Tuesday 12 May 2009

European Parliament elections 2009 (101): YEPP, ECOSY and LYMEC met with Barroso calling for more youth participation

The three major European youth organisations of political parties - YEPP (EPP youth), ECOSY (PES youth) and LYMEC (ELDR youth) - met with EU Commission President Barroso today to discuss youth participation.

Jointly, the three party organisations issued the following statement urging young people to vote (statement at the end of the article)

Although I support the message and its content, I am not a big fan of using the EU Commission President, whose personality is probably one of the reasons why young people won't be attracted to go to vote, to get this message passed.

But apparently, the youth organisations needed the presence of Mr Barroso to make their voice heard, which is already a bad sign.

So why should this actually raise citizen participation? Isn't this kind of boring political, self-referential talk without heart exactly the kind of politics young people don't care for? It is nice PR, and it will bring some attention to the three youth organisations and to Mr Barroso, but not more.

Just take a look at this extract from the press conference (first Barroso, then Laurent Schouten (YEPP), Petroula Nteledimou (ECOSY), Aloys Rigaut (LYMEC)):

Will this encourage young people to vote? Just because it happened in the presence of Barroso?

I think this professionalised kind of political communication won't reach out to any young voter, and the only one profiting from this meeting might be Barroso who can now claim to support youth activities.

They should have come up with something more creative, more youth-like thing!

But probably, the apathetic Commission President would not have allowed to destroy the image of the Union that he has built over the last five years: Less spirit, less dynamism, less young faces.

Therefore bravo, YEPP, ECOSY and LYMEC for your incredible courage to call young people to vote (what else should political youth organisations do?), and your willingness to follow the boredom of Barroso, risking not to reach out to anyone!

And here is the famous statement:
"We, representatives of the European party political youth organizations, namely YEPP, ECOSY and LYMEC, wish to urge all young Europeans to participate in the forthcoming European elections, to act and express themselves with a clear voice on Europe's future.

It is our decision and our choice to give the European Parliament a strong mandate in order to face citizens' needs and demands in the next period, taking the European Union out of the institutional and economic crisis, and designing a better future for all. And participation is a democratic right which we should not denounce or neglect - because this is what makes our voices stronger.

At the same time, we urge the European institutions, the Commission and the new Parliament, to deal in a more effective way with the everyday problems with the citizens, and to make European policies more visible, more understandable, more concrete.

We, Young Europeans expect from them a clear and effective plan on how to overcome the economic crisis, how to deal with unemployment, how to ensure sustainable development, how to expand the Erasmus programme, how to prepare a new Youth Pact with impact.

Therefore, our message today is simple:

When young people participate, and representatives provide effective solutions, Europe becomes stronger!"
Update: Some photos from the event by an ECOSY activist here

Under the category "European parliament elections 2009" I am following up national and European activities on the path to the European Parliament elections 2009.

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Ralf Grahn said...


In my humble view the youth organisations made a few relevant points.

Young people should really think about the future of Europe. (Petty nationalisms are not the way forward.)

The EU has to be(come) relevant for its citizens.

The Commission needs to be more energatic.

Michelle said...

Europe needs to engage the young vote. But at the moment I think the vast majority of young EU citizens feel alientated and powerless when it comes to the EU authorities. Candidates canvassing for the upcoming elections have a good opportunity to engage with young people as more modern fora are opeing up all the time. www.micandidate.eu seems very accessible.