participation of young European citizens. The study, authored by an international team, was carried out under the H2020 project CATCH-EyoU and was published in the European Journal of Developmental Psychology.

The research involved more than 10,000 adolescents (16-18 years) and young adults (20-26 years) from 8 European countries (Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Germany, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, United Kingdom) and demonstrated empirically that increased mobility (both short term and long term) is accompanied by more favorable attitudes and by a stronger identification with the EU. This, in turn, reinforces active participation on issues of European interest.

According to the study, 30% of the young people who participated have been involved on social and political issues of European importance in the past year. And 67% plan to vote in the next EU elections. The most active adolescents and young adults want a re-imagined European Union, based on shared values and a shared political project, while are less interested in the Europe of finance and economics.

"Our study shows that the idea behind European policies supporting mobility, which is that mobility contributes to the construction of European citizenship in young people, is more than a guiding principle: it is a fact", Prof. Elvira Cicognani, Coordinator of the CATCH-EyoU project says. "It is – continues Cicognani – the Erasmus Generation: young people who have seized the opportunities to go beyond national boundaries. They know what they want from Europe and they are willing to get involved in order to obtain it."

The study was carried out under the H2020 project “CATCH-EyoU: Constructing Active Citizenship with European Youth. Policies, Practices, Challenges and Solutions” and is authored by Davide Mazzoni, Cinzia Albanesi, Pedro Ferreira, Signe Opermann, Vassilis Pavlopoulos and Elvira Cicognani. The article on the European Journal of Developmental Psychology is available here.

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