A positive 1st Young Elected Leaders’ Summit

YDE @ ALDE CoR Young Leaders' Summit

On the 27th and 28th of August, Ludovic BENMOKHTAR – YDE individual member and Deputy Mayor for Culture for the City of Bernay (Normandy, France) – and Sebastian LEIß – member of the Junge Freie Wähler and Leader of the Liberal Council Group at the County of Dachau (Bavaria, Germany), attended the 1st Young Elected Leaders Summit organised with the ALDE Group at the Committee of Regions and the European Liberal Youth.

These two days of meetings and visits allowed them to discover the work of elected representatives of the Committee of Regions (CoR) as well as to get acquainted with other young elected Liberals and Democrats from all over the European Union.

To Ludovic: “As a young local elected representative of a rural town, I am witnessing the great difficulty for the EU to publicise its actions. Unfortunately, because of its simplicity, populist discourse is advancing in our rural areas. The round-tables held during the Summit allowed me to understand that the problems that affect Bernay, the city where I am elected, also affect other European cities. We were able to share our experiences, the solutions to make and hear the elected representatives of the Committee of Regions, with their experience.”

This weekend is not meant to remain a simple event but has the ambition to create a network of young pro-European as several of them may be tomorrow’s European leaders.

European Democrat and Liberal Youth organisations and the ALDE Group at the Committee of Regions, thanks to this summit, want to build a network that will allow young elected leaders to work efficiently tomorrow towards a more efficient and sustainable European integration.

YDE and LYMEC welcome an open future of wealth, sustainability and innovation entrepreneurship

We, the young liberals and democrats, have insofar enjoyed a European continent open to travel, trade, studying, working and living wherever opportunities are best. Binding our economies and societies together has guaranteed peace, secured the European leadership in the world and furthered the rights of the individual. Young people need to be the guarantors of the values of human rights, democracy and transparency that set the foundation for European cooperation. At the face of disagreement on small scale, the EU debate has to roll back to its core values and the four freedoms.

Digital change, entrepreneurship and fair labour market

We young liberals and democrats think the EU needs to take a courageous position on how to reform the labour market, where entrepreneurship is encouraged and technological advances are considered an opportunity. We think that the EU should make sure there is no room for exploitation on the labour market. We think the EU should also make sure there is no breach of legal contracts within the labour market. The digital transformation of the economy is the heritage of our generation, it is the outcome of technological breakthroughs that open new opportunities, and it is up to us to seize them to the fullest. There is no changing the path of development of the market, rather we young liberals and democrats need to accommodate and create flexibility at the face of change, including improvement of conditions for start ups and easing the transition from obsolete jobs to new ones.

Press freedom and ethics

According to us young liberals and democrats, now is the time to tackle fake news and cyber propaganda, coming from all directions, with the goal to increase transparency and citizens’ decision-making powers. In this regard, we young liberals and democrats actively promote and defend press freedom, and press for institutions that assess that every freedom is accompanied by requirements regarding ethics. The young generation sees the need for ensuring education in independence of information and the universal respect of ethics, and the role of Social Media in spreading false information should not be underestimated as well.

Populism, rhetoric, getting the message out to citizens and youth in leadership

We, the young generation will advocate for a new fact-oriented rhetoric in the fight against populism, with a focus on the democratic credentials and the aim to reach the general citizen. We call on the EU institutions to outline a roadmap to encourage and assist member states in setting up programmes to improve critical thinking skills in an online context in order to counter disingenuous content. The EU, as a democratic union, is a value in its own and a method for regional decision-making. Upholding credibility of the institutions is therefore of utmost importance.  Young people are not only the future EU leaders but are also the leaders of today, so the EU should invest more in strengthening structured dialogue on all levels of government: local, national and international.

Cyber threats, terrorism and defence

These information challenges, along with terrorism, stress the need for increased security cooperation and cyber security at home. Long-standing partners are changing their position towards the EU and these changed circumstances create the basis for deepened defence cooperation, starting with military procurement and enhanced intelligence sharing and increased military cooperation with the EU neighbourhood policy countries. For that reason and in order to strengthen the defence cooperation it would be convenient to have a common asylum system, as well as a proper European border control agency. We the young liberals and democrats believe in safeguarding the privacy and integrity of European citizens and standing up against any attacks on internet freedom and civil liberties.

Trade, sustainability and global opportunities

We young liberals and democrats believe in fair trade and in a priority for green and sustainable choices as well as a long-term view on equal opportunities to entrepreneurship and trade globally. When populists promote protectionism, we the young liberals and democrats want to see an open trading Europe. We call on the EU to continue to negotiate new bilateral and multilateral trade agreements to stimulate economic cooperation. We believe the EU must be at the forefront of green growth in all sectors and adopt regulations that regard the long-term consequences of our choices including a specific, comprehensive plan for decarbonising the European energy mix. We young liberals and democrats demand openness of negotiations of trade agreements and ask decisionmakers to communicate better as citizens have shown a lack of trust in the agreement processes. Free and fair rules-based trade agreements, guided by the basic rules in the EU treaties should always be the basis for agreements. Human rights, labour and environmental standards need to be guaranteed in the trade agreements also in the future. Trade agreements guarantee the market competition and reduce protectionism, while at the same time also cementing universal values and peace.

A Summer Academy aiming at an innovative and efficient Europe!

Last week, on the 28th and 29th of June 2017, the Young Democrats for Europe and the European Liberal Youth organised the 2017 Summer Academy with the support of the ALDE Group in the European Parliament on the topic “Innovation and Efficiency: Building the Europe that Citizens Dream of”. This event gathered more than 90 young Democrats and Liberals from all over Europe.

Amongst them young democrat activists from San Marino, France, Basque Country, Canarias, Iceland, Latvia, Hungary, Germany, Cyprus and other EU countries.

Not only composed of panels, a debate on the Future of Europe was organised under the European Youth Forum patronage and with speakers from other Political Party Youth organisations. For more details on what Antoine Carette (our president) and Sissel Kvist (LYMEC president) had to say about priorities for Europe’s future:

A common LYMEC – YDE statement was also drafted and is available on our website.

Find out more about this event from our member organisations:

European Youth Convention: Youth is key to changing the EU!

150 representatives of youth organisations from 38 countries summoned at the European Parliament Strasbourg in March 2017 to develop the foundation of a better Europe. Amongst them our general secretary, Asier Areitio. The European Youth cannot stay still during this important moment.

It is also important to highlight that EDP played an important role with a financial support to the organisers.

The convention aimed at drafting a European Citizens´ Constitution, in order to enhance the power of the Union, and to change the model we have now. The main idea was to create a more federal Europe as the current model is already outdated. Young representatives’ work was based on collaboration, cooperation and exchange of ideas within small groups of around 14 people, with different backgrounds, from scholars to young politicians, or NGO members.

Asier focused his work on “Home Affairs and Security”, “Economic & Social model” and “Rights and Freedom” issues and is satisfied with the outcomes of this event: the drafted constitution will be sent to EU politicians.

You can read the Constitution here: http://www.youthconvention.eu/european-youth-convention-citizens-constitution.php

Credit: European Youth Convention/Joël Hellenbrand, 2017

Asier at the European Parliament
Asier at the European Parliament
Working Group
Working Group

Moldova between East and West!

We continue to consider the European Union as our common home believing that National boundaries are no more a limit but a gate to share our cultures and common values with other European citizens. In it with this firm belief that several of our members took part as speakers to the conference “Moldova between East and West” organised by the Institute of European Democrats in collaboration with our Slovak member Mladí Európania in Chisinau on 28 November 2016.

This event aspired to reflect upon the intensifying relations between the EU and Moldova after the EU-Moldova Association Agreement entered into force on 1 July 2016. The Agreement is a breaking point in the EU-Moldova relationship which aims to proceed to a gradual economic integration and a deeper political cooperation between the country and the EU. Nevertheless, there are still several serious issues such as the high level of political and economic corruption, poverty, slow pace of the reform process and long-term Transnistria dispute. What is more, the EU currently experiences major crisis in its history, facing the massive migration flow from the Middle East and North Africa, Brexit negotiations, worsening relationship with Turkey and the overall rise of anti-EU parties across Europe. All this reflects on the development of the European Neighbourhood Policy.

The conference therefore analysed the relationship and current state of negotiations between EU and Moldova, evaluated the positive and negative prospects of the Moldovan Accession to the EU and broadened the discussion on Moldova to the overall concept of the European Neighbourhood Policy.

In the first panel of the conference: Moldova between East and West from international perspective: European Union, Russia and the future of Moldova’s geopolitical orientation, Mihai Sebe, Partner Member of the YDE Board provided a political analysis of the European Neighbourhood Policy and of the Eastern Partnership approach as seen from an EU border country, Romania, a country with particular ties with Moldova. He underlined the main challenges that the country and the region are facing and emphasised the need of structural reforms.

Mihai also mentioned that from now on, the EU must support concrete projects and less parties or politicians. We need real small steps rather than pro-European rhetoric void of any real content. As regards Russia doubts were expressed regarding its ability to replace the EU financial assistance – that would force the governing forces to maintain a pro-European trajectory as at the end they must keep the state going and they need the money to do that. The last years of pro-European governing although disappointing on some aspects provided us with a lot of lessons on do and do not that need to be learned and then put into practice in all our future actions and policies

In the last panel of the conference: Youth in Moldova and Europe: Youth Perception of the future of the EU-Moldova relations and EU Neighbourhood Policy, Miroslava Calegari, former YDE President stressed the fact that despite the Western EU countries and Europeans youth don’t know too much about Moldova, we are a part of one family. As a thirty-year old Slovak woman that can still a little bit remember the “pre-European” life, this is understandable youngsters are leaving their homes in prospective of better future as we all do want to live a better life. However, the problem is there will not be someone to change Moldova. Moldavian youths have to fight in prospective of your own future and the future of the next generations to come and be strong and patient. These changes can just happen next year or next decade. We will be here to share our thoughts, experiences and to support you not to slow down and that was why we were here in Chisinau.

Veronika Okata, YDE Board member and Vice-President for Foreign Affairs and Partnerships in Mladí Európania emphasised the importance of the involvement of Moldavian Youth in the decision-making processes and civil society mobilization. In her speech, she also shared the advice and best practice on how the youth can be influential on both the European and national level. Veronika also shared the experience of political involvement of youth in Slovakia from the period before joining the EU and after the country’s accession in 2004, underlying advantages and disadvantages of the EU membership. In the end, she wished all the participants good luck in fight for the better future of Moldova, while expressing the hopes of closer collaboration between the EU and Moldova.

The conference was organised with the financial support of the European Parliament.

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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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