YouTube stars interview European Commission President Juncker

For many young digital influencers in Europe, using social media and video-sharing platforms has become intrinsic in their daily routine whenever they want to disseminate information. Recognising the potential of these platforms to bridge gaps between the policy makers and European youth, European institutions are increasingly using such technologies as dissemination tools also.

Following the State of the Union Address 2016 on 14 September, President Jean-Claude Juncker stepped directly into the YouTube spotlight in a ‘question and answer' session with a difference. For one hour, President Junker was interviewed by three famous European YouTubers, looking at EU policies that tackle youth unemployment, security, skills and education.
 
The interview kicked off with a discussion with Jonas (Germany), where President Juncker clarified aspects concerning the decision-making process from European to Member State level, including action lines preventing terrorism, fighting radical extremism and also youth unemployment.
 
Right afterwards, Laetitia (France) posed questions tackling topics ranging from the impact of environmental issues on young people, to codes of conduct for Commission employees and lobbying in the EU. In reply, President Juncker provided reassurance concerning constant efforts being made by the EU through research and studies on health and the environment, as well as giving concrete examples of how transparency and ethical policies work within the EU institutions.
 
The closing interview was conducted by Lukasz (Poland) and President Juncker responded to questions on how young Europeans can influence decision-making processes by taking the floor, and being more vocal and critical when needed. To the question on what Brussels can do to make education more accessible, he answered that the European Treaties are providing Member States with privileges when it comes to education, especially due to the diversity at national and regional level. However, the EU is still making plenty of efforts through successful programmes like Erasmus and the upcoming European solidarity corps.
 
The event was broadcast on Euronews, and was jointly produced with the European Commission and YouTube, while the full interview has been made available on YouTube. Aiming to disseminate the discussion also on social media networks, and to offer the possibility also to other followers to interact with the speakers, Debating Europe also supported by opening the digital floor to address questions to President Juncker via the hashtag #AskJuncker.
 
The importance of YouTubers and vlogging has been picked up also in ongoing work and research done by European Safer Internet Centres, such as South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) (part of the UK Safer Internet Centre) and the Finnish Safer Internet Centre.
 
Further information and resources on using YouTube as a communication tool are available in the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) Guide to online services.

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