[Originally published on our previous website 25th June 2016.]
The European Youth Parliament UK (EYPUK) has existed for over 20 years. We have engaged and empowered thousands of young people from all corners of the United Kingdom to develop a deeper understanding between European nations through education, collaboration and respect.
Though we are an apolitical charity, the vote to leave the EU undoubtedly represents a significant challenge for EYPUK. Our existence is, however, not dependent on the UK’s membership. EYPUK will remain and we will continue tirelessly to engage and educate young people on European and EU issues. The referendum result makes our work as important as ever.
The challenge we now face must be seen as an opportunity. An opportunity to develop and grow as an organisation, and to promote our message even further: a message of understanding, respect, cultural dialogue and education.
With 75% of 18-25 year olds voting ‘Remain’ and with 16-17 year olds excluded from the referendum, there are now many questions about whether the youth of this country are being heard. EYPUK’s primary aim is give young people a voice; we want to let the youth of Britain know now – when there are feelings that this result does not represent them – that we will continue to work to make sure their voices are being heard.
We know the value and importance of young people’s voices and how they can be excluded from the political process. Young people in the United Kingdom are given so few platforms to express their views. We are incredibly proud that EYPUK provides such a platform and remain committed to this.
We have been delighted to hear from many of our friends across Europe offering messages of support at a time when these relationships could have been strained.
We understand that change is frightening and unsettling. However, if the work we have done over the past 20 years has taught us anything it is that we are not alone. Together we are stronger. We will continue to give young people a real say in shaping the future: the future of our country and our Europe.
We would love to hear your thoughts on the referendum result. Whether you are happy with the result, or if you are worried about the future, stay in contact with us.
We need your support now more than ever to continue our vital work.
The statement from the International Office of the European Youth Parliament is as follows:
The European Youth Parliament (EYP) is an independent, non-partisan educational programme which currently reaches young people in 40 European countries. We are not limited to the borders of the European Union, but rather strive for open discussion of pan-European political issues and intercultural exchange across the whole continent. Our mission is to inspire and empower young Europeans to become open-minded, tolerant and active citizens all over Europe. The result of the EU referendum in the UK does not change this: our mission remains the same. Whether yesterday’s results influence our work in the United Kingdom remains to be seen, but it is clear that we will continue our activities as before, in the UK and all over Europe.