Party Political Youth Organisations Debate – Europe as a Global PowerFriday 11 November 19:13
Pictures by Kat Erdelyi
Cologne, November 4th 2016 – In the thirth debate of party political youth organisations, organised by the Young European Federalists in Cologne, Germany, we debated on the role of Europe in the world. The big themes were TTIP, the humanitarian refugee crisis and the European Defense and Security Policy (EDSP). Speakers were Tomasz Kaniecki from EDS, Sissel Kvist from LYMEC, Laura Slimani from YES and me on behalf of FYEG.
For the first part, we divided ourselves in groups to discuss the subject. After an orientation on the theme, our group chose TTIP as main focus. The group shared thoughts on the pros and cons of TTIP and we concluded on how it should be: a trade agreement that includes the interests of developing countries, that is established in a transparent process and that allows democracies to set the norms in global markets.
Continuing with the panel debate, each PPYO presented the main outcomes of their discussion. Topics discussed differed, but TTIP was discussed everywhere, and quite critical. I highlighted the conclusion of our group and commented on it from FYEG perspective. The lack of transparency so far, the effect that TTIP will have on global south, and the negative effects that TTIP can have on democratically established social and environmental protection make the current trade agreement unacceptable.
Hence we answered questions from the audience. My favourite was how to make Europe great again. Rather than EDSP, I stated that the way to make Europe a global power, is to practice what we preach. We need no new narrative, we need to stand up for human rights and prioritise them over economic interests. Our dependency on fossil fuel makes us vulnerable, as we continue to fund illiberal regimes to supply us in our oil addiction. We need European energy independence based on renewables.
On the refugee crisis lastly, I asked the audience who would believe that Europe stand for human dignity, when the whole world sees fortress Europe. Migration is a human right, and thus we need legal pathways to Europe, extended family reunification law and a coast guard to save the humans who endanger their life for a better future. I stressed that we need leadership of the European Commission, as the way to make Europe a global power is to show the world we are a humanitarian power!