The idea of bringing together young leaders from the Eastern Partnership countries and the European Union at the European Parliament in Brussels came up on the basis of the experience of successful meetings, held as of 2008, with young leaders from Israel, Palestine and the EU. In spring 2013, the European Parliament decided to extend and open its programme to participants from the whole neighbourhood of the EU. By now, the Southern and the Eastern dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy are contemplated by the European Parliament's initiative for the Young Leaders.
Apart from the opportune coverage of the two geographical dimensions, the organization of the Young Leaders Forum Eastern Partnership-EU is the expression of the importance civil society has at the heart of the Eastern Partnership policy of the EU and of the fundamental role youth plays in mobilizing societies to expose their legitimate demands. Often the youth have to struggle hard to be recognized as actors of change, to participate in public life and to take forward democratic developments in their countries. Hosting them in the European Parliament is above all a networking exercise to link them up amongst themselves and with political actors. The EU citizens have maybe difficulties in establishing direct contacts and might still perceive the Eastern Partners not as their neighbors but as distant, problematic realities. In turn, some of the Eastern Partners might still need to clarify their expectations towards the EU and to exploit fully the potential of complementarity with their neighbors from Eastern Europe to face regional challenges.
The Forum gathers young leaders from the Eastern Partner countries and the EU at a stage of their career where they can still express themselves freely without the constraints that hamper acting senior leaders. Therefore, it can be considered a modest, although concrete, investment of the European Parliament in the human capital and the leadership of tomorrow.
Who can participate?
Three young leaders aged 20-35 from each of the following countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine and six from the EU. Participants maybe be members of a political group, hold an electoral mandate, occupy an emerging leadership position in public service, in a private company, in a trade-union, in a youth movement or an NGO.
Working languages will be English and Russian.
The Forum consists of several round tables where participants discuss among themselves or with Members of the European Parliament, representatives of other EU Institutions or experts and external guest speakers..
If you are selected, the European Parliament will cover all expenses linked to the Forum (economy class travel, accommodation and all meals included in the programme, public transport in Brussels). Candidates selected will receive a personal invitation to ask for a Schengen visa. Your visa request should be filled as soon as possible.