February drew to a close in the best way possible for the Cambridge branch of YEM, with a packed room eager to listen to, and challenge, the ideas of the pan-European panel who had been invited to Cambridge to discuss the emergence of ‘The New European Left’. Representatives from SYRIZA, Podemos, Sinistra Ecologia & Libertà and the Green Party of England and Wales highlighted the risks of populism, and the challenges presented by electoral systems unsympathetic to emerging parties.
With the beginning of March, the University term started to wind down, but not the activity of the Cambridge branch of YEM. The Committee officialised the complete merging of YEM Cambridge with its twin organisation, the Cambridge University European Society, under the latter banner. The constitution of the new entity is currently being polished, just as our Communications Officer is creating a new website up to our high ambitions for the future (check it up at http://cueus.yem.org.uk/).
Our European Political Action Committee did not remain inactive either! The extremely popular photo campaign, consisting of snapshots of people holding a whiteboard on which they express their feelings about the EU, is in full swing; a leaflet, outlining a host of good reasons why Britain should not leave the EU, is in the final stages of preparation, ready to be distributed in the weeks before the general election; and the European Parliament UK Office has kindly provided us with all sorts of freebies to assist our outreach efforts.
With the University Easter Vacation now begun, most of us have returned to our homes, around Britain and the continent. We have gone back, however, full of homework and things to do, so that the beginning of the next University Term, in April, will be fabulous. EUPAC will be filming people across the continent, asking them why they think Britain should (or should not) remain in the EU. Simultaneously, those of us who live close to Cambridge will be preparing a video on the impact of the EU on Cambridge, from research funding to the Common Agricultural Policy subsidies to farmers. We are also organising hustings with the MP candidates for Cambridge from the five parties, to talk about ‘Foreign Affairs and the EU’. Finally, looking beyond the elections, we are working to make sure that Europe Day will not go unnoticed in Cambridge this year – expect to hear more about it very soon!
By Davide Martino, the Vice-President of YEM Cambridge