This Autumn we have a great opportunity to make a big difference to many people around the world – we’re campaigning for the 2017 EU budget!
Why are we doing this? Well, did you know that Europe is the world leader in development assistance? The 28 member states plus the European Commission provide the world’s largest contribution to overseas aid.
With this in mind, we arranged advocacy meetings with Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) for our Youth Ambassadors ahead of a key vote in the Budget Committee of the European Parliament. Our mission: to advocate for an increase in aid in the 2017 EU budget…
How did they find the experience?
Jovana: ”Attending the lobby day was great as I had the opportunity to share my opinion with high level decision makers at the European Parliament. Meeting with Finnish MEP Heidi Hautala was an extraordinary experience because she is very dedicated to EU development and she puts her heart into what she does.
As someone from Serbia, a developing country, I believe that it is absolutely necessary that youth and high level decision makers work together so they can implement long-term and sustainable solutions. Youth have a powerful voice and opportunity to change the present and future because we are the ones who are directly involved in what is happening”.
Laura: “I was involved in three lobby meetings with Italian MEPs from different parties. It was great to see that they shared similar views to us on increasing the budget allocated for development and humanitarian aid, as well as funds for refugees. Advocating for shared goals really made the experience, because you feel part of a greater whole. I really hope that all the MEPs we met will keep their promises”.
Esther: ”With the intention of having our voices heard, myself and some other Youth Ambassadors took a bold move to address our concerns to no other than a man with serious political responsibility in the European Parliament – MEP Indrek Tarand, the Co-Rapporteur for the EU Budget!
Mr Tarand was engaging and shared his commitment to improve lives of people in the Least Developed Countries and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. We took the opportunity to request his support in asking the EU to increase its investment in humanitarian and development aid in the 2017 EU budget and with a wide smile on his face he promised he would!”
All of the meetings with MEPs from the different political groups in the Parliament went really well and we’re very proud of all our amazing Youth Ambassadors for arguing the case so eloquently.
And guess what?!
On 28 September the Budget Committee voted to increase the aid budget by €498 million which shows that all our hard work paid off.
But it is not over yet! At the end of October, the European Parliament as a whole will need to adopt this proposal, and after that the negotiations with EU Member States begin. So we need you to help us convince them all!