On 30 and 31 May, the European Free Alliance Youth participated in Yo!Fest, a great annual festival organised by the European Youth Forum aimed at increasing youth participation in Europe and raising awareness on their issues.
On 30 May, a team of three EFAy representatives, president Roccu Garoby, bureau member Pablo Peñuela Romero, and coordinator Olrik Bouma, participated in a debate with other European political youth organisations about the topic of austerity versus solidarity. A good discussion was fostered along the whole political spectrum, with teams from the Young European Socialists, the Federation of Young European Greens, the Young European Federalists, the European Liberal Youth, and the Youth of the European People’s Party. While arguments varied, it was clear that most of the organisations present are in favour of solidarity as a solution to the European crisis over austerity.
From the point of view of EFAy, austerity measures over the last years have failed to solve any problems, be it economic or otherwise. In fact, austerity has worsened economic recession, increased social inequalities and social unrest, and caused a boom in unemployment and in particular youth unemployment. Young people, poor people and minorities have been prime targets for austerity measures, which all too often and all too easily decrease or cut protection mechanisms offered to these groups.
EFAy believes the power to solve the crisis lies with solidarity. With a special focus on the abilities of autonomous regions to tackle their economic and social problems, a true bottom-up Europe-wide solidarity approach is the only way to move forward in the current crisis. EFAy’s viewpoint was brought forward in the debate by the three speakers, and EFAy thanks the other organisations for participating in this interesting and fruitful debate and congratulates the Young European Federalists for winning the debate.
On 31 May, EFAy representatives were present at the debate with Commissioner Vassiliou about future EU supported youth programmes. EFAy was glad to hear the positive signs from both the European Commission and the European Parliament, who will do their best to secure funding for these important youth initiatives.
We appreciated the chance to be involved in Yo!Fest and look forward to future events.