'The European Youth Parliament' - Sorcha Finan

The European Youth Parliament is a Europe wide organisation run by young people, for young people. It gives us a chance to discuss and debate political topics that affect us today.

 

2My EYP journey started last November when I went to the Connaught-Ulster regional session with a lot of other students from my school on the recommendation of our schools EYP co-ordinator, Ms. Carmel Gaffney. There, I was introduced to the EYP format of Team Building, Committee work and General Assembly, or GA. Team building is where you get to know your committee, a group comprised of all the people working on your topic. We play games and do group brain teasers to work on our problem solving skills. Committee work is where we actually look at our assigned topic, find problems within the topic and come up with resolutions to the problems. These committees most often reflect particular EU task forces that are currently happening. Finally then GA is where we present our resolutions to the session as a whole, it's debated and everyone gets to vote on whether or not it should pass. 

At my first session I was on AFCO 1 where we discussed how to get more people, especially youth, to vote. Due to my performance during the session, I was then selected, along with other girls from Loreto to attend the National session in cork in March. This was a lot of fun, especially because I was on the FEMM committee where we discussed sexual health and reproductive rights around Europe, a topic I care a lot about. The national session was 4 days long and we stayed in a hostel in the city. A month or so after I got a phone call from the chair person of my committee to tell me that I was lucky enough to be selected for internationals.

I became a member of EYP Ireland and attended member training in August. My international forum was in Mechelen in Belgium from the 9th to the 15th of September. Luckily I was strongly encouraged and helped out by my school and so, I was able to attend. I went along with 5 other Irish delegates, who I originally barely knew and so I was a little nervous. However, after meeting them all in the airport, I knew it was be amazing fun and ended up being really close friends with them all. We travelled to Belgium and arrived mostly safe and sound! I then met my committee that was comprised of people from all over Europe. There were two brits, two Portuguese, one Belgian, an Austrian, a girl from Albania, a guy from Turkey and an Estonian. Our chair person was German. We made up the committee EMPL- the committee on employment and social affairs. Our topic was, loosely, how to improve social and economic cohesion among immigrants through tools such as housing policy, zoning and economic incentives. It was originally a topic I knew quite little about but between research pre-session and the discussion throughout the week I was pretty versed on it by the end. I was so close to the people on my committee and have definitely made some life long friends.

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 Throughout the week, along with the academic work we also had activities such as Eurovillage, where each country set up a stall with food and bits to represent their culture, Euroconcert where acts from around Europe performed, both musical and dancing, a masquerade ball and a UV disco.

While committee work was at times difficult to come up with solutions that everyone could agree on, it was in the end very rewarding as our resolution passed by a large margin in GA. I was very happy with the work we did and thought we definitely came up with a lot of worthwhile suggestions for the European council!

My week in Belgium was essentially life changing. I learned lots about important topics that affect the union every day, and made friends from all around Europe and here at home. It was definitely a week I will always be grateful for and never forget. I'd strongly encourage anyone with even a vague interest to apply as I could have never gotten the opportunity to do the things I am now without it, for example I'm travelling to Greece in December to be a journalist at the National Greek Session and hopefully to Austria in February to work at the Vienna regional session.

- Sorcha Finan (5th Year Loreto College Cavan)

 

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