“Power Shifts – Reflecting Europe’s Energy” is a project by the European Youth Parliament and the Schwarzkopf Foundation in cooperation with the Innogy Stiftung für Energie und Gesellschaft. Throughout Europe it enables young people to monitor, inform themselves and debate about European energy policy. The project will focus on the diversity and interdependency of energy policy on the European level, while France, Poland and Germany will serve as national example cases.
Three focus countries, France, Poland and Germany will each host an international youth forum in the project timeline from 2015 until 2017 involving over 100 young participants from all over Europe. In 2015 the Academic Power Shifts Forum in Lyon, France, hosted 120 participants from 26 European countries for seven days. Warsaw, Poland will follow in October 2016 and the German conference will be organised in summer 2017.
The forum participants are supported by eight young experts, the Steering Group. This is a small working group that focuses on five topic dimensions in order to break down the complex topic of energy for the forum participants. The group will accompany the academic forums until 2017 and provide the analytical preparation for the discussions. Their concluding product will be a policy summary, which is to set the basis of the discussions during the final event in Brussels.
Three Academic Forums in Three Years
From October 24th to November 2nd, 150 young Europeans have gathered in the wonderful city of Lyon for the first Power Shifts Forum of a series of three. Warsaw will host the second forum from October 23-30, 2016. And Germany will host the last forum in 2017. At the end of these three European youth conferences on the topic of energy, the resolutions will be compiled and handed over to the project patrons.
The participants will be both students who will participate in EYP for the first time and students who have participated before. During the event, they will sit in eight international committees and use their various fields of study to contribute to the discussion on future European energy policies from different perspectives. The programme of the conferences lasts for seven days, following the successful EYP model with Teambuilding, Committee Work and General assembly. Throughout the whole session, a Cultural Programme gives the participants the possibility to get acquainted with each other’s cultures and traditions. This process results in increased cultural awareness, self-confidence and mutual understanding, while at the same time tackling xenophobia and prejudices. Additionally, the focus will be on involving experts and decision makers in roundtable expert hearings.
Main topic: Energy
Energy is possibly the most interdependent political issue of the 21st century. In the past years, we have experienced decreasing stocks of fossil fuels, the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima, alarming studies on climate change and debates over social sustainability of rising costs for energy supply. Furthermore energy supply was used as political leverage by several states and hence clearly constitutes an important aspect in international political relations. The upcoming years will see crucial debates regarding the direction to take to secure the future of Europe’s energy supply. And while energy-related issues are still mainly being debated on a national level, it seems clear that solutions will have to be European, if not global. The EYP believes that it is not only important to discuss these issues on a European level but moreover to discuss it with young people as they will have to live with these transitions in our energy landscape.
The project’s Steering Group broke down the complex issue of energy into five dimensions in order to provide a framework for the project as a whole as well as for the participants’ work:
Foreign Policy and Security dimension
Energy has become an important political instrument. One main aspect of this dimension is energy security and it includes the security of energy supply and the security of particular state’s integrity. During the forum in Lyon, the participants focused on the ongoing tensions with Russia and Ukraine, the possible implications of the climate conference in Paris and the role of human rights in multinational energy projects.
We are yet to find a cost-effective way to transmit and store electrical energy at a large scale. Thus energy technology innovation is key to meeting economic, climate and security objectives. The participants discussed especially the future of nuclear energy and the use of fracking in the European Union.
Energy use and production affect the sustainability of our resources and, in the long-term, also the well-being of humankind. The project’s discussions about energy policies should thus include environmental perspectives.
Competitiveness and the functioning of society are dependent on reliable energy supply. The challenge is to ensure safe, secure and sustainable energy that is both economically affordable and profitable. This dimension was discussed by the young participants under the aspects of balancing energy transition efforts with economic growth as well as where the financial means of modernizing energy systems can and shall come from.
In the past decades, price changes of fuel, general energy sustainability as well as environmental concerns have raised awareness in varying levels of society on the way energy is produced and used.
The Steering Group
The group is coordinated by Kerstin Eckart (DE) from the Schwarzkopf Foundation and the International Office of the EYP in Berlin. It includes seven young interested experts on energy from six European countries who will enable an analysis of energy policy developments in Europe for the whole project timeframe and who ensure a link between the discussions of our young participants at each international forum.
A key element of the project is the organisation of three international youth forums in France, Germany and Poland from 2015 until 2017. That is why the EYP organisation in these three countries sent one representative each to participate in the work of the Steering Group. Furthermore the group encompasses young interested individuals, such as former EYP alumni and PhD students that joined the project due to different motivations and professional backgrounds – but with a special interest in energy issues!
The aim of the Steering Group is to
- to monitor energy-related topics, to analyse trends and young people’s opinions and to then provide content for the use of participants/EYP Community.
- to provide young people with comprehensive information on Energy policy on both the European and National levels.
- to enable young people to join debates and use (& develop) their energy competence in their respective socio-
- to explore the possibilities of developing event formats in EYP.
A Newsletter will be published once per quarter until the end of the project in December 2017! Every Newsletter will include several articles related to the project’s activities, the Steering Group’s work or general articles on energy issues and what an actual power shift could mean.
Members of the Steering Group
Marine Baghdasaryan (AM)
Marine joins the team with a diverse professional experience in the fields of economics, energy and education. Marine has studied economics in Armenia, and became interested in sustainable development, green financing, and investments in Renewable Energy during her student years. She has received her master’s degree after successfully defending her thesis in the development of Renewable Energy in Armenia. Marine is excited to be part of the EYP “Power Shifts – Reflecting Europe’s Energy” educational project, and believes in the power of young generation to change and make the World a better place to live.
Alexandra Blin (FR)
Alex is studying law and political science in Paris, her main field of interest is international relations. Keen on traveling and meeting different cultures, she has been involved in EYP since 2015. Over sessions she has developed her curiosity about energy issues. In her opinion, energy is essential because it is the beginning of life. In addition, the way we use energy influence everything from global warming to give an affordable energy for EU citizens for their daily life, that why she pays a particular attention on energy issues.
Dimitris Doukas (GR)
Dimitris holds a M.Eng. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and an M.Sc. in Sustainable Energy Systems from the University of Edinburgh. He originally is from Thessaloniki, Greece and is currently doing his Ph.D. studies focussing on superconducting dc transmission challenges and applications in cooperation with the ABB Corporate Research Center in Västerås, Sweden. Additionally, Dimitris has been involved in EYP Greece since 2011 in several roles including being a member of the executive board from 2010 to 2011.
Krzysztof Ignaciuk (PL)
Kris has studied linguistics in Poznan, Stuttgart and Berlin and currently studies public policy at the Hertie School of Governance. Having been involved with the EYP since 2007 and served as President of EYP Poland, he is strongly committed to furthering civic education. Kris is also one of the authors of the European essay “Who, If Not Us?” and has broad expertise as a facilitator, translator and organiser of educational events.
Natalia Tatarchuk (UA)
Running an enterprise dealing with communications in the field of energy Natalia is an active promoter of “Energy Democracy” and conscious approach towards the energy consumption. Natalia received her major degree in economics specialising in strategic planning in Kyiv, Ukraine. She joined EYP in 2007.
Patryk Kulig (PL)
Patryk has studied law in Warsaw and Berlin. Currently working as a junior lawyer specialszing in Alternative Dispute Resolution and commercial law, with special focus on German and Polish real estate and energy law. Patryk contributes to the Team by looking at energy related issues from the perspective of their their legal framework. Since 6 years active in non-governmental sector – member of, i.a.: the EYP Poland, the Polish Forum of Young Diplomats, the Young Polish International Network as well as founder of the European Centre of Arbitration. Life motto: sky is the limit.
Interests: international relations and diplomacy with focus on Western Europe, China & USA.
Hauke Sommer (DE)
Following studies of Mechanical Engineering in the Scotland and California, Hauke started to pursue a career in management consulting in 2015. He has been committed to active European citizenship since 2008 through his activities within the EYP. Within the Power Shifts project, he is dedicated to add perspectives combining technical and business aspects.
Sofia Zafeiriou (GR)
Sofia is currently finishing a MEng in Electrical and Computer Engineering in Athens. She has been involved in the European Youth Parliament for over ten years, having acquired experience in organising, planning and running events focusing on youth dialogue. Within the Power Shifts project, she is committed to the development of knowledge infrastructure on energy perspectives. Maker geek, amid xinomavro lover, designs processes.
Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President of the European Commission in charge of Energy Union
Maroš Šefčovič is a Slovak diplomat and the current Vice President of the European Commission, in charge of Energy Union. He was previously European Commissioner for Interinstitutional Relations and Administration from 2010 to 2014. His area of responsibility includes the administration of the Commission, including management of some of the Commission’s Internal Services.
Brigitte Zypries, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy
Brigitte Zypries is a German politician from the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). Since January 2017, she has been serving as Minister for Economics and Energy in the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel. She is the first woman to hold that office in German history.
Krzysztof Tchórzewski, Minister for Energy, Poland
Krzysztof Tchórzewski is a Polish politician from the party “Law and Justice”. He was elected to Sejm (the lower house of the Polish parliament) in 2005, which is his third term being elected to the Sejm after the terms 1991-1993 and 1997-2001.
The third Power Shifts Academic Forum in Heidelberg is further supported by Winfried Kretschmann, Minister President of the state of Baden-Württemberg, and Prof. Dr. Eckart Würzner, Mayor of the city of Heidelberg.
The second Power Shifts Academic Forum in Warsaw was further supported by Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, Mayor of Warsaw.
The first Academic Power Shifts Forum in Lyon was further supported by Sylvie Guillaume, Vice-President of the European Parliament and Ségolène Royal, French Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy. Sylvie Guillaume addressed the participants of the First Academic Power Shifts Forum in Lyon on November 1st, 2015.
Project Manager European Youth Parliament
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