The youth belong to one nation: Europe
500 EYP sessions are taking place across Europe and have already transcended the borders of the European Union. EYP is non-profit organisation of volunteers under the patroonship of the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Junker and the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz. The organisation started in France in the 1980's and as the EU evolved, so did the headquarters which switch location throughout Europe. The initial move was to Oxford in the United Kingdom and most recently to Berlin, Germany. The event is not yet well established in Ljubljana. The organisation promotes active involvement of European high school students in public discussions regarding European issues and formulates resolutions.
Young people for a united Europe
Kristina Chelmakina, from Kiev, Ukraine, presided over the session in Ljubljana. Recent political developments motivated her to become a more involved citizen by attracting as many European students as possible to participate in EYP sessions, her first experience was in 2008. "As soon as people stop talking to each other, armed conflicts erupt" she explains. Ricarda Pfingstl from Austria added that EYP has been present for the past 20 years in Austria, it motivates her to spread its ideals to their southern neighbours in order for the establishment of a permanent presence in Ljubljana. But still there are others who just want to be productive over summer. Alexandra Blin from France simply enjoys "Slovenia and all its beauty".
At the session participants discussed various issues. Nine committees were formed where options were debated for the future EU integration, the implementation of the Paris environmental agreement, the treatment of immigrants, TTIP negotiations and other topics. Each committee presented their resolution which was submitted to the parliament and will serve as a guideline for future policy creation. All participants agreed that further improvements of the EU are needed. As Iva from Beograd concluded, "euro sceptics are people who don't travel".
Force of change or voice in the wind?
While students show will and effort to actively address political dilemmas, those in power often turn a blind eye. Although the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs participated as a co-organiser, other politicians declined the invitation.
The President of the Parliament, Milan Brglez and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Karl Erjavec expressed their appreciation through letters of support. They emphasised how crucial such forums are for building multicultural relations and providing a platform for constructive debate. Minister Erjavec stated that the proposed resolutions will serve as guidelines for the ministry in the formation of future European policies.
EYP Ljubljana has a long way to go to establish itself as a credible organisation that can rival those in the rest of Europe. Oskar Košenina, Vice President, EYP Slovenia hopes "that in the future we will attract even more active students and show the full potential of EYP Slovenia".