Our representatives at Young Leaders Forum, Brussels 2-4th December

EaP Young Leaders Forum

 

In the first week of December, the European Parliament organised an event called Young Leaders Forum, which gathered 24 young participants from EU and neighboring countries to discuss, debate, and start further developing initiatives.

The majority of participants came from the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, 3 from each six (Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia).  There were young politicians, young leaders from NGOs, young scholars etc, hence the group was very diverse. However, we had a strong AEGEE lobby as 4 current and 1 ex-AEGEE member were there as a participants.  Most of the sessions took place in the building of the European Parliament, and we had many guests such as experts, representatives of trade unions, and Members of European Parliament (MEP). We had the chance to talk with 8 different MEPs within three days.

EaP Young Leaders Frum

During our sessions that took place in a room with a huge round table, external guests made presentations on the topics that given person had interest in and were connected with the Eastern Partnership – EU relations. After some time we had the chance to ask questions. It was very unique opportunity for most of us, and the discussions were very interesting. However we did not have clear debate most of the times as after answering one question the way of the discussion had a turned to a totally different direction.

The guest speakers talked about their own field, which provided us a very varied event, as we heard about the media situation, energy security, education Western and Eastern European approaches. But of course many times we took a glance to other regions, in and outside EU There were only a few common points – everyone stated that the decision of Ukrainian leaders does not mean that EU should close the door for Ukraine.

Only a few days after the Vilnius Summit we had many hot topics. As the public opinion inside and outside the EU was also much divided, we heard different point of views. Politicians wanted to evaluate the Vilnius Summit and the EU’s neighbourhood policy, and there were different opinions on that. In some extent it was a success, because the development with Georgia, Azerbaijan and Moldova. However, postponing the signing of the Association Agreement with Ukraine questioned the whole Eastern Partnership policy of EU. Some interpretations stated that the EU was not strong enough to defend its interest and the Russian blackmailing was stronger than the EU’s offer.

All the participants had a great time. This opportunity was unique. Even if only for a short time we had the chance to meet with the president of European Parliament Mr. Martin Schultz and with the Commissioner Štefan Füle who is responsible for enlargement and neighbourhood policy. Spending three days in the European Parliament is something we can’t do every week. Meeting with those participants and externals was a great possibility to gain motivation. It helped us to see how many people are dedicated to the values they profess all the time.

 

Our representatives: Roland Papp, Eastern Partnership Project and Armenak Minasyants, Policy Officer for European Neighbourhood Policy

Written by Roland Papp, Eastern Partnership Project

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