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Young people are not responsible, but should take responsibility

Lauren is a young person from Belgium

Written by Lauren Heeffer and posted in opinion

This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for please contact

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"You cannot convince people you are giving them apples, but serving pears"

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I am not sure what worries me the most; that old people don't believe in European integration anymore, or that young people have lost faith in social democracy. As a young progressive European, obviously I am a bit confused today. If social democratic parties in Europe start turning their back against the European Union in a desperate attempt to keep their voters satisfied, what's left for us then, as young European social democrats?

More than you would think.

Let's start with why am I so convinced that European integration is the only way forward. Where does this come from? Is it because I know my country has an expiration date because of strong separatist sentiments? Or is it because I live in one of the founding nations, next to the European Parliament and the Euro-bubble throws good parties?

Nothing like that really.

I believe in a deeper European integration, because the speed of globalization and digitalization calls for stronger regulatory authorities that can actually regulate it. Remember Microsoft? The European Commission made it pay a 497 million euro fine, for abusing its dominant position in the market. Would you see your government do that? I respect our democratically elected leaders, and I have confidence in (most of) them to know what's best for the people, but more and more I see those leaders compromise too much with large corporations being afraid they will move their business to neighboring countries. When you are in a relationship and your partner threatens you to leave you and take the children too, of course you make sacrifices. For the children right?

But who tolerates such power play? We need a European fiscal policy and stronger rules that gives power back to governments to make regulatory decisions that serve their citizens, rather than only its economy. Weirdly enough, this requires a stronger European integration, which involves a sacrifice in sovereignty. But I’d rather give up sovereignty to European leaders, than corporations.

But things need to change. 

However, in order for that to happen, the European leadership should become a democratic leadership that serves all European citizens. Next to a fiscal policy, we need a social policy. That is something that we are still lacking today. The only thing I heard my party say for years, is that Europe should become more social. But they never said how and they never pushed for it. You cannot convince people you are giving them apples, but serving pears.

Young people are not responsible for this deep crisis, but let's take responsibility. The advantage of this situation, is that anything can still happen. Now that the UK has set a dangerous example and has gotten things moving without anyone knowing how this will end, and with a migration crisis that desperately needs an answer, we could use this ticking time bomb for the better. In order to do that, young people should get out, make their voices heard and start fighting for the future they want. There's work to do. 

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Published June 28th, 2016
Tags eu hub european union brexit
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Select your constituency - Dublin Midlands North-West South

MEPs in Dublin Constituency

Lynn Boylan

01 873 6554


58 Parnell Square, Dublin 1.

Nessa Childers

01 296 2263


11 Glenard Hall, Clonskeagh, Dublin 14

Brian Hayes

01 209 6548


6 Main Street, Donnybrook, Dublin 4

MEPs in Midlands North West Constituency

Matt Carthy

042 967 4001


10 Monaghan Street, Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan

094 962 2710


Priory House, Barrack Street, Castlerea, Co. Roscommon

Marian Harkin

071 914 5890


28 Emmet Place, Union Street, Sligo

Mairead McGuinness

041 685 4633


Mentrim, Drumconrath, Navan, Co. Meath

MEPs in South Constituency

Deirdre Clune

1890 989 533


74 South Mall, Cork

Seán Kelly

085 125 5263


European Parliament, ASP 08F353, rue Wiertz 60, B-1047 Brussels.

Liadh Ni Riada

01 872 6100


20 Commons Road, Blackpool, Cork

Brian Crowley

021 489 6433

Maryborough Lodge, Maryborough Hill, Douglas, Cork

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