European Youth Parliament
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|Key people||Krista Simberg (Executive Director)|
The European Youth Parliament is a politically and religiously unbound non-profit organisation, which encourages European youth to actively engage in citizenship and cultural understanding. It involves 40,000 youngsters from all around Europe in its events and has around 5,000 active members in the different countries. It was established in 1987 in Fontainebleau, France.
The European Youth Parliament was founded by Bettina Carr-Allinson, initially as a school project at the Lycée François-Ier in Fontainebleau, to the south of Paris. It is there that three of the first four International Sessions were held, starting in 1988, about a year after the idea took place.
It then developed steadily for a few years until it moved to Witney, Oxfordshire, in 1991, and was legally recognised as the European Youth Parliament International Ltd., a subsidiary of a charity created in 1992 for this purpose, the Fontainebleau Youth Foundation. The organisation experienced an enduring growth for the next ten years, its network counting an increasing number of National Committees and its activities becoming both larger and more numerous. The National Committees stretch beyond the scope of countries within the European Union and try to encompass all European countries.
In the years 2001 to 2004, the EYP encountered various problems of financial nature. On November 4, 2004, however, the European Youth Parliament was reborn due to a mutual agreement between representatives of EYP's Board of National Committees, alumni and the Heinz-Schwarzkopf Foundation. The EYP's status since then has been a programme of the Schwarzkopf-Stiftung Junges Europa, and is hosted in Berlin, Germany.
The actual activities of the EYP never faltered during this period.
Since 2004, the EYP has introduced several reforms to introduce more transparency in its institutions and further enlarged its activities.
At the international level, the EYP is governed by an international board, the Governing Body. The Governing Body has six members elected by the National Committees and by the alumni of past sessions. A representative of the Heinz-Schwarzkopf Foundation is also a member. The board is largely responsible for the quality assurance of the International Sessions but also takes responsibility for the overall direction of the organisation and the long term sustainability and protection of the Organisation. The day-to-day business of the organisation is administered by a hired manager. Philipp J. Scharff was manager from 2004 until 2008 and Jan Phillip Beck (DE) from 2008 until April 2011. Ville Vasaramäki (FI) took over this role and is currently the Executive Director of the EYP.
At the national level, the National Committees are free to choose how to manage themselves though the form of management must comply with basic democratic principles. It is the responsibility of the National Committees to organize and fund their own national sessions (more about them below). International Sessions can receive limited funding from EYP at the international level but are largely responsible for their economy as well. Sessions are usually funded through sponsorship from various organizations or corporations. Each session must be economically independent.
National Committees (NC) of EYP can be found in:
EYP organises three international nine-day sessions each year. They are organized in different countries and all European countries are invited to join, not just members of the EU. Each country's national committee selects a delegation to participate in each session, the size of the delegation depends on the country and how long time its National Committee has been part of EYP. The delegations are then spread out in different committees, each committee with a particular topic. This ensures a maximized cultural diversity in the committee and serves as a strong incentive to socialize and make friends with people from the committee.
Each international session starts with of a two-day Teambuilding part, in which delegates get acquainted with each other and start improving the group dynamics of the committee. The delegates play different games which are meant to bring the delegates from an initial shyness stage to a comfortable, open atmosphere optimal for efficient Committee work.
This is followed by four or five days for Committee Work. During this time the delegates discuss a problematic topic on current European political matters and write a resolution on how to deal with the issue. A member of the European Parliament or some alternative expert will generally visit once to answer questions and quickly discuss the topic with the Committee.
The sessions ends with a General Assembly, in which the committee resolutions are looked through, altered and approved (or if the resolution is found unacceptable, not approved). If a resolution is approved it is sent on to the European Parliament, for the consideration of MEPs. General Assembly is usually held in some honorary or prestigious location, such as the host country's Houses of Parliament or the main hall of the City Council.
Additionally National Committees of EYP organise several national and regional sessions every year. National sessions are to select a delegation for one of the upcoming international sessions. These sessions are shorter, lasting normally three days and do not invite a member of the European Parliament to the committees. Regional sessions are of varying length, from 3 to 7 or 8 days, and in essence imitate international sessions. They have, however, a more constrained budget and tend to be less formal than international sessions. For both national and regional sessions, resolutions are not sent on to the European Parliament.
As of Summer 2013, 73 international EYP sessions have taken place:
- 1st International Session in Fontainebleau, France, 1988
- 2nd International Session in Fontainebleau, France, 1989
- 3rd International Session in Thessaloniki, Greece, 1989
- 4th International Session in Fontainebleau, France, 1990
- 5th International Session in Lisbon, Portugal, 1990
- 6th International Session in Kronberg, Germany, 1990
- 7th International Session in Prague, Czech Republic, 1991
- 8th International Session in Barcelona, Spain, 1991
- 9th International Session in Oxford, United Kingdom, 1992
- 10th International Session in Strasbourg, France, 1992
- 11th International Session in Ghent, Belgium, 1992
- 12th International Session in Budapest, Hungary, 1993
- 13th International Session in Luxembourg, Luxembourg, 1993
- 14th International Session in Fontainebleau, France, 1993
- 15th International Session in Berlin, Germany, 1994
- 16th International Session in Brussels, Belgium, 1994
- 17th International Session in Holstebro, Denmark, 1994
- 18th International Session in Gothenburg, Sweden, 1995
- 19th International Session in Dublin, Ireland, 1995
- 20th International Session in Milan, Italy, 1995
- 21st International Session in Helsinki, Finland, 1996
- 22nd International Session in Munich, Germany, 1996
- 23rd International Session in Nicosia, Cyprus, 1996
- 24th International Session in Thessaloniki, Greece, 1997
- 25th International Session in Barcelona, Spain, 1997
- 26th International Session in Edinburgh, United Kingdom, 1997
- 27th International Session in Granada, Spain, 1998
- 28th International Session in Brussels, Belgium, 1998
- 29th International Session in Vienna, Austria, 1998
- 30th International Session in Rome, Italy, 1999
- 31st International Session in Weimar, Germany, 1999
- 32nd International Session in Hämeenlinna, Finland, 1999
- 33rd International Session in Athens, Greece, 2000
- 34th International Session in Bern, Switzerland, 2000
- 35th International Session in Oxford, United Kingdom, 2000
- 36th International Session in Stockholm, Sweden, 2001
- 37th International Session in Dubrovnik, Croatia, 2001
- 38th International Session in Porto, Portugal, 2001
- 39th International Session in Riga, Latvia, 2002
- 40th International Session in Ghent, Belgium, 2002
- 41st International Session in Turin, Italy, 2002
- 42nd International Session in Prague, Czech Republic, 2003
- 43rd International Session in Dublin, Ireland, 2003
- 44th International Session in Tallinn, Estonia, 2003
- 45th International Session in Durham, United Kingdom, 2004
- 46th International Session in Tábor, Czech Republic, 2004
- 47th International Session in Berlin, Germany, 2004
- 48th International Session in Stavanger, Norway, Spring 2005
- 49th International Session in Basel, Switzerland, Summer 2005
- 50th International Session in Bari, Italy, Autumn 2005
- 51st International Session in Paris, France, Spring 2006
- 52nd International Session in Ventspils-Riga, Latvia, Summer 2006
- 53rd International Session in Kiev, Ukraine, Autumn 2006
- 54th International Session in Potsdam, Germany, Spring 2007
- 55th International Session in Białystok, Poland, Summer 2007
- 56th International Session in Dublin, Ireland, Autumn 2007
- 57th International Session in Prague, Czech Republic Spring 2008
- 58th International Session in Liverpool, United Kingdom, Summer 2008
- 59th International Session in Rennes, France, Autumn 2008
- 60th International Session in Stockholm, Sweden, Spring 2009
- 61st International Session in Leuven, Belgium, Summer 2009
- 62nd International Session in Helsinki, Finland, Autumn 2009
- 63rd International Session in Tromsø, Norway, Spring 2010
- 64th International Session in Frankfurt, Germany, Summer 2010
- 65th International Session in Lviv, Ukraine, Autumn 2010
- Extraordinary International Session in Lillehammer, Norway, Winter 2010
- 66th International Session in Athens, Greece, Spring 2011
- 67th International Session in Grenoble, France, Summer 2011
- 68th International Session in Zagreb, Croatia, Autumn 2011
- 69th International Session in Istanbul, Turkey, Spring 2012
- 70th International Session in Tallinn, Estonia, Summer 2012
- 71st International Session in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Autumn 2012
- 72nd International Session in Munich, Germany, Spring 2013
- 73rd International Session in Zurich, Switzerland, Summer 2013
- 74th International Session in Tbilisi, Georgia, Autumn 2013
Future sessions will include:
- 75th International Session in Riga, Latvia, Spring 2014
- 76th International Session in Barcelona, Spain, Summer 2014
- 77th International Session in Kiev, Ukraine, Autumn 2014
- 78th International Session in Izmir, Turkey, Spring 2015
- 79th International Session in Tampere, Finland, Summer 2015
- European Youth Parliament – official website