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 1/2 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.
The forum benefits from the neutral environment of the EU, where Israelis, Palestinians and their neighbours can share their concerns and establish contacts with their European counterparts. It 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: for the European Parliament, investing in young leaders represents 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.