A weekend of new friends, political discussion and debate, what else would you be doing?
The European Youth Parliament, or EYP originated in 1988, it’s aim is to “raise awareness of European issues, encourage active European citizenship and motivate young people to get involved in European politics.” according to their website.
In Ireland it holds a Regional Session in each of the four provinces, then a National session, usually held in the capital city Dublin. The delegates for these sessions are typically 15-18 in secondary schools. All the sessions are organized and run by volunteer college students.
The sessions’ objectives are to introduce young people into being more politically aware and to communicate in groups, different ways to improve the E.U. in areas such as education, transport and equal rights. The most recent EYP Ireland event to occur was the Munster Regional Session 2017 held in Cork. Myself and 11 of my classmates attended this session.
Niamh, a participant of the Munster Session, says the session helped her gain confidence when public speaking and meeting new people. The weekend was also a brilliant platform for debate.
Here’s a basic rundown of a session runs. It is usually held over a weekend. So on the Friday afternoon, the delegates assemble. Usually, delegates that have to travel to the session are all put into the same hostel for the weekend. After registration, delegates are put into their committees. An evening of team building is had, to familiarize the delegates with their fellow committee members. This involves games and exercises that often allow delegates to express their opinions and discuss topics with their fellow committee members.On Saturday, the whole day is dedicated to committee work. The committees are given a resolution, involving the E.U., which they have to convince all the other committees to ‘pass’. Similar to the bill-passing system in the U.S. Committees must create several Introductory Clauses and Operative Clauses, basically just their ideas on their resolution and how to tackle the problems. A semi-formal dress code is in place. Usually on the Saturday night a social event is had. The disco had an ‘Outer Space’ theme this year.
Sunday is when the General Assembly happens. All of the committees assemble into a hall and each committee presents their resolution and their clauses. They try to convince the floor to pass their resolution. Everyone is encouraged to debate the topic. A formal dress code is present, similar to the European Parliament. Each delegate has a vote and there is a certain amount of votes a committee must surpass in order for their resolution to be successful.
Cian, another delegate says EYP taught him a lot more about the EU and how its governing bodies operate. He also says he now realizes the major issues facing the youth of Europe today.
Of the people interviewed, one clear message of advice became visible: go in there with a clear head. Research a little beforehand, but at the end of the day, take advantage of this opportunity.