The European Youth Parliament (EYP) is a politically independent educational project tailored specifically to the needs of the young European citizens. The EYP encourages independent thinking and socio-political initiative in young people and facilitates the learning of crucial social and professional skills. The way it works, is unique: every year young people from over 30 European countries meet at one of more than 100 national and international events. Over the past twenty years the organisation has become one of Europe’s largest platforms for political debate, intercultural encounters, political educational work and the exchange of ideas among young Europeans.
The EYP grew from a small school project in 1987 in Fontainebleau, France. The fundamental idea is that young people experience a simulation session of the European Parliament during one or more days. This way they get the chance to briefly feel how it is like to be a real MEP. Delegates are divided into committees which each handle a specific topic. They write a draft for a European bill or resolution and defend it towards their colleagues during the General Assembly. An important characteristic of the EYP is that young people defend their own views and not those of a particular political party or a country. The EYP covers topical issues and does not avoid controversial topics. Through the activities independent thinking and personal development are stimulated.
Throughout its 35 national committees in which thousands of young people are active in a voluntary capacity, the EYP is more easily accessible than any other European project. Schools from all over Europe submit their candidacy to their National Committees and can thus participate in the national rounds and try to get selected for an international session. Students can grow into the international network of more than 20,000 members from almost every corner of Europe. This way, the EYP actively contributed to European integration during the last 20 years. International friendships were created with mutual understanding of different cultures and points of view. Partly because of this big role of the EYP, it obtained the support of key figures in European politics such as José Manuel Barroso (President of the European Commission), Neelie Kroes (Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Digital Agenda) Jerzy Buzek (MEP, Former Prime Minister of Poland and president of the European Parliament) and Thorbjørn Jagland (Secretary General of the Council of Europe).
Objectives of the European Youth Parliament
- Raise awareness of European issues, encourage active European citizenship and motivate students to get engaged in European politics
- Promote international understanding, intercultural dialogue and diversity of ideas and actions
- Contribute to the personal skills development of European youth
- Provide a forum in which young people of Europe can express their own opinions, without reverting to role play.
More information about the European Youth Parliament can be found on the international website.