The European Youth Parliament (EYP) is an international youth organisation, founded in France in 1987. With members scattered all over Europe, the EYP aims at educating youngsters on European politics in a fun way, guided by other young people. The Belgian branch, which we now call EYP Belgium, came onto the world in 1994. Every year we organise a variety of conferences, differing in size, location and set-up. Here, young people between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five come together to celebrate European connections and their own creative and well thought through solutions to current European issues. Through an interactive process and by simulating the procedure of European parliamentary conferences, our participants learn the values of being an active European citizen. Learn more
Who are we?
The EYP is a politically independent educational project tailored specifically to the needs of young European citizens. The EYP encourages independent thinking and socio-political initiative in young people and facilitates the learning of crucial social and professional skills. The way it works, is unique: every year more than 35.000 young people from 40 different European countries meet at one of more than 600 regional, national and international events. Over the past twenty years the organisation has become one of Europe’s largest platforms for political debate, intercultural encounters, political educational work and the exchange of ideas among young Europeans.
The EYP grew from a small school project in 1987 in Fontainebleau, France. An important characteristic of the EYP is that our participants defend their own views and not those of a particular political party or a country. The EYP covers topical issues and does not avoid controversial topics. Through our conferences we encourage independent thinking and personal development.
With its presence in 40 different European countries the EYP is more easily accessible than any other European project. Schools from all over Europe submit their candidacy to their National Committees and can thus participate in the national rounds and try to get selected for an international session. International friendships boasting mutual understanding of different cultures and points of view is an integral part of the EYP.
The EYP has in the past obtained the support of key figures in European politics such as José Manuel Barroso (President of the European Commission), Neelie Kroes (Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Digital Agenda), Jerzy Buzek (MEP, Former Prime Minister of Poland and president of the European Parliament) and Thorbjørn Jagland (Secretary General of the Council of Europe).
EYP Belgium aims to:
- Raise awareness of European issues, encourage active European citizenship and motivate young people to get involved in European politics.
- Promote international understanding, intercultural dialogue and diversity of ideas and practices.
- Contribute to the personal skills development of European youth.
- Provide a forum in which young people of Europe can express their own opinions, without reverting to role play.
...and our values
Pluralism and interculturalism
Did we spark your interest?
Whether you are a student or a teacher, there are always possibilities for you to join EYP Belgium. Find out more below:
Info for future participants:
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The basic structure of our conferences
Each of our conferences or "EYP sessions" as we call them – both in Belgium and abroad – adhere to a certain format. It is a formula where academically tackling modern European issues and socio-cultural activities form a balanced mix. Throughout the whole programme members are expected to use English instead of their native tongue.
The first part of any EYP session. The vast majority of session participants have never met before. Bearing this in mind, it’s quite evident that a session starts off by getting acquainted with each other. Delegates are divided into several committees, in which all members are strangers to one another. Each committee goes through teambuilding with the intention to create a cohesive group out of people who were brought together by chance.
Teambuilding consists of a variety of activities, often in the form of a game – with a physical, creative and/or problem-solving nature. The committee is guided through this process by a chairperson – an experienced member of the European Youth Parliament. The goal of teambuilding is breaking the ice and learning how to work as a team in a relatively short amount of time.
The committees write a resolution about an assigned topic. It is clear that this is not an easy task for a group consisting of members with different backgrounds and opinions. Accompanied by their chairperson, they endeavour to finish this task successfully by the given deadline.
During Committee Work participants learn to express their opinions, to debate them, to negotiate and to convince others of their views on a topic and to actively listen, consider and build on the ideas of others. Moreover, participants learn a lot about the subject in question and may have developed a more nuanced view on the topic throughout the discussions, together with a clear understanding of the implications that are linked to a particular decision.
During the General Assembly, the hard work of all the different committees is presented, defended and debated. Each committee presents its resolution to the other committees. For each resolution there is a plenary debate in which the other committees express their comments and raise points of debate, whilst the submitting committee tries to clarify and defend their views. In this way, each participant should not only be aware of its own subject, but should also have done enough research on the topics of other committees and their respective resolutions, which are shared with all participants the evening before the General Assembly.
Each debate ends with a voting procedure, during which each participant individually decides whether they are in favour or against the proposing committee’s resolution. The resolutions that pass are often sent to Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) or officials at other European institutions. Nevertheless we remain an organisation that focuses on the educational aspect of our conferences and are not striving for political influence.
A conference always has a busy programme and requires a lot from its participants. Therefore, it is important to have a more relaxed and informal evening programme. Aside from leisure time and breaks meant for socialising, most conferences also feature activities aimed at promoting (inter)cultural exchange.
An activity that occurs at all of our conferences is the Eurovillage. During Eurovillage, each delegation sets up a table with information and food relating to a specific European country. This way, they get to know the different European countries in a pleasant, culinary way. It is a lot of fun and often accompanied by folk music, resulting in quite the party. Another example of a common evening activity at our conferences is the Euroconcert. During the Euroconcert, participants are given an opportunity to show a particular skill they have been training for, whether it is singing, playing a musical instrument, stand-up comedy, theatre, dancing, …