The event held in Brussels from11 to 13 July 2016 focused on the enhancement of the role of young leaders in the five Maghreb countries in policy and politics at a national and regional level.
The three-day programme for the sixteen political party activists and civil society representatives from Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia dedicated each day to a specific theme,including an introduction to the European Parliament and non-governmental organisations dealing with the Maghreb region, dialogue with young Members of the European Parliament, the EU approach to conflict prevention and a focus on peaceful dialogue and human right issues within the region.
A strong emphasis was given to the importance of connecting young political activists from non-EU countries with each other, enhancing the cooperation within the region, as well as making concrete proposals to policy makers on priority youth issues.
At the conclusion of the event, a "Joint Statement - Young Political Leaders Maghreb 2016" was written by the participants, endorsing the value of the Young Political Leaders Programme and proposing four specific recommendations to the EU.
The event included the launch of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office of the Western Balkans (RYCO) as well as an opportunity for young leaders from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina,the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia to network and make concrete proposals to policy makers on priority youth issues. These priorities and proposals included peaceful dialogue and regional reconciliation, encouraging greater youth participation in democratic life,bridging the gap between political institutions (including parliaments) and the youth, access to independent media and opportunities for vocational and educational training for young people.
In the framework of the Young Political Leaders Programme the EP's engagement in the event formed part of its commitment to the Western Balkans and the active participation of lead-MEP Fabio Massimo CASTALDO in the high level panel of political leaders was widely appreciated by the participants.
The Eastern Partnership event took place from 8 to 11 December 2015 in Brussels and welcomed participants from Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Russia and the EU.
Following the success of the 2014 and 2013 Eastern Partnership Young Leaders Forum, the 2015 event was designed to offer participants a rewarding experience and an opportunity to interact both with EU stakeholders and amongst themselves. High-level speakers from but also beyond the EU world discussed with the participants issues of concern and problematic realities in the EU. Topics included EU-Ukraine relations, the EU's Eastern Partnership Policies and sustainable democracy.
The Eastern Partnership event was an intensive programme, allowing participants to meet and interact with more than 30 interlocutors during their 3,5 days in Brussels, including Members, representatives from academia, civil society, think tanks and other EU institutions such as the European Commission and the European External Action Service.
For the European Parliament, the Forum completes a wide range of political activities towards promoting peace in the Middle East. It is meant to take advantage of the EU as a neutral environment, where Israelis, Palestinians and their neighbours can share their concerns and establish contacts with their European counterparts. It also aims to establish a growing network of future leaders and to trigger follow-up initiatives to be developed by the participants. The Forum's objective is obviously small compared to the enormous challenge of solving the Middle East conflict. However, it is not less ambitious, because for the European Parliament, investing in young leaders means a crucial investment in human capital.
Following a request from the EU Delegation in Khartoum, an ad hoc programme was developed for a group of 12 Young Political Leaders from the Republic of the Sudan, between 13 and 17 April 2015, in Brussels.
This successful initiative brought together future decision-makers from different political backgrounds, allowing them to learn about the European experience of developing a pluralistic democratic culture, as well as to reflect on the democratic developments occurring within their own country.
An ambitious programme, participants discussed many key themes with Members of the European Parliament, including peace, democracy, human rights, coalition building, religious tolerance, and gender equality. They also shared experiences as to the role of young political activists and political parties in democracy building, learned about European experiences of state break-ups, and discussed peaceful methods of conflict resolution and reconciliation.
The visit was overseen by Ms. Linda McAvan, Co-Chair of the Democracy Support and Elections Coordination Group (DEG), and was jointly organised by the European Parliamentary Mediation Service (EPMS) and the EU Delegation in Khartoum.
A la demande des participants, cette édition était très axée sur les actions concrètes que les jeunes leaders pourront mener ensemble. Les participants avaient ainsi l'occasion de dresser un état des lieux des projets formulés en 2013 et d'examiner de nouvelles idées projets en termes de faisabilité, soutiens et synergies possibles.Pourquoi?
Les mouvements sociaux et révolutionnaires que la Méditerranée connaît depuis 2011 ont impulsé au Parlement européen l'idée de réunir de jeunes leaders du Maghreb et de l'Union européenne pour une rencontre à Bruxelles. Les jeunes ont joué un rôle primordial dans la mobilisation des sociétés pour formuler leurs revendications légitimes. Or, au lendemain des révolutions, ces mêmes jeunes peinent à se voir accorder leur place comme acteurs du changement. Les accueillir au Parlement européen devra avant tout permettre de créer des liens, d'abord entre les participants, mais aussi avec les responsables politiques.
L'Europe perçoit le Maghreb davantage à travers ses communautés d'immigrés que par le contact direct avec les leaders maghrébins de demain. A son tour, les pays du Maghreb ont le regard plus tourné vers l'Europe que vers les réalités de leurs voisins pourtant si similaires et complémentaires.
Le Forum a réuni des jeunes leaders de part et d'autre de la Méditerranée à un stade de leur carrière qui leur permettra de s'exprimer encore en toute liberté, affranchis des contraintes qui pèsent sur les leaders confirmés. Le Forum bâtit sur l'expérience d'une rencontre annuelle entre jeunes leaders israéliens, palestiniens et européens que le Parlement européen organise depuis 2008 avec beaucoup de succès. Il se veut un investissement modeste, mais concret dans le capital humain de demain.
"We are pleased to welcome you to the website of the European Parliament's Young Political Leaders programme, launched and supported by the Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group, which we have the honour of Co-Chairing during this Parliamentary term. The YPL programme is a flag-ship initiative of the European Parliament designed to promote dialogue and understanding as a means to contribute to longer-term peace and trust amongst future leaders outside the EU. We believe this is an exciting and complementary initiative, alongside the EU's overall efforts, to support young leaders committed to achieving a more peaceful future."
The EP Young Political Leaders Programme acknowledges the importance of building dialogue between future political leaders, in order to develop a climate of trust and confidence that will ultimately lead to a more peaceful world. By connecting young political activists from non-EU countries with each other, as well as building relations with their counterparts in the European Parliament, experiences of peace and democracy can be shared and further developed.