Answers from the European Greens

The European Greens also known as European Green Party brings together parties that share Green values. They are striving for a Green transformation of Europe and its economy, that will bring about a progressive and sustainable future for all its citizens.
For more information, visit the website of the European Greens where you can also find the political parties from your country that are part of their group.

Social inclusion

  • How do you imagine an inclusive Europe? And what do you want to do to realize this vision?

Social inclusion is at the core of Green policy. Our priority is to build a Europe that delivers to its citizens, to all its citizens. We want to invest in a sustainable Europe that can play its role in fighting climate change. We want to guarantee a decent minimum income all over Europe. We want to uphold the rule of law so that democracy can be protected. We want to defend the right of asylum and have legal and safe channels for migration. We want to guarantee free access to quality education, fairly paid internships and good jobs for young people. Together these priorities can build an inclusive Europe.

To achieve this vision we call for the Greens to have an even bigger presence in the European Parliament. If the Greens are key to establish majorities, then we can push for a more inclusive Europe.

  • 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?

No, Europe is currently not doing enough. For us, the right to asylum is non-negotiable. We want an asylum policy based on solidarity, on humanity and an orderly process, including the fair sharing of responsibilities among Member States and re-establishing a European searescuing mission.

Europe must create common standards and common rules for labour mobility and migration. We want the Union to support countries and municipalities integrating refugees or migrants. Helping migrants should never be criminalised. People do not belong in prison for seeking asylum.

  • 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?

No, Europe is currently not doing enough. Today, one in four people in Europe live at risk of poverty and social exclusion – including 25 million children. This is unacceptable. When Europe as a whole is wealthier than ever before, everybody deserves a decent standard of living.

Reducing poverty and tackling inequalities must be a cornerstone of all economic and social policies. We reject austerity measures that have resulted in increasing poverty and deteriorating public services.

Sustainability

  • Young people in Europe demand more climate action. What do you want to do to meet their demands?

The Greens have climate action as a main priority. There is an answer to the climate crisis: it starts with solar, wind and other renewables! We must go for 100% renewables, use our energy efficiently, phase out fossil energy and nuclear power while creating sustainable jobs in affected regions. To cut emissions fast enough to reach the 1.5°C-world we will push hard for a just transition towards a net-zero-emissions economy. An EU carbon budget and a strong carbon floor price are needed to strengthen our efforts.

We advocate phasing out coal by 2030 and other fossil fuels soon thereafter. Fossil and nuclear subsidies must stop now. Europe needs to divest from fossil fuels, to pull private and public funds from fossil investments.

  • How do you want to make travelling in Europe more sustainable?

One core Green goal is to transform the transport sector across Europe to overcome our dependency on polluting cars as quickly as possible, to stop the increasing pollution from aviation and to invest extensively in regional and cross-border railway networks.

CO2 emissions from the transport sector continue to rise, particularly from cars and flights. Connecting countries and regions with fast trains, night trains and regional trains offers a positive alternative. To level the playing field between train and air traffic, flights need to be fairly taxed.

  • 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?

Europe has to lead the way on climate action, making the Paris Agreement a reality. We want the EU to pursue all possible efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. We are calling for a European climate law, with binding carbon budgets reducing emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and building a net-zero emissions economy. This must include restoring natural carbon sinks in forests and soils.

  • Which concrete actions do you propose in progressing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the next term?

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development highlights that the challenges we face are universal and interconnected. The Sustainable Development Goals must be implemented across all EU internal and external policies. The Union should adopt a high-level implementation strategy which identifies and addresses the gaps in current policies. On trade, any trade treaties must have the SDGs as their foundation.

Youth exchanges, youth work & youth mobility

  • How do you want to support the work of (international) youth organizations?

We want to establish a European values instrument to support civil society and promote core values within the EU, and youth organizations should receive special attention in that. Through the Federation of Young European Greens, TILT and the European Ideas Lab, and through collaboration with other youth organizations, we aim to support the strengthening of civil society.

  • 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?

The European Commission and the Council of Europe need to invest more on youth, not cut investment.

  • 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?

This is unacceptable, and the Greens have always fought against borders preventing people getting opportunities. We will continue to fight for this principle so that travelling freely across Europe can be achieved.

  • What are your plans for the future of the Erasmus+ programme, especially concerning the support of youth exchanges and international youth work?

We also call for multiplying European funding for student exchange. The Erasmus+ exchange must be broadened and strengthened to really enable people from all backgrounds to work, train or study in another country.

  • 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?

Definition of youth work has changed so much in last years, bringing professionalism and recognition to it. Also young people fought and won many different battles to be included in decision making processes. Thus today is not as surprising to see MEPs under 35 as it was 10 years ago. Young people are doing a magnificent job in fighting for their own rights and our role is to support them. We will keep fighting to improve youth work conditions, such as banning unpaid internships and implementing a European Youth Guarantee that effectively gives every young person employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or an internship within four months after finishing education.

  • 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?

Green parties, and in particular the Federation of Young European Greens, are young in membership and we recognize the importance of the voice of young people to be included in all consultation and at all decision-making levels and in all policy areas.

Youth goals & children’s rights

  • 10,000s 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?

The Youth Goals align very well with the priorities of the European Greens – for example in terms of gender equality, quality jobs, access to education and sustainability. Our track record shows that we bring these priorities into the European Parliament and fight for them. The Greens also put a special emphasis on making the voices of young people heard, which can be seen in our good relations with youth organisations and in young leading Green figures. We open up more space for youth in decision-making.

  • 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?

Greens have always been at the forefront of recognising the importance of autonomous, open and safe spaces in society. On local level around Europe, we work for more public or autonomous spaces and less enclosures and exclusion. On a European level, we see a need for more exchange on best practices on how to create and organise such spaces.

  • What do you want to do for guaranteeing the implementation of the children’s rights in Europe?

Alarming rates of children in different EU member states are at risk of poverty or social exclusion. We need to end child poverty and inequality by investing in children. Investments in healthcare, education and environmental protection benefit children the most. Actively working against discrimination is positive especially for girls and migrant children. We must also recognise that children have rights beyond Europe’s borders and that Europe must foster peace and humanitarian aid instead of selling weapons that end up harming children in e.g. Yemen.

Diversity, peace & respect

  • Many young people suffer from the consequences of hate speech. What do you want to do to combat hate speech?

We are proud that Europe is diverse and colourful. We strongly condemn and fight any kind of discrimination and hate crimes on the basis of – but not limited to – age, gender and sexual identity, class, ethnicity and their intersections. We want all policies and services to recognise the true diversity of people and their families – and the contribution they make to our societies. We always choose hope over hate and we won’t tolerate hate speech anywhere.

  • Youth organizations like FIMCAP and its member organization strengthen the civil society. What do you want to support them to fulfill this important function?

The strengthening of civil society will always be a priority for the Greens. We will stand with civil society and provide a bridge for their claims to be brought into the European Parliament and provide space in our campaigns and structures for them. We will also keep supporting the Federation of Young Greens, the youth organization of the European Greens, in their work to represent the youth.

Answers from EPP

About EPP:

The abbreviation EPP stands for “European People’s Pary”. It considers itself as centre-right oriented political group.
For more information, visit the website of EPP where you can also find the political parties from your country that are part of their group.

Social inclusion

  • How do you imagine an inclusive Europe? And what do you want to do to realize this vision?

We want to create a Europe in which everyone feels at home and accepted. Democracy, human rights and dignity, pluralism, and tolerance are core European values. Hatred, misogyny, racism, and antisemitism have no place in Europe. We will launch a pact against antisemitism by fighting hate speech and establishing a common EU definition of antisemitism based on the IHRA definition. We also believe that inclusive societies need strong parliamentary democracies. This means strong parties and strong parliaments — at all levels — representing in the truest sense the people on the ground. We want to see an equal number of women and men making up the next Commission.

  • 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 that Europe can play a bigger role globally in solving crises and helping people. We are already the world’s leading provider of humanitarian assistance, yet we are convinced that we must do more to help those forced to leave their home countries. We want to have a stronger and more united European foreign policy to act more decisively at the global level and help to solve and avoid conflicts. At the same time, we are committed to supporting European Neighbourhood Countries to build stability, but we also want to commit more funds to helping countries in Africa to develop and create opportunities for their citizens. We envision a true Marshall plan for the African countries to work as partners, helping and supporting them to create prosperity and cooperation.

  • 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?

The European Union plays an important role in fighting poverty in Europe. During the last 4 years we have created a social pillar for Europe which strengthens our social rights. Through cohesion funds and other EU financial instruments, we support the Member States in fighting poverty. We want to create an inclusive Europe in which no one is left behind. For us to be successful as a continent, we need everyone’s efforts and for this, we are strongly committed to the idea of equal opportunities. At the same time, we believe that you need to create jobs to fight poverty and offer economic opportunities to everyone, no matter which part of Europe you are in. Therefore, we are committed to creating 5 million new jobs over the next years to make sure that everyone can improve their situation.

Sustainability

  • Young people in Europe demand more climate action. What do you want to do to meet their demands?

To safeguard our planet’s future, we believe that we must perform a well-managed transformation in Europe and globally. This will entail continuing to be committed to the global accords of Paris and Katowice to limit global warming but we must also recognise the need to build on these accords because alone they are not enough. We must invest in developing new, sustainable and low-carbon solutions in a socially responsible way. We are convinced that Europe can be the one who invents and develops the sustainable and low-carbon technologies which will make the whole world transform to low-carbon mobility and production in a socially sustainable fashion.

  • How do you want to make travelling in Europe more sustainable?

We believe that we must invest in innovations and technology. We will work towards low-carbon mobility and build a true Energy Union to support the growth of renewable energy sources. We are convinced that we can revolutionise mobility and its environmental impact by developing the necessary engine and fuel technology to
minimise the impact. This would also be important for the rest of the world because by creating these technologies, we would not only provide sustainable low-carbon mobility in Europe, but also for the rest of the world.

  • 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?

We defend the Paris Climate agreement and the Katowice COP24 goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2050. We will ensure an effective CO2 price with a well-functioning emissions trading system and further incentivise GHG reductions.

  • Which concrete actions do you propose in progressing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the next term?

As the first provider of development and humanitarian assistance worldwide, the EU must continue to lead the fight against poverty and the efforts to achieve sustainable development globally. One way we will do this in our own neighbourhood is through a new Marshall Plan with Africa.

Youth exchanges, youth work & youth mobility

  • How do you want to support the work of (international) youth organizations?

We believe that NGOs play an extremely important role in our vibrant societies. We must ensure that NGOs have sufficient funding from either national or EU sources, that processes to access funding are straightforward and efficient, and that Member States respect the independence of NGOs. We are strongly in favour of tripling the Erasmus+ budget so that more young people can study, train, gain international experience, and volunteer in Europe.

  • 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?

We are committed to cutting red tape for everyone, not only farmers and entrepreneurs but also for NGOs. Once we are elected, we will evaluate the European body of law and modernise legislation to allow people like farmers, entrepreneurs, and NGOs to focus on their core activities and minimise the time spent on dealing with red tape without jeopardising the standards and integrity of our system.

  • 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?

We support youth exchanges and building more understanding between young people from different parts of the world. We must work together with the Member States to reform their visa rules to not hamper the efforts of international youth organisations.

  • What are your plans for the future of the Erasmus+ programme, especially concerning the support of youth exchanges and international youth work?

We believe that Erasmus programmes have been extremely successful and popular. That is why we will expand Erasmus programmes, especially for non-academics. Additionally, we believe that 18-year-olds should have an opportunity to discover our continent and what binds us together as an Union. Therefore, we are committed to expanding DiscoverEU Interrail for all 18year-olds. We are also in favour of tripling the budget of Erasmus+ so that many more young people can study, train, gain international experience, and volunteer abroad.

  • 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?

We believe that non-formal education is extremely valuable and complements formal education. It offers our youth opportunities in managing projects, learning social skills, leadership skills, and being innovative – all qualities we will need in the future to succeed as a continent. We believe that more must be done to encourage recognition of non-formal education by employers.

  • 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?

We are committed to improving transparency of EU decisionmaking and bringing our Union back to the people. This will also mean our group is committed to evidence-based policy-making and we are always open to meeting the experts, listening to their advice and learning from them.

Youth goals & children’s rights

  • 10,000s of young people have developed within the Structured Dialogue of the European the EU Youth Goals.1 How are you going to integrate the framework of the youth goals in your work in the European parliament?

We have been very impressed by the clarity and content of the 11 EU Youth Goals. We believe that we are strong partners and allies in realising the goals. We are committed to bringing Europe back to the people to foster participation and joint ownership of the European project. We are strongly in favour of inclusive societies in which all people are provided with a security net, educational opportunities, and offered economic opportunities to realise their dreams. We want to ensure that all people, whether urban or rural dweller, have economic opportunities. That’s why we will invest in strengthening all of our regions and we will create five million jobs over the next years. We are the party that is putting health on the EU’s agenda and we are committed to battling diseases by combining our strengths and that’s why we want to establish a European Masterplan against cancer. We believe that we must leave the planet in a better shape to our children and that’s why we are fully committed to Paris and Katowice climate accords.

  • 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?

We believe that we must help our youth by offering them better economic opportunities and support them in reaching their personal development goals. Youth Goal 9 can be an important facilitator by offering our youth more chances to learn and participate in leading something of their own. We must evaluate what the EU programmes can do to facilitate this but we are also convinced that we need a strong buy-in from the national and, especially regional and local levels, to fulfil this goal.

  • What do you want to do for guaranteeing the implementation of the children’s rights in Europe?

We want to defend and strengthen Human rights and children’s rights in Europe. Children are our future and we are a continent based on values. We will continue to support programmes that support and defend children’s rights in Europe but we also want to take this one step further. We demand that we take a bigger role in the global fight against child labour. In the future, we will demand that a ban on child labour will be part of every trade agreement and we will step up the enforcement and supervision of the ban.

Diversity, peace & respect

  • Many young people suffer from the consequences of hate speech. What do you want to do to combat hate speech?

We strongly condemn all forms of discrimination, hate speech, and violence. These are completely unacceptable in a civilized, tolerant, and inclusive society. We must ensure that Member States enforce existing anti-discrimination legislation and we must challenge demagogues and populist spreading hate, lies, and conspiracies. We are a party based on values and we will always speak up and defend freedom, respect for human dignity, democracy, equality, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minority groups.

We will fight against fake news and ensure access to quality information. We want social media platforms to take more responsibility for countering disinformation and hate speech and to increase fact-checking in cooperation with journalists’ associations.

  • Youth organizations like FIMCAP and its member organization strengthen the civil society. What do you want to support them to fulfill this important function?

We believe that the EU must protect civil society to ensure that we have vibrant democracies in the EU. We must do this using the two avenues open to us: enforcing commonly agreed rules and ensuring sufficient funding for civil society. We believe that the Commission must challenge national legislation when it undermines civil society to ensure that all Member States respect and follow our common rules and legislation. We also believe that we can help civil society through funding. Therefore, we strongly support establishing a European Values Instrument as part of the next EU budget to provide sustained funding to civil society.

Answers from S&D

About S&D:

The abbreviation S&D stands for “Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats”. It considers itself as centre-left oriented political group.
For more information, visit the website of S&D where you can also find the political parties from your country that are part of their group.

Social inclusion

  • How do you imagine an inclusive Europe? And what do you want to do to realize this vision?

Inclusive Europe means for us a more inclusive future European society. We want to actively shape the design of such a Europe by investing in people. People have always been our priority. Education is a pre-condition for poverty eradication, human development and social inclusiveness, and investing in people first means investing in their education, skills and competences, with a specific focus on youth.
Therefore, we call for an acceleration of the construction of a European Education Area in order to guarantee universal access to inclusive quality education and training for all. We call also for tripling the financial envelope dedicated to Erasmus+ in the future Multiannual financial framework 2021-2027 and for a programme to be more inclusive and accessible than ever, with a stronger focus on young people with fewer opportunities, school and youth exchanges and vocational training, ambitious cooperation with third countries, and further support to small-scale partnerships.
For us, inclusive Europe means also inclusive European citizenship, social participation in the democratic life of the Union, and citizens’ engagement in our society. Therefore, we call for doubling the financing of the ‘Citizens’ engagement and participation’ strand of the new “Citizens, Rights and Values” programme, the strand which accounts for €500 million – a figure equivalent to barely €1 per EU citizen.
A stronger role for culture in social and regional development is also key to creating more cohesive and inclusive local communities, as we stressed in light of the new European Social Fund + (ESF+), the European Regional Development Funds (ERDF), and the European Territorial Cooperation Goal (ETC or INTERREG Programme).
We are committed to put forward all our proposals for a European Union that puts in place a strong social agenda, which gives priority to quality inclusive education systems from an early age, with a simultaneous lifelong learning approach, employment prospects, and a greater access to culture.

  • 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?

In 2017, over 30,000 migrant children arrived in Greece, Italy, Spain, and Bulgaria, almost half of these were not accompanied by an adult. EU governments have a moral and legal obligation to protect these children. We S-D are calling over years already ago, for member states to take action to ensure these children had the support and care they needed. However, many member states have still not implemented their obligations.
The S&D Group has been in the vanguard of political groups in the Parliament calling Member States to ensure that every child is given adequate shelter that a guardian is appointed on arrival, and that access to health care, psychological support and education are guaranteed. We must also speed up the process of family reunification, reconnecting children with their family members as quickly as possible.
These children are in an incredibly vulnerable position. Over the last few years, thousands have gone missing from official records.
The S-D position has been very clear on the need of European Union to do all in its power to ensure their safety. The S-D is of the opinion that infringement procedures against member states that continue with the protracted and systemic detention of migrant children should be launched. The fear of being detained is a key reason why children are disappearing from the system – avoiding the authorities that should be there to help them.
Last but not least, the S-D is strongly against the use of coercion to take children’s biometric data – which is a clear violation the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Despite attempts from the EPP to undermine these efforts we managed to introduce in the resolution adopted on the 3rd of May 2018 http://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-8-2018-0201_EN.html?redirect, calling Member States not use coercion for the purposes of taking children’s biometric data.

  • 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?

The S&D is committed to the promotion of equal opportunities for all, and wants to make sure that all EU citizens have access to the means and services necessary to flourish and become successful, responsible members of society. Hugely important to achieve this, is reducing poverty and child poverty in particular.
Since according to Eurostat, more than a quarter of children in the EU-28 are at risk of poverty or social exclusion (2016 figures) – that is to say, since there are more than 24.8 million children that suffer from a lack of income and basic services such as adequate food, education, housing or healthcare, with 11 million of them severely affected by material deprivation, it is crystal clear to the S&D that more needs to be done to help children and young people out of poverty. Failing to take decisive political action would mean excluding a great part of the next generation. Moreover, such a failure would go against the principle of equal opportunities as enshrined in the Treaties (in particular, Article 2 of the Lisbon Treaty on promoting children’s rights; Article 3.1 of the Treaty on European Union on combating social exclusion) and as reiterated in the European Pillar of Social Rights (in particular, principle 11 on childcare and support to children).
The S&D is therefore campaigning for the introduction of a European Child Guarantee, a policy paper on which we have attached to this questionnaire.
The Child Guarantee would seek to tackle child poverty in all its aspects, and ensure that every European child at risk of poverty has access to free quality healthcare, free quality education, free quality childcare, decent housing and adequate nutrition. These five areas of action would be covered through European and national action plans.
In terms of implementation, we would want the European Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to agree on binding common goals. This would include a Europe 2020 sub-target on reducing child poverty and social exclusion. Given that the Child Guarantee should be considered as an investment in the stability and prosperity of the European Union, necessary for preserving the EU’s growth potential, the S&D would want precise indicators of child poverty included in the Annual
Growth Survey, which would serve as benchmarking for Member States in their annual National Reform Programmes and National Social Reports.
In terms of funding, the S&D calls for an earmarked part of the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) of 5.9 billion euros to finance the Child Guarantee, possibly as a part of a wider grouping of funds (e.g. ERDF) at a later stage. The S&D would also want Member States to direct at least 5% of their ESFresources towards the implementation of the Child Guarantee.
The S&D would want to ensure the Child Guarantee is developed through strong cooperation between all stakeholders, and built with the full participation of children and adolescents at every step of the way – making them agents for positive change and active European citizens’ in the process.

Sustainability

  • Young people in Europe demand more climate action. What do you want to do to meet their demands?

We in the S&D believe that Europe must lead the way to climate neutrality by investing into sustainable and innovative technological solutions, empowering citizens, and aligning action in key areas such as energy, industrial policy and research, while preventing energy poverty, ensuring social fairness for a just transition including re-skilling and up-skilling programmes, which is key to the success of the transition to a net-zero GHG economy by 2050 at the latest. If we are to achieve our long-term GHG net-zero objective, GHG emissions have to be reduced close to zero in all sectors of the economy. We will call on the Commission to develop pathways to climate neutrality for all sectors, while continuing to push to increase the ambition of the existing EU climate legislation. At the same time we believe that Europe’s climate transition must be ecologically, economically and socially sustainable. In order to ensure political acceptance by all citizens, it is important to take into account the distributional effects of climate-related and decarbonisation policies, specifically on people with low income; therefore possible social impacts should be fully taken into consideration in all EU and national climate policies with a view to ensuring a social and ecological transformation in Europe. Finally we strongly believe that young people have increasingly strong social and environmental awareness, which has the power to transform our societies towards a climate resilient future, and that youth education represents one of the most effective tools to combat climate change. We need to actively involve younger generations in building international, intercultural and intergenerational relationships, which underpin cultural change that will support the global efforts for a more sustainable future.

  • How do you want to make travelling in Europe more sustainable?

Through decarbonisation of all transport modes and increased use of low-emission technologies:

  • Overall, S&D has been asking for a more ambitious approach for renewables in transport and for specific incentives to be put in place for the deployment of sustainable alternative fuels for those transport modes that currently have no alternative to liquid fuel.

As regards aviation, the EU should actively push the ICAO in order to secure ambitious international C02 standards and ensure that the aviation sector adequately, fairly and effectively contribute to the achievement of the 2030 climate targets and the Paris Agreement objectives.
As regards maritime, IMO should adopt clear GHG emission reductions targets and measures, in their absence, the emissions from the shipping sector should fall under the EU ETS from 2023– renewable technologies should be promoted strongly in the maritime sector.
In the road sector specifically, S&D has been calling for ambitious C02 reduction targets for cars, vans and heavy duty vehicles (which adequately reflect Paris Agreement), as well as consistent economic and industrial development strategies to boost production and use of low-emission vehicles and the deployment of resources for achieving them (development of renewable energy and / or sustainable alternative fuels infrastructure and usage-related components such as batteries). The Group has been pushing for an ambitious action plan for the market uptake of electric vehicles and for fiscal incentives for zero and low emission vehicles. In this context, second-use applications for vehicle batteries (smart grid or storage) and circular economy development have also been promoted.
Through a shift from the road to more sustainable modes of transport such as rail:

  • S&D has been calling for prioritising investments in rail infrastructure, in particular regarding missing links and cross-border connection and has been asking the Commission to increase interoperability of the various transport modes.

Through making urban mobility more sustainable and developing new mobility services:

  • Transport is the main cause of air pollution in urban area; the Group has been pushing for the development of innovative, sustainable, environmentally friendly urban logistics strategies as well as ambitious targets in the context of the public procurement for clean vehicles.
  • New mobility services aim to significantly improve urban transport and have the potential to do so by reducing congestion and emissions and providing an alternative to private car ownership, as the private car is still the principal means of transport in terms of journeys made.

Through applying the user and polluter pays principle in all modes of transport and increasing information to consumers:

  • This could also be done through efficient eTolling and eTicketing based on environmental performance of vehicles as well as harmonised guidelines for urban vehicles access regulations (UVARs).
  • Behaviour change and switching towards more sustainable modes of transport is crucial in this context the S&D is calling for more information to consumers on passenger vehicles to accelerate decarbonisation in transport, and calls, therefore, for improved, reliable and more accessible information on emissions and fuel consumption of vehicles, including standardised, visible and clear vehicle labelling, in order to allow consumers to make informed choices and to promote changes in the behaviour of businesses and private individuals, and cleaner mobility.
  • 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?

Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament have already endorsed the objective of net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 and urged the Member States to do the same as part of the future Europe debate, at the special EU summit in Sibiu in May 2019. At the same time we have stressed that reaching net-zero GHG emissions in 2050 in the most cost-efficient manner requires raising and aligning the 2030 ambition level with net-zero 2050 scenarios and that is why we support an update of the Union’s NDC with an economy-wide target of 55% domestic GHG emission reductions by 2030 compared with 1990 levels. The Union needs to send a clear message, at the latest during the UN Climate Summit in New York in September 2019, that it stands ready to review its contribution to the Paris Agreement. In the next 5 years we will also have the opportunity during the 2022-2024 reviews of the 2030 climate package and other relevant legislation, to work on legislative proposals raising the ambition level in line with the updated NDC and the net-zero emissions target. It is clear that insufficient 2030 ambition would limit future options, possibly limiting the availability of some options for cost-efficient decarbonisation.

  • Which concrete actions do you propose in progressing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the next term?

S&D wants the work of the European Union completely reshaped in order to address the Sustainable Development Goals. We have to make sure that we help other countries around the world with sustainable development, but we also have to reach those goals here in the EU. This means refocusing our funding under the MFF, and adapting the European semester, so that all our actions and policies ultimately contribute towards attaining the SDGs. We also need to see that reflected in the structure of the European Commission and Parliament, with an ambitious, overarching strategy for achieving the 2030 Agenda in place by the end of this year, and a dedicated team at the top of the Commission working on this. We need the EU to take a leading role in the UN High-Level Political Forums each year to push the SDG agenda forward. In order to measure our progress we need to establish a wide range of indicators which are not purely economic and capture the transformative nature of the SDGs.

Youth exchanges, youth work & youth mobility

  • How do you want to support the work of (international) youth organizations?

S&D pays very much attention to youth interests and is eager to get to know to their points of views, their feedback and experience., S&D has organised every year since 2014 the “Youth Forum on Gender Equality in a Progressive Society”. During these interactive 4-days-events more than 50 young people aged between 18 -25 from all EU member states, often engaged in youth organisations, come together
in Brussels to discuss, exchange experience, learn and network on topics such as Gender equality, antidiscrimination, women’s rights and sustainable equality. This year – with view to the European Elections ahead – the Youth Forum focussed on how to boost young women’s participation in political decision making and how to fight sexism in politics. Our young guests met with politicians, experts, NGO representatives and presented their recommendations to the S&D Members of the European Parliament during the official group meeting.

  • 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?

We fully understand the concern that administrative procedures should not take too much time and be too cumbersome. However, the European Parliament has limited competence on this issue which should be dealt at the technical level with the Commission. In this regard, we are open to listen to practical solutions suggested by civil organisations and NGOs and to facilitate a dialogue.
On our side, we urge to simplify the application procedures. Indeed the Guide for applications should be clear and user-friendly. Furthermore, we want to promote the digitalisation of the application process and the project management that has to be accessible to all, stable, timesaving and userfriendly.

  • 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?

After more than 4 years of negotiations under very difficult conditions and despite all EPP efforts to undermine the agreement, we S-D Group have managed to adopt a compromise package on the VISA CODE during last April plenary session.
The compromise package agreed in March is the result of a thorough preparatory process, led by S-D Group.
We S-D, recognize that most of the content of the proposal are technical elements such as the practical modalities for lodging an application, the Member State competent for examining and deciding on an application, visa and service fees, application form, supporting documents, etc.
However, we observe that it is necessary to take a wide perspective and recognize the importance for the EU as a whole to facilitate legitimate travel towards it. For the S-D, the procedures set up in the Visa Code play a critical role for many and important economic sectors, such as the young people, researchers and students, which is of particular importance for many regions in Europe. Therefore, we fought for supporting and including procedural facilitations proposed, for example, the possibility of;
The most important agreed points are the following:
A reduction of the visa fee for people under 18 year-old-, and children under 6.
Students and researchers will continue to be exempted of visa fee; deadlines lodging application: In the spirit of compromise 6 months were agreed.

  • What are your plans for the future of the Erasmus+ programme, especially concerning the support of youth exchanges and international youth work?

The culture committee of the European Parliament backed in February 2019 new rules on the financing for the new Erasmus+ Programme. We believe that his flagship initiative to unite Europeans deserves proper funding, therefore the S&Ds proposes to triple its financing from €15 billion of the period 20142020 to €45 billion in the 2021-2027 period. S&Ds also call for more financial support in particular for adult education and vocational training.
We also demand Europe-wide strategy to foster inclusiveness. So far, the Erasmus programme has benefitted only a few, but everyone should have the same opportunities. The new Erasmus+ must be truly open for everyone and encourage the participation of everyone in the society.
At the forefront of S&Ds goals is non-discriminatory and barrier-free access to Erasmus+, including more participation of people with few opportunities, people with disabilities and special needs.

  • 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?

Working and volunteering for youth organisations is an asset and the first battle is cultural: the job market must give proper symbolic recognition to volunteering which should be considered ad a pivotal experience for individual careers.
The current lack of recognition of non-formal and informal learning needs to be addressed urgently. Despite the progress made in the last few years in the contact of the implementation of Council recommendation on validation of non-formal and informal learning by 2018, the provision of real access, recognition and financial support remains a challenge. We advocate for the creation of a European strategy with a view to establishing a common framework for recognition of informal and non-formal learning in order to facilitate the creation of relevant national procedures.

  • 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?
  1. We will continue to invite youth organisations to our conferences and seminars in order to give them the opportunity to take the floor and share their ideas and comments with decision makers, other stakeholders and European citizens. Furthermore, we will continue to defend their right to participate in European meetings on the evaluation of the implementation of the European programmes such as Erasmus+.
  2. As Socialists and Democrats, we value the work of youth organisations and therefore we want to simplify the application procedures. Indeed the Guide should be clear and user-friendly. Furthermore, we promote the digitalisation of the application process and the project management that has to be accessible to all, stable, timesaving and user-friendly. In parallel youth organisations should be supported notably by strengthening youth work and non-formal education development practices within the Erasmus+ programme.
  3. As Socialists and Democrats, we are aware that legal and administrative obstacles such as difficulties in obtaining visas and residence permits can impede access to international youth exchanges. Therefore, we will continue to encourage Member States to adopt all necessary measures to remove such obstacles and to establish fast-track admission procedures.
  4. Erasmus+ is the most successful European programme and it must keep growing. We call for tripling the financial envelope dedicated to Erasmus+ in the future Multiannual financial framework 20212027 and for keeping the “plus” in the name so as to strengthen all its components: formal, non-formal and informal education, training and professional development, youth activities, arts and sports. We will continue to work for a programme that must be more inclusive, and accessible than ever, with a stronger focus on young people with fewer opportunities, school and youth exchanges and vocational training, ambitious cooperation with third countries. Regarding the new DiscoverEU initiative – the traveling experience for European people aged 18-20 – inside the Erasmus+ programme, we propose to fill with content so that it has a strong learning component, building on current projects such as European Capitals of Culture and European Youth Capitals. In parallel, we will continue to fight for a real accessible European Solidarity Corps which gives the chance to young people aged 18-30 to enjoy non-formal and informal learning opportunities through volunteering, traineeship or job activities in solidarity and non-profit related areas, including humanitarian aid. It is an invaluable opportunity for them to promote an active, European and solidarity-based citizenship. Therefore, in order to make it a successful experience for all, it is necessary to recognise and financially support non-profit associations and service centres so that they can provide the necessary conditions for a quality volunteering experience: organisation, mentoring, training and international partnerships.
  5. As Socialists and Democrats, we will continue to cooperate closely with youth organisations by inviting them to our conferences and seminars and giving them the opportunity to take the floor and share their ideas and comments. Furthermore, we will continue to promote the importance of the European Structured Dialogue on youth, a participatory process that gives young people and youth organisations the opportunity to be involved in and influence European youth policy making. We encourage the European Commission to strengthen its efforts towards an open and transparent way of working and to improve its cooperation with the social partners and civil society including youth organisations at all levels of implementation of the programmes.

Youth goals & children’s rights

  • 10,000s 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?

Youth has always been in the heart of our action. Through our political initiatives and our political stance, we have already worked on integrating in our parliamentary work the views of young people of Europe as defined in framework of the Youth Goals. We will continue to stand for the same goals through our work in the European parliamentary committees and interparliamentary meetings, through our political initiatives and actions, through our international relations as well as seminars and conferences organised by our political group. We believe also that we can support the implementation of the EU Youth Goals through our cooperation with the European Commission and monitoring of its work, namely in the fields of education, youth, social, and civic engagement policies.

  • 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?

The question on infrastructure for the youth is important for the S&D Group and we led the two main reports in the committee on Regional development (REGI) in order to use the investments funds to support this political goal. Three main achievements we reached:

  1. First of all, on the overall Common Provisions Regulations (CPR), which sets the binding rules for seven EU funds, that fought and voted in favour of the Child guarantee.
  2. Secondly, on the European Regional and Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF) we also have a special focus on children’s rights. In Recital 5 we got through the following political line: “The Funds should not support actions that contribute to any form of segregation. Investments under the ERDF, in synergy with ESF+, should contribute to promoting social inclusion and fighting poverty, and to raising citizens’ quality of life in line with the obligations of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to contribute to children’s rights.” The first part (“not support actions that contribute to any form of segregation”) refers to the wish also of NGOs in the family sector as for example “Eurochild” to reduce intuitional care and focus on community-based and family-based investments.
  3. Thirdly, also on ERDF-CF, we ensure in the legally binding policy objective 4 (on social issues) a focus which supports youth-led physical facilities and infrastructures. The legal text reads in Article 2(d) the 1 http://www.youthgoals.eu/
    following: Investments in “improving equal access to inclusive and quality services in education, training and lifelong learning and sport through developing accessible infrastructure and services.” As well as “advancing the transition from institutional to family- and community-based care”.
  4. Finally, as the S&D in the European Parliament, we believe that the young should participate in decision-making and have fair access to quality jobs. We do wish to strengthen young people’s democratic participation and autonomy. Therefore, we fight to give young people a voice to shape EU policies and to guarantee equal opportunities in the labour market and quality long-term jobs.
  • What do you want to do for guaranteeing the implementation of the children’s rights in Europe?

We S-D were always of the view that how Europe treats its children will definitely determine its future.
We were at the vanguard ensuring that every child can exercise the rights set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the child (UNCRC). Treating every child as a child, irrespective of social or ethnic background, gender, ability or migration status was, is and will be of utmost importance for us.
Therefore, the S-D Group has a strong record on recognising the value of children’s own views and experience, and enabling them to participate meaningfully in all decisions affecting their right lives.
We have been very strong in addressing the root causes of child violations by tackling poverty, discrimination and social exclusion and protecting against violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect.
More concretely, we ensured that children who are suspected or accused of a crime get a fair trial: It was high time that all EU Member States recognise the right of anyone under 18 to be assisted by a lawyer and to be accompanied by the holder of parental responsibility. We also made sure that judges, prosecutors, and other professionals who deal with criminal proceedings involving children get special training. In criminal proceedings fundamental rights are particularly relevant, namely those of children.
Last but not least, being present at the highest political level representing the organisations defenders of the rights of the child the S-D Group is of the view that more has to be done in early childhood, health care, quality education as well as community – based care and rehabilitation services.

Diversity, peace & respect

  • Many young people suffer from the consequences of hate speech. What do you want to do to combat hate speech?

The S&D Group has a strong record in the area of countering hate-speech, fighting against discrimination and promoting an inclusive society. The S&D Group is the only political group with a working group dedicated to Extremism, which we take very seriously. The Group has also a long tradition of respect for and promotion of diversity, including for faith and religions.
S&D has also appointed specific Group spokespersons for different topics, which practice the Group will continue in order to ensure that our Group remains vocal on these issues, including cases directly
affecting young people from different communities and groups. Many young people are exposed to hate speech on a regular basis, both on and offline, and it is important to be vigilant and the S&D aims to continue to be a leading voice in the public debate to denounce it firmly.
Additionally, the S&D Group secretariat is implementing a zero-tolerance policy towards discrimination and hate-speech by actively training its staff, which is currently more of an exception rather than a general practice amongst political group secretariats in the European Parliament.
The Group has been very strong in pushing for stronger sanctions and better definition of hate speech in the revised EP rules of procedure, which entered into force very recently and, with this new tool, S&D Members will continue to refer cases to the Parliament President to ensure a strict follow up, as well as ensuring a strict policy towards its own Members. The EP needs to lead by example if we want to fight hate speech outside.
The Group is also engaging in a continuous dialogue with civil society on these topics. We rely on a comprehensive network of organisations within the Party of European Socialists, including with the Young European Socialists. In addition, the S&D Group has a strong and continuous dialogue with civil society groups at the European and national levels. Our political family has established a dialogue with the European Youth Forum, to which you are a member, in different fields, including on the theme of hate speech and discrimination. Many of our MEP candidates have already signed pledges from civil society organisations fighting against discrimination and hate-speech.
Unquestionably, we are aware that legislative work needs to be accompanied by proper and full implementation and people need to be explained their rights. To this end, organising events at European/national/local level on these themes is important and the Group has been doing it for a long time.
A regular dialogue between the European Union and churches, religious associations and communities, as well as philosophical and non-confessional organisations is due to take place as stipulated by the EU treaties. The S&D Group believes this is a good forum to discuss this important topic at the EU level by involving MEPs and the representatives from all the different groups involved.
The S&D Group will continue its support for the continuation of different internal cross-party interest groups (Intergroups) and informal groups defending an inclusive society and promoting an intersectional approach. During this legislature, for example, the European Parliament Anti-Racism and Diversity intergroup and the Children intergroup, supported by many active S&D Members, coorganised many events dealing with this topic and with the support of the S&D Group.
We will keep on defending the swift adoption of the blocked horizontal anti-discrimination Directive, which would tackle discrimination at EU level, recognising age and religion as grounds of discrimination.
Some EU texts in the field of hate speech may need updating in order to include new grounds of discrimination. The S&D Group will use the opportunity of the hearings of Commissioner candidates in order to push these topics onto the agenda and use all the parliamentary tools available (INI reports, EP resolutions, debate at Committee and Plenary levels) to raise awareness of the issues.
Also as media, including social media develops, the S&D group continues to fight dangerous elements like disinformation and misinformation campaigns, as well ashate speech, especially on the internet,
as it is daily used by young people. The S&D believes that rules on hate speech should be applied with the same tenacity on the internet as outside. Victims of hate-speech deserve equal treatment online as off-line and perpetrators cannot get away with impunity. The Group welcomed the Code of conduct on countering illegal hate speech online, which was adopted by big internet players, but we believe it does not go far enough and does not cover all the necessary platforms and communication tools. In 2018, the S&D achieved to define new rules notably for video sharing platform services regarding the protection of children and minors (Audiovisual Media Services Directive) and will push for their proper implementation.
Along with this, we must remain vigilant that media ownership remains as pluralistic as possible.

  • Youth organizations like FIMCAP and its member organization strengthen the civil society. What do you want to support them to fulfill this important function?

The EU is a community of law and its values constitute the very basis of its existence. These values are enshrined in the EU Treaties, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. To promote common European values and rights, the S&D Group has been at the forefront of proposing a policy mix of legislation, policies and funding. In particular, we have supported programmes, which show a strong societal focus and are clearly related to European values: the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme, the Europe for Citizens Programme and the Justice Programme.
Defending the idea for the creation of such programmes which would support civil society organisations, such as youth organisations like FIMCAP, which promote fundamental values within the European Union at local and national level will continue to be a top priority for us. We have supported those programmes designed to provide financial support for civil society on a local and national level to counter the backlash against democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights occurring in some Member states in the EU. These instruments would be complementary to already existing programmes and have a funding level corresponding to the EU’s spending on value-promotion in third countries.
In addition to this, the S&D Group remains very concerned about developments in Europe on how the values enshrined in article 2 of the Treaty are continued to be threatened. In order to tackle this we have been calling repeatedly for a comprehensive legislative instrument on Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights which would tackle from a very early stage possible breaches of these values – including decisions/legislations which could have negative impact on youth organisations and/or attacking freedom of religion.

Answers from GUE-NGL

About GUE-NGL:

The abbreviation GUE-NGL stands for Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left which brings together left-wing MEPs in the European Parliament.
For more information, visit the website of GUE-NGL where you can also find the political parties from your country that are part of their group.

Social inclusion

  • How do you imagine an inclusive Europe? And what do you want to do to realize this vision?

Our group works under the theme ‘Another Europe is possible’. Our vision is a Europe of equality between all human beings regardless of gender, race, nationality, ethnicity, ability, sexuality or wealth, and environmental sustainability. To achieve this, we work towards better quality jobs and higher salaries, better funding for public services and welfare, environmental sustainability, open borders for refugees and migrants and peaceful diplomatic participation in conflicts. This requires changing current policies and insisting that the rich and multinational companies pay their taxes, massive reduction of CO2 emissions, ending weapons sales and military intervention in conflicts, ending policies of austerity and changing cultures of discrimination. A Europe for the millions, not the millionaires.

More information about all our policies is available in 11 languages and a list of the political parties currently in our group is on our website.

  • 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?

No. The European Union needs to radically change its policies to support – rather than punish – refugees and migrants. Since the last election in 2014, thousands of innocent people have drowned in the Mediterranean while trying to reach safety in Europe. We have consistently and unwaveringly supported the rights of refugees and migrants under international law. We do not support the EU’s policies of trying to keep refugees and migrants out of Europe by paying other countries (some of which are run by dictators and militias) to ‘process’ them. People have the human right to arrive and seek asylum in Europe. We work for safe and legal pathways for immigration, respect for all people and open borders. Fortress Europe must end and governments must show the same real solidarity that millions of Europeans have demonstrated when supporting refugees and migrants in crisis.

  • 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?

No. Millions of children in Europe still live below the poverty line. Current policies of austerity cut public funding to schools, welfare programmes and social services that help the most vulnerable children. We must change this by funding public services and ending austerity. Migrant children are especially vulnerable to poverty, so we must also change migration policies that leave them in instability by granting more permanent visas to these children and their parents, as well as providing additional public services to assist with social integration.

Sustainability

  • Young people in  Europe demand more climate action. What do you want to do to meet their demands?

We support the youth climate strike. We proposed a European Parliament resolution that recognises their efforts and demands. In April 2019, our MEPs launched the Climate Emergency Manifesto in response to the youth climate strike and the latest IPCC report. In it, we detail our vision and policies to avert climate catastrophe. We were the only European Parliament political group to answer the protesters with a concrete proposal.

  • How do you want to make travelling in Europe more sustainable?

Our MEPs played a leading role in the Emissions Measurements in the Automotive Sector Commission of Inquiry in the European Parliament. We exposed the collusion between the Commission and the car industry, and proposed concrete measures to hold car manufacturers accountable. 

We defend a binding global scheme for aviation emissions. We want to democratise access to clean rail travel across Europe. We therefore oppose privatisation. This explainer about the First and Second Road Mobility Package explains our position in detail. 

  • 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?

Our Climate Emergency Manifesto states our position in detail. This video states our priorities for COP24.

  • Which concrete actions do you propose in progressing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the next term?

We want that all trade agreements the EU signs with developing countries have a clause to commit the parties to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. Likewise, we want developing countries to have the resources to meet Goals. As such, we address the injustice of the EU’s tax treaties that deprive developing countries of much needed revenues.

Youth exchanges, youth work & youth mobility

  • How do you want to support the work of (international) youth organizations?

We start by listening to people who are affected by European policies, and this includes listening to young people. More details are provided under the following questions.

  • 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?

We have supported increased funding for youth-led initiatives and would be likely to support future measures to reduce bureaucracy and administrative burdens on youth organisations.

  • 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?

Our group consistently works towards policies of more open borders. We have voted against all policies and measures of the European Union that make it more difficult for visitors and migrants to gain visas. 

  • What are your plans for the future of the Erasmus+ programme, especially concerning the support of youth exchanges and international youth work?

We support access for all young people to EU exchange programmes. We voted for the new Erasmus+ programme (which is the main EU programme for education, training, youth and sport) and to triple the budget of the Discover EU programme (which enables young people to travel around Europe by train).

We also supported increased financial support for actions dealing with vocational training and adult education. In addition, we supported enabling more young people, especially those with fewer opportunities including people with disabilities and special needs to participate.

Regarding the European Solidarity Corps programme (which enables young people to volunteer or work in projects that benefit communities and people around Europe), we aim to ensure that this programme only engages young people in the activities of non-profit organisations and that these volunteers are not exploited as a substitute for paid employees.

  • 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?

We believe that young people deserve decent paid jobs, just like everyone else. Our group stands alongside young people in defending their rights to high quality, well-paid and stable employment and other social protections. We insist that young people, like everyone else, should not be subjected to the unjust impacts of austerity policies, precarious employment and unpaid internships.

  • 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?

Our group has several of the youngest MEPs in the European Parliament. This indicates that young people are heard and prioritised by the political parties within our group and their voices are raised to the highest level of political representation. We also welcome long-term structures for listening to youth organisations just like all other citizens representative organisations such as trade unions, NGOs and social movements.

Youth goals & children’s rights

  • 10,000s of young people have developed within the Structured Dialogue of the European the EU Youth Goals.[1] How are you going to integrate the framework of the youth goals in your work in the European parliament?

Our MEPs have advocated for most, if not all, of the EU youth goals. For example, our group consistently pushes for policies and action to tackle gender discrimination, gender-based violence and unequal pay. We also want more and better support for young people in rural areas.

  • 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?

We want more investment in youth schemes and infrastructure.

  • What do you want to do for guaranteeing the implementation of the children’s rights in Europe?

Some of our MEPs are supporters of the Child Rights Manifesto. Recently we took a stand to guarantee equal child social security standards across the EU.

Diversity, peace & respect

  • Many young people suffer from the consequences of hate speech. What do you want to do to combat hate speech?

We support the outlawing of neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups and tough action against hate speech and incitement to violence. We have proposed and succeeded in approving a European Parliament resolution that detail steps to tackle the phenomenon.  

  • Youth organizations like FIMCAP and its member organization strengthen the civil society. What do you want to support them to fulfill this important function?

As the Left group in the European Parliament, we are accountable to the people and civil society plays a key role in enabling this. We are against corporate lobbies. We believe good policy is done through direct consultation with citizens and civil society. We regularly hold policy forums, through debates we host in the European Parliament and study visits to member states, and we have supported legislation to strengthen civil society. 


Comparison: diversity, peace and respect

Many young people suffer from the consequences of hate speech. What do you want to do to combat hate speech?

EPP (European People’s Party): We strongly condemn all forms of discrimination, hate speech, and violence. These are completely unacceptable in a civilized, tolerant, and inclusive society. We must ensure that Member States enforce existing anti-discrimination legislation and we must challenge demagogues and populist spreading hate, lies, and conspiracies. We are a party based on values and we will always speak up and defend freedom, respect for human dignity, democracy, equality, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minority groups. We will fight against fake news and ensure access to quality information. We want social media platforms to take more responsibility for countering disinformation and hate speech and to increase fact-checking in cooperation with journalists’ associations.

S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats): The S&D Group has a strong record in the area of countering hate-speech, fighting against discrimination and promoting an inclusive society. The S&D Group is the only political group with a working group dedicated to Extremism, which we take very seriously. The Group has also a long tradition of respect for and promotion of diversity, including for faith and religions. S&D has also appointed specific Group spokespersons for different topics, which practice the Group will continue in order to ensure that our Group remains vocal on these issues, including cases directly affecting young people from different communities and groups. Many young people are exposed to hate speech on a regular basis, both on and offline, and it is important to be vigilant and the S&D aims to continue to be a leading voice in the public debate to denounce it firmly. Additionally, the S&D Group secretariat is implementing a zero-tolerance policy towards discrimination and hate-speech by actively training its staff, which is currently more of an exception rather than a general practice amongst political group secretariats in the European Parliament. The Group has been very strong in pushing for stronger sanctions and better definition of hate speech in the revised EP rules of procedure, which entered into force very recently and, with this new tool, S&D Members will continue to refer cases to the Parliament President to ensure a strict follow up, as well as ensuring a strict policy towards its own Members. The EP needs to lead by example if we want to fight hate speech outside. The Group is also engaging in a continuous dialogue with civil society on these topics. We rely on a comprehensive network of organisations within the Party of European Socialists, including with the Young European Socialists. In addition, the S&D Group has a strong and continuous dialogue with civil society groups at the European and national levels. Our political family has established a dialogue with the European Youth Forum, to which you are a member, in different fields, including on the theme of hate speech and discrimination. Many of our MEP candidates have already signed pledges from civil society organisations fighting against discrimination and hate-speech. Unquestionably, we are aware that legislative work needs to be accompanied by proper and full implementation and people need to be explained their rights. To this end, organising events at European/national/local level on these themes is important and the Group has been doing it for a long time. A regular dialogue between the European Union and churches, religious associations and communities, as well as philosophical and non-confessional organisations is due to take place as stipulated by the EU treaties. The S&D Group believes this is a good forum to discuss this important topic at the EU level by involving MEPs and the representatives from all the different groups involved. The S&D Group will continue its support for the continuation of different internal cross-party interest groups (Intergroups) and informal groups defending an inclusive society and promoting an intersectional approach. During this legislature, for example, the European Parliament Anti-Racism and Diversity intergroup and the Children intergroup, supported by many active S&D Members, coorganised many events dealing with this topic and with the support of the S&D Group.
We will keep on defending the swift adoption of the blocked horizontal anti-discrimination Directive, which would tackle discrimination at EU level, recognising age and religion as grounds of discrimination. Some EU texts in the field of hate speech may need updating in order to include new grounds of discrimination. The S&D Group will use the opportunity of the hearings of Commissioner candidates in order to push these topics onto the agenda and use all the parliamentary tools available (INI reports, EP resolutions, debate at Committee and Plenary levels) to raise awareness of the issues.
Also as media, including social media develops, the S&D group continues to fight dangerous elements like disinformation and misinformation campaigns, as well ashate speech, especially on the internet, as it is daily used by young people. The S&D believes that rules on hate speech should be applied with the same tenacity on the internet as outside. Victims of hate-speech deserve equal treatment online as off-line and perpetrators cannot get away with impunity. The Group welcomed the Code of conduct on countering illegal hate speech online, which was adopted by big internet players, but we believe it does not go far enough and does not cover all the necessary platforms and communication tools. In 2018, the S&D achieved to define new rules notably for video sharing platform services regarding the protection of children and minors (Audiovisual Media Services Directive) and will push for their proper implementation. Along with this, we must remain vigilant that media ownership remains as pluralistic as possible.

LYMEC (European Liberal Youth, youth wing of ALDE): 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.

GUE-NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left): We support the outlawing of neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups and tough action against hate speech and incitement to violence. We have proposed and succeeded in approving a European Parliament resolution that detail steps to tackle the phenomenon.  

European Greens: We are proud that Europe is diverse and colourful. We strongly condemn and fight any kind of discrimination and hate crimes on the basis of – but not limited to – age, gender and sexual identity, class, ethnicity and their intersections. We want all policies and services to recognise the true diversity of people and their families – and the contribution they make to our societies. We always choose hope over hate and we won’t tolerate hate speech anywhere.

Youth organizations like FIMCAP and its member organization strengthen the civil society. What do you want to support them to fulfill this important function?

EPP (European People’s Party):

We believe that the EU must protect civil society to ensure that we have vibrant democracies in the EU. We must do this using the two avenues open to us: enforcing commonly agreed rules and ensuring sufficient funding for civil society. We believe that the Commission must challenge national legislation when it undermines civil society to ensure that all Member States respect and follow our common rules and legislation. We also believe that we can help civil society through funding. Therefore, we strongly support establishing a European Values Instrument as part of the next EU budget to provide sustained funding to civil society.

S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats): The EU is a community of law and its values constitute the very basis of its existence. These values are enshrined in the EU Treaties, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. To promote common European values and rights, the S&D Group has been at the forefront of proposing a policy mix of legislation, policies and funding. In particular, we have supported programmes, which show a strong societal focus and are clearly related to European values: the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme, the Europe for Citizens Programme and the Justice Programme. Defending the idea for the creation of such programmes which would support civil society organisations, such as youth organisations like FIMCAP, which promote fundamental values within the European Union at local and national level will continue to be a top priority for us. We have supported those programmes designed to provide financial support for civil society on a local and national level to counter the backlash against democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights occurring in some Member states in the EU. These instruments would be complementary to already existing programmes and have a funding level corresponding to the EU’s spending on value-promotion in third countries. In addition to this, the S&D Group remains very concerned about developments in Europe on how the values enshrined in article 2 of the Treaty are continued to be threatened. In order to tackle this we have been calling repeatedly for a comprehensive legislative instrument on Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights which would tackle from a very early stage possible breaches of these values – including decisions/legislations which could have negative impact on youth organisations and/or attacking freedom of religion.

LYMEC (European Liberal Youth, youth wing of ALDE): 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.

GUE-NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left): As the Left group in the European Parliament, we are accountable to the people and civil society plays a key role in enabling this. We are against corporate lobbies. We believe good policy is done through direct consultation with citizens and civil society. We regularly hold policy forums, through debates we host in the European Parliament and study visits to member states, and we have supported legislation to strengthen civil society. 

European Greens: The strengthening of civil society will always be a priority for the Greens. We will stand with civil society and provide a bridge for their claims to be brought into the European Parliament and provide space in our campaigns and structures for them. We will also keep supporting the Federation of Young Greens, the youth organization of the European Greens, in their work to represent the youth.

Comparison: youth goals and children’s rights

110,000s of young people have developed within the Structured Dialogue of the European the European Youth Goals. How are you going to integrate the framework of the youth goals in your work in the European parliament?

EPP (European People’s Party): We have been very impressed by the clarity and content of the 11 EU Youth Goals. We believe that we are strong partners and allies in realising the goals. We are committed to bringing Europe back to the people to foster participation and joint ownership of the European project. We are strongly in favour of inclusive societies in which all people are provided with a security net, educational opportunities, and offered economic opportunities to realise their dreams. We want to ensure that all people, whether urban or rural dweller, have economic opportunities. That’s why we will invest in strengthening all of our regions and we will create five million jobs over the next years. We are the party that is putting health on the EU’s agenda and we are committed to battling diseases by combining our strengths and that’s why we want to establish a European Masterplan against cancer. We believe that we must leave the planet in a better shape to our children and that’s why we are fully committed to Paris and Katowice climate accords.

S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats): Youth has always been in the heart of our action. Through our political initiatives and our political stance, we have already worked on integrating in our parliamentary work the views of young people of Europe as defined in framework of the Youth Goals. We will continue to stand for the same goals through our work in the European parliamentary committees and interparliamentary meetings, through our political initiatives and actions, through our international relations as well as seminars and conferences organised by our political group. We believe also that we can support the implementation of the EU Youth Goals through our cooperation with the European Commission and monitoring of its work, namely in the fields of education, youth, social, and civic engagement policies.

LYMEC (European Liberal Youth, youth wing of ALDE): 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.

GUE-NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left): Our MEPs have advocated for most, if not all, of the EU youth goals. For example, our group consistently pushes for policies and action to tackle gender discrimination, gender-based violence and unequal pay. We also want more and better support for young people in rural areas.

European Greens: The Youth Goals align very well with the priorities of the European Greens – for example in terms of gender equality, quality jobs, access to education and sustainability. Our track record shows that we bring these priorities into the European Parliament and fight for them. The Greens also put a special emphasis on making the voices of young people heard, which can be seen in our good relations with youth organisations and in young leading Green figures. We open up more space for youth in decision-making.

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?

EPP (European People’s Party): We believe that we must help our youth by offering them better economic opportunities and support them in reaching their personal development goals. Youth Goal 9 can be an important facilitator by offering our youth more chances to learn and participate in leading something of their own. We must evaluate what the EU programmes can do to facilitate this but we are also convinced that we need a strong buy-in from the national and, especially regional and local levels, to fulfil this goal.

S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats): The question on infrastructure for the youth is important for the S&D Group and we led the two main reports in the committee on Regional development (REGI) in order to use the investments funds to support this political goal. Three main achievements we reached: (1) First of all, on the overall Common Provisions Regulations (CPR), which sets the binding rules for seven EU funds, that fought and voted in favour of the Child guarantee. (2) Secondly, on the European Regional and Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF) we also have a special focus on children’s rights. In Recital 5 we got through the following political line: “The Funds should not support actions that contribute to any form of segregation. Investments under the ERDF, in synergy with ESF+, should contribute to promoting social inclusion and fighting poverty, and to raising citizens’ quality of life in line with the obligations of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to contribute to children’s rights.” The first part (“not support actions that contribute to any form of segregation”) refers to the wish also of NGOs in the family sector as for example “Eurochild” to reduce intuitional care and focus on community-based and family-based investments. (3) Thirdly, also on ERDF-CF, we ensure in the legally binding policy objective 4 (on social issues) a focus which supports youth-led physical facilities and infrastructures. The legal text reads in Article 2(d) the following: Investments in “improving equal access to inclusive and quality services in education, training and lifelong learning and sport through developing accessible infrastructure and services.” As well as “advancing the transition from institutional to family- and community-based care”. (4) Finally, as the S&D in the European Parliament, we believe that the young should participate in decision-making and have fair access to quality jobs. We do wish to strengthen young people’s democratic participation and autonomy. Therefore, we fight to give young people a voice to shape EU policies and to guarantee equal opportunities in the labour market and quality long-term jobs.

LYMEC (European Liberal Youth, youth wing of ALDE): 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.

GUE-NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left): We want more investment in youth schemes and infrastructure.

European Greens: Greens have always been at the forefront of recognising the importance of autonomous, open and safe spaces in society. On local level around Europe, we work for more public or autonomous spaces and less enclosures and exclusion. On a European level, we see a need for more exchange on best practices on how to create and organise such spaces.

What do you want to do for guaranteeing the implementation of the children’s rights in Europe?

EPP (European People’s Party): We want to defend and strengthen Human rights and children’s rights in Europe. Children are our future and we are a continent based on values. We will continue to support programmes that support and defend children’s rights in Europe but we also want to take this one step further. We demand that we take a bigger role in the global fight against child labour. In the future, we will demand that a ban on child labour will be part of every trade agreement and we will step up the enforcement and supervision of the ban.

S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats): We S-D were always of the view that how Europe treats its children will definitely determine its future.
We were at the vanguard ensuring that every child can exercise the rights set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the child (UNCRC). Treating every child as a child, irrespective of social or ethnic background, gender, ability or migration status was, is and will be of utmost importance for us. Therefore, the S-D Group has a strong record on recognising the value of children’s own views and experience, and enabling them to participate meaningfully in all decisions affecting their right lives. We have been very strong in addressing the root causes of child violations by tackling poverty, discrimination and social exclusion and protecting against violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect. More concretely, we ensured that children who are suspected or accused of a crime get a fair trial: It was high time that all EU Member States recognise the right of anyone under 18 to be assisted by a lawyer and to be accompanied by the holder of parental responsibility. We also made sure that judges, prosecutors, and other professionals who deal with criminal proceedings involving children get special training. In criminal proceedings fundamental rights are particularly relevant, namely those of children. Last but not least, being present at the highest political level representing the organisations defenders of the rights of the child the S-D Group is of the view that more has to be done in early childhood, health care, quality education as well as community – based care and rehabilitation services.

LYMEC (European Liberal Youth, youth wing of ALDE): 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.

GUE-NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left): Some of our MEPs are supporters of the Child Rights Manifesto. Recently we took a stand to guarantee equal child social security standards across the EU.

European Greens: Alarming rates of children in different EU member states are at risk of poverty or social exclusion. We need to end child poverty and inequality by investing in children. Investments in healthcare, education and environmental protection benefit children the most. Actively working against discrimination is positive especially for girls and migrant children. We must also recognise that children have rights beyond Europe’s borders and that Europe must foster peace and humanitarian aid instead of selling weapons that end up harming children in e.g. Yemen.

Comparison: youth exchanges, youth work and youth mobility

How do you want to support the work of (international) youth organizations?

EPP (European People’s Party): We believe that NGOs play an extremely important role in our vibrant societies. We must ensure that NGOs have sufficient funding from either national or EU sources, that processes to access funding are straightforward and efficient, and that Member States respect the independence of NGOs. We are strongly in favour of tripling the Erasmus+ budget so that more young people can study, train, gain international experience, and volunteer in Europe.

S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats): S&D pays very much attention to youth interests and is eager to get to know to their points of views, their feedback and experience., S&D has organised every year since 2014 the “Youth Forum on Gender Equality in a Progressive Society”. During these interactive 4-days-events more than 50 young people aged between 18 -25 from all EU member states, often engaged in youth organisations, come together in Brussels to discuss, exchange experience, learn and network on topics such as Gender equality, antidiscrimination, women’s rights and sustainable equality. This year – with view to the European Elections ahead – the Youth Forum focussed on how to boost young women’s participation in political decision making and how to fight sexism in politics. Our young guests met with politicians, experts, NGO representatives and presented their recommendations to the S&D Members of the European Parliament during the official group meeting.

LYMEC (European Liberal Youth, youth wing of ALDE): 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.

GUE-NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left): We start by listening to people who are affected by European policies, and this includes listening to young people. More details are provided under the following questions.

European Greens: We want to establish a European values instrument to support civil society and promote core values within the EU, and youth organizations should receive special attention in that. Through the Federation of Young European Greens, TILT and the European Ideas Lab, and through collaboration with other youth organizations, we aim to support the strengthening of civil society.

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?

EPP (European People’s Party): We are committed to cutting red tape for everyone, not only farmers and entrepreneurs but also for NGOs. Once we are elected, we will evaluate the European body of law and modernise legislation to allow people like farmers, entrepreneurs, and NGOs to focus on their core activities and minimise the time spent on dealing with red tape without jeopardising the standards and integrity of our system.

S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats): We fully understand the concern that administrative procedures should not take too much time and be too cumbersome. However, the European Parliament has limited competence on this issue which should be dealt at the technical level with the Commission. In this regard, we are open to listen to practical solutions suggested by civil organisations and NGOs and to facilitate a dialogue. On our side, we urge to simplify the application procedures. Indeed the Guide for applications should be clear and user-friendly. Furthermore, we want to promote the digitalisation of the application process and the project management that has to be accessible to all, stable, timesaving and userfriendly.

LYMEC (European Liberal Youth, youth wing of ALDE): 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.

GUE-NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left): We have supported increased funding for youth-led initiatives and would be likely to support future measures to reduce bureaucracy and administrative burdens on youth organisations.

European Greens: The European Commission and the Council of Europe need to invest more on youth, not cut investment.

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?

EPP (European People’s Party): We support youth exchanges and building more understanding between young people from different parts of the world. We must work together with the Member States to reform their visa rules to not hamper the efforts of international youth organisations.

S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats): After more than 4 years of negotiations under very difficult conditions and despite all EPP efforts to undermine the agreement, we S-D Group have managed to adopt a compromise package on the VISA CODE during last April plenary session. The compromise package agreed in March is the result of a thorough preparatory process, led by S-D Group.
We S-D, recognize that most of the content of the proposal are technical elements such as the practical modalities for lodging an application, the Member State competent for examining and deciding on an application, visa and service fees, application form, supporting documents, etc. However, we observe that it is necessary to take a wide perspective and recognize the importance for the EU as a whole to facilitate legitimate travel towards it. For the S-D, the procedures set up in the Visa Code play a critical role for many and important economic sectors, such as the young people, researchers and students, which is of particular importance for many regions in Europe. Therefore, we fought for supporting and including procedural facilitations proposed. The most important agreed points are the following: A reduction of the visa fee for people under 18 year-old-, and children under 6. Students and researchers will continue to be exempted of visa fee. Deadlines lodging application: In the spirit of compromise 6 months were agreed.

LYMEC (European Liberal Youth, youth wing of ALDE): 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.

GUE-NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left): Our group consistently works towards policies of more open borders. We have voted against all policies and measures of the European Union that make it more difficult for visitors and migrants to gain visas. 

European Greens: This is unacceptable, and the Greens have always fought against borders preventing people getting opportunities. We will continue to fight for this principle so that travelling freely across Europe can be achieved.

What are your plans for the future of the Erasmus+ programme, especially concerning the support of youth exchanges and international youth work?

EPP (European People’s Party): We believe that Erasmus programmes have been extremely successful and popular. That is why we will expand Erasmus programmes, especially for non-academics. Additionally, we believe that 18-year-olds should have an opportunity to discover our continent and what binds us together as an Union. Therefore, we are committed to expanding DiscoverEU Interrail for all 18year-olds. We are also in favour of tripling the budget of Erasmus+ so that many more young people can study, train, gain international experience, and volunteer abroad.

S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats): The culture committee of the European Parliament backed in February 2019 new rules on the financing for the new Erasmus+ Programme. We believe that his flagship initiative to unite Europeans deserves proper funding, therefore the S&Ds proposes to triple its financing from €15 billion of the period 20142020 to €45 billion in the 2021-2027 period. S&Ds also call for more financial support in particular for adult education and vocational training. We also demand Europe-wide strategy to foster inclusiveness. So far, the Erasmus programme has benefitted only a few, but everyone should have the same opportunities. The new Erasmus+ must be truly open for everyone and encourage the participation of everyone in the society. At the forefront of S&Ds goals is non-discriminatory and barrier-free access to Erasmus+, including more participation of people with few opportunities, people with disabilities and special needs.

LYMEC (European Liberal Youth, youth wing of ALDE): 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.

GUE-NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left): We support access for all young people to EU exchange programmes. We voted for the new Erasmus+ programme (which is the main EU programme for education, training, youth and sport) and to triple the budget of the Discover EU programme (which enables young people to travel around Europe by train). We also supported increased financial support for actions dealing with vocational training and adult education. In addition, we supported enabling more young people, especially those with fewer opportunities including people with disabilities and special needs to participate. Regarding the European Solidarity Corps programme (which enables young people to volunteer or work in projects that benefit communities and people around Europe), we aim to ensure that this programme only engages young people in the activities of non-profit organisations and that these volunteers are not exploited as a substitute for paid employees.

European Greens: We also call for multiplying European funding for student exchange. The Erasmus+ exchange must be broadened and strengthened to really enable people from all backgrounds to work, train or study in another country.

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?

EPP (European People’s Party): We believe that non-formal education is extremely valuable and complements formal education. It offers our youth opportunities in managing projects, learning social skills, leadership skills, and being innovative – all qualities we will need in the future to succeed as a continent. We believe that more must be done to encourage recognition of non-formal education by employers.

S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats): Working and volunteering for youth organisations is an asset and the first battle is cultural: the job market must give proper symbolic recognition to volunteering which should be considered ad a pivotal experience for individual careers. The current lack of recognition of non-formal and informal learning needs to be addressed urgently. Despite the progress made in the last few years in the contact of the implementation of Council recommendation on validation of non-formal and informal learning by 2018, the provision of real access, recognition and financial support remains a challenge. We advocate for the creation of a European strategy with a view to establishing a common framework for recognition of informal and non-formal learning in order to facilitate the creation of relevant national procedures.

LYMEC (European Liberal Youth, youth wing of ALDE): 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.

GUE-NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left): We believe that young people deserve decent paid jobs, just like everyone else. Our group stands alongside young people in defending their rights to high quality, well-paid and stable employment and other social protections. We insist that young people, like everyone else, should not be subjected to the unjust impacts of austerity policies, precarious employment and unpaid internships.

European Greens: Definition of youth work has changed so much in last years, bringing professionalism and recognition to it. Also young people fought and won many different battles to be included in decision making processes. Thus today is not as surprising to see MEPs under 35 as it was 10 years ago. Young people are doing a magnificent job in fighting for their own rights and our role is to support them. We will keep fighting to improve youth work conditions, such as banning unpaid internships and implementing a European Youth Guarantee that effectively gives every young person employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or an internship within four months after finishing education.

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?

EPP (European People’s Party): We are committed to improving transparency of EU decisionmaking and bringing our Union back to the people. This will also mean our group is committed to evidence-based policy-making and we are always open to meeting the experts, listening to their advice and learning from them.

S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats): (1) We will continue to invite youth organisations to our conferences and seminars in order to give them the opportunity to take the floor and share their ideas and comments with decision makers, other stakeholders and European citizens. Furthermore, we will continue to defend their right to participate in European meetings on the evaluation of the implementation of the European programmes such as Erasmus+. (2) As Socialists and Democrats, we value the work of youth organisations and therefore we want to simplify the application procedures. Indeed the Guide should be clear and user-friendly. Furthermore, we promote the digitalisation of the application process and the project management that has to be accessible to all, stable, timesaving and user-friendly. In parallel youth organisations should be supported notably by strengthening youth work and non-formal education development practices within the Erasmus+ programme. (3) As Socialists and Democrats, we are aware that legal and administrative obstacles such as difficulties in obtaining visas and residence permits can impede access to international youth exchanges. Therefore, we will continue to encourage Member States to adopt all necessary measures to remove such obstacles and to establish fast-track admission procedures. (4) Erasmus+ is the most successful European programme and it must keep growing. We call for tripling the financial envelope dedicated to Erasmus+ in the future Multiannual financial framework 20212027 and for keeping the “plus” in the name so as to strengthen all its components: formal, non-formal and informal education, training and professional development, youth activities, arts and sports. We will continue to work for a programme that must be more inclusive, and accessible than ever, with a stronger focus on young people with fewer opportunities, school and youth exchanges and vocational training, ambitious cooperation with third countries. Regarding the new DiscoverEU initiative – the traveling experience for European people aged 18-20 – inside the Erasmus+ programme, we propose to fill with content so that it has a strong learning component, building on current projects such as European Capitals of Culture and European Youth Capitals. In parallel, we will continue to fight for a real accessible European Solidarity Corps which gives the chance to young people aged 18-30 to enjoy non-formal and informal learning opportunities through volunteering, traineeship or job activities in solidarity and non-profit related areas, including humanitarian aid. It is an invaluable opportunity for them to promote an active, European and solidarity-based citizenship. Therefore, in order to make it a successful experience for all, it is necessary to recognise and financially support non-profit associations and service centres so that they can provide the necessary conditions for a quality volunteering experience: organisation, mentoring, training and international partnerships. (5) As Socialists and Democrats, we will continue to cooperate closely with youth organisations by inviting them to our conferences and seminars and giving them the opportunity to take the floor and share their ideas and comments. Furthermore, we will continue to promote the importance of the European Structured Dialogue on youth, a participatory process that gives young people and youth organisations the opportunity to be involved in and influence European youth policy making. We encourage the European Commission to strengthen its efforts towards an open and transparent way of working and to improve its cooperation with the social partners and civil society including youth organisations at all levels of implementation of the programmes.

LYMEC (European Liberal Youth, youth wing of ALDE): 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.

GUE-NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left): Our group has several of the youngest MEPs in the European Parliament. This indicates that young people are heard and prioritised by the political parties within our group and their voices are raised to the highest level of political representation. We also welcome long-term structures for listening to youth organisations just like all other citizens representative organisations such as trade unions, NGOs and social movements.

European Greens: Green parties, and in particular the Federation of Young European Greens, are young in membership and we recognize the importance of the voice of young people to be included in all consultation and at all decision-making levels and in all policy areas.

Comparison: social inclusion

How do you imagine an inclusive Europe? And what do you want to do to realize this vision?

EPP (European People’s Party): We want to create a Europe in which everyone feels at home and accepted. Democracy, human rights and dignity, pluralism, and tolerance are core European values. Hatred, misogyny, racism, and antisemitism have no place in Europe. We will launch a pact against antisemitism by fighting hate speech and establishing a common EU definition of antisemitism based on the IHRA definition. We also believe that inclusive societies need strong parliamentary democracies. This means strong parties and strong parliaments — at all levels — representing in the truest sense the people on the ground. We want to see an equal number of women and men making up the next Commission.

S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats): Inclusive Europe means for us a more inclusive future European society. We want to actively shape the design of such a Europe by investing in people. People have always been our priority. Education is a pre-condition for poverty eradication, human development and social inclusiveness, and investing in people first means investing in their education, skills and competences, with a specific focus on youth. Therefore, we call for an acceleration of the construction of a European Education Area in order to guarantee universal access to inclusive quality education and training for all. We call also for tripling the financial envelope dedicated to Erasmus+ in the future Multiannual financial framework 20212027 and for a programme to be more inclusive and accessible than ever, with a stronger focus on young people with fewer opportunities, school and youth exchanges and vocational training, ambitious cooperation with third countries, and further support to small-scale partnerships. For us, inclusive Europe means also inclusive European citizenship, social participation in the democratic life of the Union, and citizens’ engagement in our society. Therefore, we call for doubling the financing of the ‘Citizens’ engagement and participation’ strand of the new “Citizens, Rights and Values” programme, the strand which accounts for €500 million – a figure equivalent to barely €1 per EU citizen. A stronger role for culture in social and regional development is also key to creating more cohesive and inclusive local communities, as we stressed in light of the new European Social Fund + (ESF+), the European Regional Development Funds (ERDF), and the European Territorial Cooperation Goal (ETC or INTERREG Programme). We are committed to put forward all our proposals for a European Union that puts in place a strong social agenda, which gives priority to quality inclusive education systems from an early age, with a simultaneous lifelong learning approach, employment prospects, and a greater access to culture.

LYMEC (European Liberal Youth, youth wing of ALDE): 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.

GUE-NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left): Our group works under the theme ‘Another Europe is possible’. Our vision is a Europe of equality between all human beings regardless of gender, race, nationality, ethnicity, ability, sexuality or wealth, and environmental sustainability. To achieve this, we work towards better quality jobs and higher salaries, better funding for public services and welfare, environmental sustainability, open borders for refugees and migrants and peaceful diplomatic participation in conflicts. This requires changing current policies and insisting that the rich and multinational companies pay their taxes, massive reduction of CO2 emissions, ending weapons sales and military intervention in conflicts, ending policies of austerity and changing cultures of discrimination. A Europe for the millions, not the millionaires. More information about all our policies is available in 11 languages and a list of the political parties currently in our group is on our website.

European Greens: Social inclusion is at the core of Green policy. Our priority is to build a Europe that delivers to its citizens, to all its citizens. We want to invest in a sustainable Europe that can play its role in fighting climate change. We want to guarantee a decent minimum income all over Europe. We want to uphold the rule of law so that democracy can be protected. We want to defend the right of asylum and have legal and safe channels for migration. We want to guarantee free access to quality education, fairly paid internships and good jobs for young people. Together these priorities can build an inclusive Europe. To achieve this vision we call for the Greens to have an even bigger presence in the European Parliament. If the Greens are key to establish majorities, then we can push for a more inclusive Europe.

YDE (Young Democrats for Europe, youth wing of EDP): To us, an inclusive Europe must be based in equality, respect, tolerance and freedom.  Inclusion is one of our values in itself, we advocate for respect to minorities and diversity, In order  to achieve a more inclusive Europe, we want to foster social and inclusive policies that do not leave behind any European citizen. In this regard, for example, we want to foster the development of rural areas, youth employment, the access to high-speed internet, the access to training and higher education to improve the employability of youth within the EU, training in languages free for migrants, etc.

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?

EPP (European People’s Party): We believe that Europe can play a bigger role globally in solving crises and helping people. We are already the world’s leading provider of humanitarian assistance, yet we are convinced that we must do more to help those forced to leave their home countries. We want to have a stronger and more united European foreign policy to act more decisively at the global level and help to solve and avoid conflicts. At the same time, we are committed to supporting European Neighbourhood Countries to build stability, but we also want to commit more funds to helping countries in Africa to develop and create opportunities for their citizens. We envision a true Marshall plan for the African countries to work as partners, helping and supporting them to create prosperity and cooperation.

S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats): In 2017, over 30,000 migrant children arrived in Greece, Italy, Spain, and Bulgaria, almost half of these were not accompanied by an adult. EU governments have a moral and legal obligation to protect these children. We S-D are calling over years already ago, for member states to take action to ensure these children had the support and care they needed. However, many member states have still not implemented their obligations.
The S&D Group has been in the vanguard of political groups in the Parliament calling Member States to ensure that every child is given adequate shelter that a guardian is appointed on arrival, and that access to health care, psychological support and education are guaranteed. We must also speed up the process of family reunification, reconnecting children with their family members as quickly as possible.
These children are in an incredibly vulnerable position. Over the last few years, thousands have gone missing from official records. The S-D position has been very clear on the need of European Union to do all in its power to ensure their safety. The S-D is of the opinion that infringement procedures against member states that continue with the protracted and systemic detention of migrant children should be launched. The fear of being detained is a key reason why children are disappearing from the system – avoiding the authorities that should be there to help them. Last but not least, the S-D is strongly against the use of coercion to take children’s biometric data – which is a clear violation the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Despite attempts from the EPP to undermine these efforts we managed to introduce in the resolution adopted on the 3rd of May 2018, calling Member States not use coercion for the purposes of taking children’s biometric data.

LYMEC (European Liberal Youth, youth wing of ALDE): 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.

GUE-NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left): No. The European Union needs to radically change its policies to support – rather than punish – refugees and migrants. Since the last election in 2014, thousands of innocent people have drowned in the Mediterranean while trying to reach safety in Europe. We have consistently and unwaveringly supported the rights of refugees and migrants under international law. We do not support the EU’s policies of trying to keep refugees and migrants out of Europe by paying other countries (some of which are run by dictators and militias) to ‘process’ them. People have the human right to arrive and seek asylum in Europe. We work for safe and legal pathways for immigration, respect for all people and open borders. Fortress Europe must end and governments must show the same real solidarity that millions of Europeans have demonstrated when supporting refugees and migrants in crisis.

European Greens: No, Europe is currently not doing enough. For us, the right to asylum is non-negotiable. We want an asylum policy based on solidarity, on humanity and an orderly process, including the fair sharing of responsibilities among Member States and re-establishing a European searescuing mission. Europe must create common standards and common rules for labour mobility and migration. We want the Union to support countries and municipalities integrating refugees or migrants. Helping migrants should never be criminalised. People do not belong in prison for seeking asylum.

YDE (Young Democrats for Europe, youth wing of EDP): We think that integration is the basis for the humanitarian help. The aim of helping cannot be restricted to money allocations that help the migrants only in the moment in which they arive to Europe, which is still necesary. In this regard, we advocate for establishing quotas for the inclusion of migrants in universities and schools, the provision of free european lenguage trainings, fostering internships for migrants in order to help them to enter the labour market, etc.

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?

EPP (European People’s Party): The European Union plays an important role in fighting poverty in Europe. During the last 4 years we have created a social pillar for Europe which strengthens our social rights. Through cohesion funds and other EU financial instruments, we support the Member States in fighting poverty. We want to create an inclusive Europe in which no one is left behind. For us to be successful as a continent, we need everyone’s efforts and for this, we are strongly committed to the idea of equal opportunities. At the same time, we believe that you need to create jobs to fight poverty and offer economic opportunities to everyone, no matter which part of Europe you are in. Therefore, we are committed to creating 5 million new jobs over the next years to make sure that everyone can improve their situation.

S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats): The S&D is committed to the promotion of equal opportunities for all, and wants to make sure that all EU citizens have access to the means and services necessary to flourish and become successful, responsible members of society. Hugely important to achieve this, is reducing poverty and child poverty in particular. Since according to Eurostat, more than a quarter of children in the EU-28 are at risk of poverty or social exclusion (2016 figures) – that is to say, since there are more than 24.8 million children that suffer from a lack of income and basic services such as adequate food, education, housing or healthcare, with 11 million of them severely affected by material deprivation, it is crystal clear to the S&D that more needs to be done to help children and young people out of poverty. Failing to take decisive political action would mean excluding a great part of the next generation. Moreover, such a failure would go against the principle of equal opportunities as enshrined in the Treaties (in particular, Article 2 of the Lisbon Treaty on promoting children’s rights; Article 3.1 of the Treaty on European Union on combating social exclusion) and as reiterated in the European Pillar of Social Rights (in particular, principle 11 on childcare and support to children). The S&D is therefore campaigning for the introduction of a European Child Guarantee, a policy paper on which we have attached to this questionnaire. The Child Guarantee would seek to tackle child poverty in all its aspects, and ensure that every European child at risk of poverty has access to free quality healthcare, free quality education, free quality childcare, decent housing and adequate nutrition. These five areas of action would be covered through European and national action plans. In terms of implementation, we would want the European Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to agree on binding common goals. This would include a Europe 2020 sub-target on reducing child poverty and social exclusion. Given that the Child Guarantee should be considered as an investment in the stability and prosperity of the European Union, necessary for preserving the EU’s growth potential, the S&D would want precise indicators of child poverty included in the Annual Growth Survey, which would serve as benchmarking for Member States in their annual National Reform Programmes and National Social Reports. In terms of funding, the S&D calls for an earmarked part of the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) of 5.9 billion euros to finance the Child Guarantee, possibly as a part of a wider grouping of funds (e.g. ERDF) at a later stage. The S&D would also want Member States to direct at least 5% of their ESFresources towards the implementation of the Child Guarantee. The S&D would want to ensure the Child Guarantee is developed through strong cooperation between all stakeholders, and built with the full participation of children and adolescents at every step of the way – making them agents for positive change and active European citizens’ in the process.

LYMEC (European Liberal Youth, youth wing of ALDE): 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.

GUE-NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left): No. Millions of children in Europe still live below the poverty line. Current policies of austerity cut public funding to schools, welfare programmes and social services that help the most vulnerable children. We must change this by funding public services and ending austerity. Migrant children are especially vulnerable to poverty, so we must also change migration policies that leave them in instability by granting more permanent visas to these children and their parents, as well as providing additional public services to assist with social integration.

European Greens: No, Europe is currently not doing enough. Today, one in four people in Europe live at risk of poverty and social exclusion – including 25 million children. This is unacceptable. When Europe as a whole is wealthier than ever before, everybody deserves a decent standard of living. Reducing poverty and tackling inequalities must be a cornerstone of all economic and social policies. We reject austerity measures that have resulted in increasing poverty and deteriorating public services.

YDE (Young Democrats for Europe, youth wing of EDP): On of our values is equality. In this sense, we believe in the equality of opportunities. In this sense we consider absolutely necesary maintaing a solid public health and education system which allows the citizens to improve their living standards, through the improvement of their employability and being healthy.

Comparison: sustainability

Young people in Europe demand more climate action. What do you want to do to meet their demands?

EPP (European People’s Party): To safeguard our planet’s future, we believe that we must perform a well-managed transformation in Europe and globally. This will entail continuing to be committed to the global accords of Paris and Katowice to limit global warming but we must also recognise the need to build on these accords because alone they are not enough. We must invest in developing new, sustainable and low-carbon solutions in a socially responsible way. We are convinced that Europe can be the one who invents and develops the sustainable and low-carbon technologies which will make the whole world transform to low-carbon mobility and production in a socially sustainable fashion.

S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats): We in the S&D believe that Europe must lead the way to climate neutrality by investing into sustainable and innovative technological solutions, empowering citizens, and aligning action in key areas such as energy, industrial policy and research, while preventing energy poverty, ensuring social fairness for a just transition including re-skilling and up-skilling programmes, which is key to the success of the transition to a net-zero GHG economy by 2050 at the latest. If we are to achieve our long-term GHG net-zero objective, GHG emissions have to be reduced close to zero in all sectors of the economy. We will call on the Commission to develop pathways to climate neutrality for all sectors, while continuing to push to increase the ambition of the existing EU climate legislation. At the same time we believe that Europe’s climate transition must be ecologically, economically and socially sustainable. In order to ensure political acceptance by all citizens, it is important to take into account the distributional effects of climate-related and decarbonisation policies, specifically on people with low income; therefore possible social impacts should be fully taken into consideration in all EU and national climate policies with a view to ensuring a social and ecological transformation in Europe. Finally we strongly believe that young people have increasingly strong social and environmental awareness, which has the power to transform our societies towards a climate resilient future, and that youth education represents one of the most effective tools to combat climate change. We need to actively involve younger generations in building international, intercultural and intergenerational relationships, which underpin cultural change that will support the global efforts for a more sustainable future.

LYMEC (European Liberal Youth, youth wing of ALDE): 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.

GUE-NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left): We support the youth climate strike. We proposed a European Parliament resolution that recognises their efforts and demands. In April 2019, our MEPs launched the Climate Emergency Manifesto in response to the youth climate strike and the latest IPCC report. In it, we detail our vision and policies to avert climate catastrophe. We were the only European Parliament political group to answer the protesters with a concrete proposal.

European Greens: The Greens have climate action as a main priority. There is an answer to the climate crisis: it starts with solar, wind and other renewables! We must go for 100% renewables, use our energy efficiently, phase out fossil energy and nuclear power while creating sustainable jobs in affected regions. To cut emissions fast enough to reach the 1.5°C-world we will push hard for a just transition towards a net-zero-emissions economy. An EU carbon budget and a strong carbon floor price are needed to strengthen our efforts. We advocate phasing out coal by 2030 and other fossil fuels soon thereafter. Fossil and nuclear subsidies must stop now. Europe needs to divest from fossil fuels, to pull private and public funds from fossil investments.

YDE (Young Democrats for Europe, youth wing of EDP): We advocate for climate action and fostering of circular economy. The most important legacy for the next generations will be conditioned to our actions today regarding climate. In this sense, we consider that fostering the electrification of transport, reciclying, the use of renewable energies and introducing the principles of circular economy within the industry must be the action lines of our environmental strategy.

How do you want to make travelling in Europe more sustainable?

EPP (European People’s Party): We believe that we must invest in innovations and technology. We will work towards low-carbon mobility and build a true Energy Union to support the growth of renewable energy sources. We are convinced that we can revolutionise mobility and its environmental impact by developing the necessary engine and fuel technology to minimise the impact. This would also be important for the rest of the world because by creating these technologies, we would not only provide sustainable low-carbon mobility in Europe, but also for the rest of the world.

S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats): Through decarbonisation of all transport modes and increased use of low-emission technologies: Overall, S&D has been asking for a more ambitious approach for renewables in transport and for specific incentives to be put in place for the deployment of sustainable alternative fuels for those transport modes that currently have no alternative to liquid fuel. As regards aviation, the EU should actively push the ICAO in order to secure ambitious international C02 standards and ensure that the aviation sector adequately, fairly and effectively contribute to the achievement of the 2030 climate targets and the Paris Agreement objectives. As regards maritime, IMO should adopt clear GHG emission reductions targets and measures, in their absence, the emissions from the shipping sector should fall under the EU ETS from 2023– renewable technologies should be promoted strongly in the maritime sector. In the road sector specifically, S&D has been calling for ambitious C02 reduction targets for cars, vans and heavy duty vehicles (which adequately reflect Paris Agreement), as well as consistent economic and industrial development strategies to boost production and use of low-emission vehicles and the deployment of resources for achieving them (development of renewable energy and / or sustainable alternative fuels infrastructure and usage-related components such as batteries). The Group has been pushing for an ambitious action plan for the market uptake of electric vehicles and for fiscal incentives for zero and low emission vehicles. In this context, second-use applications for vehicle batteries (smart grid or storage) and circular economy development have also been promoted. Through a shift from the road to more sustainable modes of transport such as rail: S&D has been calling for prioritising investments in rail infrastructure, in particular regarding missing links and cross-border connection and has been asking the Commission to increase interoperability of the various transport modes. Through making urban mobility more sustainable and developing new mobility services: Transport is the main cause of air pollution in urban area; the Group has been pushing for the development of innovative, sustainable, environmentally friendly urban logistics strategies as well as ambitious targets in the context of the public procurement for clean vehicles. New mobility services aim to significantly improve urban transport and have the potential to do so by reducing congestion and emissions and providing an alternative to private car ownership, as the private car is still the principal means of transport in terms of journeys made. Through applying the user and polluter pays principle in all modes of transport and increasing information to consumers: This could also be done through efficient eTolling and eTicketing based on environmental performance of vehicles as well as harmonised guidelines for urban vehicles access regulations (UVARs). Behaviour change and switching towards more sustainable modes of transport is crucial in this context the S&D is calling for more information to consumers on passenger vehicles to accelerate decarbonisation in transport, and calls, therefore, for improved, reliable and more accessible information on emissions and fuel consumption of vehicles, including standardised, visible and clear vehicle labelling, in order to allow consumers to make informed choices and to promote changes in the behaviour of businesses and private individuals, and cleaner mobility.

LYMEC (European Liberal Youth, youth wing of ALDE): 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.

GUE-NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left): Our MEPs played a leading role in the Emissions Measurements in the Automotive Sector Commission of Inquiry in the European Parliament. We exposed the collusion between the Commission and the car industry, and proposed concrete measures to hold car manufacturers accountable. We defend a binding global scheme for aviation emissions. We want to democratise access to clean rail travel across Europe. We therefore oppose privatisation. This explainer about the First and Second Road Mobility Package explains our position in detail. 

European Greens:

One core Green goal is to transform the transport sector across Europe to overcome our dependency on polluting cars as quickly as possible, to stop the increasing pollution from aviation and to invest extensively in regional and cross-border railway networks. CO2 emissions from the transport sector continue to rise, particularly from cars and flights. Connecting countries and regions with fast trains, night trains and regional trains offers a positive alternative. To level the playing field between train and air traffic, flights need to be fairly taxed.

YDE (Young Democrats for Europe, youth wing of EDP): Two ideas: electrification of transportation and shared economy models. (1) Electrification of transportation, meaning the swift from the use of traditional fosil fuels to the use of electricity, will contribute to the environmental sustainability, reducing the impact in nature. (2) In addition, the increase and fostering of shared cars will contribute to the reduction of vehicles in European roads, reducing the consumption of energy, traffic jams, space needed for cars within the cities, etc. Smart mobility is one of the most relevant allies for progress and environmental sustainability.

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?

EPP (European People’s Party): We defend the Paris Climate agreement and the Katowice COP24 goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2050. We will ensure an effective CO2 price with a well-functioning emissions trading system and further incentivise GHG reductions.

S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats): Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament have already endorsed the objective of net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 and urged the Member States to do the same as part of the future Europe debate, at the special EU summit in Sibiu in May 2019. At the same time we have stressed that reaching net-zero GHG emissions in 2050 in the most cost-efficient manner requires raising and aligning the 2030 ambition level with net-zero 2050 scenarios and that is why we support an update of the Union’s NDC with an economy-wide target of 55% domestic GHG emission reductions by 2030 compared with 1990 levels. The Union needs to send a clear message, at the latest during the UN Climate Summit in New York in September 2019, that it stands ready to review its contribution to the Paris Agreement. In the next 5 years we will also have the opportunity during the 2022-2024 reviews of the 2030 climate package and other relevant legislation, to work on legislative proposals raising the ambition level in line with the updated NDC and the net-zero emissions target. It is clear that insufficient 2030 ambition would limit future options, possibly limiting the availability of some options for cost-efficient decarbonisation

LYMEC (European Liberal Youth, youth wing of ALDE): 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.

GUE-NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left): Our Climate Emergency Manifesto states our position in detail. This video states our priorities for COP24.

European Greens: Europe has to lead the way on climate action, making the Paris Agreement a reality. We want the EU to pursue all possible efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. We are calling for a European climate law, with binding carbon budgets reducing emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and building a net-zero emissions economy. This must include restoring natural carbon sinks in forests and soils.

YDE (Young Democrats for Europe, youth wing of EDP): Regarding the upcoming European elections, I think that it is important to check that the different manifestos of the European political families foresee climate actions and are in line with the COP21 agreement.

Which concrete actions do you propose in progressing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the next term?

EPP (European People’s Party): As the first provider of development and humanitarian assistance worldwide, the EU must continue to lead the fight against poverty and the efforts to achieve sustainable development globally. One way we will do this in our own neighbourhood is through a new Marshall Plan with Africa.

S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats): S&D wants the work of the European Union completely reshaped in order to address the Sustainable Development Goals. We have to make sure that we help other countries around the world with sustainable development, but we also have to reach those goals here in the EU. This means refocusing our funding under the MFF, and adapting the European semester, so that all our actions and policies ultimately contribute towards attaining the SDGs. We also need to see that reflected in the structure of the European Commission and Parliament, with an ambitious, overarching strategy for achieving the 2030 Agenda in place by the end of this year, and a dedicated team at the top of the Commission working on this. We need the EU to take a leading role in the UN High-Level Political Forums each year to push the SDG agenda forward. In order to measure our progress we need to establish a wide range of indicators which are not purely economic and capture the transformative nature of the SDGs.

LYMEC (European Liberal Youth, youth wing of ALDE): 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.

GUE-NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left): We want that all trade agreements the EU signs with developing countries have a clause to commit the parties to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. Likewise, we want developing countries to have the resources to meet Goals. As such, we address the injustice of the EU’s tax treaties that deprive developing countries of much needed revenues.

European Greens: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development highlights that the challenges we face are universal and interconnected. The Sustainable Development Goals must be implemented across all EU internal and external policies. The Union should adopt a high-level implementation strategy which identifies and addresses the gaps in current policies. On trade, any trade treaties must have the SDGs as their foundation.

YDE (Young Democrats for Europe, youth wing of EDP): Sustainability does not only stand for environment. It is also important to be aware of the implications of training, social development and health, among others. In this regard, Young Democrats for Europe is committed to fight against social breach, fostering social policies that do not leave any person behind. We also work for the improvement of training, fostering of dual education and paid internships. In addition, one of the lines of our own manifesto is fostering food sustainability within the EU, improving the conditions for R&D and fostering the acquisition of products in the local (European market). As we are concerned as well about the health of European citizens, we consider that it would be necessary to create a new European Food Safety Agency, which could carry out studies on the harmfulness of the products that are currently in dispute. Our measures regarding environmental sustainability have already been mentioned.

Inspiration for youthful policies from FIMCAP

FIMCAP Europe Statement: Helping together the children and young people who were forced to flee from war, persecution and hunger:

A lot of people among them many families and unaccompanied children expelled from their homes by war, persecution and hunger have embarked on long and difficult journeys to find refuge in Europe. Motivated by our Christian beliefs and our shared Fimcap values we want to stand in for the protection of the human rights, children’s rights and solidarity with those who flee from war, persecution and hunger.

Link: https://bit.ly/2GFFzng

FIMCAP General Assembly 2010 – Mission Statement on Climate Change:

As FIMCAP we recognises the impact of man-made climate change in the world. Motivated by our Christian values and seeing men and women as co-creators and shepherds of creation, we call therefore for immediate and decisive climate action.

Link: https://www.facebook.com/notes/fimcap-europe/mission-statement-on-climate-change/920572621326904/?__tn__=HH-R

FIMCAP General Assembly 2013 – Mission Statement on Children’s Rights:

FIMCAP as  Catholic, intercontinental, and umbrella organisation for children, youth and young adults advocates for the participation and inclusion of all children in Church and society. Therefore, we want to empower children to know its rights, as defined by the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Link: https://www.facebook.com/notes/fimcap-europe/mission-statement-on-childrens-rights/909258532458313/?__tn__=HH-R

FIMCAP statement – Declaration on enhancing mobility of young people:

We as FIMCAP have acknowledged the importance of international mobility and exchange among young people. Yet, we have been confronted more and more often with difficulties and barriers due to visa issues. Difficult visa procedures and requirements jeopardize the participation of young people in our working structures and activities, such as the General Assembly, World Camp and international and intercontinental exchanges. Therefore, we call for measures enhancing the mobility of young people.

Link: https://www.facebook.com/notes/fimcap-europe/declaration-on-enhancing-mobility-of-young-people/906704672713699/?__tn__=HH-R

FIMCAP World Camp 2018 – Responsible consumption and SDGs:

In summer 2018, FIMCAP organised a three-week World Camp around SDG 12 with participants from 17 countries, held in the Philippines. The first week focused on introducing and talking about what the SDGs are, with many hands-on activities. In the following weeks, participants worked on projects related to a wide range of topics like food, agriculture and oceans. Eventually, they tried to come up with ways to implement what they learned in the regions they were from. Some participants made banks of good practices, while others created games. For European participants, the World Camp included additional preparation and follow-up seminars.

Link: https://fimcap.org/en/item/269-world-camp-2018