The European Union. It’s a nice idea. It’s got some great aspects, it’s got some cuddly bits, and like any other grand idea it’s got the bits which simply don’t work on a practical level. Not for the want of trying but simply because sometimes the compromises just aren’t viable.
As young people with fresh eyes and new ideas we know that a lot needs to be done. We know that a lot of this can’t be done by our own respective countries alone.
Many of you reading this will know, or be members, of our sections across Europe. You might have seen some of our pan-Europe campaigns on issues as diverse as democracy for Belarus, liberalisation of EU visa regime and EU-wide constituency for EP elections. Many national and local sections will have also run campaigns of their own on a variety of issues, hosted talks with speakers to learn more about the realities and for you to form your own views.
But how do we decide what to campaign on and which issues we should tackle at an international level?
Well the answer comes from the other half of JEF. We’re not just about Europe and a better European Union for all of the people. We’re also about a form of governance called “Federalism”. And the best way to describe it? Well, we do it ourselves: we take decisions at the lowest appropriate level possible.
So whilst local and national sections decide the campaigns that they want to run, collectively we decide which will be pushed at a European level. And whilst every national section gets to vote at the Federal Committee and the Federal Congress (next one will be in October in Helsinki this year) which make the decision, every individual who is a member of JEF has the chance to feed in their ideas.
The process has already started for this Octobers event with the launch of the draft political platform, through which, the Federal Congress of JEF formulates its key convictions and political messages that provide inspiration to move away from the current political constellation in Europe and progress towards a true Federation. Indeed the Political Platform constitutes an entire reservoir of valuable ideas for action by all members of the organisation. The draft document is still very rough, but it is a real start. This is your chance to be part of federalism in action and potentially shape the future of Europe.
You might have only joined up yesterday, or have never have been to a JEF event overseas. Then again you could be long in the tooth having been to too many events. Either way, your thoughts and ideas are valued and if you want to see your ideas taken up all over Europe, or simply want to influence the process, why not take a look at the Wiki http://jefpoliticalplatform.wikispaces.com, email Pauline Gessant, JEF Europe Vice-President who is leading on the process (email@example.com) or contact your national section to know what they are doing about this.