Sailing towards new horizons: International Session in Valencia

The 90th International Session of the European Youth Parliament took place in Valencia, Spain in August 2019. For 10 days, 300 participants from 40 countries across Europe engaged in intercultural encounters and explored ways to be active citizens. Here are some of the highlights of the event.

The EYP network flagship event

The International Session was organised by EYP Spain, a national member organisation of the EYP network. The session was an entirely youth-driven project, organised by young volunteers aged between 18 and 26. The International Session was themed around the motto: “Sailing towards new horizons”, which refers to the Horizon 2020 programme, the EU’s financial framework for research and innovation, aiming at developing further sustainability and inclusivity of the job market and economic growth. A distinguished board of patrons supported the event, among them Mr. Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón, President of the Government of Spain as well as Mr. Pablo García – Berdoy, Ambassador Permanent Representative of Spain to the EU. 

Interacting with experts 

Around 13 experts from a variety of sectors provided background knowledge and shared hands-on experience with the 15 working groups. Thanks to Dr. Andreas Breuer, Head of New Technology, Grid & Infrastructure at innogy SE, the participants had a unique opportunity to engage in close-up conversations and gain new insights into the topic of digital innovations in the energy sector. Dr. Reinhold Rickes, Head of Department of Economics, Financial Markets and Economic Policy from the German Savings Banks Association, introduced the participants to the topic of monetary policy and the current status of the EURO, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. Participants received an in-depth insight on financial literacy and sustainable, green investments from Paul Andrews, Chair of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions, IOSCO, Natalie Westerbarkey, Head of EU Public Policy, Fidelity International and Denise Voss, Conducting Officer, Franklin Templeton International Service. Former Member of the European Parliament David Hammerstein joined one of the working group for a talk and Q&A on the topic “Precautionary vs innovation principle” in business. Mr David García Quintanero from UNHCR Spain joined the International Session to provide an expert insight on the topic of child statelessness, accompanied by Ms Luisa Bianco from UNHCR Italy, who delivered insights on the Dublin regulations. 

Discussing topics that matter

The EYP offers young people spaces to debate the pressing topics of our time and to jointly suggest solutions. In Valencia, participants had a chance to develop and express their opinions on a wide range of topics, including financial literacy and green investments; EU Space programme and its funding; implications of the Dublin system for refugees and its possible reforming; child statelessness in the EU; 20-years of EURO and its challenges and perspectives; impact of digitalisation on the labour market; energy transition in the digitalising world; overuse of antibiotics and its implications on health; Precautionary vs innovation principle in business and consumer protection; TTIP; civic participation at the European, national and local level; artificial Intelligence and its ethics; current data protection regulations system and its gaps. All topics and the young people’s proposals on them, as debated by all participants during the General Assembly, can be found here.

Congratulations to EYP Spain and the organising team of Valencia for making this event a grand success.

For more information on our International Sessions, please see our page here.