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European Culture and Education can’t be left to the hands of Eurosceptics!

10/07/2024

The European Youth Forum is calling on political parties in the European Parliament to block anti-democratic forces across the political spectrum from holding essential and influential positions in the European Parliament, including the leadership positions within the CULT Committee.

The recent developments in the European Parliament, particularly the newly formed far-right and Eurosceptic “Patriots for Europe” group claiming Committee leaderships are deeply concerning. In line with our motion “Empowering Youth Voices Requires Defending Democracy and European Values” that was adopted by our membership during our 2024 General Assembly, we call on all pro-European and democratic political parties to unequivocally block anti-democratic forces from holding any influential positions within the European Parliament or the European Commission in the next mandate.

Different sources have reported that the Political Groups in the European Parliament have reached a tentative deal where each earmarked their preferred choices for committee chairs. According to the news, the newly formed Patriots for Europe group is claiming the Culture and Education (CULT) committee.

The CULT committee oversees the cultural aspects of the European Union, as well as managing policies related to youth, education, civil society, media and information, and sports.

The CULT committee manages crucial European programs such as the 'Erasmus+' programme for education, training, youth, and sport; 'Creative Europe,' which supports cultural and creative sectors; and the 'European Solidarity Corps' programme for solidarity activities and humanitarian aid actions. Since their inception, these European programmes have supported the personal and professional development of young people. Specifically, Erasmus+ is considered as the third most positive result of the EU after freedom of movement and peace among the Member States. For the last 35 years, the Erasmus+ Programme has been the flagship program creating a more inclusive, tolerant, united Europe.

These programs that build intercultural skills and tolerance, boost support and trust in the European Union and foster a European identity are too important to be left in the hands of the self-proclaimed Eurosceptics.

This term of the European Parliament will negotiate and legislate the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). The MFF, meaning the EU’s long-term budget, allocates funding for the key priorities of the Union including the programs that the CULT Committee manages. A CULT Committee in the hands of far-right Eurosceptics could mean cutting the budget of the European programs supporting the development and participation of young people and youth organisations across Europe. In short, it would mean cutting the budget of the future of Europe.

The newly formed Patriots for Europe group is led by Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party and is composed of far-right parties National Rally (France), ANO (Czech Republic), League (Italy) among others. These parties' values do not align with the European Union’s founding values of human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, rule of law and human rights. Time and time again, they have stood against the advancement of human rights, such as LGBTQI+ rights, women’s rights, refugee and migrants’ rights and rights of those that are racialised, marginalised and underprivileged.

The European Youth Forum calls for the pro-European and democratic political parties to:

  • block the anti-democratic forces across the political spectrum from holding essential and influential positions in the European Parliament, including but not only the leadership positions within the CULT Committee,
  • actively fight the democratic backsliding in Europe and use the new mandate of the European Parliament to focus on the challenges and concerns of young people,
  • improve their engagement with young people and youth organisations
  • fight for the advancement of the rights of all young Europeans.

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