In light of the Czech EU Presidency, the European Democratic Party organised, with the help of our Czech member Senator 21, its third “Solutions for Europe” event in Brno. The event focused on our White paper on Europe for the Czech presidency of the EU, young Europeans and their involvement in national and European politics, and civil society and their influence on politics.
The event was opened by EDP Deputy General Secretary-General Frederic Petit, who stressed the importance of the overarching event theme: the Youth. “I believe deeply in European youth, and creating these spaces like today is fundamental.” Likewise, Frederic Petit reiterated that “the series of events, the Europe of solutions, is fundamental for the EDP. It is more than an event; it is more than a series; it connects us to what we want to do, to what we want to show on the ground as close as to the people: the European Union. We want to show through this series of events that this EU is made for the future and the daily life of its citizens.”
Lukáš Kostínek, vice-chairman of SEN 21 and Samuel Týče presented the white paper’s five main topics: “Green and Sustainable, Economic Issues, Human Rights, Institutions and their Development, and Geopolitics and International Relations – areas that overlap with the issues of the Czech Republic and its presidency.
EDP vice-president Andrzej Potocki emphasised while discussing the engagement of young Europeans in politics that “what counts (for the younger generation) is a secure future as the professional, educational possibilities, civic and human rights, and freedoms.” He concluded his remarks by reaffirming his support for lowering the voting age and underlining the importance of local organisations for young people to participate in politics.
“First, I don’t see any obstacles for younger people to vote. Many of them have their views even if not being fully adults and have the right to express their opinion. If young people, for example, 16, could participate in the elections, this may change the entire scene. This would speed up cutting politics out of the historical divisions. Second, it is deposited to the political parties to create possibilities to take part and participate in local activities of the parties and the parliament. But countrywide parliament and the European parliament are not the only goals and not the only field where young people can be active. There are plenty of things to do in a local environment, in the cities and villages where they live. And it’s not only parties but also non-governmental organisations. These are fields where young people will start to learn politics.”
The event concluded with remarks by EDP Secretary General Sandro Gozi: “Young people are the linchpin of Europe’s future. As Democrats, we want to help young people to make the most of Europe, discover the diversity and become the driving force behind the EU project.”
The event focused on parliamentary simulations, offering middle and high school students an immersive experience in the working field of European politics. These simulations, planned by the Breizh France Finistère association, have been designed to be both educational and engaging. They allowed the young participants to slip into the shoes of MEPs, debating and making decisions on current European issues.
In an articulate and lengthy speech recorded on November 9 in Maastricht and broadcast today on his social channels, former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Italian senator and president of the “Italia Viva” party, outlined his ideas for the Europe of tomorrow.