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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.


We, the former Presidents and President of the Youth of the European People’s Party, which was founded under the guidance of the late President of the European People’s Party, Wilfried Martens, in 1997, express our heartfelt condolences upon his passing on Wednesday, 9th October 2013.

President Martens was a true European. He believed in ensuring the voice of the youth of Europe was to the fore in all decisions. We will be forever grateful to the opportunities he gave us, along with a listening ear for our ideas. A brave statesman, a gentleman and giant of European politics. We will deeply miss him.

Requiescat in pace.

Fredrik Reinfeldt
YEPP, Founding President 1997-1999

Michael Hahn
YEPP, President 1999-2001

Rutger-Jan Hebben
YEPP, President 2001-2003

Daniel Bautista
YEPP, President 2003-2005

David Hansen
YEPP, President 2005-2007

Yannis Smyrlis
YEPP, President 2007-2009

Laurent Schouteten 
YEPP, President 2009-2011

Csaba Domotor
YEPP, President 2011-2013

Konstantinos Kyranakis
YEPP, President

Read the letter.

YEPP-Christophe Hansen

I am proud that Christophe Hansen, our active YEPP member from CSJ, is running for National elections in Luxembourg. I know him for his inspiring commitment to the European project, the Common Agricultural Policy and youth employment measures. Christophe, always on the side of PM Juncker was raising CSJ's voice in Europe, and the European voice in Luxembourg. As member of the YEPP Brussels Group, he has proven that young politicians can be very effective and strong when they set common goals.
I wish him the best of luck for the Elections on the 20th of October!

"I left my soul behind, open up".

In the early hours of this morning, for the 39th year in a row, Cyprus was awoken by the familiar but awful sound of war sirens.  They go on every year on the same day and time, on the sad anniversary of the Turkish invasion on the island. 
The 14th of August 1974 was one more day that marked the turbulent timeline of our small but historic island-nation.  Following the first phase of the Turkish invasion on the 20th July of that year, 40000 Turkish troops raided the northern part of the island.  Not able to be stopped by the 12000 strong Greek and Cypriot army, they occupied 36% of Cypriot territory.  Thousands were killed or are still missing today, in despair of their loved ones.  The invasion, and ongoing occupation, dislocated hundreds of thousands of people from their homes making them refugees within their own country.  Among them, my twenty-year old parents who fled their homes taking nothing in search of a shelter from the bombs, and had to start their adult lives in refugee camps.  Today, 39 years later, they have yet to be allowed to return to that little place they called home. 
A tragic, constant reminder of Turkey’s violation to our basic right of self-determination is the huge Turkish flag that provocatively decorates the mountainside of “Pentadaktylos”, a mountain range in the north. 


This summer, during the warmest days of the year, while millions of young Europeans are partying hard at the beach holding colorful cocktails, some others, less tanned, are holding switched on microphones instead. They are called young politicians.
Their friends are asking them why they choose this instead of relaxing. Instead of tagging their feet in front of blue waves, they’re instagramming teams of talented teenagers in blue t-shirts training themselves to become better debaters. Why? There is no answer to that question. Being active in student and youth politics for 9 years on, I can say with certainty that you only get your answer when you are part of it.
The last 2 months I've taken part in events organized by YEPP members in almost every European country. In Norway, Austria, Germany and Luxembourg they are getting ready for national elections in September and October. In Portugal and Estonia they are preparing for local ones in the same months. In Greece, Hungary, Finland and Cyprus new youth leaderships are elected and ready to join the YEPP family while Swedes, Belgians, Lithuanians and Irish are organizing summer schools and summer debates. In Italy, Serbia and Latvia they are building new youth organizations to cope with the current political challenges.


Our newest member of YEPP, the Hungarian Youth Council of Romania (MIERT), hosted the 10th Edition of their EU Camp in Marosfő, Romania. New Europe Now! Let’s build it together! - was more than the motto of the event. Young members of the parliament, MEP`s and more than 150 young participants took the future of Europe into their own hands. They discussed political issues, made sports and celebrated together for one week.