The Young Political Leaders event included eighteen politically engaged activists from Israel and Palestine and took place in Brussels from 28 to 30 November 2016. The event provided a space for participants to better understand the European Union and its institutions and specifically to engage in dialogue with Members of the European Parliament, the EU Special Representative, the European External Action Service, the European Commission and Civil Society Organisations.
As the Middle East Peace Process remains a high priority for the European Parliament, the participants also shared their experiences and visions on the future of the conflict with their European counter-parts. The Young Political Leaders also participated in a scenario-based workshop at the European Institute of Peace where they could practice their mediation and dialogue skills and have feedback from the experts at the institute.
Moreover, the participants had an opportunity to discuss their experience with President Schulz, Mr Brok, Chair of the AFET Committee and Mr Gentilini, EU Special Representative for the Middle East peace. The Young Political Leaders were welcomed to the European Parliament during the AFET Committee meeting.
The YPL continues to build on the successful achievements of previous European Parliament initiatives to support the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue amongst young leaders and the European Parliament.
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 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 European Parliament'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.