Once again, the British Youth Council had a very successful COMEM (Council of Members and Extraordinary Meeting). We proved our influential position by achieving a 100% policy amendment pass rate for the second time in a row, an uncommon feat in the European Youth Forum (YFJ). A large number of delegates also remarked that Pegah was an exceptional speaker, and I will honestly say that BYC is currently enjoying a particularly high point in our success within the forum.
Migration and Human Rights Network:
The MHRN is a network set up to drive the policy and advocacy of the Forum on the matter of the refugee crisis. The network is member
lead, and driven by Austria (ÖJV), a BBC+ member organisation. Their priority recommendation comes from the following BBC+ policy that we submitted as an amendment to the founding policy paper:
The BYC has both been welcomed and encouraged to join the MHRN and participation is sponsored by Erasmus+ grants applied for by ÖJV.
The BYCs membership fee will be reduced by €90. The trend of the YFJ is to reduce fees as much as possible as new funding sources arrive.
€30 Per Day for 30 Days Volunteer Allowance for Board Members Proposal:
According to the feedback of the Policy Response Group, we did not feel we were very sure of the argument that it would encourage people from low-income backgrounds to run for the board. However, we do have a promise that this will not lead to a raise in membership feed. We abstained, the motion passed.
Resolution on Youth Autonomy and Inclusion: the policy paper seemed to be in line with BYC policy and so we were happy to support it. Yet we had quite a few amendments because we felt that we needed the document to include:
- A call for age based discrimination in the financial industry to end – BYC & UKYP
- A call for young carers to get more support – BYC
- A call for transport support for young people from rural and low income backgrounds – BYC and UKYP
- A call for mental health education to be much more satisfactory – BYC & UKYP
The Nordic-Baltic Cooperation proposed that most calls for action should be deleted and criticised the paper for being too much of a ‘shopping list’. Pegah spoke on behalf of quite a few youth councils and stated that the point of an inclusive platform is that it includes all young people, and if a shopping list is necessary, then so be it. Her speech was greeted with applause and the amendment was defeated.
Equality and Non-Discrimination: this policy paper was again satisfactory according to the standards of BYC policy. However, we felt that the travelling community should be included alongside other minorities , so the National Youth Council of Ireland proposed this amendment with our support. Amendment passed.
Resolution on Quality Standards of Youth Policy: this document had no relation to BYC policy because it was not a political document, but instead, a framework developed by an expert group on youth policy for the purpose of judging youth policy. Thus, our decision to support the paper was based upon the fact that we felt the paper would be useful for BYC and such a framework is in our interests.
EU Foreign Affairs Council conclusions of 15 February 2016 on non-extending restrictive measures for the Republic of Belarus: this paper was submitted by RADA (Belarus) an NYC made illegal by the Belarusian dictatorship. The paper basically called for democratisation of Belarus and for young people to have a greater say in the country’s affairs. We felt that this action was in-line with the values of BYC and agreed to vote in favour of the policy.
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