Asier Areitio, president of the Young Democrats for Europe, wanted to hold this symbolic Congress in Bilbao, one of the gems of the Basque Country, as the previous one in 2020 had to be held by videoconference. Activists from Euzko Gaztedi Indarra (EGI), the youth movement of the Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ/PNV), welcomed the other European delegations to their party’s historic headquarters.
Present were members of the YDE from the following organisations: Jeunes Démocrates (France), Generazione Futura (San Marino), Młodzi Liberałowie (Poland), Mladí Európania (Slovakia), Neolaia Enosis Kentroon (Greece), NS reformisti Youth (Croatia), Junge Freie Wähler (Germany), Jóvenes Nacionalistas (Canary Islands). Also present as guests were Jaunųjų demokratų sąjunga (Lithuania) and Joves per les Illes (Balearic Islands). The Italian delegation from Italia Viva, a movement that has just joined the EDP; as well as that of EDP Youth Italia (Italy) were excused.
The delegates from each party attended a dinner on Friday 4 November, where they were served Basque cuisine, which allowed many of them to get together after the years of the pandemic. They were also able to wander around the historic centre of the city and visit its gem, the Guggenheim Museum and its incredible architecture by Frank Gehry.
Saturday was dedicated to the Congress: the President and the outgoing board drew up an assessment of the past two years, after which a new board was elected, composed as follows: Asier Areitio (EGI), President; Alice Bernard-Montini (JDem), Secretary General; Sergio Medina (JN), Treasurer; Sergio Soares (JFW), Spokesperson; Tina Andrioti (NEK), Vice President; Antonella Velic (NSRY), Vice President; Matteo Brizzi (IV), Vice-President; Cristina Gennari (GF), Vice-President; Asier Uralde (EGI), Board member; Magdalena Ilg (JFW), Board member; Marceau Perez (JDem), Board member; Piotr Olechowski (ML), Board member. At the end of this political moment, MEP Izaskun Bilbao Barandica gave a few words of encouragement to the Young Democrats for Europe and answered their questions about her work as a MEP.
On Sunday, Asier Areitio and the EGI were keen to take the delegations a few kilometres away to the town of Guernica, which was made tragically famous by the bombings it suffered during the Spanish Civil War. It also boasts a symbol of European and local democracy: the Parliament of Bizkaia. The current President of the Parliament, Anatoa Duibiteri, made a special trip to present the political history of this unique place and its symbol: the tree of Bizkaia, representing the perseverance and hope of the Basques. She emphasised the links her political family established with Europe at a very early stage, as well as her personal commitment to the feminisation of politics.
This was the end of the 2022 Congress in Bilbao: each delegation was able to return home fully charged with the common values guiding their action within the EDP, more determined than ever to bring democracy to life in Europe, and with a full head of projects for the two years to come.
Alice Bernard-Montini, Secretary General of the Young Democrats for Europe
The Young Democrats for Europe met for their first physical Congress since the beginning of the health crisis. A moment of democracy and reunion.