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Some days ago, we took part in the EU - China young leaders forum in the European Parliament. Following the first meeting last year, it proved to be another round of good discussions.

In my intervention on behalf of YEPP I touched on four basic issues that could be the focus of the EU - China youth dialogue in the future. The first is economic stability and the fight against debts. Why? Because if Europe is struggling with an unprecedented level of indebtedness, that is bad news for China as well. Their economies are largely interconnected, therefore any economic hardships in Europe endanger the export prospects of Chinese companies (The fact that the EU is now the biggest export market for China, proves this assumption).

The second point to be discussed is demography. No lasting economic reboot is feasible without bearing in mind family policy aspects. Both in China and Europe, the population is ageing, which has serious consequences on social security systems. With no profound changes in demography trends, Europe will face difficulties to defend its more-or-less generous welfare system, while China will face difficulties to enhance welfare to the great majority of its vast population.

 

So what does Greece want?
 
Elections took place on May 6th, elections are taking place again on June 17th, in the same country, Greece. Why? Didn’t the Greeks have the chance to decide? Didn’t they show the way and expressed their preference to the policies they trust? Didn’t they choose what they want? The answer is no.
 
The Greeks might have expressed their voice, or at least 65% of them, but the result was nothing more than an anger vote, a condemnation of what they have seen in their country over the last 2 years, and some say, over the last 30 years. Nothing positive came out of this election. People said no to many things, but they did not say yes to anything and anyone. That is why the result is rather controversial. The 2 governing parties, Nea Demokratia (Center-Right) and PASOK (Socialists) lost in just 2 years more than 3 million voters and 45% of their political power. The “anti-memorandum” parties got 68% of the votes. Among them, the Golden Dawn (Neo-Nazi) got 7%, a completely new party without any specific program or ideology got 10% while the left increased its overall percentage to more than 30%. The political earthquake does not stop here though. A record high of almost 20% of the Greeks voted for parties that did not make their way into the Parliament, being unable to reach the 3% limit.
 

 

On Tuesday 8th May, 2012, EPP President Wilfred Martens invited a group of youth politicians to discuss with him the EPP Manifesto. Such invitations are not that common! So my first reaction was....Mr Martens and the EPP are interested to give the EPP Manifesto a dosage of youth!

To start with, the EPP Manifesto was only 5 or so pages long. This is long enough to keep someone reading but not too long such that someone looses interest. Through reading a manifesto, a person should understand in clear and no uncertain terms what the EPP is all about, what we believe in as a family of European political parties.

Job creation was on top of the list. It remains as of today an issue of concern. I can say however, that in my country, Malta, unemployment has been kept to relatively smaller rates (in the 6% region), but I empathised nonetheless with my European counterparts, such as Spain and Greece. As I discussed with Spanish and Greek representatives, it is clear that the abnormal high unemployment rates are leading to brain drains, forcing students to abondon their beloved nation in seek of better future opportunities.

 
Juha-Pekka Nurvala's picture

Let me start by thanking the JONG-CD&V for inviting me to their Congress. It was a superbly organised event and I wish all the best to their election campaign! I have not come across similar idea than ‘LOLA’ before and I encourage you all to have a look!
 
We had a lot of discussions about the local elections, economy and the reforms now underway in Belgium. Overall, I am really happy to see that Belgium has managed to get itself moving after being paralysed by the political crisis that left Belgium with out a government for over a year.
 
I believe and I think everyone else who attended the meeting shares my belief, that if Belgium implements all the reforms it is now planning and implementing already that it will become a really strong economy again. We were told of the high increase of labour cost compared to Germany that took place during the last ten years and how that has caused some companies to become less competitive. I was really happy to hear that the government is prioritising the competitiveness of Belgium companies since that is where the new jobs are created and wealth produced to the society. I hope that they implement the German type reforms and get at least as good results as Germany did! 

 

 
On the 31st May 2012, the Irish citizenry vote on one of the most important referenda of a generation, a vote that could mean the difference economic recovery or pariah status as a nation. This blog entry addresses the importance of Ireland's adoption of the European Fiscal Stability Treaty.
 
Ireland needs certainty. Irish businesses need certainty. International investors need to have certainty in Ireland. The upcoming referendum on the European Fiscal Stability Treaty, while not perfect, provides that certainty. It provides reassurance, a sort of guarantee that if worst came to worst, Ireland has options and a viable route to recovery.
 
The rejection of EFS Treaty will provide only confusion, uncertainty and fear - exactly what those on the 'No' side want to capitalise on for their own political gain. Its rejection could mean a new nadir for Ireland.
 
While domestic Irish business can and will deliver the growth and innovation to help reduce our sovereign and personal debt burden, as a small and open economy on the fringe of Europe international investors need to have confidence that they are investing in a country that is economically and politically stable. 
 

 

Erbil. Visit in the northern part of Iraq. Hopefully the independent state of Kurdistan in the future. Meeting with Prime Minister Mr. Nechirvan Barzaniand, with the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Parliament and H.E. the Chaldo-Assyrian Bishop to Ainkawa. I was impressed how safe and stable the situation seems to be. The regional government achieved a lot in only a few years. Many experiences collected about Iraq and the region.

 

 
I met Montassar 4 months ago in Marseille in the EPP Congress. He was not talking too much even though he had countless thoughts crossing his mind. Montassar was one of the front-runners of the revoution in Tunisia. He also managed to create the "League of Young Patriots". Most of us have no clue about what this organization stands for, but i can tell you one thing for sure. If Tunisia is full of people like Montassar, democracy is not too far away.

 
Merkel Pöttering Junge Union Federal Board Poettering Benedict Berlin

Berlin. Also foreign policy was a hot topic during a discussion of Chancellor Merkel and the Federal Board of the Junge Union Deutschlands. I found it very useful and interesting to have the opportunity to ask and to listen to the Chancellor in the 1,5 hours lasting meeting in her office in Berlin. Chancellor Merkel stated the importance of a stable and reliable European fiscal policy and sees that in this field has been made progress but she also thinks, that there is still a long way to go. Also the situation in the Middle East was part of the discussion and the possibility that the conflict with Iran could become more serious. Mrs. Merkel made clear, that without any doubt, Germany is with Israel and supports its need to protect its boarders and people.

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