The Young European Federalists (JEF) Europe argue it’s time for Europe’s youth to wake up: It’s time for our generation to lay a claim over what we want Europe to look like. After all, it’s our future and hence, our Europe that is on the line.
Our Union is currently facing multiple challenges, from the management of migration fluxes to Europe over the control of the EU’s external borders, to the continuously high unemployment rate with slow economic growth. On the back of these challenges, intolerance and nationalism have risen again in Europe and are now causing real effects, as seen in the United Kingdom where populist movements have led to the UK voting leave, racist attacks and a politician being murdered for her beliefs. At the same time, the all-time threat of terrorist attacks seeds fear and erodes trust between Europeans.
What does JEF stand for? What is #ourEurope?
1. #ourEurope represents pan-European interests.
It is not sufficient to criticise the European Council for the lack of adequate responses of the EU to the current challenges. We go further: the current political situation shows that national governments act only in accountability to their citizens. We must understand that the current intergovernmental (that is between governments instead of between people) system cannot and does not serve the pan-European interest. Therefore, we need to create a EU that facilitates action in response to those challenges, in order to prove its worth to the people of Europe.
2. #ourEurope is democratic.
We believe that the only way to achieve a truly democratic European Union, of the people, for the people, is through the creation of a federal union. Let’s think of Europe as an entity with many governmental levels - the EU, the national, regional, city and local ones. In order to facilitate democratic legitimacy and participation at all levels, taking decisions at the level where issues can be solved best is a key principle of the federalist project. This principle, called subsidiarity, calls for a rigorously thought-through division of responsibility between the EU, national and regional/local levels of government. Alongside of being built according to the principle of subsidiarity and the respect for rule of law, our Europe, a federal Europe, is also democratically accountable. The European Parliament, representing the European people, should be on the same level as the Council, representing the national governments (and interests). The European Commission should expand its political role, by having the Commissioners elected by the European Parliament. The Commission President will be elected by the Parliament and thus, the people.
3. #ourEurope is a single actor on the global stage.
We are strongly convinced that the current scepticism vis-à-vis the EU is to a large part nurtured by the EU’s inability to act as a coherent actor in the pursuit of a pan-European interest.
Instead of having the frustrations of today tear apart what generations before us have built, we want to channel the frustration into constructive energy, in order to solve the problems of today and to prepare for the world of tomorrow.
Get active. Make your voice heard.
The results of the British referendum demonstrated two things that are crucial for the pro-European youth: firstly, changes may be more sudden than expected. Secondly, civil society and youth participation are also more effective than many would think! Therefore, JEF-Europe calls all of the young people who believe in a more integrated future for Europe to gather together and raise their voices, to fight for our future, and for our Europe!
What do we do?
Rooting in the post-WWII pro-European youth movements, JEF is an NGO, open to all federalists and pro-integrationists up to the age of 35 years. JEF exists in more than 30 countries, inside and outside the EU. The organisation is non-partisan and hence, brings together a wide range of political party memberships and those without one, yet eager to be political. Organised in local sections, JEFers are active on many levels, organising different activities on Europe.
To find out more about the closest JEF section and activities near you, please visit our website www.jef.eu or feel free to contact us via email@example.com.
The Young European Federalists (JEF) Europe is a non-partisan youth NGO active in more than 30 countries. From discussion rounds and seminars to teaching “Europe in class”, JEF members engage for Europe in different ways. The organisation strives towards a federal Europe based on the principles of democracy and subsidiarity as well as respect for human rights.