By Miriam Privarova, EU head delegate to Y20 2020 (G20 Youth engagement group)
Having been the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the OECD for the total of six years, Mrs. Ingrid Brocková, the State Secretary of the Slovak Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, is a very knowledgeable person to talk to, when discussing the activities and matters of the Group of 20. Of course, right at the beginning of our meeting, an official photo session awaited us (which was indeed a very enjoyable experience), but after a few snaps, we could switch to the crux of the matter- the discussion about Youth20, the EU delegation, and youth in general. As the Covid-19 restrictions are progressively being eased in Slovakia, we could enjoy the talk without wearing masks, which I deemed pleasant, as it is a clear sign of normalization of our daily lives.
After a couple of words about myself, our discussion took place in the spirit of constructivism and partnership. Personally, I especially appreciate these two aspects, since a genuine interest of public figures in the activities of youth is not a commonplace. This meeting wasn´t a declarative interest from the side of the State Secretary, but an experience of real attentiveness to my words and their message. Having started with the explanation of the selection process for the EU delegates for Youth20 and introducing my colleagues Danna and Alessandro, as well as talking about the mission and activities of the Young European Leadership, I also informed Mrs. Brocková, upon her request, about the organisation of our EU delegation and our coordination. I underlined the specificity of our delegation that lies in the fact that we are representing the most heterogenous youth population from among the G20 members. Since Youth20 includes other delegations from the European Union such as Italy, Germany and France as G20 members and Spain as a permanent observer, as a matter of fact, it is sometimes not easy to figure out the precise organisation and way of functioning between the European delegations. Nevertheless, I assured the State Secretary that the delegations from EU member states discuss the ideas and propositions wishing to be put forward and that there is also a large way of manoeuvring their coordination.
I also talked with the State Secretary more precisely about this year´s Youth20 priority areas, which are youth empowerment, global citizenship and future fit. We agreed that the present unprecedented situation radically altered the lives of the youth all around the world. As EU delegates for the Youth20, we need to make sure we represent the youth all across the EU as relevantly and accurately as possible and that we include in our consideration and propositions the young people regardless of their race or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs, disabilities, or socio-economic background. We both acknowledged that the hot topics of the COVID-19 jump-start will be the digital transformation and green recovery. In both domains, the youth always had, still have and will be having an essential part to play. On a more personal note, as I am currently interning at the World Bank working on post-COVID-19 green recovery and as the State Secretary was from 2001 to 2008 a representative of the World Bank in Slovakia, she took interest in my current work and the ties I see between my work at the World Bank and the Youth 20. We concluded with Mrs. State Secretary´s wish of wanting to keep up with the work of our delegation, as well as see the final Youth 20 output – our communiqué! Without any hesitation, the discussion with Mrs. Brocková was for me an enriching and inspirational talk about life and professional matters interwoven with smiles and remarks from daily life. I am always delighted to have the opportunity to exchange with knowledgeable people with humane attitude who show real interest in the subject matter.
Thank you, Madame State Secretary!