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Fighting back IS; at their home and ours

The latest wave of terrorism, this time in the seat of the European Institutions, should be the final warning for our society and for our governments to respond to the threat of IS collectively and with determination.
 
So far, the citizens have answered proudly and defiantly. Throughout Brussels, people are coming together peacefully, leaving their own messages as an answer to terror, singing and mourning the loss of life with respect. This is what sets us apart from the terrorists, our humane response to tragedy and loss.
 
Our administrations should follow with responsibility, tackling IS decisively while staying away from populist manoeuvres and divisive rhetoric. Terrorists are actually helped in their strategy to radicalise young muslims in Europe by politicians like Donald Trump, who vow to exclude the whole Muslim community from the United States, or when countries proclaim that they will only accept Christian migrants. This helps turn young, desperate adolescents into suicide bombers.
 
An often forgotten characteristic of the terrorist attacks that shook Europe in the past 12 months is that this time they have also come from European nationals. We can choose to close our borders, whether internal or external, but it will not prevent the radicals who hold a European passport of putting these attacks forward.
 

 

My first visit to Kiev last week – with the Youth of the European People’s Party, to commemorate the second anniversary of the Euromaidan – was marred by what is an inauspicious conclusion: it is political populism that stands tantamount to Russia as the gravest threat to the country’s frail stability. Consciously promoting seemingly anodyne yet practically impossible solutions to complex problems for short-term electoral gain, by exploiting public fear and disaffection, has been the trade of imprudent rulers and politicians alike for centuries. Any Ukrainian policymaker though ought to know better than that: radicalisation and polarisation have unknown limits. The illusion of control can instantaneously turn into loss of control.
 

 
Marine Le Pen

At this difficult time for France and for Europe I cannot help but reflect upon the national motto of the historic French nation.
 
The results of the French elections have sent us a clear message, one that has been repeated throughout the member states. The citizens are tired and disillusioned by mainstream politics, turning to extremes in the hope of a new solution. The consequences are already showing in Greece where the leftist government of Tsipras promised hope, but brought a meltdown instead to an already troubled country and its people.
 
In France things are more worrying. Despite an impressive re-branding and a changed rhetoric by the National Front and its president Marine Le Pen, the leadership remains dangerously extreme. The National Front is fiercely anti-immigrationanti-semitist and xenophobic, taking advantage of the aftermath of the horrific terrorist attacks by the radical extremists of the Islamic State. The answer of Ms Le Pen is to close the borders to most immigrants and ask to restore internal border controls in Europe. Shockingly, in the country that served freedom, democracy and equality, Marine Le Pen wants to bring back the death penalty.
 

 
Juncker-Kyranakis-YEPP

I don’t want to repeat the countless statements about welcoming the new European Commission. The truth is that we are talking about a team of younger, high-level and experienced politicians who said they’re ready to invest in people, create jobs and cut bureaucracy. From the selection of common candidates to the hearings and today’s voting, it was a long democratic journey questioned by many and opposed by a few. But we made it.
 
We, in YEPP, feel very proud to have been part of the election campaign that made Jean-Claude Juncker the first ever elected president of the European Commission. The large majority of EU citizens may not feel it today, but this campaign was the beginning of a more democratic Europe, an important step for a new relationship between the Union and its people.

We expect a lot from the Juncker team. It’s not just about the economy. For us in YEPP, it’s about winning back the trust of Europeans. The new Commissioners will need to do much more than statements and reports on their portfolios. They will need to work with Europeans on the ground, in their countries, in their cities, in their everyday lives if they want citizens to believe that Brussels is not a bureaucratic monster somewhere far away.

 

YEPP stands united for freedom for the last dictatorship of Europe - Belarus. Our delegates during summer school in Lithuania showed their support for the supporters of democracy during a manifestation.
 
Dictator Aliaksandr Lukasjenko got his office on July 20th 1994. Last Sunday it was exactly 20 years ago. He has remained in power due to unfair and unfree elections. Lukashenkos regime continues to violate human rights. We want freedom for Belarusian political parties, for Belarusian press, for Belarusian political prisoners, but first and foremost, freedom for the Belarusian people. We say - 20 years is enough. Europe is destined for democracy. Lukasjenko is destined to fall.
 

 
Young Fine Gael event in Dublin on challenges to young Europeans

Excerpts from a speech given by Secretary General Colm Lauder to a gathering by young politicians from across Europe hosted by Young Fine Gael, on the eve of the 2014 EPP Congress in Dublin.
 
5th March 2014
 
Today we are only a day away from when we, the EPP family, will select the captain of our team, its commission president candidate, for one of the most significant elections since the foundation of the European Community.
 
You will remember, it was EPP parties that put their heads above the parapet, and charged the no-mans-land of political and economic chaos enthusiastically, though a sense of duty, by stepping into Government in Portugal, Spain, Greece, Ireland to salvage these economies after the excesses of the Socialists and Liberals during the good years.
 
However, the difficult decisions and measures our, EPP, Governments had to take to stabilise the Euro Currency, to maintain the cohesiveness of the European Union has made us a target for the Socialists and Eurosceptics as the May elections edge closer.
 
We should not apologise for taking such decisions, we should not feel guilty for implementing difficult and wholly necessary measures, and we should not bow to such pressure from unrepentant populists.
 

 

The German Grand Coalition is about to vote in favor of a law which is increasing the retirement payments dramatically and will also reduce the retirement age to 63 if you have been for 45 in the statutory pension insurance scheme. The whole package will cost until 2030 Around 160 billion Euros. These is a burden especially the young generation has to carry. The statutory pension insurance scheme in Germany needs to be reformed to reinforce generational equity. Therefore we need a broad dialogue with all affected groups to make sure that also in 30 or 40 years the current young generation has a sufficient pension. Thiswill not be the case with the current decision ahead the German Government wants to make. The German Minister for Labour and Social Affairs, Mrs Nahles has made these proposals which are unacceptable fort the young generation in Germany.
 

 

Speech by YEPP Secretary General, Colm Lauder, to introduce the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD at the Young Fine Gael Congress, November 2013.
 
"Those who know Young Fine Gael, will know we have never been a populist in either our politics or our policies. In fact, we have probably been the opposite, putting our own beliefs in politics, our trust in people and in this party to the fore.
 
And tonight, having seen the successes of this Conference, I have never been prouder of Young Fine Gael. Thank you Sarah for your incredible efforts, and Patrick for your leadership. Thank you.
 
Three years ago, as we were gathered in Charleville, County Cork, the news broke of then Irish Minister for Finance going begging to the IMF and ECB for funds to meet the growing black-hole in our banking sector and public finances.
 
The news broke not first our Fianna Fail-led Government, but to a young international delegate from YEPP, who was attending as a guest.
 
How Embarrassing.
 
Then, Ireland had a rudderless government led by an incompetent captain, and was in middle of the storm of the century.
 

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