„YMCA Europe is a working fellowship to strengthen movements where people grow in body, mind and spirit.“


25th April 2017

The annual Council of members (COMEM) of the European Youth Forum is an opportunity for the members of the biggest European Youth movements platform to reunite its members and to discuss and vote on crucial matters.

This year in particular the COMEM was inserted in what the European Commission calls "the year of listening", a year when we are called to give our input as youth organizations into a number of European decisions in times of great changes. This year it was also the time for the elections of the Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe, as we mentioned in our newsletter.

The COMEM this year started with a Gala, the YouthUp Gala, organized to meet the European Commission, the European Parliament and the current Presidency of the European Council (Malta), to share a common vision for Europe. During the Gala, representatives from 4 former and current European Youth Capitals (among which Cascais in Portugal, Cluj in Romania and Varna in Bulgaria) signed a pledge to continue their commitment to include youth into their decision-making processes. The Gala was also the setting where the Schwarzkopf Foundation announced the 2017 winners of the European of the Year Award. The nominations are now open for 2018 at http://schwarzkopf-stiftung.de/en/awards/.

Our delegates at the COMEM were Gerald Chifamba, our Chief Representative to the Youth Forum, and Martina Vitezova, both from our Youth Policy Group. They were assisted by the Brussels Office as Extra Delegate. The first day of the COMEM saw the debate of the Advisory Council candidates. Our candidate, Martina Vitezova, from our YPG, brilliantly presented her thoughts on the role of youth in conflict transformation, and she connected with all the members of the Forum personal to share her views and vision. We also presented an amendment to the Resolution regarding the protection of LGBTQI youth organizations in Turkey, and we were successful. During this day and the following we also discussed among the members several matters: our cooperation with Youth Organizations in the Mediterranean, Erasmus+ Funding, the new Pillar on Social Rights, etc. We presented our views, based on the draft of the Policy Papers made by our YPG and the discussions behind them.

Unfortunately, our Martina was not elected in the Advisory Council, for just a couple of votes. The candidates were many this year and the competition very fierce for new faces in the YFJ. In any case, we will run again next time, very soon. Thanks to this COMEM we were able to renew again the cooperation with our usual partners, and to form new partnerships and cooperation with National Youth Councils and other European Youth Organizations.

We will keep you updated, in particular regarding the participation of our YPG to the newly formed Expert Groups, which will draft the European Youth Forum next Policy Papers. Keep following us on our website, on Facebook, Twitter and our Newsletter!

Author/Source: Ilenia Ventroni