Inspire and empower Young Europeans:
The EYP’s International Strategy 2016 – 2020
Since 1987, the European Youth Parliament inspired and empowered hundreds of thousands of young people to become open-minded, tolerant and active citizens. Through the development of an International Strategy in 2015, the network reaches out to the European Youth Parliament of 2020.
In 2015, the EYP reviewed and renewed the organisation’s mission and, for the first time, established its values. This understanding forms the foundation of the new International Strategy. Based on the newly established values – the ideals for the EYP – the Governing Body as the strategic body of the EYP has examined the organisation critically and recognised three areas with particular room for development: inclusion, empowerment and contribution. They have also agreed on one other crucial area: the stability and continuity of the network. These four areas of development form the four pillars of the International Strategy.
As an educational organisation, the EYP aims to inspire and empower young Europeans, no matter their gender, ethnicity, nationality, socio-economic status and ability. Within the pillar of ‘inclusion’ the network therefore focuses on the areas of inclusion, outreach, mobility and regional representation, designed to on the one hand critically revise the existing structures of EYP, and on the other hand identify target groups that have so far been difficult to reach.
Through their participation in the EYP, young Europeans gain valuable skills, knowledge and confidence and become empowered to have an impact in society. As an organisation targeted at civic education, the EYP seeks to equip its members with transversal skills that formal education often does not provide. In order to guarantee a high level of educational value, the EYP seeks to examine its work and its educational methodology on a regular basis. Finally, the opportunities for personal development offered for active volunteers should be considered just asimportant as those provided to first- or second-time participants; after all, the organisational strength of the EYP depends on the network being able to make continued commitment to it interesting and rewarding.
The EYP is organised by young people, for young people; it is built on the work of young volunteers all over Europe. Furthermore, the EYP not only simulates democratic processes during its events, but also applies them in the running of the organisation. It is more than 3000 volunteers who plan, prepare and carry out activities, so it should also be those young Europeans who make the decisions on how it is run. The EYP offers many opportunities to volunteers – there is no shortage of work to be done – but there is progress to be made in rewarding volunteers. Running a non-governmental voluntary organisation is not a simple task, and therefore rewarding volunteers and showing the added value of volunteering is both an ideological goal and a strategic necessity for the long-term development of the EYP.
Stability and continuity
Over its history, the EYP has grown immensely, and it continues to do so at an extraordinary rate. However, most board members or active volunteers only work for their National Committee for around two years at most, and much knowledge and experience, as well as contacts outside the organisation, is lost in transition. Thus, the areas focused on within this pillar – organisational stability and continuity, professionalism, as well as administrative capacity and management skills – are designed to retain knowledge and to build structures which will form a solid foundation for the EYP to continue to build on, year by year.