Last month, Maurizio Cuttin, the UK’s Young Ambassador to the European Youth Forum, and I attended the European Youth Forum’s Spring General Assembly in Brussels.
Representing the British Youth Council internationally is always an amazing opportunity, but it is especially cool when a BYC candidate is standing in an election. And we had an awesome candidate in Maurizio standing to join the Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe.
The Advisory Council on Youth is a co-management structure where young people and decision makers come together to co-create the policies of the Council of Europe’s Youth Department. Members of the Advisory Council are given the same voting rights as the Member States. Most of the Advisory Council’s members are elected by the European Youth Forum’s membership. It is arguably the best example of a meaningful youth participation structure anywhere in the world.
After a long, intense and very competitive campaign, Maurizio was elected! He got the third highest number of votes out of the 23 very talented candidates. That is not easy to do. It is a reflection of how firmly his message resonated with people. Maurizio called for the Advisory Council to do better outreach to National Youth Councils and marginalised young people, he called for it to strengthen its work on refugee policy and he highlighted the importance of the UK staying closely engaged with the Council of Europe now we are outside the European Union.
The result also showed the serious respect Maurizio has built up in all parts of the European Youth Forum’s membership through how he has passionately and boldly represented BYC in the European Youth Forum.
Maurizio will be on the Advisory Council from January 2024 until December 2025 – I’m excited to see what he will achieve working in this incredibly important institutional body.
But that is not all!
BYC proposed an urgent motion criticising the Rwanda deportation policy and calling for it to be scrapped. It also calls for the UK government to ditch hateful and divisive rhetoric and treat refugees with dignity and compassion. The urgent motion received overwhelming support, meaning the European Youth Forum’s 106 member organisations, who together represent 6,000 youth organisations from across Europe, back our call to defend the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.
One of my favourite things about these General Assemblies is that you get to hang out with some of the most talented young leaders on the continent. And when so much seems to be going wrong in the world, being with people who want to make a difference is super inspiring.
And if you go with Maurizio, you are also guaranteed frequent bakery trips to collect critical pastry supplies. For sure the most important part of a successful European Youth Forum GA.