From the 23rd to the 26th of October I had the great opportunity to represent IFLRY at the EU Youth Conference in Tallinn, Estonia. The conference is hosted every year by the country which holds the presidency in the Council of the European Union, which is currently Estonia. It is part of the structured dialogue between young people and EU decision-makers. IFLRY had one delegate to represent our interests.
On the first day of the conference, Estonia announced that they want this conference to be the best EU youth conference ever. They did not promise too much: On our arrival every participant received 3D glasses and we could enjoy some information about the program in 3D. On the next day, we were transferred to an old industry factory which was transformed to a modern future conference centre called ‘Creative Hub’. Robots driving between the participants offered us nice snacks and smoothie machines prepared fresh made smoothies.
The goal of the first day was to identify topics, which are influencing the daily lives of young people in Europe. We used creative art methods to show group results. On the third day we had the opportunity to talk more concretely about our topics in an open space. I went to a group about sustainability and tried to underline the problem of European agricultural protectionism. I was very happy when European Commissioner Tibor Navracsics had to answer a few critical questions on this topic after his speech. Even though his answer – that young people can’t have opportunities without agriculture – was not very convincing.
We spent our last evening at the Seaplane Harbour: The most impressively designed museum I have ever seen. After the speech of the liberal (and very young) Estonian president Kersti Kaljulaid the Estonian singer and artist Iiris gave us a great live concert.
All in all I was very impressed. It was definitely the best organized political conference I have attended so far. The only thing I wonder about is whether, given the lack of concrete outcomes, the cost of the conference was justified.
Alice Schmidt is a member of the German Junge Liberale, where she’s the current chairwoman of the federal working group for international politics. Furthermore, she’s the programme manager of the IFLRY Free Trade Programme. As a PhD candidate, she researches about the impact of the agricultural and trade policies of the EU on African Developing countries. In her free time she loves to travel, to play badminton or to spend time at home with her two cats.