Phiren Amenca

Youth Voices in the European Parliament

eyehearing1Following Phiren Amenca’s participation in May 2014 with 30 Roma and non-Roma youth activists in the first European Youth Event  in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, now in December 2014 Phiren Amenca coordinator Jonathan Mack was invited to bring some messages of the European Youth Event to the Employment Committee of the European Parliament.

In a key statement Jonathan highlighted: “Many participants of the European Youth Event strongly addressed their concern about growing right-wing extremism, about hate speech, xenophobia and racism in Europe. In light of the European Parliament elections, many of us raised their voice that there is no space for right-wing extremist parties and racist ideologies in the European Parliament.”

Moreover, Jonathan addressed the need of the recognition of the Roma genocide during the Nazi regime, as reconciliation, the recognition of the past, and the deeper understanding of the mechanisms of exclusion, racism and genocide are crucial in order to achieve justice, dialogue, solidarity and inclusion today.eyehearing4

Further, he addressed the lack of equal opportunities for young people from disadvantaged background, and he proposed to set up mechanisms and programs to ensure equal opportunities and inclusion in mobility programs for young people. International mobility programs such as the European Voluntary Service constitute great learning opportunities for young people to develop their intercultural competences, their language skills, and their capacity to succeed as autonomous young adults on the labour market. However, we perceive, but also various studies proof that these mobility programs remain a privilege of white middle class society, in particular young people with higher education. The accessibility of the programs is quite limited for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, for young Roma and young people with migrant background. Ensuring equal opportunities in mobility programs requires a clear monitoring and evaluation mechanisms which should be based on the participation of Roma, migrant and minority youth organizations. Last but not least, he recommended to the European Parliament that the inclusion of Roma and minorities is introduced again as priority and criterion in the Erasmus+ program, as previously initiated in the Youth in Action program.

Storify report of the EYE Hearing: