LYMEC is the European Liberal Youth . They are the youth wing of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).
You can look up their national member organizations here: https://www.lymec.eu/members/member-organizations/members/
- How do you imagine an inclusive Europe? And what do you want to do to realize this vision?
In LYMEC we believe that the key to an inclusive Europe starts with equal opportunities, and we see education as a cornerstone when it comes to creating these opportunities. Early Childhood Education has an immense influence on the children’s development and represents the foundation of knowledge and socialization skills. We therefore want all the European countries to establish a pre-school year for 4-year-old children and to follow the goals of the European Commission. (By 2020 at least 95% of pre-school children of 4 years or older should participate in early childhood education.) We need to have all children in primary education in the 21st century in the EU.
Non-compulsory pre-primary education is increasingly provided free of charge. This clearly facilitates access to pre-primary education for all children and especially for those who belong to low income families. All these measures may explain the increasing participation in education at this level. Access to quality education should not be determined by the member state or region one lives in, nor one’s background.
- Do you think Europe does enough to help the children and young people who were forced to flee from war, persecution and hunger? How do you want to help them?
We believe more could be done. We want to reallocate the UN Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) resources in order to focus on urgent action and empowerment of refugees instead of building long term dependency structures; to invest in accommodation and education in the region of conflict areas, in order to prevent the development of a lost generation in refugee camps and to guarantee refugees a safe place to stay; to provide for a legal and safe alternative to irregular migration, in order to prevent smuggling, human trafficking and fatal accidents on the sea, for example by making it possible to start the asylum procedure outside of potential host states within the EU and making it possible to apply for humanitarian visas at all EU embassies and to urge the EU to eliminate its Dublin System and replace it by a balanced, common asylum policy based on solidarity and justice, which allocates asylum seekers according to their individual skills (e.g. language, family members or contacts willing to support them) as well as the capacities and resources of potential host states to make sure the burden of refugees does not lie only with countries at the European borders.
LYMEC supports the establishment, at least at the European level, of a formal definition of the term climate refugee and the creation, at least at the European level, of a legal instrument recognizing such category of refugees and providing adequate protection.
- Do you think Europe does enough to help the children and young people in Europe who are forced to live in poverty? How do you want to help them?
We believe that the European Union exists for the singular citizen. When social inequality and insecurity increasingly divides our community, it must be the Union’s’ responsibility to step up. The Commissions’ desire to create a social column in the European cooperation is a priority that meets the issues and can create a necessary positive change in all our lives. It is a desire that we in LYMEC support. However, supranational social policy can only work based on competition and pluralism. In principle, the member states should be responsible for social policy. It should be a priority in the social pillar to minimize analphabetism in all member nations so that no citizen has to go through life without a minimum of skill in language. It must be fundamental for the social pillar that it contributes to the fight against inequality and discrimination on any grounds (gender, sexuality, race, age, religion, …). We also believe that it is fundamental for the European Union that every citizen feels safe and secure on the labor market and in everyday life. Therefore, it is important that citizens in the EU have just and similar social rights across the borders of all member nations.
- Young people in Europe demand more climate action. What do you want to do to meet their demands?
LYMEC wants to ensure a smooth transition to EU’s carbon neutral economy by 2050, as envisaged by the European Commission in its strategic plan “A Clean planet for all”. We insist on a firm commitment and immediate practical steps to reducing EU’s greenhouse emissions by 55% by 2030, compared to the 1990 levels, and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. We strive for more ambition in the field of energy efficiency. While we welcome the recent revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive, as part of the Clean Energy package, we insist on a 40 % binding EU energy efficiency target for 2030, annual savings requirement at least 2% to reach the 40% target, and less exemptions provided, in order to achieve EU’s climate goals. We are working towards strengthening the European Emission Trading System (ETS) as an investment driver by expanding it to all carbon-emitting sectors, increasing the pace of annual reductions in allowances to 2.2% as of 2021 and reinforcing the Market Stability Reserve. We need to provide support for the industry and the energy sector to meet the innovation and investment challenges of the low-carbon transition through low-carbon funding mechanisms. In addition we want to strengthen the Clean Development Mechanism and prospectively, reach a global emission trading system and a halt in high-carbon investment.
- How do you want to make travelling in Europe more sustainable?
We want to make sure that all transport models contribute to the de-carbonization strategy. We ask for a smart organization of the mobility network, increase in Europe’s rail capacity, support for the transition to low and zero-emissions vehicles and the appropriate infrastructure for that. We are working towards ending the 65 billion USD (57.5 billion Euro) fuel tax exemption for international aviation and a revision of the Chicago Convention as an essential step towards decarbonization.
- What do you want to do to make sure that the European Union and its member states meet the climate goals they have agreed upon in the Paris Agreement?
LYMEC calls for continuing EU’s leadership and further progressing under the Paris Agreement, for the diversification of energy sources and improving energy security and for striving for more affordable energy prices as means to boosting the competitiveness of industrial startups.
- Which concrete actions do you propose in progressing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the next term?
LYMEC calls for an urgent global response, to address climate change with more tangible actions, research and investment to match the commitments made under the Paris Agreement. Europe’s leaders should ensure increased international cooperation, diplomatic pressure and staying united on the efforts to tackle climate change, by achieving the targets of the Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, especially as regards to the world’s major industrialized countries.
Youth exchanges, youth work & youth mobility
- How do you want to support the work of (international) youth organizations?
We believe the work of youth organisations should be supported financially, but we also need better recognition for the important work the (I)NGYOs are doing.
- The sources of structural funding for youth organizations (especially on the international level) are limited. Application writing consumes a lot of volunteering time. What do you want to do to make the funding for youth organizations more sustainable? Where do you see chances to clear time for active volunteering rather than administrative overload?
Operational grants should be made more accessible for a broader variety of INGYOs, and the application and reporting processes need to become more user-friendly and less bureaucratic.
- As FIMCAP we invest a lot of energy to make a fruitful exchange and a productive cooperation across continents possible. Unfortunately, often delegates and participants of youth exchanges supported by European funds are denied a visa. How do you want to make it easier for young people from other parts of the world to get visas for attending at international youth exchanges?
Visa procedures are often unclear, time consuming, expensive and very bureaucratic. Extreme requirements such as proof of a large sum of money before travelling can make the visa application impossible, especially for young people involved in youth work coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. The current visa regimes of both receiving and sending countries are a clear obstacle for youth work. Current visa systems recognize different categories of visas, such as business, tourism and other. However, the visa system does not reflect an important category of users, different from the existing ones, namely youth workers and volunteers. Situations occur in which embassies don not recognize the purpose of the visit and therefore do not issue the needed visa. Requirements for visas differ from embassy to embassy, even inside the Schengen area. This creates even more obstacles. Worrying is that embassies put extra limitations on visas issued who contradict the free movement of people principle of the Schengen agreement.
LYMEC therefore wants the European Union to establish a visa category for youth workers and volunteers. It is unacceptable that the European Union promotes voluntary work intensively, but refuses to take away visa obstacles. LYMEC also asks for the implementation of the Schengen agreement: free movement of people carrying a Schengen visa should be allowed. Countries who signed the Schengen agreement should not be allowed to limit entries and exits when issuing the needed visa. Visa costs should reflect the real costs, not being regarded as an admission fee. Further on applications procedures should be transparent, fast and according rules set and published.
- What are your plans for the future of the Erasmus+ programme, especially concerning the support of youth exchanges and international youth work?
LYMEC welcomes the increase of funding for Erasmus+ under the multiannual financial framework post 2020. We want the ERASMUS+ programme to have more funding and be based even more on an international level.
- In (international) youth organizations young people gain various valuable skills and competences. What do you want to do to improve the recognition of youth work and the work of youth organizations?
LYMEC calls for securing long-term sustainable funding and visibility of youth organizations. We urge for better recognition of skills and expertise gained through volunteering activity.
- Working together with young people at all levels, youth organizations are experts about the needs of young people. How do you want to make sure that the expertise of youth organization will be included in your work?
As an umbrella organisation LYMEC is made up of member organisations, all of which are youth organisations. All our work is derived from resolutions and decisions approved by our members, and therefore their expertise is streamlined in everything we do.
Youth goals & children’s rights
- 110,000s of young people have developed within the Structured Dialogue of the European the EU Youth Goals. How are you going to integrate the framework of the youth goals in your work in the European parliament?
We are already working on the majority of the youth goals, as an integral part of our policies, so we will definitely continue promoting them towards and in the European Parliament.
- Youth Goal 9 calls for providing youth-led physical facilities and infrastructures called youth spaces defined by being autonomous, open and safe, accessible to all, offering professional support for development and ensuring opportunities for youth participation. What do you want to do to create such spaces?
As a pan-european organisation we are more focused on the participatory part of the 9th goal (Strengthen young people’s democratic participation) but we are in favour of advocating for physical spaces as well.
- What do you want to do for guaranteeing the implementation of the children’s rights in Europe?
We want to recall that every Member State of the European Union are committed to protecting the Children’s Rights and make sure that the EU makes sure they live up to this obligation.
Diversity, peace & respect
- Many young people suffer from the consequences of hate speech. What do you want to do to combat hate speech?
LYMEC reiterates its determination to fight all forms of racism and rejects and condemns racist and xenophobic comments made by elected officials as well as any type of discriminatory policy in European countries. We want to equip the EU with the effective political tools that are needed for ensuring that member states conform to the European directives on combating racism. Such tools could include Task Forces, freezing of EU payments and/or penalty fees, etc.
- Youth organizations like FIMCAP and its member organization strengthen the civil society. What do you want to support them to fulfill this important function?
LYMEC calls the EU to support the development of a conscious
civil society by encouraging and supporting NGOs and pro-democracy activists
like FIMCAP. We also urge European governments
to cooperate with civil society organizations to ensure an effective approach
and share best practices with each other.