#35 Fourth meeting of the AER Youth Regional Network

What is the future of the Youth Regional Network?

Throughout the meeting questions were raised on the future of the Youth Regional Network  (YRN) and how the network can become stronger and more influential. The network itself is in its infancy, as it was only established in November 2008 in Wiesbaden  (Hessen region, Germany), by a founding meeting of ninety young people representing 55 European regions. These young people launched Europe’s first platform of regional youth councils, parliaments and organisations. 
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The network meets twice a year to discuss priorities for young people, debate current youth problems and share best practices.

Maintaining an active presence in youth politics is no easy task though when you have a unique platform made up of various youth councils, organisations and parliaments spread out across Europe. There is a feeling that the network is at a turning point this year and looking to expand its reach and influence. There was much talk amongst participants of problem sharing across regions and creating a system that identifies common problems and offers solutions to solve them. Mikheil Ananidze from Georgia, who stood for presidential election, stated that “the problem of one member should be the problem of the whole network, we should all help each other”.

Michal Matlak, the newly elected YRN Vice-President, believes that securing EU funding is the best way forward for the organisation “we need to have our own finances to be a strong network,  European Union funding is one of the most important tasks”, he stressed.

There were also calls from participants for increased meetings throughout the year in order to create a stronger organisation. Matlak agrees, “two meetings a year is not enough, he explained, if we met more often, we could work together to solve on common problems such as youth unemployment  at a European level”.

In the presidential debate there was discussion over what the future of the Regional network should be and whether the network should stand alone in the future as an independent organisation without the Assemblt of European Regions (AER).

The new YRN president Olov Oskarsson would like to see it as an independent network already “we should see it as independent but with the asset of AER, it makes no sense to create a separate organisation”.

Norweigan particpant Andreas Gravermoen agrees, “the AER is good for us as a network, it acts as an inspiration, we should remain with them.”

Ananidze however,  argued during the presidential debate  that  “For the next few years the Network should remain under the AER so that we can develop a good structure and development,  in the future though we should think about becoming independent.”

Opinion still remains divided on the future independence of the YRN but all participants seem united in creating a more powerful organisation and improving life for all young people across Europe.

By: Portia Nicholson

0130

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