2014 New Year!

On behalf of the YEM UK National Board, we would like to wish you all a Happy New Year!

The YEM UK President, Chris Powers shares with us all things YEM UK this year, and where we are heading in 2014:

A year that began with the commemoration of 40 years of British membership of the EU, I am pleased to say that 2013 has also been an important year in giving the YEM a positive momentum. The organisation has spread across a greater expanse of the UK with young people actively promoting the European idea in branches across England, and for the first time in a long time, in Scotland too! The branches have organised debates, panel discussions  and speaker events. But there have also been pub socials, screenings of Eurovision, and sweet-filled celebrations of Europe Day.

Chris Powers, YEM UK President and Claire Darmé, JEF Executive Board Member
Cambridge, UK

The YEM has also rediscovered its network of friends. Members have participated in International Seminars organised within the framework of our pan-European umbrella, JEF-Europe, in Strasbourg and Stuttgart (March), Athens (April), Barcelona (July), Berlin (October) and Paris (October).

YEM UK has also been contributing to JEF’s online media platform: The New Federalist, and to “Euroblog” which is run by our partners in the European Movement and YEM local branches are beginning to explore collaboration with their JEF counterparts in twin towns. This has culminated in the cities of Cambridge and Heidelberg planning an exchange centred on the European Parliament elections of May 2014 and YEM London has begun to explore a similar exchange with their counterparts in Paris.

2013 has also been a year of elections, firstly with those for the National Board which took place in Cambridge in June with members coming from Aberystwyth, Bristol, Durham, and London to name a few, not to mention some of our dearest friends over in JEF France! Then in November JEF Europe held its biennial Executive Board elections where a candidate from YEM UK, Claire Darmé was elected as a board member. Then finally have been the European Movement’s elections for the National Council, the members of which will elect their new National Executive and Chairman/woman on January 18th 2014.

So what have I been up to recently as President? Aside from replying to lots and lots of e-mails, and trying to support my colleagues on the National Board where possible, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and preparation for the year ahead. Below you will see a few bullets of what is to come and I’m sure you’ll agree that it looks to be exciting!

  • Election of the new European Movement National Executive with who we look forward to working, especially on coordinating our local branches!
  • JEF’s Belarus campaign in which the YEM UK will be participating to condemn Europe’s last dictatorship
  • The JEF Federal Committee to be hosted in Cambridge. This yearly gathering helps JEF Europe determine its political platform and 2014 will be the year it is hosted in the UK, a first for an incredibly long time! Watch this space for more information!
  • JEF International seminar at Lake Ohrid, Macedonia in April!
  • International seminar in Berlin in May
  • Eurovision hosted by Denmark – this year the UK will win!
  • European Parliament elections!
  • YEM UK National Board elections in the summer!
  • International seminar on Federalism on Ventotene Island, Italy

2014 is going to be challenging, YEM UK is going to be in the vanguard against Euroscepticism, against the xenophobic discussions about immigration that are increasing in volume and leading the effort to promote a positive vision of Europe. It will be hard, but there will be time for fun along the way and I’m very much looking forward to the second half of my Presidency here!

Happy New Year to you all, best of luck with all your endeavours, and whether you are a YEM member or simply interested in getting involved, you’re always welcome to contact me at president@yem.org.uk 🙂