Representatives of youth organisations complain of outrages on the European youth conference in Sofia, Bulgaria. “We were not taken seriously,” says Luis Alvarado, president of the European youth forum.
The youth conference in Sofia provokes strong reactions from participants, that the Bulgarian government accused of mismanagement and inappropriate behavior. “The conference was a real disaster’, responds Alvarado to our newspaper. “This is not Europe where young people are.”
After debatsessies on gender equality in the European Union, the young people were treated to a night of dancing. There was free liquor is present, and stood half-naked girls on the tables dancing. ‘That tallies not at all with our values, ” says Alvarado. “Many young people said that they feel very uncomfortable to be comfortable with the situation. There were also young people who are barely of legal age. That night represented the patriarchal model of Europe where we just fight it.’
Alvarado represents over one hundred youth organisations and youth councils millions of European young people. He tries, together with other youth representatives, to weigh on the European youth policy. “The bi-annual European youth conference is the highest level at which we can exercise. People from all over Europe, elected by young people with a mandate, to try the policy. What we in Bulgaria were, we have already long not more seen.’
According to Alvarado the young people were reduced to spectators, and that they are not just. “The Bulgarian politicians came, speechten, and went away again. We were not taken seriously, that is the real scandal.’
Under the Bulgarian presidency are many good practices of the last ten years, thrown in the rubbish bin, ” says Frédéric Piccavet, European youth representative of the Flemish Youth council. He was for Flanders to be present at the meeting. ‘There was no dialogue, and the questions from the audience were rehearsed to the Bulgarian prime minister in a good light.’
The representatives fear now that their work on the side will be pushed, because they are the abuses to denounce. “Our Youth Goals (policy proposals of the youth representatives, ed.) were not heard, ” says Alvarado. Normally it gives the presiding country, in this case Bulgaria, these goals by the Council of ministers. “But that can now be blocked.’
The European Commission is, according to Alvarado not set up with the criticism of the youth representatives at the Bulgarian presidency. “The Commission told me that I was not so much criticism should express, because that can affect the budgetgesprekken with Bulgaria. Should I now feel guilty because I atrocity to the jaw set?’, ask Alvarado.