Once again, the BYC had a very successful COMEM, GA. Although Ewan was new to the system, he was a great asset to the BYC and supported me so much during the election procedure. I am sure that he will do a fantastic job replacing me as the “Official Delegate” commencing September.
We started our COMEM by joining the Gala. I encouraged Ewan to wear his traditional Scottish outfit (Kilt) and due to that he was incredibly popular. This is because
the opportunity for the YFJ to meet someone from Scotland is minimal, but Ewan was fantastic at explaining the multi-cultural side of United Kingdom to other delegates. During the event, we had the opportunity to meet with Committee of Regions (CoR) representatives and spoke diversely about EU’s future.
There was a key focus on Britain’s future and how dialogue can continue in Britain’s regions. During summer 2016,
UKYA’s Structure Dialogue (England team) alone, managed to visit almost every town and city across Yorkshire and Humberside, but also across different regions including North West, South West and London. Therefore, our report represents the success of achieving such target that other member organisations (MO) may be lagging. However, I believe it is our role to support them by sharing our best practice method, since young people not only live in major big cities but Europe must connect to them locally.
BYC led a workshop about better access to Mental Health Issues(MHI) with the Flemish side of Belgium NYC (VJR) and NLU (Swedish NYC). VJR and NLU spoke about their current progress about securing funding from the government to support programs providing mental health support.During our workshop, I focused on stigmatization of this area. She handed balloons to each participant and everyone had to write one stigma on the balloon. Afterwards everyone placed their balloon in middle and had to pick one balloon randomly. They had to describe what such stigma surrounded and how we should tackle it. After everyone felt satisfied with potential recommendations, balloons were busted. The aim of this workshop was to see how invincible stigmas around (MHI) is and we should prioritize them.
I focused on campaigning for my candidacy to the AC. BBC+ chair (Austria NYC), this consisted of arranging meetings with blocks and cooperation’s for us, so we could present our candidacy. This was extremely successful, since we managed to meet the NBC, Eastern, Southern and the Exchange group/block. The process was long, as candidates required to speak for one minute, explain what Council of Europe means to them in five words and a twitter challenge. Afterwards, we were going to different tables, so they could ask us any question.
On the day of election, I was delighted with the news to be officially elected into the AC.
The workshops that I attended during the conference included topics such as youth rights, the future of Europe and Erasmus + development.
We are aiming to draft a policy paper regarding Brexit on behalf of BYC for next April, to allow other European representatives to have a say on what type of Brexit they are after. There will hardly be an opportunity for European young people to have their say on Brexit negotiations. Therefore, we are going to ensure that not only UK interests are represented when BYC has the chance to sit around the negotiation table, but has the legitimacy of over 104 MO’s input and support. Over 70% of young people aged 18-24 voted to remain in the European Union in the EU Referendum, this is surely an indication, if not the premise for an obligation, for our organisations commitment to a future in Europe rather than an isolationist stance. Through involvement in this forum, we will not only be leading the discussion on the way we want to see the continent go, but also represent British young people to our fullest and generate the cooperation and change they want and deserve.