By Andrew Deans MSYP (Angus North and Mearns) and Louise Cameron MSYP (Moray)
On the 12th of February the six UK Young Ambassadors and the EU consultation teams from across the country travelled to Brussels, home of the European Parliament and European Commission. In the delegation from Scotland were Andrew Deans MSYP (Scotland’s UK Young Ambassador), Louise Cameron MSYP, former MSYP Aime Jaffray and Katherine Vezza, SYP Youth Engagement Worker.
Over the weekend the team visited the European Parliament and its new visitor centre (where they engaged in a simulation of the work of an MEP, met the “Jongerenambassadeurs voor Participatie” (our counterparts from the Flemish part of Belgium), went to the European Youth Forum HQ and got know more about their role. Louise Cameron says: “Brussels was such an amazing experience, really putting into action what young people can do. After collating all the results from the consultations it was great to have so many views from young people, expressing their opinions and making the positive change in the UK.”
“The weekend could not have been planned better. Getting to do a role play as “MEP for a day” was such an amazing opportunity. We got to witness the life of an MEP through a huge area of rooms specially designed for the role playing activites. We experienced how hard the language barriers can make an MEP’s job and got a taste of trying to bargain with the other parties to win what we thought our party would want.”
“Another highlight of my weekend was meeting the Flemish Young Ambassadors in the European Parliament and discussing all the matters that are different in Belgium and the UK, and the ones that are similar that we feel the need to act on. It was amazing to hear the views of people who already have love equality and now have had a country for the past 10 years which supports it.”
“The Scottish team were well known by the end of the weekend for our closeness, jokes and our karaoke! We got along so well and I don’t think I could have asked for better people to go away with. We were involved with such an amazing group of young people, the UKYA’s really have been well picked as they are all friendly, approachable and hardworking, as well as the staff who have been amazing before, during and after the trip.”
“We discussed so many matters affecting our different nations and it was interesting to hear the viewpoints on many matters affecting the individual nations, and the whole of the UK. If anyone does get involved in UKYA they have many pleasant experiences ahead of them – I would love to repeat the experience again because it really was planned to perfection.”
Three of the UKYAs will now attend an EU Presidency conference in Denmark in March to discuss young people’s participation in politics (including votes at 16), before the whole UK consultation team engages in another massive exercise in asking young people their views on the topic of inclusion for a conference in Cyprus in Autumn, which Andrew will be attending.