10th Anniversary of Mediterranean Journalists Awards (in cooperation with the Anna Lindh Foundation)

6 December 2017, Brussels

Poster for event
The 10th Anniversary of Mediterranean Young Journalists Awards Ceremony was hosted by the European Parliament, the Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group, and co-organised with the Anna Lindh Foundation.

The Anna Lindh Foundation's initiative is fully in line with the European Parliament's full commitment to EU core values, including human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights and its support to the young leaders in the MENA region through its YPL Programme.

The ceremony with the global theme on Intercultural Dialogue narrowed its focus more specifically on the "Intercultural Cities and Reporting on Migration".

Young Political Leaders from Israel and Palestine

27-29 November 2017, Brussels

This year's programme targeting future young leaders from Israel and Palestine regrouped both, alumni from last year's YPL's Programme and 'newcomers'.

All participants, including political party activists and civil society representatives, showed their energy, determination and commitment as well as their appreciation for this European Parliament initiative aimed at deepening mutual relations among them as well as promoting peaceful dialogue.

The programme included a number of specific themes such as introduction to the EU institutions' involvement on youth issues, dialogue with young MEPs, discussion on democracy support and human rights as well as the issue of two state solution.

Follow up on Trieste - Western Balkans

20-21 November 2017, Brussels

Bridging the gap between youth policy, youth participation and parliamentarians in the Western Balkans

The programme developed for MPs and civil society organisations from the six Western Balkan countries was a key follow-up activity to the Trieste EU-Western Balkans Youth Pre-Summit and the first co-organised European Parliament and European Commission (DG NEAR) activity in the follow up to the Berlin Process.

At this first regional platform bringing parliamentarians and youth organisations directly together, participants discussed in-depth the challenges and possible responses to address the vicious cycle of youth disengagement with politics. Best practices by Western Balkans' Parliaments and youth organisations were shared and discussed, as for instance the experience of the parliamentarians from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in setting up a youth caucus, which was seen as a genuinely positive development worth considering by other Parliaments in the region.

Both young parliamentarians and youth organisations appreciated the opportunity and agreed to continue the dialogue. Ideas for the next steps in creating sustainable regional and country platforms were discussed with the facilitation of the newly established RYCO office who also agreed to propose an engagement plan.

4th Africa - Europe Youth Summit 2017

29-30 November 2017, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

The Pre-Summit Youth Forum convened "youths" from across Africa and the EU in order to draft recommendations to be presented to EU representatives and to the Ivorian Minister for Youth and to the Heads of State at the 5th EU-Africa Summit on 29-30 November in Abidjan.

For the first time the EP's Young Political Leaders programme contributed to the Pre-Summit by Mr Castaldo leading the plenary panel on "Youth and Governance" with representatives from youth organisations.

Western Balkans Youth Forum

11 - 12 July 2017, Trieste

Photo of young people participating in the event in Trieste

Through the Young Political Leaders Programme, the European Parliament contributed to the Western Balkans pre-Summit Youth Conference, organised by the European Commission (DG NEAR) and hosted by the Italian government in Trieste, on 11 and 12 July 2017.

Mr Massimo Fabio Castaldo, the Lead-Member for the EP's Young Political Leaders Programme, together with Ms Ivana Tufegdzik, the youngest Member of a Parliament from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, moderated a panel on 'Bridging the gap between youth policy, youth participation and parliamentarians from the region.' The two parliamentarians then facilitated discussions with future young leaders on guiding principles and concrete proposals for enhancing the interaction between policy-makers and youth organisations in the region.

The exchange included a discussion on how to increase youth participation in policy-making at all levels - regional, national and European - and on how to overcome obstacles to youth activists getting involved in politics, political parties and as members of parliament.

The Youth Forum provided youth representatives with an opportunity to review progress in the Western Balkans Berlin Process and specifically to prepare key recommendations that were presented to EU and Western Balkans Foreign Ministers and fed into the Western Balkans Summit Conclusions. It also provided a platform for interaction, exchange and dialogue, bringing together 130 young people, youth organisations, academia and decision-makers from the Western Balkans and EU institutions and Member States to discuss joint responses to common challenges.

Young Political Leaders from the MENA Region

3 May 2017, Brussels

Young Political Leaders from MENA Region

Following a request from the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EP's Young Political Leaders programme welcomed 10 participants from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The participants came from Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt and Jordan as well as from Europe. The participants are part of the Young Med Voices Plus, a pioneering youth initiative launched by Ms Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, in order to enhance and concretely support dialogue with young Mediterranean voices.

The group began their programme by attending a workshop organized by the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) on "sectarianism in Middle East and North Africa", in which they actively participated. During this session, the young participants were greeted by the Vice-Chair of the AFET Committee, Mr. Primdahl Vistisen.

The young leaders then had the opportunity to follow a combined session with the young Parliamentarians from Tunisia, chaired by the YPL lead-MEP Fabio Massimo Castaldo, in the framework of the EP's Tunisia week. The panel discussion was focused on strengthening youth engagement in political life and on bridging the divide between civil society and Parliaments in their own countries.

During the programme, the Young Med Voices Plus participants also had the opportunity to discover more about the role and responsibilities of the European Parliament. The group expressed a strong interest in the EP's innovative approach to democracy support activities in a world of cultural and religious difference during a discussion with MEP Julie Ward.

They also had the chance to be welcome by the EP's President Antonio Tajani and Vice-President Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso, who encouraged the young leaders to constantly pursue their goals and make sure the elders in their communities hear their voice.

The YPL event once again provided an important opportunity for the young leaders to engage in a constructive dialogue between them and with some MEPs, thus encouraging the EP to continue its support for civil society and youth in the world.

The participants urged the EP to continue developing its YPL programme and activities in support of future leaders. The European External Action Service with the Young Med Voices Plus participants expressed their desire to engage in further possible youth-related activities.

Young Political Leaders from Armenia and Azerbaijan

6-8 March 2017

photo of young political leaders from Aremenia and Azerbaijan

The Young Political Leaders programme for participants from Armenia and Azerbaijan took place in Brussels from 6 to 8 March 2017. For the first time, 18 young participants from both Armenia and Azerbaijan gathered at the EP's premises.

This event represented an opportunity not only to engage in a focused and sometimes lively exchange on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the European Parliament's role, but also to get a deeper insight on the EU institutions and key policy areas. The participants shared their experience on various topics, such as the EU's approach to conflict prevention, the role of civil society in peace-building efforts in Nagorno-Karabakh and the role of political parties in the democratic process.

During the three-day programme, the participants shared their experiences with high-level MEPs, including European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, Vice-President Ryszcard Czarnecki, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee David McAllister, Chair of the EP Delegation for Relations with Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia Sajjad KARIM, and Chair of the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly Rebecca Harms.

The participants were also welcomed by the lead MEP for Young Political Leaders programme, Fabio Massimo Castaldo.

Furthermore, the Young Political Leaders engaged in role-play organised by the European Institute of Peace, during which they were involved in a fictitious situation that needed to be peacefully resolved. The exercise was designed to raise awareness on mediation skills, as well as to create momentum for the talks and mutual understanding of one another's perceptions of the issues at stake.

Because of the sensitivities around the "not-so-frozen conflict", the importance of building trust on both sides was emphasised in order to launch constructive dialogue.

The participants showed their commitment and energy to engage in respectful dialogue on the complex regional dynamics, as well as their encouragement that the European Parliament consider follow-up activities, including in the region. The value of the YPL was thus highlighted, as a tool for encouraging peaceful dialogue among young leaders from Armenia and Azerbaijan.