We hear all too often that young people are the future, but it is high time they were empowered to change the present in order to build the future.
Progressive cities and regions are laboratories of innovation and, increasingly, they have also become places of resistance against populist and nationalist forces. Inside small towns and big cities alike, it is often young local leaders who are in charge of making change happen, by creating more sustainable communities, fighting the climate crisis and growing social inequality, and changing the way local democracy works.
This is why the Party of European Socialists Group (PES) was proud to host more than fourty young progressive local and regional politicians from all over Europe for a two-day event on 29-30 November 2019, partly organised in cooperation with the Young European Socialists (YES) and the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament (S&D Group).
Since March 2019, the European Committee of the Regions has launched an initiative to involve Young Elected Politicians elected at local and regional level in its works. As PES Group, we have made this commitment a priority and want therefore to strengthen this network in order to build a more progressive and sustainable Europe from the ground up.
Umberto Costantini, 31 years old, is since 2014 mayor of Spilamberto, a small municipality in the Emilia Romagna region. Under his mayorship, Spilamberto has adopted in 2018 the project 'Sustainable Spilamberto ', a set of actions that the community already put into practice and will continue to put into practice in the following months in order to reduce its ecological footprint. Thanks to these actions, Spilamberto is now one of the most virtuous municipalities in Emilia Romagna and in Italy. Umberto
Karl-Heinz Lambertz was elected as President of the European Committee of the Regions in July 2017 after serving a two and a half year term as First Vice-President. He is also President of the Parliament of the German-speaking Community of Belgium. Born on 4 June 1952 in Schoppen, Karl-Heinz's interest in politics came early in his career having served as President of the German-speaking Youth Council (1975-1980). After a number of functions linked to his academic background in law, he became Member of Parliament of the German-speaking Community in 1981. Between 1990 and 1999 he held numerous Ministerial posts in the German-speaking Community Government before being elected its Minister-President (1999-2014). In 2014 he became President of the Parliament for the first time, a post he held until 2016 before he was appointed to represent the German-speaking Community in the Belgian Senate. In June 2019, he resumed office as President of the Parliament, a position which he holds today. Karl-Heinz Lambertz has been a CoR member since 2001 and was President of the CoR's PES Group (2011- 2015). Since 2000, he has been a Member of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe in which he is currently Vice-President.
Yoomi Renström has been mayor of the Municipality of Ovanåker (Sweden) since 2010 and is now President of the Municipal Council. She graduated from the University of Uppsala with a degree in Literature, Psychology, and Information and Communication, and studied educational Leadership at Dalarna University. She has been president of the district board of the Swedish Social Democratic Party of Gävleborg County between 2010 and 2015 .From 2005 until 2006, she was a member of the Swedish parliament. After that, she was opposition leader at the Municipality of Ovanåker until 2010. She has been a Member of the European Committee of the Regions since 2006. During this time, she has been a rapporteur on major dossiers such as Erasmus for All (2011), Opening up Education (2013), Revision of the Posting of Workers Directive (2016) and Protection of Children in Migration. In October 2019, she has been elected the PES Groups' First Vice-President. She is also a member of the Congress of the Council of Europe.
Claire Roumet is Director of Energy Cities, the European association of local authorities in energy transition. Energy Cities opens dialogue between Mayors and EU institutions to accelerate the energy transition of European cities, with the example of its pioneer 1000 members located in 30 countries. She joined the team of Energy cities in 2014 after 10 years as Secretary General of Housing Europe, the Federation of social housing providers. She is French and graduated in economics. She completed a post-graduate in European policies in Strasbourg after a year of econometrics in Mainz, Germany.
Antoni Vicens i Vicens holds a degree in Oceanography from the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), and in Political Science from the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED). He also holds a Master degree in Diplomacy and International Public Service from the Centre for International Studies (CEI) and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), and a Master degree in Logistics from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC). He has experience in the international and European fields, particularly in environment, energy, climate change and maritime policy. From 2012, he worked at the Embassy of Spain in Windhoek (Namibia) in the field of energy, and in the General Directorate of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission in the field of International Fisheries Policy and Regional Fisheries Organizations (ORP). From January 2014 until November 2016, he served as a policy officer for the environment, climate change and energy at the Delegation of the Generalitat de Catalunya to the EU in Brussels, becoming later, in November 2016, part of the technical team of the Advisory Council for the Sustainable Development of Catalonia (CADS), based in Barcelona. There, he worked in the field of integrated maritime policy, climate change and the implementation in Catalonia of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development. He has been the Head of the EU Balearic Islands Office in Brussels since January 2018. In July 2019 he was appointed Director General for External Relations within the Government of the Balearic Islands.
Elisa Lironi is the Senior Manager European Democracy, working at the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) since 2015. She develops and leads ECAS’ European Democracy focus area by implementing EU projects and research studies related to Digital Democracy, Online Disinformation and Populism. She was the Project Manager of the Erasmus project DEEP-linking Youth (2015-2017), and she coordinates ECAS’s part in the YouVoteEU (REC project) DEMOS (Horizon2020) and several Europe for Citizens projects. She is currently part of the team working with Secretariat-General of the European Commission on developing and implementing the European Citizens’ Initiative Forum. Her most recent publications include “Harnessing Digital Tools to Revitalize European Democracy” for Carnegie Europe (2018), the “Potential and Challenges of E-Participation in the EU” (2016) for the European Parliament and “EU Public Consultations in the Digital Age: Enhancing the Role of the EESC and Civil Society Organisations” (2017) for the EESC.
Yves Dejaeghere is a Professor at the University of Antwerp (Belgium). He was previously affiliated with the political science department at the University of Leuven (Belgium) and was a guest-lecturer at the Université Catholique de Lille (France) and KULAK (Belgium). In 2012 he was a visiting researcher at the department of Sociology of the University of Oxford. He works on political socialization, elections and political elites. His work is published in, among others: European Journal of Political Research, Party Politics, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, Scandinavian Political Studies, Canadian Journal of Political Science, European Union Politics, Social Behaviour & Personality and International Journal of Intercultural Relations.
Arrival at the European Parliament and registration
Welcome and presentations by PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions, S&D Group in the European Parliament and Young European Socialists
Moderator: Maj Jensen, Secretary general of the Young European Socialists
Alícia Homs Ginel, Member of the European Parliament and President of the Young European Socialists
Yoomi Renström, First Vice-President of the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions
Panel debate “Youth up political decisions for the future
Hannelore Goeman, Flanders Regional Parliament, Belgium
Harun Muharemovic, city councillor Brøndby, Denmark, and Coordinator of YES Young City and Regional Councillors Network
Tsvetelina Penkova, MEP, Bulgaria
From local democracy to European democracy
Moderator: Martin Maréchal, Journalist at “BXFM 104.3” and member of the Belgian Socialist Party
Welcome speech: Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of the Committee of the Regions
Elisa Lironi, Senior Manager European Democracy, European Citizens Action Service
From #FridaysForFuture to local action
@ European Committee of the Regions, atrium 5
@ Party of European Socialists Headquarter, Rue Guimard 10-12, Brussels.
How to run the SDGs agenda at local level?
Moderators: Elisha Winckel and Samuel Guron, YES Vice-Presidents
How to use EU funds for building a progressive city/region?
How to influence policy at European level as young councillor?
Harun Muharemovic, councillor Brøndby, Denmark, and Coordinator of YES Young City and Regional Councillors Network