Latest Press release
EU must lead the way in Energy Innovation
Press Release, 9th January 2007
The Young European Federalists (JEF-Europe) welcome the Commission’s proposal for common energy restrictions, presented on the 10th of January 2007. The climate challenge clearly demonstrates the importance of European and international federal structures and common global solutions. However, the common restrictions must only be a first step towards clear internal energy policies within the EU.
Safe energy supply, energy dependence and environmental threats due to energy consumption, are all examples of policy areas where it is impossible for each member state to act alone. The fight against climate change has to be dealt with on a global level.
"International problems need international solutions. We need to strengthen international institutions and support global regimes such as the Kyoto Protocol when looking for solutions to our common challenges. When states like the US and China turn their backs to climate issues, the importance of a strong common frontline of the EU is crucial for achieving any development in this crucial question", stated Jan Seifert, the president of the Young European Federalists (JEF-Europe).
"The EU must take a lead in innovative energy policies. The Commissions proposition is a step in the right direction and a proof of the importance of working together in order to tackle common environmental threats. Now it is up to Europe‘s governments to back this proposal up with the commitment it deserves and show that Europe is more then a lame duck in the fight against climate change", says Jan Seifert.
In contrast to the US and China, Europe has shown that we have a joint responsibility for the environment. The EU must be in the forefront towards a new era of sustainable energy – to break energy dependency and to promote the development of new solutions. Therefore it is crucial to set ambitious goals for a renewable mix of European energy sources. 20% renewables are not enough to save the climate.
Jan Seifert rejects the industry sector’s criticism to the proposition’s negative effects on the EU’s economy. "Taking the lead in innovation creates comparative advantages and stimulates growth. But this is also a chance to show that Europe is not only about money, but that Europe stands for important values such as the belief in a collective supranational responsibility. This is important, not only as an example in the world but also to regain the citizens’ trust".
Youth on the streets, bringing down the wall Schengen visa has divided Europe with
PRESS RELEASE, 8th November 2006
JEF pan-European Visa Action
Today, right in front of the Council, JEF build up a huge symbolic visa/Berlin wall and demanded an immediate revision of the current visa regime dividing Europe. The action is part of a pan- European action organised by JEF on the day of the fall of the Berlin wall, where the same demands are made in front of the same visa/Berlin wall in over 15 cities across Europe.
“Youth across all of Europe are taking to the streets on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall to manifest against the current visa procedure that is costly, time consuming and clearly dividing Europe in two again. The European public must know about this unfair stupidity and European leaders must do something about it.”
“European people want to integrate. European youth wants to meet. Europe wants to be united again. This year the EU member states chose to almost double the visa fees – a step in the completely wrong direction!“, stated Jan Seifert, the President of the Young European Federalists, as being the main reasons for JEF activists across Europe to take to the streets.
“We want to point out that the visa fees and procedures touch especially upon the youth and make, civil society work, training, exchange, cultural integration or simply travelling a luxury, that only few can afford” Jan Seifert continued.
The actions started today in Brussels, where around 50 young Europeans, youth NGOs and MEPs gathered in front of the Council building Juste Lipse to symbolically bring down a huge visa/Berlin wall and state their demands for changing the current EU visa regime. JEF-Europe strongly demands revision of the visa procedures to make them fast, affordable and non-discriminatory. “High visa fees hardly keep the terrorist or criminal at home – it is the ordinary Europeans that are prevented from travelling. Let visa fees inside of Europe be costless to allow us Europeans to meet.”
The action continues on 9th November with demonstrations in over 15 cities across Europe, from Skopje to Edinburgh, including Berlin by Brandenburger Tour where the wall once stood. The main manifestation takes place in Vilnius where representatives from numerous youth NGOs from all over Europe, currently in Vilnius for the European Youth Forum General Assembly, will take part in a big manifestation in front of a huge visa/Berlin wall.
For info on time, place and contact details please see press contact below.
- JEFs visa action is taking place in Brussels, Bucharest, Skoje, Kumanovo (Macedonia) , Berlin, Chemnitz, Ljubljana, Vilnius, Riga, Sofia, Zagreb, Turin, Padova, Kosovo, Sarajevo, Paris, Bern, Luzern, Edinburgh, Nis (Serbia) and Helsinki
- Pictures from the action in Brussels at http://www.jef-europe.net/index.php?id=1639&tx_lzgallery_pi1[showUid]=74
- The major action in Vilnius is co organised by JEF-Europe, JEF-Lithuania, Lithuanian Liberal Youth and Lithuanian Liberal-center Youth and supported by the Lithuanian Youth Council and European Youth Forum
- The 10 x 2 meter artificial visa/Berlin wall that is used in the Brussels and Vilnius actions has been painted in cooperation with the artist workshop in AFID, a center for young handicapped people in Lisbon. More info www.afid.org.pt
- Pictures of the workshop at http://www.jef-europe.net/index.php?id=1639&tx_lzgallery_pi1[showUid]=73
- European Youth Forum is currently leading a campaign against current visa regimes, www.getvisable.org
Strong European Voice in the World Needed Today!
Press release, 28 September 2006
Today a joint demand for a European foreign minister was handed over to Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja by the Young European Federalists (JEF Europe), the Union of European Federalists (UEF) and European Movement International (EMI).
The European Constitution would have enabled a single European foreign policy through the creation of a European foreign minister. „It is time to stop pretending that Europe can play a strong global role if we do not have a single European foreign policy. We ask the Finnish presidency and Europe's leaders to reflect on Europe's inability to act and the consequences this has, both for Europe and the world around us“, said Jan Seifert, president of JEF Europe,
Last week on the international Peace Day, 21 September 2006, JEF activists all across Europe took to the streets to state their demand for a Single European Foreign Policy that would untie the hands of the EU. With signs demanding “Let Europe act for Peace – Single European Foreign Policy now!”, JEFers symbolised the inability of Europe to act for peace by handcuffing themselves. JEF’s pan-European public action took place simultaneously in cities like Paris, Verona, Strasbourg, Bern, Prague, Skopje, Geneva, Belgrade, Brussels and other places across Europe. “Our activists were out there to demand the European leaders to meet their global responsibility. Only a single voice would allow Europe to become a true global player that could promote peace and justice in the world”, Seifert added.
“We showed trough our cross-border action that it is possible to deliver a strong message by acting jointly across Europe’s borders. It is time the European leaders realize that only by acting together through a single European foreign policy Europe will be able to play an active role on the global arena”, concluded Jan Seifert.
For more info and pictures please visit www.jef-europe.net
OneSeat.eu: 1 million citizens do care
OneSeat.eu: 1 million citizens do care
Press release, 18 September 2006, for immediate release
Today the oneseat.eu campaign has reached its goal of one million signatures! Jan Seifert, President of JEF-Europe (the Young European Federalists), welcomes the great support for strengthening the European Parliament and congratulates the organisers of the campaign for their success. Oneseat.eu is the first initiative ever to reach support by 1 million signatures. According to article 47 of the draft Constitutional Treaty the Commission has to take up an issue which is petitioned for by one million citizens of the Union.
"The oneseat.eu campaign has shown that European citizens do care about the European Union and its chamber, the European Parliament" declared the delighted president of JEF. "One million citizens call for an end of the annual waste of 200 million Euros for a symbol that stands for waste rather than investment."
"It is a scandal that MEPs do not even have a say over their own working place." Jan Seifert continued "By signing up for oneseat.eu European citizens explicitly asked the Commission and the European leaders to take an open stand in regards to the question of the Strasbourg seat. JEF has supported the initiative and agrees with the organisers in putting an end to the Strasbourg seat. The European Parliament needs one seat and this has to be in Brussels, the site of the other institutions."
"The oneseat.eu campaign has also shown that the new instrument of a European citizens initiative based on article 47 of the Constitutional Treaty is a necessary instrument to give the citizens ownership of the European project. It is now time to move forward and make the citizens initiative legally enforceable as part of a European Constitution." Seifert demanded.
Sarzoky and the future of Europe
Sarkozy and the future of Europe: good, but can do better
Press release, 10 September 2006, for immediate release
In his Brussels speech delivered on Friday 8th September 2006 Nicolas Sarkozy has presented his views on Europe and called for a "mini-treaty" to get out of the current stalemate. Jan Seifert, president of JEF-Europe (the Young European Federalists), and Pauline Gessant, president of JEF-France, welcome his speech as a positive step to bring Europe back into the French political discourse.
The presidents of JEF Europe and JEF France agree with many of the views expressed by Mr Sarkozy (urgent need of a political Europe, a democratic debate that does away with discussions behind closed doors, a drastic overhaul of the Commission’s nomination procedure effectively turning it into a genuine European government, genuine Europe-wide party lists for European elections, the end of unanimity in all policy fields).
"Why does Mr Sarkozy propose these reforms for some time in the future instead of supporting them for more than a minimalist mini-treaty at this time," Seifert and Gessant wondered.
"Many ideas put forward by Mr Sarkozy meet the demands of European federalists, but Mr Sarkozy still falls short of making all the proposals Europe needs to overcome its current stalemate." Seifert and Gessant added.
"We are more sceptical about the mini-treaty that Mr Sarkozy proposed for adoption in the meantime. Its ratification through national parliaments looks like an entry into force of the rejected Constitutional Treaty by the back door. By implementing immediately the most urgent reforms, it may act as a disincentive for a wider constitutional reform as described above."
Seifert and Gessant believed that "In order to put pressure on the countries that rejected the Constitutional Treaty a clear roadmap needs to be drawn up that leads to a ratification of a new constitutional settlement in 2009. The final text then should be ratified by a Europe-wide referendum."
Jan Seifert and Pauline Gessant also remain dubious of Mr Sarkozy’s praise of "open vanguard and ad hoc groups of countries concerned by a specific issue". "If that means co-operation outside the Treaties or setting up additional structures, we believe that this will not bring the legitimacy and the transparency the EU needs. It would make Europe even more complicated and unnecessarily alienate the small member states," they said
"We all know that Europe will not wait for France to find its way out of the current deadlock. It is therefore unfortunate that Mr. Sarkozy was not able to commit the government he has been a member of for this kind of reform steps," Seifert and Gessant insisted.
"We are still waiting for similar proposals by all the French candidates to the presidential elections and we hope that Mr. Sarkozy’s speech will encourage his opponents to take an even more ambitious stand on the future of Europe," they finished.