The Young Democrats for Europe (YDE), the European Democrats’ youth political organisation, also cooperates closely with other Democratic organisations and more especially with the Institute of European Democrats (IED) and the European Youth Forum (EYF).
The YDE fundamental missions are:
- To increase the level of knowledge and competence of the youth in the field of European affairs. In this respect, the YDE aim at involving young people in the European debate;
- To strengthen relations between member organisations of the association;
- To promote and publicize the European Democrat’s political positions towards young people.
Our current concerns: the symptoms of a deep crisis
The identity crisis the EU faces is a main concern for our organisation. It stems from several factors that are closely linked together that we must urgently tackle as we want to quickly find a way out of this period of doubt and uncertainty.
Youth unemployment and lack of perspectives
Because of the economic crisis, Europeans and young Europeans are now living a very tough time. They are facing new challenges, as many Europeans are not offered the same opportunities, leading to significant frustration and resentment.
The lack of political will towards more integration within the EU
The primacy of particular national interests over the common good is a danger for our continent. The responsibility of the heads of state and government is huge, as they take ambivalent attitudes when they take decisions within the European Council and Council of the EU and condemn them in their country just afterwards.
Brexit and the threat of political disintegration
The vote in favour of the “Brexit” in the United Kingdom represents a shock and questions our vision of the EU. The political and economic integrations were stopped in the midstream, leading to injustices and to a lack of solidarity between Member States. It is certain that the Union cannot work like this any longer. Bearing this in mind, we have two possibilities: either a disintegration of the EU, or a further deepening and strengthening of European integration.
The migration crisis and the question of free movement of people
The conflict in Syria, the ongoing violence in Afghanistan, abuses in Eritrea, as well as poverty in Kosovo are leading people to look for new lives somewhere else. In the last two years, the massive arrival of refugees represented an unprecedented challenge and led to an uncontrolled wave of migrants crossing the Member States borders. This created deep divisions within the EU on how we can deal with resettling and integrating people. It is a fact that the Schengen and Dublin systems did not have the robustness to cope with such a crisis. Free movement of people is a fundamental principle of the EU, and we have to rethink our framework to make it sustainable and at the same time maintain demographic balance.
The rise of populism and extremism
The new nationalist and populist movements and policies have arisen especially since 2015 using the refugees’ crisis as a source of fear, anxiety, social disorder and economic stress. Immigrants are painted as a threat, stealing jobs. Giving to the people false perceptions creates tensions not only between citizens but also at a Member States level regarding EU policies.
Our conviction: the EU is the solution, not the problem
In the last 70 years, the World has evolved like never before. A more united Europe was an answer to the risk of wars, but also to the globalisation, the rise of new major World powers like BRICs and the large multinational companies. Indeed, our predecessors realised that our countries could not compete alone: “Together, we can act. Divided, we are powerless”. The EU is therefore a way of regaining our sovereignty, but also a vector and a protection for our common values.
In short, we must defend and strengthen the EU. But, to defend it, we need to change it.
In line with the European Democrat Party’s manifesto, “we want a Europe that is fair, open and dynamic. Admired by the World for its culture and values”.
Our three main focal areas: addressing the causes to look forward
We aim at quickly finding a way out of this period of doubt to give perspectives to Europeans, and especially the youth. Indeed, defying the doom and gloom, we want a generation that becomes optimistic and confident about its future.
In this respect, we will focus on three working areas that encompass the solutions to the issues the EU is facing. Our work will result in easily understandable proposals and documents, even when the issues are complex, having in mind that everyone should be able to understand how the EU works and how it should work.
Rethinking the European identity and values
The current debates are always focused on particular interests. They neither address the issues with vision over the long term, nor with any regard to the general interest of the Europeans. This is far away from the universal message Europe should convey and promote. People want and need a shared vision. In this respect, Europe needs a reform. Thus, our first working area will consist in examining the values we share, including democracy, civil rights and liberties, solidarity, and our social model. This work will result in a document that reasserts these common values in a clear way, so that every European can understand them and embrace them.
Promoting democracy, civil liberties and restoring the place of citizens in decision making
We must keep in mind that Europe is not a technocracy but a Democracy. It is the expression of the desire of the European peoples to build a common project. Unfortunately, our leaders have completely forgotten this ideal. With the information and communication revolution, citizens want to take part in the public debate and need more transparency, we want to shift the power back to the voters and end the EU red tape. The current opacity in the decision making process undermines even the principle of representative democracy itself. This mandate will be an opportunity for the YDE to propose solutions in order to restore the place of citizens in the debate.
Promoting entrepreneurship, innovation, sustainable growth for youth employment
It is essential for all Europeans, and especially for the young generation, to find a way back into employment. On this purpose, it is time to take account of the profound changes in the economy and to accompany them. Indeed, it is always easier to overlook changes because they are frightening and call for individual and collective adjustments. But it is far more beneficial to anticipate them in order to prepare the change management. We think, among other things, of climate change and of the digital revolution that has just begun.
Our youth is full of innovative ideas to shape the world of tomorrow, and always try to find solutions to adapt to new situations. We have to support its initiatives and promote them. This implies support for entrepreneurship, research, technological innovation and new production processes, in every area. The YDE will remain committed to meeting project promoters and to promoting new legislative frameworks that help these entrepreneurs in developing their activities.