The European Year of Youth… in 26 Songs!

European Commission
7 min readDec 20, 2022


We dedicated 2022 to the Youth of our Union and beyond. And it was a blast! But before this year ends, we have a last little gift for you — our Spotify playlist, carefully curated by our Commissioners!

Discover our playlist on Spotify!

And learn why these titles have been picked by our Commissioners below.

Ursula von der Leyen

  • Wind of change by Scorpions
  • Alors on danse by Stromae

Margrethe Vestager

  • Mind the Gap by Nabiha
  • Lean on by Mø

First and foremost, I enjoy listening to these two songs. You can always interpret many things into art but if I were to give some wording on these two related to our tasks in the European Commission I’d say: Nabiha emphasises in ‘Mind the Gap’ that we must take care of each other and ourselves, so everybody arrives safely to their destination.

Mø underlines in ‘Lean On’ that we need a universal support system in settings of both love and war. We need to enable all of us to take technology into our hands. To provide us with the necessary rights, skills, and knowledge.

Our European approach to digitisation puts people first. Digitisation has enormous potential to make our lives better. So we need the right rules to give people trust in the digital transformation. We need to make sure it serves us as citizens, respects our fundamental democratic values and protect our future generation. We are adopting a declaration of Digital Rights and Principles. This will clarify the idea that the rights we have offline, we also have online.

Josep Borrell

  • Baraye by Shervin Hajipour
  • La Hoguera de los Continentes by La Raíz

Baraye is the song that is inspiring the young Iranian protestors, written in the wake of Mahsa Amini‘s death. It is composed entirely by tweets posted by young people online about their grievances in the context of the protests. Bayade translates in English to “for” or “because of,” and signals the end of patience with the status quo and opens vistas onto a new future culminating in “freedom.” The lyrics include “for dancing in the streets”, “for every time we were afraid to kiss our lovers” and “for women, life and freedom” — a chant used frequently at protests. It is currently the front runner for a Grammy award for social change.

La Hoguera de los Continentes by the Spanish group La Raiz is a song to the fire of humanity. With the metaphor of the whole world dancing around the same bonfire, this song reflects that despite being in different positions, despite belonging to different cultures, we all warm ourselves in the same fire, which is none other than the fire of life and humanity. In its lyrics all the continents are mentioned, it speaks of diverse and plural cultures, and celebrates the peoples of the entire planet. It is a song of tolerance, of brotherhood within the difference. A reflection of everything we aspire to as Europeans and as humans. Another element to highlight is that this song is not based on great figures or icons, as is usually the case in songs about humanity, but celebrates the ordinary people, the different peoples who are the historical matrix of the world’s cultures. It is in the people where the cultural richness of our world resides. With this song we invite to the exchange, to the dance of all societies around the same fire, the fire of peace and coexistence.

Věra Jourová

  • Když nemůžeš tak přidej by Mirai
  • Odraz v očích by

The title of the first song called Když nemůžeš tak přidej (If you can’t anymore, speed up) was also the motto of the launch of the Czech Presidency to the Council of the EU this year. It is the best solution to a crisis, such as pandemic or war, when you think you cannot handle it anymore, you still have capacity to overcome it, to speed up.

The second song reminds us that we should not forget about minorities, especially Roma. They have the right for the same starting position in life. Nobody should be just a reflexion in our eyes, not being seen or heard.

My personal highlight of the European Year of Youth were the plenaries with citizens, especially young people, during the Conference on the Future of Europe. It was incredible to see the engagement, drive, willingness to change the world for better and for future generations.

Vice-President Jourová at a panel on the Conference on the Future of Europe in 2022

Dubravka Šuica

  • Ostani dite by Luka Nižetić
  • Život nije siv by Mia Dimšić

My proposal for a playlist on the European Year of Youth includes two songs from talented Croatian singers: Mia Dimšić’s song Život nije siv (Life is not gray) and Luka Nižetić’s song Ostani dite (Stay child).

These two songs perfectly fit into our European Year of Youth — keeping our inner child while embracing the challenges of life! Young people are powerful agents of change and innovation. They play a critical role in addressing global challenges and contributing to sustainable development in their communities and globally, but also here in the European Union. We often say that young people are the future. I say, they are already active citizens in our societies. They are our moral compass.

The Conference on the Future of Europe demonstrated how the young generation is committed to shaping the future of Europe. I am personally convinced that we can, and will, learn a lot from our youth. And they can count on our full support all the way. As Mia Dimšić song Život nije siv says — “Clouds are my home, I shape it my way”. I invite our young citizens to be the agents of change they want to see in our European society — to get involved and act!

Vice-President Šuica visiting an EU project on co-work and incubators to foster entrepreneurship and youth employment in Mozambique

Mariya Gabriel

  • Az i Ti by D2
  • Water by Elitsa Todorova and Stoyan Yankoulov

I have chosen the songs “Az i Ti” by D2 and “Water” by Elitsa Todorova and Stoyan Yankoulov because they represent a mix of traditional Bulgarian rhythms and music with modern sounds. “Az i Ti” (You and I) is about the joys of being young, free and in love. “Water” was Bulgaria’s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2007 and remains a very popular and loved song in Bulgaria. I decided to choose this song not only because of its legacy for Bulgaria’s participation in the contest but also because of what Eurovision symbolises — the essence of Europe, namely togetherness, passion, and values.”

Commissioner Gabriel with young students in Bulgaria

Elisa Ferreira

  • Seja Agora by Deolinda
  • Fazer o que ainda não foi feito by Pedro Abrunhosa

Both songs are directed to young people. Both talk about love, but have an underlying sense of urgency, with the message that what needs to be done is inevitable, therefore it should be done immediately because tomorrow is always too late.

Jutta Urpilainen

  • Nuori ja Kaunis by Anna Järvinen feat. Olavi Uusivirta
  • Älä pelkää elämää by Haloo Helsinki

These songs talk about what it is like to be young, start a new chapter in your life, and step into the unknown — but also about having trust in the future, knowing that you will make it, and that brave people can address and correct injustices. Youth are brave and they can be agents of change, if we empower them with right skills, confidence, and hope. During the European Year of Youth, we launched the first-ever EU Youth Action Plan in external action. Its objective is to engage, empower, and connect youth in partner countries and help young people realise their full potential.

Commissioner Urpilainen with young participants at the Transforming Education Summit at the 2022 UN General Assembly

Other contributions

Margaritis Schinas

  • Elftheros (Part 1 — Nostalgia) by Κωνσταντίνος Άργυρος (Konstantinos Argiros)
  • Η καρδιά με πηγαίνει εμένα (I Kardia Me Pigainei Emena) by Αντώνης Ρέμος (Antonis Remos)

Thierry Breton

  • Metaverse by Lujipeka
  • Our time is now by Gojira

Helena Dalli

  • You need to calm down by Taylor Swift
  • Sisters are doing it for themselves by Aretha Franklin, Eurythmics

Olivér Várhelyi

  • Velem van a baj by Follow the Flow
  • Úristen by Valmar

Virginijus Sinkevičius

  • Laisvė by Skyders
  • Oy U Luzi Chervona Kalyna by The Kiffness
Commissioner Dalli at a Policy Dialogue with youth representatives on the topic of Equality bodies.



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