European Youth Parliament 2020: Inspiring and empowering young people across Europe
Since 1987, the European Youth Parliament has inspired and empowered hundreds of thousands of young people to be open-minded, tolerant and active citizens. Following the International Strategy, adopted in 2015, the network has worked towards the European Youth Parliament of 2020. Based on the values established as the ideals for the EYP, we have identified four key areas of development: inclusion, empowerment, contribution, and the stability and continuity of the network. These four areas of development form the four pillars of the International Strategy.
As a non-formal educational organisation, the EYP aims to inspire and empower young Europeans, no matter their gender, ethnicity, nationality, socio-economic status or ability. With the ‘inclusion’ pillar, the network focuses on areas of outreach, mobility and regional representation. This pillar requires the EYP to critically revise its existing structures as well as identify target groups that have so far been difficult to reach.
Through their participation in the EYP, young Europeans gain valuable skills, knowledge and confidence and are empowered to have an impact in society. As an organisation for civic education, the EYP seeks to equip its members with transversal skills that formal education often does not provide. To guarantee a high level of educational value, the EYP seeks to examine its work and educational methodology on a regular basis.
The EYP also offers active volunteers opportunities for personal development, which are considered just as important as those provided to first- or second-time participants. After all, the strength of the EYP depends in large part on the network being able to make continued commitment exciting and rewarding.
The EYP is organised by young people, for young people; it is built on the work of young volunteers all over Europe. The EYP not only simulates democratic processes during its events, but also applies them in the running of the organisation. More than 3,500 volunteers plan, prepare and carry out activities, and these same young people make the decisions on how it is run. The EYP offers many opportunities to volunteers, but there is progress to be made in rewarding volunteers. Running a non-governmental voluntary organisation is no simple task, and there is never a shortage of work to be done. Therefore, rewarding volunteers and showing the added value of volunteering is both a matter of principle and a strategic necessity for the EYP’s long-term development.
Stability and continuity
Over its history, the EYP has grown immensely and continues to do so at an extraordinary rate. However, most board members and active volunteers work for their National Committee for about two years, and much knowledge and experience, as well as contacts outside the organisation, are lost in transition. The areas focused on with this pillar – organisational stability and continuity, professionalism, as well as administrative capacity and management skills – have been designed to better retain knowledge and build structures that will form a solid foundation for the EYP to continue to build on, year by year.