The project Strengthening civil society rights by information access for European youth” SIA4Y was funded with the support of the European Union under the Programme “Europe for Citizens”

8 events have been carried out within this project:

Event 1

Participation: The event involved  31 citizens, including  23 participants from the city of Gdańsk and Elbląg (Poland), 2 participants from Helsinki, Finland, 2 participants from Brussels and Leuven, Belgium, 1 participant from Riga, Latvia, 2 participants from Tallin, Estonia and 1 participant from Verona, Italy.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Gdańsk, Poland from  10/12/2018  to 11/12/2018
Short description:  The aim of the event was to have an internal, kick-off meeting for the Project Partners to discuss the contents of the project applications, planned project activities and upcoming project events. Partners shared our views and opinions on the best practices collected in previous projects and agreed for the most exciting formats we wish to offer to our youth. On the 2nd day, Lead Partner prepared a European Debate with the representatives of the project partners and from the Pomorskie region NGOs dealing with the civic engagement, youth issues and democracy.

Event 2
Participation: The event involved  93  citizens, including  66 participants from the cities of Elbląg, Dzieżgoń, Iława, Gdynia and Gdańsk (Poland), 1 participant from Greece, 1 participant from Verona, Italy, 2 participants from Hasselholm, Sweden, 18 participants from Klaipeda and Telsai, Lithuania and additionally – as a guest of our hosts – Euroregion Baltic – 5 participants from Russia, Kaliningrad Region.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Elbląg, Poland on 07/03.2019
Short description:  The event was divided into two main workshop sessions, whose main scope was to bring the topic of “right of information access” in the foreground, also trough a synergy between SIA4Y and other youth-related projects known to the participants. etc. After the introduction to the project and Freedom of Information and Rights for the youth to access the information we had the first session was on “Responsible relationships and youth civic engagement”. The 2nd one was led by the representatives of the Transparency International Lithuania – ““Model Your Municipality: Participatory Budgeting Session”. Participants were asked to think of and create the budget for a common project that would benefit their municipalities. Afterwards, each group presented the idea they came up with and finally the audience had the chance to vote for the idea they considered most interesting and likely to be implemented.

Event 3
Participation: The event involved  25 citizens, including  22 participants from the city of Tallinn and Tartu (Estonia), 2 participants from Gdańsk, Poland and 1 participant from Riga, Latvia.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Tallin (Estonia) on 12/04.2019.

Short description:  The aim of the event was to learn about information access and gender budgeting. The event “Who wins from budgets?” was part of the project “Strengthening civil society rights by information access for European youth”. SIA4Y organisers tried to break the notion of typical political and civic engagement by asking whether the participants can name one actively or passively made political act from that morning. That discussion helped to create a feeling that it even small steps have an impact and that it is relatively fun and easy to be engaged in society. The principles and tools of information access, it was time to listen to young decision-makers. A representative of the youth in Tartu city council talked about what motivates her as a young person to be actively involved. She also introduced her job and explained a civic involvement mechanism, participatory budgeting, that is being used in Tartu. This event was also promoting the active engagement in the upcoming EU elections in May 2019 – this was in line with our website and social media campaign encouraging youth to vote in the EU elections.

Event 4

Participation: The event involved  51 citizens, including  49  participants from the city of Riga (Latvia) and 2 participants from Gdańsk, Poland.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Riga (Latvia) on 25/04/2019.
Short description: The aim of the event was to learn more about the access and freedom of information. During the first part of the day youngsters learned about various aspects of Freedom of Information – What is information? Why do we need to access it? Who can request information from public institutions? – those were among the questions that were answered during the theoretical part of the event. Participants engaged in discussions and gave their opinions, therefore making the lecture active and lively. After learning about some of the tools for presenting and disseminating informative materials in an attractive and interactive way, youngsters split into groups and worked on their own informative presentations.

Event 5

Participation: The event involved  34  citizens, including  34 participants from the city of Helsinki (Finland).

Location / Dates: The event took place in Helsinki (Finland) on 21/10/2019
Short description:  The aim of the event was to increase the level of awareness, knowledge and ability to use the right of access to public information and support freedom of information among youth. The event also aimed to increase the level of understanding and activity of young citizens regarding public monitoring of EU – level, state institutions and local government. During the event best practice on One-Stop Guidance Centers from Finland was shared and discussed with youth.

Event 6

Participation: The event involved 26  citizens, including  19 participants from the city of Leuven and Brussels (Belgium), 3 participants from Gdańsk and Elbląg (Poland), 1 participant from Riga (Latvia), 1 participant from Tallinn (Estonia), 1 participant from Paris (France), 1 participant from Madrid (Spain).

Location / Dates: The event took place in Leuven (Belgium) on 27.09.2019.
Short description:  The aim of the event was to discuss the citizen’s control on public auction with the concrete examples and best practices from various EU countries like Belgium, Spain, France, Poland, Latvia and Estonia. Participants met also with the Ombudsman from the Flemish Region, learned about the FoI state-of-the-art in France, and the experience of Transparencia.be.

Event 7

Participation: The event involved  39  citizens from 13 countries, including  23 participants from the city of Brussels, (Belgium), 4 participants from Gdansk (Poland), 1 participant from Madrid (Spain), 1 participant from Vienna (Austria), 1 participant from Lisbon (Portugal), 1 participant from Tallinn (Estonia), 1 participant from Italy, 2 participants from the Netherlands, 1 participant from Berlin (Germany), 1 participant from Helsinki (Finland), 1 participant from Paris (France), 1 participant from Bulgaria, 1 participant from the UK.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Brussels (Belgium) from  06/11/2019 to 07/11/2019
Short description:  The aim of the event was to present the Code of Good practice based on the discussion and questionnaires made by youth during the 5 country events – the first outcome of the SIA4Y project to the international audience. Meeting also aimed at the promotion of freedom of expression in UNESCO, Transparency International, ECAS, EAAGE and other pan-European agencies. Topics of the discussion were related to the all-European FoI rights and practices.

Event 8

Participation: The event involved  67  citizens, including  49 participants from the city of Riga (Latvia), 4 participants from Elbląg and Gdańsk (Poland),  2 participants from Helsinki (Finland), 2 participants from Brussels (Belgium), 3 participants from Lithuania and 7 participants from Tallin (Estonia).

Location / Dates: The event took place in Riga (Latvia) on 15/01/2020.
Short description:  The aim of the event was to discuss with youth form various EU countries the access to information for youth – using interactive tools for disseminating information. In the meeting there were workshops on: Right of access to information enforcement through the UN, Enhancing the right to access information in the EU through Integrity Watch, Rights and opportunities for young people to access public information in school, municipality, country and many other.

The final conference, planned as event no. 9, has to be cancelled due to the COVID19 pandemic outburst. But on the 28th April Project Partners successfully realized and promoted the 3 project deliverables – documents and recommendations:

  1. SIA4Y Code of Good Practice “Youth Access to Public Information”– where we share best practices on youth policy, FoI practices related to young people and share ideas on how to engage youth to become more aware and active EU citizens. Download here: http://civicyouth.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/CodeOfGoodPracticeWWW.pdf 
  2. Our final publication “Youth for a healthy democracy in the European Union” – over 100 pages filled with academic expertise on transparency and FoI in the EU, written in lively, attractive manner – your complete guide to all FoI and Access to Information in the EU

Download here: http://civicyouth.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/SIA4Y-final-publication-Transparency-   FoI-1.pdf

  1. Recommendations “Priority transparency needs from a youth perspective” – concise paper with clear guidelines for the policymakers based on our 8 meetings with almost 400 young EU citizens representing 14 nationalities of the EU. Download here: http://civicyouth.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Transparency-needs.pdf

What is important for the young citizens of the EU?
✅Freedom of Information #FoI,
✅trust-based democracy,

Read more in the final publication of our Europe for Citizens#SIA4Y project including the handbook “Youth for Healthy Democracy in the European Union”, document on the PRIORITY TRANSPARENCY NEEDS FROM YOUTH PERSPECTIVE and Code of Good practice including the best practice on youth engagement policy form the Association of Polish Communes Euroregion Baltic.

You can download and read them all here:

Today we were supposed to meet in Gdansk with over 100 young people including our ERB Youth Board for the final event of our SIA4Y project. Unfortunately due to the COVID19 situation, we will not have a chance to meet, talk, share best practice and spend quality time together. It was always a pleasure for me to meet you and I have excellent memories of our joint events!

Even though the situation stopped us from disseminating the project results and sharing the best practices in person, we have made sure to be ready with our final publication for the final event date. Please see attached the pdf file which has three parts:

  1. Part aiming youth „Youth for Healthy democracy in the European Union” with methods of healing the EU democracy by increasing transparency, openness and access to information in the European Union.
  2. Priority Transparency Needs from a Youth Perspective
  3. Code of Good practice (that we already know) – Youth Access to Public Information.Towards Better Understanding of Democracy.

Please see the pdf file here:

This is the result of 10 international meetings with almost 400 young people from more than 9 countries! Thank you for your contribution and congratulations on your great work!

Let’s share and learn from it!

It is now time to mark this date in your calendars and contact us for possible travel support to join the SIA4Y project team for our final conference! We will meet for a full-day event in Gdansk, Poland on 28th April 2020. Our conference venue is the European Solidarity Centre. 

We are currently looking for youth participants to take part in the youth conference on Freedom of Information and transparency needs in the EU. Our Europe for Citizens co-funded project called „Strengthening civil society rights by Information Access for European Youth (http://civicyouth.eu) – SIA4Y will have its final event on 28th April in Gdańsk, Poland.  The project organized a series of mirroring events “Access to public information from the youth perspective” in each partner country (Poland, Estonia, Finnland and Belgium), and we’re now organizing the final conference to summarize our efforts and activities.

Our event will count ca.100 participants from different European countries (i.e. already confirmed youth from Sweden, Denmark, Latvia, Poland, Finland, Estonia and Belgium). Our target group will be mainly young people ageing between 18 and 28 years old. The main objective of the event will be to inform and train the participants in the use of the right of access to public information, including practical training on socially responsible relationships and participatory budgeting knowledge for youth. We have now confirmed speakers from AccessInfo www.accessinfo.org who run the AskTheEU platform, as well as from Team Europe- official European Commission advisors.

Please see the draft fo the agenda here: SIA4Y Final conference agenda 28_04.2020 (draft Feb2020)

Registration is now open: https://forms.gle/ftb8sUXXtRAvmWXU7

If you want us to cover your travel and/or accommodation cost you need to contact the Project Coordinator, Magda until 20th Match 2020 the latest at magda.rzucidlo@euroregionabltic.eu

Read about our project SIA4Y  “Strengthening civil society rights by information access for European youth” both financed in terms of EU programme “Europe for citizens” (2014 – 2020) meeting on 6 and 7th Nov 2019 in Brussels.  This convention about Freedom of Information (FoI) was organised by one of the partners –  WeCitizens, in partnership with EESC and the University of Louvain, in the framework of the SIA4Y project, 14 speakers of 11 different nationalities intervened during these two half-days.

International trends

According to Ms Adlin Hulin, the promotion of freedom of expression is high on the agenda of UNESCO, which has competencies in the field of culture and education.

Transparency International actively fights against corruption. Matilde Manzi, from TI-Europe, explains the slow process of increasing protection for whistleblowers. EU Member states need to transpose a recent EU Directive and should extend its scope. They also need to decide whether anonymous denunciations of crimes are accepted.

Mrs Assya Kavrakova, from ECAS, shows that we have in 2018 an unprecedented increase in civic engagement. Taking into account that young people act differently, we should be quick enough to grasp the opportunity to enhance democracy.

Mr Alvaro Gonzalez Perez presented two initiatives of his European students federation, AEGEE: http://yvote.eu and Generation Climate Europe (http://gceurope.org). The latter fosters youth climate dialogue, in order to reach joint statements and require stronger climate change policies.

Mr Jean-Paul Pinon, CEO of WeCitizens (Belgium), insists on measures that make politicians more accountable. He also advises a general measure to increase the interest of the average citizen for politics: removing the withholding tax (the tax paid directly by the employer to the State, on account of the employee).

Mrs Rachel Hanna, from Assess Info Europe (Madrid), reminds that we must find the right balance between access to data and protection of privacy. Concerning lobby, everything should be transparent.

Mr Jean-Marie Sohier, from Sealord (Belgium), suggests that citizens set commonly accepted policy standards and investigate how politicians comply.

Country experiences

Mrs Eila Heikkilä presents the Ohjaamo system in Finland: a network of One-Stop Guidance Centers that offer support to persons under the age of 30 for various issues (career planning, life management, participation, etc.).

Ms Wilma Haan, CEO of Open State Foundation, reminds also the economic benefits of transparency by public bodies. Her Foundation publishes big databases: Open Spending (financial data of all the local governments in the Netherlands), Open ‘Poen’, Open municipality, Open multilateral, PoliFLW NL/EU.

Mr JP Pinon shows some Belgian initiatives. WeCitizens started publishing a transparency index of political parties, and a database of politicians (PoliticiansOnline.be). Among many other initiatives, the portal Transparencia.be is more directly helping citizens to access documents from public bodies.

Mrs Magda Leszczyna-Rzucidło, explains how they intend to make young people familiar with their right to know, through Youth Advisory bodies like Youth Councils, Youth Boards in various organisations including Euroregion Baltic Youth Board, also represented at this meeting by the YB Chairwoman – Ms Julia Orluk.

Mr Alexander Fanta, an investigative journalist from Netzpolitik (Berlin), gives some examples of how citizens can make an interesting investigation using access to public information. He tells that schools for journalists in his country (Austria) to not really teach the rights of such access.

Mrs Carina Paju mainly commented to initiatives of Transparency International Estonia: Transparency in capital cities (about response time) and Political party financing data.

Mr Johannes Filter, from FragdenStaat.de (Germany), says that involving people will not happen, in the first place, with a heavy investigation about corruption, but with very local questions. To get a youngster more involved in FoI, give him opportunities to find easily information he is personally interested in. FragdenStaat has a webpage allowing students to easily send requests concerning past examination questions for the General University Entrance Qualification.

Guide of good practice

Prof. S. Mrozowska and B. Kijewska, from the University of Gdansk, presented the outcome of their work about FoI, structured in three parts: (I) legal grounds, (II) youth policy and (III) examples of initiatives in the five partner countries.

You can now download our SIA4Y project Code of Good practice – “Youth access to public information. Towards a better understanding of democracy”.

To download the document click below:

SIA4Y_Code of Good Practice

The right to freedom and access to public information, enabling young people to search for and receive public documents, serves as a vital tool in the fight against corruption, facilitates full participation in public life, increases governing efficiency, encourages investment and helps enforce fundamental human rights. The openness of public authorities’ actions is an indicator of a democratic state. It is the fundamental guarantee of citizens’ trust in the state and its law, without which the harmonious functioning of society is not possible. Information on the activities of public bodies may be relevant for both the individual and the general public. Access to it is one of the essential tools enabling citizens to exercise control over those in power.

That is why it is so vital to ensure the broadest possible access to public information. At the institution level,
it means creating conditions for sharing information, and at the citizen level, the ability to exercise this right (I know how and for what). Only those young people who are informed about their rights and obligations can independently make decisions and pursue their goals as full citizens.

Visit our project website: www.civicyouth.eu

The SIA4Y “Right of information access from the youth perspective” workshop took place from 6th-7th March in Elblag, Poland!
The event was organized by the Association of Polish Communes of Euroregion Baltic and brought together 100 young people! There were participants from several Lithuanian cities (Telšiai, Vilnius, Eigirdžiai, Klaipeda), the Russian city of Kaliningrad, Sweden (city of Hässleholm), Poland (Elbląg, Gdańsk, Nowe Miasto Lubawskie, Iława, Dzierzgoń, Olsztyn, Gdynia, Słupsk, Otomin, Warsaw, Przezmark), Italy and Greece!
On 6th March, the participants from abroad arrived in Elbląg! There was a joint dinner and a small local tour by Mr Marcin Żuchowski and Ms Paulina Lieder before the participants’ went to rest and prepare for the forthcoming day!
On 7th March, the workshop ensued in the Town Hall of Elblag. It opened with a speech by Ms. Malgorzata Samusjew, Director of the Association of Polish Communes, workshop host organization. Ms. Valentina Scandola, organizer of the event, introduced the agenda of the day and launched a social media contest, giving later the floor to Ms Magda Leszczyna-Rzucidło, representing the Polish Economic Society Branch in Gdańsk, who introduced the project “SIA4Y- Strengthening Civil Society Participation through Public Information Access for European Youth”.
The day was divided into two main workshop sessions, whose main scope was to bring the topic of “right of information access” in the foreground, also trough a synergy between SIA4Y, CaSYPoT and SB YCGN project. The Association of Polish Communes of Euroregion Baltic, in fact, had a chance to keep a fil rouge with the youth-related activities that have been implemented in the last two years. The first one on “Responsible relationships and youth civic engagement”.
The first session was held by Marcin Żuchowski and Agata Ludwiczak, from the hosting organization. The second session, instead, counted on Mr Sergejus Muravjovas and Ms Ieva Duncikaite’s moderation from Transparency International Lithuania with the title: “Model Your Municipality: Participatory Budgeting Session”.
“Responsible relationships and youth civic engagement” session:
At their first task, the participants were divided into 8 groups and asked to answer questions on 8 youth tools, which had a distinct goal each, and were written on large pieces of paper across 8 separate tables. Each group would then proceed to the next table. The tools were: employment mobility, youth information, Youth Centers, youth media, Schools of the Future, School’s Youth Zone, Baltic Youth Week, SB YCGN local round-table meetings-suggestions.
Before the launch of the second session, the winners of the social media contest were prized with lots of tech prizes and the participants had a lunch break in an adjacent room where a rich buffet was laid out.
“Model Your Municipality: Participatory Budgeting Session”:
In this part, participants were partnered according to their home towns and asked to think of and create the budget for a common project that would benefit their municipalities. The allowed budget for the participants was 100 000 euros and they had to present their idea along with the expenses that it’d require. Afterwards, each group presented the idea they came up with and finally the audience had the chance to vote for the idea they considered most interesting and likely to be implemented. The team from Tricity area presented a beach cleaning system and received the most votes. Special mention should be made of the participants from the Elblag-Kaliningrad group who proposed an international cultural festival and the team from Nowe Miasto Lubawskie who presented a very detailed budget.
The workshop closed with a presentation by Mr Dominik Kwiatkowski about the participatory budgeting in the city of Słupsk and a focus group discussion conducted by Mr Marcin Żuchowski about the situation of youth in their schools. This last session was held in the frame of YCGN project.
In general, it was a really fun and educational workshop and its young participants had the chance to get more informed about their rights and opportunities to communicate with and influence their municipalities!

By IVY Theodora Chatzipanteli

Are you a young girl/ boy between 18-25 years old?

Would you like to know more about your right of access to public information?

Then our Youth Workshop is the right occasion for you to gain practical knowledge in this field, besides socially responsible relationships and participatory budgeting.

The workshop will be organized in the frame of SIA4Y project– Strengthening civil society rights by information access for European youth, led by the Polish Economic Society in Gdansk (PL).

If you are eager to know about our project and next activities, and if you would like to leave your comments, you can visit the website civicyouth.eu.

Stay tuned and save the date 7th March 2019!

The event venue will be Ratusz Staromiejski (Town hall)

Stary Rynek 25, Elbląg (PL).

N.B. Agenda and link for registration will be available in January.

The content of this website is the sole responsibility of the author and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union, the Managing Authority or the Joint Secretariat of the South Baltic Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2014-2020. The project UMBRELLA is partly financed from the Interreg South Baltic Programme 2014-2020 through the European Regional Development Fund.