Varna was awarded the title of European Youth Capital 2017, by the European Youth Forum

20 Nov

Varna won the competition of European youth capital in 2017, said Varna mayor Ivan Portnih after talking to his team in Cluj-Napoca. The announcement ceremony took place last night in the Romanian city, which was the winner in 2015. Varna beat three other finalists: Cascais (Portugal), Galway (Ireland) and Perugia (Italy). “Thank you all for the support. We succeeded because we were united!” the mayor of Varna declared.

This year’s topic of its application was “Social Innovations and Youth Entrepreneurship“. As it is now European Youth Capital for 2017, the youth projects of Varna Municipality and of NGOs will enjoy preferences in being approved when applying for financing under European programmes.

An independent, high-level jury gave the award based on an application from Varna that focused on making the city a “social hub”, with “Innowave” the title of Varna’s year. The jury felt that this could lead to significant change in terms of sustainable long-term youth participation in the city, which is one of the key aims of the European Youth Capital (EYC) title. In its year as European Youth Capital, Varna will focus on social innovation, in particular on the development of social entrepreneurship as a tool for development of youth participation, sustainable employment, creativity, networking, exchange and education.

With a population of approximately 340,000, Varna has a large number of young people (around 158,000 under the age of 35).

The European Youth Capital 2017, as in previous years, will encourage participation of young people through the promotion of new ideas and innovative projects. During an EYC year, the host city holds events and projects designed to demonstrate the active, essential role that young people and youth organisations can and do play in society.

Peter Matja?i?, President of the European Youth Forum, comments:

“We would like to congratulate Varna, European Youth Capital 2017, for their strong, diverse and detailed proposal and their commitment to tackle issues such as youth participation, education, social inclusion, employment and volunteering. I know it was a particularly difficult decision for the jury to make, given the strength of the applications.

“This prestigious title is a fantastic way to showcase good practice examples of youth policy making and youth participation at local level and think of new, innovative ideas and projects designed by and for young people to truly engage them in the life of their city. The EYC is also a unique way to strengthen the bonds between the candidate cities and Europe.”