Student Offers Inside Look on the Young European Council

"Studying International and Economic Relations here at UNYP, I am very much interested in foreign affairs, most notably those of the EU. I have had many opinions and ideas on how the EU operates, often discussing them with my peers, classmates and colleagues. Still, I wanted my voice be heard by some senior fellows, and that wish became a reality at the Young European Council (YEC).

Early in November 2016, I had the opportunity to spend an entertaining week full of negotiations, social events and meetings with EU policy makers in Brussels. Thanks in part to financial support from UNYP, I participated in the 2016 edition of the student-run NGO Young European Leadership’s flagship event—the YEC. The YEC is a student conference that summons students and young professionals from Europe (and beyond) who then discuss, negotiate and present their innovative outlook on the issues that the EU is currently facing.

Unlike a typical simulation, the YEC is eager to hear the delegate’s own opinions, attitudes and proposals—not those of the country the delegate is representing. The proposals that the respective councils adopted were discussed and presented to numerous people who are involved in directing the way the EU is heading. Throughout the week, we all had the feeling of being temporarily a part of the glorious European project. This sensation was even invigorated by the venue of the event: the European Parliament itself.

Although negotiations at times easily consumed eight hours, we enjoyed ourselves on a daily (more precisely nightly) basis during the social events that were scheduled for each evening during the conference. the event staff managed to organize two dinners during which we mingled with several MEPs, NGO representatives and other renowned officials.

In a nutshell, the YEC was a great experience I would definitely recommend to anyone who is interested in the EU or the field of relations in general. As professor Oscar Hidalgo-Redondo once told me “It is not about the new knowledge or skills that you acquire during these events, but rather the people you get to meet there.” It was the people we met at the YEC that made it an event unlike any I had previously taken part in. In the end, I was offered a position of Council Manager for the YEC 2017, so I am thrilled to return to Europe’s capital again this fall!"

—Jakub-Josef Malhocky

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