Press release: JEF Europe launches “Be a Federalist Ally” campaign

“Our organisation works for a more democratic and federal Europe, with Human Rights being a key element for its establishment. Europe has played a historical role in systemizing racist structures into society. This is why we all need to get comfortable in listening to the uncomfortable and creating change, wherever we can. In JEF, we are launching the “Be a Federalist Ally” campaign today, to create awareness in our organisation, allow for self-reflection on our own structures, creating space in order to include and empower black people into the discussion on the future of Europe. The future of Europe debate needs to be held and needs to be taken into consideration not by just a few but by all if we want it to truly succeed”, states Hanna Kivimäki, Member of the Executive Board of the Young European Federalists (JEF).  

Today we kick off our anti-racism campaign, “Be a Federalist Ally”. The events in the US and similarly in Europe are not an exception but a habit, and show that legislative and societal change needs to be put into motion in order for the citizens of the world to be equal. Therefore, we as Young European Federalists have created a campaign to provide individuals the tools on how each one of us can be a federalist ally to the anti-racist movement, as a starting point for ourselves.

In recent years, JEF Europe has been reflecting about membership and inclusivity, which has led to the set-up of Taskforce Empowerment and Diversity (E&D) in 2017 as well as the DIVE project, funded with Erasmus+ financing. Taskforce Empowerment and Diversity reflects on changes that JEF needs to take in order for better representation, both internally and externally. DIVE project was set up in order to make European volunteering  more accessible and inclusive.

The “Be a Federalist Ally” campaign goes hand in hand with upcoming DIVE trainings for JEFers active on local and national level and the activities developed by the Taskforce E&D.

“As young political activists, we have a role to play in shaping tomorrow’s politics. In order for democratic processes to be appealing to all, the political class needs to be more inclusive and represent the diversity that we see in our societies. Since 2017, JEF has been working on these issues, together with other organisations, in order to be an active promoter of the change we want to see on a wider scale. To feel included and believe they also have a say, young Europeans must have representatives who look like them” says Ophélie Omnes, co-chair of JEF’s Taskforce E&D.

European Parliament affirms that Black Lives Matter

Recently, the European Parliament adopted a  resolution “strongly condemn(ing) the appalling death of George Floyd”, stating that the EU needs to take a strong and decisive stand against racism, violence and injustice. In the resolution, MEPs stand with the Black Lives Matter  movement and condemn the appalling events in the US during the last month.

Most importantly, the resolution underlines that freedom of speech doesn’t include the right to racist and xenophobic speech. The resolution “(c)ondemns all types of incidents of hate crime and hate speech, both offline and online, that occur in the EU on a daily basis, and recalls that racism and xenophobia are crimes, not opinions.”

About JEF Europe

The Young European Federalists (JEF) Europe is a non-partisan youth NGO with 13.000  members active in more than 30 countries. The organisation strives towards a federal Europe based on the principles of democracy and subsidiarity as well as respect for human rights. JEF promotes true European Citizenship, and works towards more active participation of young people in democratic life. While the umbrella organisation JEF Europe was founded in 1972, its sections have been operating continuously since the end of the Second World War, making it the oldest pro-European and only federalist youth organisation.

Contact information

Hanna Kivimäki, Member of the Executive Board

Rue d’Arlon 53
1000 Brussels