Wanting to fulfil its engagement to provide space for young people, the Heinrich Böll Foundation organised a one-day international youth meeting in Berlin in 2013 as part of a larger conference. That meeting turned out to be so meaningful that from the following year onwards became an independent and longer in duration event. The Congress of Young Europeans (which took a while to settle on this title) has since been held every year until 2019 and, after a mandatory pause due to the pandemic, it is back this year (2023) on a biennial basis. It is organised each time in a different city by one of the Heinrich Böll Foundation's international offices in Europe, in collaboration with the Green European Foundation and the Young European Greens, while local partners are also involved. In each event, which usually lasts four days, 50 to 100 young people aged 18-30 from all over the continent participate, with travel and accommodation expenses covered. These young people have the unique opportunity to get together, discuss major topics, exchange ideas, share their visions for the future, collaborate and network with each other, get to know the activity of the European Greens, but also take part in a mostly political process. Each edition usually includes a mix of workshops, panel discussions, talks by influential personalities from politics, society and education, but also provides plenty of space for young people's voices, opinions and initiatives to emerge. Of course, there is always a parallel cultural programme for a better acquaintance with the city and its people, as well as recreational activities such as dinners and parties. Although the topics vary each year, the aim is always the same: how to take steps towards a more just, democratic and ecological Europe with the active participation of young people.

1st edition: International Conference - BERLIN 2013

Europe’s Future - Your Future

18 October 2013 - Berlin, Germany

Organised by: Heinrich Böll Stiftung  In cooperation with: Young European Federalists (JEF) / Federation of Young European Greens (FYEG) / European Alternatives

Key topics: democratic participation, economic policies and social inclusion in the EU

Discussions: What next for Europe? / What does European solidarity mean in times of crisis? / Youth in Europe / Ecological Europe and the Future of Youth / Democratic Europe and Youth on the Move

Workshops: Green economy as a way out of the EU crisis? / Energy transition from below? - How we in Europe can co-determine our energy supply / A future in the countryside?

Young people are actively working to bring about political change in many European countries in different ways. Some of them are coming to Berlin to present their projects and discuss the future of Europe with representatives from politics, science and non-governmental organisations

2nd edition: European Youth Dialogue - THESSALONIKI 2014

Reclaiming our Future

8-11 May 2014 - Thessaloniki, Greece

Organised by: Heinrich Böll Stiftung - Thessaloniki  In cooperation with: Green European Foundation (GEF) / Green Institute Greece / European Youth Capital Thessaloniki 2014 / Federation of Young European Greens (FYEG) / Young European Federalists (JEF) / NGO Network of Thessaloniki (ThessΔΙΚΤΥΟ) / PEIRAMA – Non profit organisation for Culture and Education

Key topics: youth participation, social and creative entrepreneurship, migration and minority rights

Discussions: Topics such as the self-identification of the youth or the so-called Generation Y, their participation in politics, as well as their integration into the labor market

Workshops: Topics such as the future of Europe and youth participation in political decision-making processes, the social and creative entrepreneurship and economy, migration and minority rights, corruption in education

The European Youth Forum Thessaloniki 2014 refers to the 3Ds: Dream - Design - Decide. Active young people will exchange experiences and information about their current situation and their dreams of a ‘good life’ (Dream), will grapple with the question of how to design their future (Design), as well as the national and European forums of political decision-making (Decide)

3rd edition: Congress of Young Europeans - BUDAPEST 2015

(Re)Claim Your Space in Europe

3-6 September 2015 - Budapest, Hungary

Organised by: Heinrich Böll Stiftung - Prague  In cooperation with: Green European Foundation / Federation of Young European Greens / Ecopolis Foundation

Key topics: freedoms, rights and liabilities in the digital age, urban future and the future of education

Discussions: The involvement of young people in public spaces-public life / On the way to Paris – The challenges prior to the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris / The Position and Role of Young People in Europe

Workshops: Three main subject areas: Freedom in the Digital Age, Education for the Future/The Future of Education, and Urban Futures

Special focus: The developments in Ukraine (annexation of Crimea, March 2014) and its implications for Europe / The asylum policies of the EU - In August & September 2015 the Budapest-Keleti train station has become a symbol of EU member states’ inability to develop a solidary refugee policy. The participants of the Youth Congress helped volunteers and met refugees

The Budapest Congress will be organised around the idea and theme of “Contemporary Space”: your understanding of and role in virtual, social, cultural, and all kinds of public spaces in Europe which is being re-defined the very moment you are reading this text

4th edition: European Youth Conference - BELGRADE 2016

Internet as a Commons and the New Politics of Commoning

19-21 May 2016 - Belgrade, Serbia

Organised by: Heinrich Böll Stiftung - Belgrade  In cooperation with: Institute for Political Ecology / Green European Foundation / Share Foundation

Key topics: public opinion and infrastructure, open innovation and civic rights in a digital age

Discussions and workshops: Democracy - Data fever / A Copernican revolution of copyright regulation / How Brussels operates and what can we learn from it? / Transformative power of the Commons – What’s there for citizens? / Politics of collective memory / Do photos want to be free? / UGC policies & Intermediary liability – Maintaining the balance / Digital Commons and role of state libraries, archives and museums / Public spaces in the age of IOT, virtual and augmented reality / Things we should (not) give up / Selfgoverned Commons / Inside Facebook algorithmic factory

The internet changed the way we understand society, political relations and business models. But what is the role of the internet as a common today? How can laws regulating daily life of a political community conform to digital spaces? What is net neutrality and what are the obstacles to open access to knowledge? Does the internet foster public debate?

5th edition: European Youth Congress - GDAŃSK 2017

Regain or Retreat? European Youth in an Age of Uncertainty

23-26 July 2017 - Gdańsk, Poland

Organised by: Heinrich Böll Stiftung - Warsaw  In cooperation with: Green European Foundation / European Solidarity Centre

Key topics: rise of nationalistic and populist movements, social identity crises, the future of the EU

Discussions: Positive visions in different times / Role of Emotions & Conflict in Development / Popular Security & Security Populists / Welcoming the other & The legacy of Solidarność Movement for today and tomorrow

Workshops: Workshops entitled “Telling Engaging Stories and “Education for Green Activism taught social media, campaigning and political education skills for socio-political engagement. Another workshop group produced art to create a more friendly atmosphere in the rooms of the Gdańsk Immigrant Support Centre

We aim to discuss and work on causes of and reactions to growing feelings of uncertainty, injustice and fear in EU member states. Why is it, that a rational concept like “Europe” creates such contradictory reactions, ranging from scapegoating to promises of salvation? Is what we are facing today really just another “crisis that will make the Union stronger” or is the EU beginning to drift apart?

6th edition: Congress of Young Europeans - PRAGUE 2018

It’s Our Turn!

30 August - 2 September 2018 - Prague, Czech Republic

Organised by: Heinrich Böll Stiftung - Prague  In cooperation with: Green European Foundation / Federation of Young European Greens / Cooperation and Development Network / Czech Young Greens

Key topics: activism, protest movements, future of Europe, future of democracy, youth participation

Discussions: It’s our turn / The Future of Democracy in Europe - How to defend the core values of open and plural societies?

Workshops: Main issues of this year’s workshops: Protest Movements and Activism / Our Role in Public Spaces / Our Future of Europe

This year’s Congress of Young Europeans, entitled “It’s Our Turn!”, will focus on the role of youth in shaping Europe. The main theme is “Protest and activism in time”: How activism in the past has shaped our present, and how the young generation of today can shape our future. The selected participants from all over Europe will reflect on the protest movements from 1968 and 1989 and debate issues that concern them today as well as ways in which they can mobilise to shape the future for the better

7th edition: Congress of Young Europeans - MARSEILLE 2019

How to Fight for Climate and Democracy

4-7 September 2019 - Marseille, France

Organised by: Heinrich Böll Stiftung - Paris  In cooperation with: Green European Foundation / Federation of Young European Greens / Friche La Belle de Mai

Key topics: activism, climate, democracy, participation, communication

Discussions: Climate Changes Politics / How to fight for democracy

Workshops: The aim of the Congress was to exchange experiences and acquire skills useful in conducting activist work. A number of workshops and debates were intended to provide participants with practical knowledge related to communication of climate actions, conducting trainings and organizing campaigns in social media: Climate narratives in time / What does people power mean in Eastern Europe today? / How to reach out to the media & public sphere / Youth empowerment: building capacity online / Transnational climate movement and regional specificities / How to mobilize on social media

The congress organized this year in France was entirely devoted to the topic of fighting for climate and democracy – two concepts that cannot exist without each other. How can young people with ideas and ideals at hand contribute to social and political change? What can we learn from movements like Fridays for Future? Which tools do successful activists use? How can we build and connect a movement?