During the Easter holidays, Rachel, Isla and I set off for Basel, Switzerland for an international forum of the European Youth Parliament (EYP). After having been selected to go forward from the regional and national competitions last year, we were very excited to have the opportunity to discover a new city whilst getting to debate and learn about the EU at the same time.
The event lasted eight days, the first of which was spent in committees where we worked in groups with other students from all across Europe to develop resolutions on specialist topics ranging from genome editing and artificial intelligence to development aid and climate change. As well as the more academic side, in which we learnt huge amounts about our respective topics and the EU’s policy on them, committee work included a large amount of team-building activities to ensure that we bonded with the other students in our committees so that we would work well together in General Assembly. We even participated in a dance off!
In the evenings, we were treated to the best of Basel. The organisers of the conference had arranged a range of parties, concerts and dinners that took us all across the city from the beautiful and historic natural history museum to the main theatre and even a boat cruise down the Rhine! We felt truly spoilt to have such wonderful opportunities.
The final few days of the trip were spent in General Assembly, where the resolutions we had written in our committees were debated by all 150 delegates from 26 countries. We had the opportunity to raise points, amend the resolutions and makes speeches about them with the eventual aim that they would be passed and ‘written into EU law’. We were lucky in that the resolutions from all three of our committees were passed, which called for much celebrating at our last night party later that evening.
Overall, it was an amazing experience and we were all so grateful to have had the opportunity to take part. I think above everything the best part of the conference was meeting so many new people and making friends from all across Europe. I know that I personally intend to stay involved in the EYP organisation in future and would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to give it a try, even if just at a regional level.