In January 2015, the Tunisian Embassy in Brussels welcomed for the evening the members of the Youth Professionals in Foreign Policy. This was a new stage in the vast charm offensive launched by the Ambassador Tahar Cherif since, the dictatorship regime fell and his arrival in Belgium two years ago.
Four years ago, young people took he streets of Tunisia demanding for change and economic fairness. Most of them were educated but out of a job, hence they had nothing to lose. But now that the young democracy has a newly elected President and House of representatives, how can they answer to those young people’s demand? If youth protests started it, the diplomatic corps intends to finish it.
Between May 22nd and May 25th 43% of Europeans of age and registered on national listings when to the voting both to elect their 751 representatives to the European parliament (EP). Those elections where run from Brussels under the slogan “why this time it’s different”? This week meet Sajjad Karim who is running for the presidency of the Euopean parliament and says that it really is time for change!
Now that Mr Juncker is the head of the European Commission another battle will take place between July 1st and 3rd in Strasbourg. During those days (or session) the 751 elected Members of the European parliament will “elect” their president for the next five years. Or to be accurate they will elect two presidents for a term of two years and a half. Usually the presidency seat is “shared” by the centre-right or EPP group and the Social-Democrats or S&D group.
But a wind of change seems to be blowing on the European parliament and candidates of other groups have come out of the woods, backed by they respective parties, and declared themselves candidates. The first of whom Dr Sajjad Karim.
Sajjad Karim, a British Tory (Conservatives party) Member of the European parliament (MEP) sitting with the European Conservatives and Reformists group (ECR), has been a very active MEP for the past ten years on the committee of legal affairs. A few weeks ago he decided to through his hat into the ring and challenge the usual EPP / S&D understanding when it comes to the presidency of the EP. He wants a reformed parliament that will address citizens concerns and the direction the European union is heading to.
According to him, the latest elections results, that allowed a significant number of Eurosceptics to enter the EP is a signal that should not be disregarded. Hence his campaign to try and stir up things from within the institution.One might ask but what is the point as the usual deal is already in motion? Well the point is that Karim decided to try and understand the signal voters sent. He decided to do something about it and decided that it was time for the EP to forget about its old ways! He want out and said it to any journalist and MEP that will listen, he even launched a Twitter campaign using #Yesitstime as its motto.
Basically Karim positioned himself as true European politician, some might even say a true European leader.
Do not hesitate to engage and debate with him on those issues via Twitter.
This week meet our Belgian characters: Saïd El Khadraoui, the experienced one, Member of the European Parliement since 2004, and Michel Cermark, the altermondialist, of “Collectif Roosevelt.be”
Saïd El Khadraoui, the experienced one
Saïd is our political character. He is 38 years old, he is already a Member of the European Parliament for the Party of European Socialists. Yes he is a little bit older than the other characters, but to tell you the truth it is really hard to find Members of the European Parliament from “classical” parties under 40 years old in the Old Old Europe (i.e. the countries covered so far). Plus he was elected for the first time when he was 28 years old so it is fine! He is now running for a third term.
In the European parliament Saïd seats on the transport committee. What is a committee you ask? Well a committee is composed of 24 to 76 Members of the European parliament (MEPs). It is during those committees meetings, that take place once or twice a month in Brussels, that legislations proposed by the European Commission, called directives, are remodelled. MEPs seat on Committees as it is supposed to be more efficient to work with a small number of people than with the whole Parliament. MEPs work on those directives and then present their work (rapport) during the plenary sessions to the whole Parliament which then votes to adopt or to reject them.
Do not hesitate to engage and debate with him.
Michel Cermark, the altermondialist
Michel is our civil society activist. He is the spokesperson and chair of Collectif Roosevelt in Belgium. He is 28 years old and got involved with Collectif Roosevelt about a year ago. Collectif Roosevelt is a grass-roots organisation that promotes 15 measures that could get the European Union out of the ongoing crisis and prevent others to come if applied.
He strongly believes that the current crisis is one of deregulated capitalism and that multinationals are benefiting of the non-harmonised fiscal laws of the Member States. He fights for a European Union for its citizens and not only for its companies which for him starts with fiscal and social harmonisation.
Do not hesitate to share your views and debate with him.
EusprYng was inspired by the Arab spring but not only. For three years now youth worldwide has been rising demanding that the political sphere hear them out and take them into consideration. To me it feels like a new generation is standing up for itself and I have to admit I am really proud to be part of it!
But then I asked myself what can I do to also help shape a new world or at least a new European Union? So I have decided to do what (I believe) I do best! Report and talk about it but also give a new perspective on the so-called Y generation. That’s how the idea of EusprYng started to grow a year ago. And now it’s finally here!
In Europe we have seen young people protest in Spain, in the UK, in Romania and even in Brussels in front of the European institutions. But so far we could not see real change!
Now that the European parliament elections are coming up my aim is to focus on young people that might be able to transform youth (and general) frustration toward the European Union into real change for our society.
EusprYng is an on line experience where all opinions are welcomed as long as they observe the obvious rules of respect for others.
So don’t hesitate to engage with me and to let me know of initiatives taken by young people across Europe and the World that could transform our society.
I hope you will enjoy it!