Young European Federalists for a tolerant, United Europe

The Young European Federalists(JEF) is a pan-European NGO uniting dynamic young people who profoundly believe that Europe is our future and who commit themselves to make it an even better place for everybody to live in. Our work plan has been prepared taking into account the objectives of the organization,those of our members, as well as the priorities set by the Council of Europe.

Our work plan entitled “Young European Federalists for a tolerant, united Europe!”focuses on removing obstacles for a tolerant Europe and find alternative grounds for the construction of a united Europe with democracy at all levels.Through the different activities part of this work plan, we aim at raising awareness on problems that are afflicting today’s Europe such as nationalism,intolerance, extremism and lack of democracy and civil rights. Additional to this awareness raising component, the work plan provides opportunities for young people attending our activities to develop relevant skills for becoming active players in the fight against the above mentioned worrying tendencies.

To achieve these goals, five activities have been developed and will be implemented in the sequence as indicated below:

  1. “Reloading Europe – getting ready for action” – February 2014, Brussels
  2. “Speak-up Europe – how to convey your message” – March 2014, Rome
  3. “Tolerant Europe – defining the obstacles” – April 2014, Skopje
  4. “Local Europe – spread the message” – between May and November 2014, in at least 20 European cities
  5. “United Europe – democracy at all levels” – November 2014, Minsk

Throughout these five activities, a smartphone/tablet application will be developed, to be launched at the “United Europe – democracy at all levels” activity in Belarus.Our “Democracy Alert” will monitor the situation concerning democratic values and civil liberties in Europe. This interactive tool gives the opportunity for users to report breaches of such values and liberties, which will be collected and visualized by the application. A push-up notification will inform users of those breaches and motivate them to take joint action.

“Reloading Europe – getting ready for action” will be organized for the newly elected members of JEF Executive Board and Chairs of the Working Groups. These mandate holders will be responsible to lead the organization in the two-year period from November 2013 to November 2015. The aim of this training is to make sure that they will possess the relevant skills and knowledge necessary to ensure a successful implementation of our work plan with a maximum impact. External trainers will help the participants to brainstorm and develop the content component of our work plan, in line with the newly approved political platform of the organisation (November 2013) and the priorities of the youth department of the CoE.

“Speak-up Europe – how to convey your message” is linked with the idea of improving the communications capacity of our organisation with regards to the implementation of the work plan. The editors-in-chief of the 4 language versions of our webzine the new together with other volunteers will receive additional training to guarantee maximum visibility for our global message. By doing so we contribute to the fight for media freedom in Europe, countering the rise of nationalist and populist movements as a threat to a tolerant Europe.

“Tolerant Europe – defining the obstacles” is the first international seminar of the work plan and aims at exploring the negative impact of nationalism to our society,and at eradicating this plague by empowering 34 young people in the fight against discrimination and xenophobia in Europe. The seminar will explore the tools available and identify those that could be created to this end. A video developed by young people trained at the Speak-up Europe event will be created and used for Europe-wide local dissemination during the “Local Europe” activities.

“Local Europe – spread the message” is a massive dissemination exercise where young people will bring the skills and know-how acquired during the earlier stages of the work plan to the grassroots level. Freedom will be given to the ‘ambassadors’ (participants who attended the previous events) to develop and define their own local activities in which the video developed in Skopje will play an important role.

“United Europe – democracy at all levels” is the last activity of the work plan. The idea of organizing our second international seminar in Belarus comes from our annual action “Free Belarus”. JEF considers that a United Europe cannot become a reality before democracy has reached all corners and levels of Europe. After years of activism, JEF will go on the spot and work together with youth activists in Belarus. Since the Seminar in Macedonia young people from all over Europe have worked together to raise awareness on the needs for a free and tolerant society in Europe.

With their newly gained insights and skills, the volunteers will reflect on how a tolerant Europe could also evolve into a United Europe. Besides putting the finger on the pulse concerning tolerance and democracy in Europe,this work plan serves as a capacity-building opportunity for JEF, its partners and members as well as for the participants of different organisations who will attend our activities.

The ‘Democracy Alert ‘application is a sustainable outcome of the work plan of which the organisation (and far beyond) can benefit for years to come. Depending on its success in the first months, it has the potential to grow into a pioneer with regards to safe-guarding democracy in Europe through new media and web technologies, and can be used far beyond our organisational borders.