EDYNers visit the European Parliament in Strasbourg to Discuss Youth Issues Among Decision-makers and Make Their Voices Heard
EDYN is a network of 500+ politically active young people from 23 countries in Europe who are committed to democratic principles and work towards finding solutions to governance and societal problems in their respective countries.
The European Democracy Youth Network Leadership Council (EDYN LC) representatives recently visited Strasbourg to engage with the European Parliament and the Council of Europe. The visit was made possible thanks to the support of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Europe, and it provided an opportunity for EDYN LC to engage with key European institutions and politicians.
During the visit to the European Parliament, the EDYN LC had close discussions with Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and the Vice President of the European Parliament, Mr. Rainer Wieland. The discussions covered a range of topics, including European politics, the candidacy status of countries of the Associated Trio (Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine) and Western Balkans, and economic growth in these countries. These discussions were highly valuable and inspiring; EDYN LC is hopeful that they will influence future advocacy and political dialogues, and raise awareness about challenges faced by youth regarding their political participation and involvement in democratic decision-making.
“Young people should be involved in policy- and decision-making processes. While we need to continue strengthening their capacity to participate effectively, youth should be presented with appropriate socio-economic opportunities and be recognized as equal partners in society rather than as only beneficiaries,” noted Daryna Onyshko, EDYN President.
During the visit, the group recognized that there is a lot of work to be done in their respective countries to facilitate European integration, particularly in areas related to the Rule of Law and fighting corruption. The group stressed the importance of addressing these issues as a necessary step toward achieving EU integration. EDYN LC highlighted the importance of advocacy in promoting EU integration in their regions and stated that the network is uniquely positioned to take upon this role. Other youth civil society and political organizations, such as YEPP, will be crucial partners to support such initiatives.
One of the most exciting aspects of the visit was the opportunity for EDYN LC to engage with MEPs. The members were able to discuss the role of youth participation in EU and non-EU politics with MEP and Head of YEPP Lídia Pereira. The group discussed ways to make young people more engaged politically and in civic life. The meeting was highly productive and demonstrated the commitment of both EDYN LC and MEPs to engaging and empowering young people.
The EDYN LC had a comprehensive discussion with Michael Gahler about EU enlargement specifically for Eastern Partnership and Western Balkan Countries.
“The EDYN LC visit to Strasbourg was an incredible opportunity to engage with European institutions and politicians. Our discussions focused on important issues facing young people in the Eastern Partnership and Western Balkans regions and highlighted the need for international collaboration and advocacy to address these challenges. We left Strasbourg feeling inspired and empowered to continue our work towards a more democratic and integrated Europe“ – said Marie Kikvadze, EDYN Ambassador
EDYN LC also met with MEP Andries Kubilius to discuss the challenges faced by young people from their respective countries regarding policy measures taken at the European level. This meeting was helpful in opening new perspectives and increasing the motivation of EDYN LC to take further actions to support young change-makers in their communities.
“EDYN with these kinds of activities creates an excellent platform for the youth of our respective nations to promote the needs, best interests and European aspirations of our countries and region. Its members serve as admirable representatives of their homelands and this meeting was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate their abilities. I foresee EDYN playing an increasingly important role in European-level decision-making, amplifying the voice of our younger citizens to the European institutions.” – said Valeriu Dragalin,
During the visit, the group identified a range of opportunities related to their engagement with the Council of Europe (CoE). This included access to grants from the European Youth Foundation (EYF), which offers to fund local, regional, and international initiatives. The group also highlighted the possibility of direct support from CoE, as well as opportunities for representation on CoE bodies and for INGOs. Additionally, EDYN LC recognized the potential to organize activities at CoE Youth Centers and to utilize the existing facilities and accommodations. It is inspiring to see young people from different countries coming together to work towards a common goal, and EDYN LC is an excellent example of the power of youth activism and engagement.
“Visiting the European Parliament in Strasbourg and meeting with Members of Parliament was an eye-opening experience. Being able to discuss challenges from EaP and Western Balkans countries was inspiring, and it gave me a deeper appreciation for the importance of democracy and civic engagement. Additionally, exploring the European Youth Centre in Strasbourg was an unforgettable experience, showcasing the incredible work being done by young people from all over Europe to promote social inclusion and human rights. This visit has truly broadened my horizons and motivated me to continue working towards a better future for all.”– noted, Tudor Arnaut, Secretary General of EDYN.
Overall, the advocacy efforts of EDYN LC during their visit to Strasbourg highlighted the importance of promoting EU integration in their regions and the crucial role of youth participation in achieving this goal. The group’s discussions on economic growth demonstrate their commitment to finding practical solutions to the challenges facing young people in the Eastern Partnership and Western Balkans regions. EDYN LC is an excellent example of the power of youth activism and engagement, and their visit to Strasbourg will undoubtedly have a positive impact on their work going forward.
— European Democracy Youth Network (@WeAreEDYN) February 14, 2023
#EDYNinStrasbourg with MEP Andries Kubilius about #EasternPartnership countries and young people’s #challenges from those countries as regards #policymeasures taken at the European level 🇪🇺🙌 pic.twitter.com/HVYCFE6maG
— European Democracy Youth Network (@WeAreEDYN) February 16, 2023