Young European Council

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About the Young European Council

The Young European Council (YEC) is an award-winning international conference focused on bringing together young people who are passionate about the future of the European Union and who are determined to make their voices heard in today’s policy and decision making. Unlike other youth events, the YEC is not a simulation game. Each year, approximately 100 delegates from across the Union gather in Brussels to discuss policy and European affairs from the youth perspective, acting as representatives of their respective countries. Over several days, delegates are expected to debate the most pressing issues the Union currently faces and to provide actionable input to EU policy making. The outcomes of which are then presented to and discussed with top policy makers.

Martin Schulz Tillmann Heidelk European Charlemagne Youth Prize 2016

Martin Schulz (President European Parliament) with Tillmann Heidelk (President YEL) at European Charlemagne Youth Prize 2016.

The YEC 2015 won the European Charlemagne Youth Prize 2016 as a top-three project in the European Union. The Prize is awarded to projects that “foster understanding, promote the development of a shared sense of European identity, and offer practical examples of Europeans living together as one community“. The YEC 2015 was selected as best project from the United Kingdom and competed against the representatives of all the 28 national projects, winning third place.

In addition, the YEC 2016 was held under the Auspices of the Slovak Presidency in the Council of the European Union and the High Patronage of the European Parliament. In a personal letter addressed to YEL, Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament, expressed support for the project, stating that “now more than ever, Europe needs committed and hardworking young people, willing to become actors of change and progress, and actively participate and engage in public life, to drive the democratic development of the European project and shape Europe’s future.

What the YEC experience is about:

  • Formal negotiations among delegates as national representatives in four distinct topical Councils;
  • Direct interaction between delegates and senior experts and decision-makers;
  • Social events, including the YEL highlight Eat & Meet Dinner (more about the Eat & Meet here)
  • Visiting of various European institutions;
  • The formulation and presentation of Final Outcomes of the YEC to senior EU decision-makers and stakeholders.

Why is the Young European Council not a simulation?

Impressions from the YEC 2014.

The Young European Council goes beyond simulation games and is designed to challenge participants to provide innovative, yet realistic solutions to the challenges at hand, as well as to foster the inclusion of young voices in contemporary decision-making. Hence, delegates are not asked to act as representatives of a country, but to represent their respective countries in the true sense of the word. Young European Leadership puts delegates’ own ideas and visions at the center of debate.

At YEL we want to encourage young leaders to be able to speak up, hear what others have to say and acknowledge different positions, thus facilitating a meaningful discussion with current decision makers. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch by writing to events@younglead.eu, with subject line Question YEC. Otherwise, please sign up to YEL’s Newsletter and / or follow us on social media. Yel @ Nesletter Yel @ LinkedIn Yel @ Facebook Yel @ Twitter Yel @ Flickr Yel @ YouTube

Overview Outcomes of past YECs

Year Outcomes
YEC 2017 More news to come!
YEC 2016 Download
YEC 2015 Download
YEC 2014 Download
Outcomes 2014

Young European Council 2017 – back to top

We are currently preparing the applications for the next Young European Council, taking place in October 2017. The conference will focus on topics covering the development of the European Union. To stay informed, please sign up to YEL’s Newsletter and / or follow us on social media. Yel @ Nesletter Yel @ LinkedIn Yel @ Facebook Yel @ Twitter Yel @ Flickr Yel @ YouTube

Young European Council 2016 – back to top

logo Slovak Presidency Council EUlogo European Parliament en

The YEC 2016 will be held under the Auspices of the Slovak Presidency in the Council of the European Union and the High Patronage of the European Parliament.

After winning the European Charlemagne Youth Prize for the YEC 2015, YEL is now preparing for the Young European Council 2016, which will take place from November 7-11 in Brussels, held under the Auspices of the Slovak Presidency in the Council of the European Union and the High Patronage of the European Parliament. The annual conference brings together young people from all across Europe to voice their opinions, bring in innovative policy proposals and discuss these proposals with policy makers and the private sector. The structure of the YEC 2016 consists of four interacting Councils. These are the:

  • The Heads of State and Government Council
  • The Council for Gender Equality and Social Inclusion
  • The Council for Security and Home Affairs
  • The Council for External Affairs and Development Aid.

Guests and Speakers

Name Background and YEL Event
Opening Ceremony
Ms. Renate Nikolay Head of Cabinet for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, European Commission
Mr. Markku Markkula President, European Committee of the Regions and 2015
Mr. Geran Kaai Head of the Security and Justice Department, Permanent Representation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the EU
Mr. Massimiliano Paolucci Head of Brussels Office, World Bank
Closing Ceremony
Ms. Kristalina Georgieva Vice-President and European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, European Commission
Ms. Dagmar Schumacher Director, Brussels office of the United Nations Development Fund for Women, United Nations
Ms. Katarina Nevedalova Responsible for Cohesion Policy & EU Outermost Regions, Permanent Representation of the Slovak Republic to the EU
Eat & Meet (Lunch and Dinner)
Mr. Guy Stessens Head of Unit, Police and Customs Cooperation, Council of the European Union
Ms. Salla Saastamoinen Director of Civil and Commercial Justice, European Commission – DG JUST
Mr. Paul Nemitz Director of fundamental rights and Union Citizenship, European Commission – DG JUST
Ms. Francesca Di Mauro Head of Unit for Central Africa, European Commission – DG DEVCO
Mr. Brando Benifei Member, European Parliament
Mr. Chris Kendall Political Counsellor for Strategy and Communications, European External Action Service
Mr. Jamie Shea Deputy Assistant Secretary General, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Mr. Ryan Heath Senior EU Correspondent and Associate Editor, POLITICO
Mr. Anis Cassar Press Attaché, Permanent Representation of Malta to the European Union
Mr. Fabian Zuleeg Chief Executive and Chief Economist, European Policy Centre
Ms. Joanna Maycock Secretary General, European Women’s Lobby
Mr. Fraser Cameron Director, EU Asia Centre
Ms. Caroline Hickson Regional Director, International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network
Ms. Judit Tanczos Legal Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Group
Ms. Sonia Wollny Head of the Secretariat of the Conference of President, European Parliament
Mr. Luca Rossi Programme Officer, Regional Office for Europe at UNISDR (The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction), United Nations

Acknowledgements

Young European Leadership is very grateful for the strong support of our partners and friends, who help us to provide young people with opportunities like the Young European Council. For the YEC 2016 we would like to thank in particular:

  • The Presidency of the European Parliament under Martin Schulz as well as the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union for their support and patronage of the conference;
  • The European Committee of the Regions, especially the Office of the President of the Committee of the Regions, Mr. Markku Markkula, for hosting us and our delegates for the Closing Ceremony;
  • The European Parliament for receiving and hosting us and our delegates for the negotiations;
  • MEININGER Hotel Brussels City Center for generous financial support;
  • Younous Omarjee, MEP (GUE/NGL) for repeated generous logistic support as well as supporting our requests to secure rooms at the European Parliament;
    Younous Omarjee is a long-standing supporter of the YEC. He serves as MEP since 2012. He is the vice chair of the Committee on Regional Development and in addition focusses on the Committee on budgets, environment, and budgetary control.
  • Urmas Paet, MEP (ALDE) for generously supporting our requests to secure rooms at the European Parliament;
    Urmas Paet is a Member of the European Parliament and he is the most active in the committee of Foreign Affairs and Budgets. He has held the position of a Minister of Foreign Affairs in Estonia nearly a decade before coming to Brussels and at the time was the longest serving Foreign Minister in Europe. He is also a board member of the Estonian Reform Party and the President of the Estonian Paralympic Committee. Mr. Paet is currently a rapporteur for the European Defence Union and for a report on Arctic Policy, furthermore he has held several seminars on cyber security, UN reform and the Defence Union.
  • Ivo Vajgl, MEP (ALDE) for generously supporting our requests to secure rooms at the European Parliament;
    Ivo Vajgl is a member of the Committee of Foreign Affairs and EU-Serbia Delegation. From 2009-2014 he was a member of the Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean and the Delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries. He is currently a substitute member on the Committee for Employment and Social Affairs, and the Delegation to Palestine.
  • Algirdas Saudargas, MEP (EPP), for generously supporting our requests to secure rooms at the European Parliament;
    Algirdas Saudargas is a member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, and a substitute member of the Committee on Culture and Education, and Delegations to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee, for relations with Belarus and to the EuroNest Parliamentary Assembly. He was also rapporteur for the European Parliament’s 2015 Report on European Energy Security Strategy.
  • Miriam Dalli, MEP (S&D) for generously supporting our requests to secure rooms at the European Parliament;
    Miriam Dalli was elected to the European Parliament in May 2014. She currently sits as a full member on the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, and on the Delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries. She is a substitute member on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, the Committee on Petitions and Delegation to the EU-Armenia, EU-Azerbaijan and EU-Georgia Parliamentary Cooperation.
  • Julie Ward, MEP (S&D) for generously supporting our requests to secure rooms at the European Parliament;
    Julie Ward serves on the Parliament’s Culture & Education Committee, the Regional Development Committee and the Committee on Gender Equality and Women’s Rights. First elected in May 2014, Ms. Ward previously had a long career in the cultural sector, working with marginalised communities using arts as a tool for wellbeing, empowerment and social change.
  • Marlene Mizzi, MEP (S&D) for generously supporting our requests to secure rooms at the European Parliament;
    Marlene Mizzi was appointed as an ambassador for the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Programme 2016-2017. The programme is a pan-European cross-border mobility scheme for entrepreneurs, providing new or aspiring entrepreneurs with a chance to apply for a training in small or medium-sized enterprises of their colleagues from other participating countries. Ms. Mizzi’s role as an ambassador is to help improve the visibility of the programme in Europe and to promote entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Tanja Fajon, MEP (S&D) for generously supporting our requests to secure rooms at the European Parliament;
    Tanja Fajon is a member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and of the Delegations for relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo, as well as to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly. She is a substitute member of the committee on Foreign Affairs, as well as the Delegations to to the EU-Moldova Parliamentary Association Committee and for relations with the Pan-African Parliament.

Young European Council 2015 – back to top

Young European Council YEC closing ceremony 2015 Gary Paterson Emma Wiesner Clement Diot Tillmann Heidelk Ambassador Laura Thompson Michel Servoz Mr. Alexandre Paquot

Closing Ceremony of the Young European Council 2015. In the picture (from left to right): Gary Paterson, Emma Wiesner, Clement Diot (Chairs of Panels), Tillmann Heidelk (President YEL), Ambassador Laura Thompson (Deputy Director of the International Organization for Migration), Mr. Michel Servoz (Director General of the DG for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (EMPL) at the European Commission), Mr. Alexandre Paquot (Head of Unit A3 – Monitoring, Reporting & Verification - DG CLIMA at the European Commission).

On Sunday, November 15, over 60 young leaders from across Europe arrived in Brussels to take part in the Young European Council 2015. Ready and excited to address the key problems faced by the European Union, and determined to find consensus on what should be done to tackle them, the delegates take four days of intense negotiations in the three YEC 2015 Councils, Migration and Home Affairs, Energy Union and Climate Action and Education to Employment.

During the week of the YEC 2015, delegates had the chance to not only negotiate in the European Parliament, but also visited the Committee of the Regions (CoR) during the Opening Ceremony, where they were joined by the President of the CoR, Mr. Markku Markkula, Mr. Ambassador Torbjørn Frøysnes, Council of Europe Head of the Brussels Liaison Office, and Mr. Henri Malosse, Former President of the European Economic and Social Committee. The delegates also visited the European Commission where they attended presentations on the EU’s response to the migration crisis and the Commission’s plans for an Energy Union. The delegates also participated in a Eat & Meet Dinner at Le Thon Hotel, where they were joined by senior policy makers, civil servants, journalists and NGO employees who had been invited to take part in discussions and share their experiences with delegates.

To find out more about the YEC 2015 experience you can visit our profile on Storify at storify.com/YEL where you can find Storifies for each day of last year’s YEC. You can access the YEC 2015 press coverage at younglead.eu/press. The YEC 2015 final communiqué is available here.

Guests and Speakers

Name Background
Opening Ceremony
Mr. Markku Markkula President of the European Committee of Regions
Mr. Ambassador Torbjørn Frøysnes Council of Europe Head of the Brussels Liaison Office
Mr. Henri Malosse Former President of the European Economic and Social Committee
Closing Ceremony
Ms. Ambassador Laura Thompson Deputy Director of the International Organization for Migration
Mr. Michel Servoz Director General of the DG for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (EMPL) at the European Commission
Mr. Alexandre Paquot Head of Unit A3 – Monitoring, Reporting & Verification – DG CLIMA at the European Commission
Eat & Meet
Ms. Jean Lambert Member of the European Parliament
Mr. Ryan Heath Senior EU Correspondent and Associate Editor at POLITICO
Mr. László Andor Former Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
Ms. Iverna McGowan Acting Director of Amnesty International European Institutions Office
Ms. Ulrike Storost Teamleader of the youth employment team in the Commission’s DG Employment European Commission
Ms. Kavita Ahluwalia Manager at EU Representative Office at E.On
Ms. Valeria Ronzitti Secretary General European Centre of Employers and Enterprises providing Public Services (CEEP)
Ms. Marie Donnelly Director in DG Energy (renewable energy, research and innovation, energy efficiency) at the European Commission
Ms. Claire Fernandez Deputy Director at the European Network Against Racism
Mr. Rodrigo Ballester Member of Cabinet of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport at the European Commission
Mr. Gabriele Sospiro Director of European Centre for Economics, Policy Analysis and Affairs
Additional Guest Speakers at the YEC
Mr. Klaus Hullmann Administrator, Visitors’ Service of the Committee of the Regions
Ms. Adelaide Pinto Directorate-General Communication at the European Commission
Mr. Ludo Tegenbosch Directorate-General Communication (focus on Migration and Home Affairs) at the European Commission
Mr. Michal Tratkowski Directorate-General Energy at the European Commission

Acknowledgements

Young European Leadership is very grateful for the strong support of our partners and friends, who help us to provide young people with opportunities like the Young European Council. For the YEC 2015, we would like to thank in particular:

  • The European Committee of the Regions, the European Parliament, and the European Commission for receiving and hosting us and our delegates;
  • Younous Omarjee, MEP for generous financial and logistic support;
  • MEININGER Hotel Brussels City Center for generous financial support;
  • THON Hotel Brussels City Centre for generously supporting the Eat & Meet.

Young European Council 2014 – back to top

Young European Council YEC 2014

Negotiations during the Young European Council.

How can the transition from education to employment be made easier? How can cities be made more sustainable? What are the repercussions of the digital revolution for governments and citizens? Such were the questions tackled by over 50 delegates to the Young European Council (YEC) 2014, who gathered together in Brussels. Hailing from 24 European Union countries, this group of aspiring leaders represented a wealth of experience with diverse backgrounds ranging from international relations and economics to physics and philosophy. Many delegates were actively engaged leaders in national youth forums, elected representatives of national student councils in their home countries, or members of international student law associations.

During the YEC 2014, delegates had the chance of meeting Michel Lebrun, President of the European Committee of the Regions, who spoke at the Opening Ceremony, as well as many other speakers and guests that joined the delegates during the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, and the Eat & Meet event, which was hosted at Kafenio. The outcomes of the YEC 2014 negotiations were presented to Ms. Connie Hedegaard, Commissioner for Climate Action, Mr. Matt Dann, Secretary General of Bruegel, and Ms. Cheryl D. Miller, Co-Founder of the Digital Leadership Institute International during the Closing Ceremony. You can access the YEC 2014 press coverage at younglead.eu/press. The YEC 2015 final communiqué is available here.

Young European Council YEC closing ceremony 2014 Stephanie Antonian Pierre Manenti Nadia Tjahja Zana Nanic Tillmann Heidelk Connie Hedegaard EU Commission Cheryl Miller Digital Leadership institute Matt Dann Bruegel Diana Carter

Closing Ceremony of the Young European Council 2014. In the picture (from left to right): Stephanie Antonian, Pierre Manenti, Nadia Tjahja (Chairs of Panels), Zana Nanic (Vice President YEL), Tillmann Heidelk (President YEL), Connie Hedegaard (EU Commissioner for Climate Action), Cheryl Miller (CEO Digital Leadership institute), Matt Dann (Secretary General Bruegel), Diana Carter (Secretary General YEL).

Guests and Speakers

Name Background
Opening Ceremony
Mr. Michel Lebrun President of the European Committee of Regions
Closing Ceremony
Ms. Connie Hedegaard Commissioner for Climate Action
Mr. Matt Dann Secretary General, Bruegel
Ms. Cheryl D. Miller Co-Founder of the Digital Leadership Institute International
Eat & Meet
Ms. Dr Colette Maloney Head of Unit Smart Cities and Sustainability unit, European Commission, DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology
Ms. Sigrid Johannisse Member of Cabinet for Digital Agenda, European Commission, European Commission
Ms. Magdalena Kopczynska Head of Maritime Transport and Logistics Unit, DG MOVE, European Commission
Mr. Dr. Carl-Christian Buhr Member of Cabinet for Digital Agenda, European Commission
Mr. Ilias Iakovidis Deputy Head of the ICT for Health unit, European Commission
Mr. Theo Thomas Lead Economist, Macro & Fiscal Management Unit, World Bank
Ms. Valérie Kinoo Co-Founder and member of the Board of Directors of the Digital Leadership Institute International
Ms. Alicia Gómez Campos Project and Outreach Officer at Housing Europe, a European Federation of Public, Cooperative & Social Housing
Mr. Joe McNamee Executive Director, European Digital Rights (EDRi)
Additional Guest Speakers at the YEC
Mr. Jo Vandercappellen Directorate General Communication at European Commission
Ms. Mara Krikou Unit Growth and Jobs, DG Connect at European Commission
Ms. Edith Hofer Assistant to the Director General for Energy, European Parliament

Acknowledgements

Young European Leadership is very grateful for the strong support of our partners and friends, who help us to provide young people with opportunities like the Young European Council. For the YEC 2014 we would like to thank in particular:

  • The Council of the European Union, the European Parliament, and the European Commission for receiving and hosting us and our delegates;
  • Younous Omarjee, MEP for generous financial and logistic support;
  • MEININGER Hotel Brussels City Center for generous financial support.