YEM UK November Newsletter

Young European Movement UK

Working for a stronger European Union with the UK at its heart!

Dear members and supporters of YEM UK,

Created in the wake of World War II to promote a free and peaceful, hence integrated Europe, it is on us to speak up against short-sighted nationalism now that Europe is at the crossroads.

Therefore, my general vision is to reach and give young Europeans a voice within EU institutions and the media.
Our aim is to bring the younger generation of Europeans together by organising debates, seminars and other events as well as European partnerships, for instance through the JEF Twinning Programme (if you are interested in taking part in this with your local branch, please get in touch with Chris Powers).

The idea for YEM UK is to inform the British public about European affairs (e.g. through the Europe@School programme) particularly in view of the upcoming UK General Election 2015 and the possible referendum on EU membership.

For this purpose our National Board is planning an international YEM workshop on euroscepticism to be held in Edinburgh in order to finally stir a discussion which should have started long ago.
However, this event is subject to funding we are currently trying to organise.

One of my priorities is growing YEM UK as an organisation by fostering our local branches and creating new ones where possible. We have already been quite successful in realizing this with our Warwick branch being saved last-minute and a new YEM branch about to be established in Oxford. At the same time we are talking to Edinburgh and are very proud of the great work of our branches in St Andrews, Cambridge and London.

I am lucky to be working with a dynamic and highly motivated YEM UK National Board of fellow Europeans in order to realize this vision.

Apart from the National Board members elected by you at the AGM we have also co-opted Viktor as our Marketing and Social Media Officer to ensure that we will actually be able to address a wider public through the media.

Read about your National Board members, branches and JEF-Europe in this newsletter:

1. Meet the National Board
2. Branches’ Report
3. Question of the Month: The fall of the Berlin Wall means?
4. Chris’ Report from the Federal Committee
5. JEF-Europe
6. Get Involved with a Local Branch
7. Join Us or renew your Membership

EVENT INFO: If you join us, you are also automatically a member of the European Movement UK whose AGM will take place in London on 22nd November 2014.
Please let us know, if you would like to attend the event.

In this spirit I would like to thank and hand over to our Communications and Local Branches Officer Laura who will continue to stay in touch through our newsletter and to be at your disposal for any questions you might have regarding your local YEM branch.

We are very much looking forward to hearing from you, regarding your ideas and involvement with YEM UK and hope you will continue to enjoy your membership through our active and friendly community.

Best European regards,

Bettina Wolff
President, YEM UK

1. Meet the National Board

Bettina Wolff
As President I am not only setting the aforementioned general vision for YEM UK while supporting the work of the National Board as Chair, but I am also sitting on the EM UK’s National Executive and in its Council.
Having studied International Business at the University of Warwick as well as Politics and Journalism at Sciences Po Paris, I am currently working in business development and as an editor I am representing you as part of YEM UK publicly as well as together with Chris Powers within JEF-Europe. Therefore, please do get in touch via email or Twitter @YEMPresident to help me make YOUR voice heard!
Chris Powers
Hi, I’m Chris and I am the International Officer & the Secretary of YEM UK. I am currently in my third year of a Bachelor’s degree in History at Cambridge. Along with making minutes  of YEM’s board meetings, it is my job to link YEM’s local branches and the National Board with sections and branches all over Europe in the JEF-Europe network.
I will also be letting you know about cool events, seminars etc. taking place all over Europe and representing the YEM at JEF’s Federal Committee’s and Congresses.
If you have absolutely any questions about JEF, or generally, just get in touch!
Laura Krawczyk &
I’m Laura, the Communications and Local Branches Officer of the YEM UK. I’m a student of Law with English Law at the University of Aberdeen in the UK. I am the link between the local sections and the national board who interacts with branches to best aid them with their journey of spreading pro-European ideas and materialising their initiatives.
Should you wish to join the YEM in your city, or perhaps you would like to start a new branch there, let me know and I will help you every step of the way. I’ll also be writing the newsletter, which is the best way to find out about what the local branches are up to and what their views are on certain topics, as well as to know more about the opportunities that are right there before you, ready for the taking.
Chris Bauer
My name is Chris, I’m the Treasurer of YEM UK – responsible for funding and policy. Whether you’re applying for a grant for an event or are looking for local sponsors, you can direct your questions at me. Although I will be working most closely with already existing YEM structures, formalizing local sections is a priority. This includes preparing a constitution, managing YEM’s bank account, and operating a local membership base. There are many opportunities that anyone can make use of. It’s my role to make sure that that anyone is you.
Viktor Gaydov
Hi, I’m Viktor, the Marketing Officer of YEM UK. Originally from Eastern Europe, I was shipped off to school in the UK when I was sixteen, and then went on to graduate from Warwick Business School.
I am happy to be dealing with all the social media aspects of YEM. I like to read, talk, and spend time in front of the computer in the nerdiest ways possible, which is why the social media position is especially appealing to me. In addition, I am also managing, making sure all the information is there and up to date.
If you have any ideas that relate to the website or social media, feel free to get in touch by emailing me!


2. Branches’ Report

YEM Cambridge

YEM Cambridge is first of all very pleased to announce a new committee this year, led by 2nd year Historian Davide Martino, and Politics & Sociology 2nd year Matteo Mirolo as co-chairs.
Our aim this year is to create an efficient platform for debate on EU affairs, both for lovers and haters of the Union. We want to make the Movement take off, and so we are investing as much as we can on a diversification of events and on publicising.
Since October, after a successful Freshers’ Squash, we have run two events in collaboration with our sister-society, the Cambridge University European Society. “Policy or Panic? Old and New Challenged for European Foreign Affairs” was a panel discussion on the current diplomatic crisis in the EU. “Common European Identity: Myth, Reality or Aspiration?”, a philosophical discussion on citizenship, was part of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas.
In addition to this, YEM and CUES run fortnightly PhD lunchtime seminars, and the whole committee is working on our next major event, a panel discussion on the Libyan crisis, from a Franco-British perspective, in collaboration with the French Society.
Our main challenge this year is to diversify our events, but also to diversify our audience. For this, we are in contact with other societies in the University and will try to develop more partnerships in the next future. We would also like to launch a form of Federalist political action, once YEM Cambridge is strong enough in terms of independent events.
Finally, we would like to develop our network of European connections, and we are looking forward to enriching contacts with other JEF branches.
Basically, any help in terms of contact, advice or partnership would be greatly appreciated in order to create a dynamic and vibrant Federalist community in the University of Cambridge!


YEM St Andrews

The Young European Movement branch of St Andrews University is delighted to report that the initial months of this academic year have been of formidable success, especially demonstrating clear fulfilment of our programme within the parameters of the university. Hitherto, we have staged three major events to engage with students, having been able to secure a regular venue at the very heart of the university for our more academically-driven occasions.
Firstly, in September, we held an information session for our new members, in order to gauge their thoughts regarding the direction which they wanted the movement to take over this year as well as providing them with a more detailed overview of our established programme. There was broad consensus regarding this programme and a ratification of its pursuit for this year. Furthermore, in informing new members how they themselves can get involved, enough candidates for the committee came forward to permit the election of First Year, Second Year and Honours Reps during an Extraordinary General Meeting, legitimised by the St Andrews Student Association.
Secondly, at the end of October, an esteemed academic from our International Relations department, Dr Jeffrey Murer, delivered an academic lecture on the situation in Ukraine and its relationship to the European Union and more specifically its youth. This was our first extra-curricular academic lecture and it proved to be well-attended by both members and those outwith the society. Following the lecture, in the question and answer session, a number of the students, especially those hailing from Ukraine themselves, offered lively and challenging debate, fully engaging with Dr Murer and his outlook on the current circumstances at the Eastern periphery of our continent.
Thirdly, at the start of November, we held a second academic lecture on careers within the European Union, with a current student with experience within the EU, a St Andrews alumna Gosia Juchniewicz, now working within the EU, and Caroline Winchester, Press and Policy Officer for the European Commission as speakers. Moreover we were honoured by the attendance of our newly appointed Rector and Member of the European Parliament, Catherine Stihler, who contributed to the great success of the event.
Overall, we are confident of future success within our branch of the Young European Movement, built on the successes that we have enjoyed in the first couple of months of our year so far.


3. Question of the Month 

The Fall of the Berlin Wall Means?
YEM St Andrews

The Fall of the Berlin Wall means that the hopes and dreams of a whole generation were finally fulfilled and not only Germany, but the whole continent of Europe was peacefully reunited. The wall was the physical manifestation that symbolized oppression and abuse of power. It represented the political, economic and mental divide of one nation forced to exist as two: two currencies, two societies, two governments, two economic systems – two Germanys.  The separation has faded but its repercussions, positive or negative, are still felt 25 years later.

“Nun wächst zusammen, was zusammen gehört”, it was proclaimed. – One people which was physically divided for so many years still came together and prospered, which makes this statement one of hope. The border may have opened due to one fateful human error at first but the irreversible change of the political, social and economic sphere of Europe that were to follow are a product of civil activism of the German and European people.
It is clear that the 9th of November 1989 ended a tragedy, but was it also the beginning of a new one?  Looking beyond merely Germany, the iron curtain was lifted, only to bring about another spectacle of extreme significance: the omnipotence of capitalism and globalization over our minds and very existence. Nonetheless in the course of several revolutionary movements in the Satellite states of the Soviet Union, 45 years of repression in Central and Eastern Europe were to finally be terminated. Moreover, the fall of the Berlin Wall also signified the trigger for in-depth European integration, starting with the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 and which symbolizes the opportunity for less developed European countries to prosper and get closer to the Western world.

To conclude, twenty-five years ago 155km of bricks and metal were gradually dismantled and reunited families, a city, a nation and eventually a continent through their destruction. For the thousands of people in our world that still face dangerous barriers or obstacles that seem impossible to overcome, November 9th should serve as a reminder that the seemingly impossible can be achieved.


YEM Cambridge

Apparently a butterfly flapping its wings in Japan could set a tornado off in the Indian Ocean. That fateful night there was no butterfly, and the physical distance between the bureaucrat reading a note in front of astonished journalists and the waves of popular rejoicing did not exceed a few kilometres – but a tornado was nevertheless set in motion. It started as an uncontrollable, unstoppable flow of people heading where the sun had disappeared a few hours earlier, greeted on their way by citizens of the land of sunset. It soon involved the healing of a huge sore which run through the heart of a city and the soul of a nation. And before one could realise what was going on, the tornado had ushered in a new age of continental unity, a time for peoples to fraternise.

Today, a stroll along what is still a convalescing scar obliges tourists to zigzag between construction sites, renovation works, and urban space refurbishments – just as an intellectual InterRail from the Tagus to the Vantaa, from the Alfeios to the Liffey carries one across a moving picture of constant transformation. That fateful night of November, 25 years ago, is after all just one episode in the most recent chapter of a big book, whose writer has not rested ever since a weird animal marching on his two feet crossed the Bosphorus. Yet it carries special significance to this day because, together with pieces of concrete and barbed wire, the latest partition of a Eurasian peninsula was being knocked down. A stream of aspirations and claims had overwhelmed the stillness of a hierarchized state and society; the warmth of popular joy had triumphed over the coldness of realpolitik. After that fateful night, many things in the topography of a North European capital city, just as in the economic and social fabric of the whole continent, were never to be the same.

From the Italian coffee we can have with our Polish friends in Lublijana, to the seat the Baltic republics have gained at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, the epochal consequences of that fateful night are wide-ranging. At the simplest level, however, the fall of the Berlin Wall means one thing: that power resides with the people. For the butterfly, on the 9th November 1989, was perhaps not a note slipped among the papers of a nervous politician – its wings were in the streets of Berlin, and they sung ‘Wir sind das Volk’.


4. Chris’ Report

The Federal Committee in Bologna

Hi everyone! Chris again, International Officer for YEM UK. In that role I serve as the first point of contact between our organisation and its partners across Europe. I also feed in to the European level (called JEF Europe) which occasionally has big meetings when there are elections or to formulate policies on certain big issues.
Over the Hallowe’en weekend, I gave up trick-or-treating in favour of Bologna, Italy, to represent YEM UK at JEF Europe’s Federal Committee. FCs happen twice a year and the last one was hosted by us over in Cambridge back in March 2014. We discussed lots of different policies, from fishing to frontiers, as well as made comparisons between JEF Italy as hosts and us 6 months earlier!

The best thing about these events is you make so many friends. You hear so many languages, you have a great time, and in some ways you are on a partially subsidised holiday. I’d never been to Italy before and so I was really excited for this! I was also psyched to see some of the friends I had made in JEF over the last couple of years, with people in France, Spain, Poland, everywhere!

JEF Europe often does seminars, and some of them are attached to the FC or other big political events. Keep your eye open for news from JEF and from YEM UK about all these opportunities that are open to you, they are one of the best things about being a paid-up YEM member!

To see JEF’s press release from the latest FC, please click here.
If anyone has any questions about JEF, our international work, or just fancies a chat, get in touch on


5. JEF-Europe

The Executive Bureau (EB) of the Young European Federalists (JEF-Europe) sees potential in the new Commission from a federalist perspective but is worried about the distressing gender imbalance.

JEF-Europe congratulates President Juncker and the whole College of Commissioners for their endorsement by the European Parliament today. Juncker now is the first Commission President elected by the European citizens rather than chosen in backroom talks by national governments. “This is a major development for European democracy”, comments JEF President Pauline Gessant.

A Commission with more democratic legitimacy!
JEF-Europe further congratulates the European Parliament for the intense scrutiny it imposed on the candidates. During the hearing the European Parliament (EP) proved to be taken ever more serious and played an important role in establishing accountability and clear-cut missions for each Commissioner. “The hearings were a great moment for European democracy, getting us one step closer to our aim of a European executive controlled by the European Parliament. Putting on a very entertaining show and exercising detailed scrutiny of the candidates, the hearings have reached unprecedented media coverage, thus opening national discourses for a broader European public sphere”, says Pauline Gessant. “The hearings contributed to the formation of a Commission with a more appropriate task distribution between individual Commissioners than what was initially suggested, but the European Parliament’s work is not over; it must continue to hold the European Commission accountable for the implementation of its policies in the next five years”, adds JEF Vice-President Peter Oomsels.

A Commission with more accountability and goal orientation!
JEF-Europe sees great potential in the new structure of the Juncker Commission. “Juncker made very clear on which topics he wants to deliver results in the next 5 years and issued very detailed mission letters for the Commissioners. This increases the accountability of EU politics and entails potential for a more focused and result-oriented Commission”, says Gessant. JEF-Europe further strongly supports Juncker’s and First Vice-President Timmerman’s commitment to subsidiarity: “What can be done better at the national level, should be done at national level. What can be done better at the European level, should be done at the European level”, Gessant backs Timmerman’s mantra in the hearings.

A Commission that reflects European society?
JEF-Europe, however, is deeply concerned about distressing gender imbalance and lack of diversity of the new Commission. “With only 9 women and 19 men the College of Commissioners greatly fails to represent modern European societies and sets a bad and very backward example”, criticises Gessant.

A Commission to face the Union’s challenges?
The challenges for the new Commission are huge. With the European economy on the brink of dropping in renewed recession, continued high youth unemployment, severe developments at the Union’s Eastern and Southern borders, and the continued concerns of young people over climate justice, civil rights, education, migration, rising populism, social rights and media freedom, the new Commission has to get down to business without delay. President Juncker has received huge support from the European civil society following his success at the European elections, not least by the Federalist movement. He now needs to deliver fast on his priorities of growth, social cohesion and a strong and firm Common European Foreign Policy.


6. Get Involved with a Local Branch

You’re signed up to this newsletter and that’s really great as you can keep updated with what we are doing! But are you wanting to get more involved?

There are several local branches across the country which you can join and they are always in need of more people helping run great events!

Then there are many places in the UK where we still don’t have branches and we would really love to extend over as much of the UK as possible.

If you’re unsure whether there is a local branch near you or you want to help establish a new one, do send an email over to Laura at and she will do her best to support you getting more involved!


7. Join Us or renew your Membership

Membership of the Young European Movement UK is available to anyone aged 35 or under and automatically includes the membership of the European Movement (UK) and JEF, with all the additional benefits to their members! That’s local, national and international!

For more information about how to become a member or to simply renew your membership click here.Having problems? Feel free to email the Treasurer & Membership Officer, Chris, at . We look forward to seeing you at our future events!