Statement on the Elections in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

The elections on December 11th provide the people of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (F.Y.R.O.Macedonia) with the possibility of a new start, and the unification of all democratic forces. And foremost, it offers the people of F.Y.R.O.Macedonia  the possibility to choose the direction for the future of their country.

Free and fair elections are the cornerstones of robust democratic states. These principles are not negotiable and must be respected by all political forces. Ensuring clean electoral lists,  and preventing manipulation of the electorate must have absolute priority in order to secure not only transparency and accountability, but most of all legitimacy. It is crucial that citizens are presented with a variety of meaningful options from which they can choose what kind of lives and systems they consider to be the most desirable for their very own community. This means, free and open competition between different parties. Considering that the latest European Commission report on the F.Y.R.O. Macedonia mention the increasing risk of “state capture” and expresses serious concerns regarding civil liberties, it is crucial that these elections are conducted in a free and fair way so that the country can get back on democratic track and take action in order to give a more positive outlook for the next report .

Vivid discussions focussing on the political content and ideological differences do not only allow all people to enjoy their fundamental rights, such as the freedom of speech, freedom of association and assembly, and freedom of the press, it is also a tool which fosters deeper political participation and paves the way for the emancipation of both individuals and groups. We call on all the candidates to use their opportunities and participate in public debates, thus providing enough information, so that the public can make an informed choice.

The people of F.Y.R.O.Macedonia have lived in a polarized society for many years and they deserve to once and for all enjoy their fundamental rights and democracy. Everything else is not giving them the adequate respect they deserve.

As young people, who are not only living today, but who will also bear the consequences of today’s decisions in the future, we call upon all parties and all other relevant institutions and organisations to collectively ensure that all citizens can practice the democracy they are entitled to through the constitution.

EFAy- European Free Alliance Youth

FYEG- Federation of Young European Greens

IFLRY- International Federation of Liberal Youth

IUSY- International Union of Socialist Youth

JEF- Young European Federalists

LYMEC- European Liberal Youth

YDE- Young Democrats for Europe

YES- Young European Socialists

Post-Brexit: towards a strong and unifying EU project!

These are sad times as we witness the older generation of British people deciding the outcome for future generations. We, the YDE were against Brexit from the start until the very end, but it is now time to move forwards and we must also be prepared to support those of our British friends who want to remain within the European Union.

It is also a time of reflection regarding the future of the EU – we need to change the current system, tighten collaboration and tackle the democratic deficit while building a more attractive and democratic union. Let’s use this momentum to foster European integration and work together towards a strong and unifying project.

We must not shun the political activism and aim towards a better future and reengage our societies while remembering the virtues of dialogue and civility, and the benefits of the EU that brought peace on a war torn continent.

EYE 2016: Together we can make a change!

The European Youth Event (EYE2016) has taken place this weekend at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. This second edition of the event has gathered more than 7000 young people from all over Europe, ready to discuss the current and future challenges that the European Union is facing. The debates have been led by relevant figures of European politics and civil society, who – besides sharing their experiences and knowledge on specific topics – have been ready to listen to young population´s points of view.

“Together we can make a change” was the chosen motto for the event. The program started on Friday with the opening ceremony with Sylvie Guillaume and Mairead McGuinness (Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament), Johanna Nyman (President of the European Youth Forum) and Roland Ries (Mayor of Strasbourg). The given message was clear: Young generations are the next performers of European politics, the ones who will shape the future of the European Union. Young people in Europe should not feel excluded, but become active players and be listened on the European Union´s development. There is a huge potential of ideas and innovative solutions to be taken into account.

The YDE group has been represented by delegates from France, Germany, the Basque Country, Slovenia and Slovakia. Once again, we have strongly defended our values and firm commitment to help shape a democratic and strong European Union.

The opening plenary session, celebrated on Friday in the hemicycle, showed an incredible vibrant atmosphere with thousands of young Europeans fully engaged and committed to be part of European politics for a day.

The whole program was organized around five main themes:

  • War and Peace: Perspectives for a Peaceful Planet
  • Apathy or Participation: Agenda for a Vibrant Democracy
  • Exclusion or Access: Crackdown on Youth Unemployment
  • Stagnation or Innovation: Tomorrow’s World of Work
  • Collapse or Success: New Ways for a Sustainable Europe

Between several others, some of the hottest topics were how to deal with the refugee crisis, the controversial TTIP agreement with the U.S.A., tax evasion, entrepreneurship, climate challenge or the importance of democracy.

Political debates, interactive workshops and educational activities, besides music and artistic performances have completed a stimulating weekend in which the European identity has been reinforced. The conclusions reached will be discussed in multiple committees in the European Parliament next autumn.

If this weekend has shown us something, than that despite the difficulties and uncertainties on the way, it is that there is still hope to keep on building a strong European Union. It´s future and success is in our hands and we need to be very clear on the path we want to follow because together we can make a change!

 Irati Oleaga

Thanks to Marielle de Sarnez and Robert Rochefort for having sponsored our groups

Germany moves to the right!

State elections in Germany: right-wing-populist-party AfD enters three parliaments

During the past weeks, Germans have often made fun of the Americans. “How can they vote for someone like Donald Trump?” German people would ask. And they cannot be blamed. The Republicans’ presidential candidate wants to forbid the entry in the United States to Muslims; he wants to bolt the Mexican border with a wall and describes himself as “the best president God has ever created”. Regarding his statements and demands, we are stunned and also about the Americans’ electoral behaviour. But with the last state elections in Germany on March 13, the situation in Germany turned out to be as worse as in the United States.

24.2% is the score the right-wing party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD, Alternative for Germany) did receive in Saxony-Anhalt at its first election! This result is frightening and dangerous. In Baden-Wurttemberg (15.1%) and Rhineland-Palatinate (12.6%), the situation is hardly better. After this electoral Super-Sunday, the political map of Germany has changed. A party that wants to allow shooting at refugees, to dissolve the EU, to abolish social benefits and to prohibit Muslims from practising their religion is now represented in eight of the 16 federal state’s parliaments. “The AfD confesses to the traditional family as an example” and rejects state kindergartens. Men should work; women should educate children and stay at home to cook. Every vote for the right-wing populists is a retrograde step.

UKIP in the United Kingdom, the Front National in France – and now the AfD in Germany. The biggest reason why parties like these could get that popular is the refugees’ crisis: hundred thousands of people fleeing from their native countries from war,  to Europe, to Germany. The AfD takes advantage of this, rushes and shrinks back from nothing; and gets votes – alarmingly many votes. The AfD gets voters from the established parties; however, non-voters give primarily their votes to the right-wing-party. Besides, three of four voters indicate to have chosen the AfD not because of their manifesto, but to teach a lesson to the governing parties.

Already once in German history a right-wing-party scored such a great success in such a short time! It should not only be a German effort, but also a European one, that this will not happen again. Established centrist parties must take the citizens seriously, their demands, worries and fears. They must not give them a reason to vote for a right-wing party only to teach a lesson. This is the only way to maintain our democratic and pro-European values. However, the AfD is not one thing for sure: an alternative.

By Bettina Schwarz (@betti_schwarz)

Photo: Túrelio

Young Democrats for Europe (YDE)
Jeunes Democrates Europeens (JDE)
YDE is the youth wing of the European Party.We embrace the key role of democratic principles, underlined in the Lisbon Treaty and shrined in our political belief: democracy, freedom, equality, participation, sustainability and solidarity.

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