Banter en Bordeaux

From Left-Right: Barry Colfer (YEM Cambridge), Chris Powers (YEM UK International Officer), Pauline Gessant (President of JEF Europe), Anna Wilson (YEM Warwick), Fredrik Svensson (YEM St Andrew's)

From Left-Right: Barry Colfer (YEM Cambridge), Chris Powers (YEM UK International Officer), Pauline Gessant (President of JEF Europe), Anna Wilson (YEM Warwick), Fredrik Svensson (YEM St Andrew’s)

For an extended weekend, Thursday 23rd – Sunday 26th April, five members from the Young European Movement UK attended a JEF International Seminar in Bordeaux, France on the topic of mobility, with a good time had by all those attending. A huge thanks to those at JEF France for making the seminar happen and for creating such a positive experience! And also thanks to Les Jeunes Européens de Bordeaux for being such great hosts to such a beautiful city!
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About the seminar:

YEM UK was one of 7 partners involved in planning the International Seminar organised by JEF France. Chris Powers as International Officer was responsible for the UK delegation on this trip and so had to chair a couple of the discussions on ‘welcoming migrants’ and the obstacles and opportunities for those migrating, along with co-running a workshop on writing for The New Federalist on a Sunday morning! Alongside this there was a panel discussion with an MEP, an academic and the head of Erasmus+ in France; a Swedish Fit session in the park, really nice meals in really nice restaurants and lots and lots of workshops.

The seminar’s high point was of course the party we held on Saturday night. It began with an international potluck dinner with food contributions by all the participating sections. The Spanish and Italians wowed with their food while the French impressed with their drink. The British contribution was a little more eccentric and focused around baked goods. We sent over Cherry Bakewells, Apple Pies, Custard Creams, Viennese Whirls (they’re from England not Vienna) and Battenberg cakes (also from England). To ensure Scottish pride remained intact, we also sent over some Irn Bru which was enjoyed by many, with one JEFer commenting that it ‘tasted like lollipops’ and another suggesting that ‘we should mix that with vodka’. In front of the biggest EU flag we have ever seen JEFers (except the Brits) danced magnificently to a variety of music ranging from Shakira to the Macarena and everything in between.

In short, a great time was had by all those attending and if you don’t believe us, below are some words from YEM UK members who attended, all of whom experiencing Bordeaux as their first International Seminar.

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In the participants’ own words:


Anna Wilson – YEM Warwick:

“I think the issue of mobility is an increasingly important one. It was useful to get perspectives from representatives of other countries that made me evaluate my own. I came away from the discussions with new knowledge and new opinions and these are going to inform decisions I make in future, as well as efforts I make to raise awareness of the issue of mobility. The seminar on mobility was particularly interesting given that the general election is imminent. EU membership in general and immigration in particular are perhaps the most contentious issues this time, and to be able to discuss these topics with people who have external perspectives has helped me to gather new ideas. The free movement of people is a core EU value, and now I think I have the ability to show the British public just how valuable it really is.”

Fredrik Svensson – YEM St Andrew’s

“The 2015 JEF seminar in Bordeaux was a truly exciting and stimulating experience! Meeting young individuals from all over Europe, discussing pressing issues which the EU faces as well as having a glass or two of the famous Bordeaux wine generated an inspiring and memorable weekend!”

Cate MacKay – YEM London

“What do new international arrivals need when arriving in a country? What can the community do to support them? And how can JEF help this happen? These were just some of the questions raised at the JEF seminar in Bordeaux and through much dynamic discussion the breadth and depth of such complex questions became more and more apparent. It is very encouraging, however, to know that so much energy and enthusiasm is being inspired within JEF and I hope there will be many more such successful events.  I only wish my team could have been victorious in the quiz!”

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Fancy a YEM holiday?

YEM and its partner sections across Europe organise seminars and events all over the continent, all through the year. They’re usually heavily subsidised and definitely worth considering! To find out about more and upcoming seminars you can visit HERE, sign up to our newsletter HERE, or e-mail Chris at

Most importantly however, remember that to attend these events you need to be a paid up member of the organisation. To do so, you need only click HERE!