Last but not least in our series of interviews with the presidents of the youth wings of the biggest European political parties, we’ll be focusing on the single most important question in the upcoming May elections: why should we vote for your party?
Now that you’ve heard the proposed solutions from each of the youth wing presidents to the problem of low voter turnout among young people and to youth unemployment, can they actually convince you to vote for them? How are the Centre-Right, the Social Democrats, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and the Conservatives different from one another?
First up, we spoke to Kostas Kyranakis, President of the Youth of the European People’s Party. In his response, he points out that “this time it’s different”. Indeed, for the first time ever, you will be (indirectly) choosing the next EU Commission President when you vote in May. But can he convince you to vote for the Centre-Right?
Do you agree that Jean Claude Junker’s experience as the Prime Minister of Luxembourg for almost 20 years (and President of the Eurogroup during the crisis) is the great asset that sets him apart from other candidates? And will this experience help him lead the European Union to a better future?
If experience is a big asset, where does that leave Martin Schulz? Kaisa Penny, the President of the Young European Socialists, encourages voters to instead compare the different party manifestos to see what alternatives are out there to the Centre-Right’s economic policies.
According to Kaisa, the Social Democrats are “the best choice to lead the change that Europe desperately needs”. Then again, all parties have different ideas about what needs to be changed. Whereas Kaisa thinks that this means ending austerity policies and investing in creating jobs, Jeroen Diepemaat, President of the European Liberal Youth, believes that we should focus more on ensuring both market and individual freedom are strengthened in the European Union.
Next, we spoke to Michael Bloss, Co-spokesperson of the Federation for Young European Greens. Whereas other parties often focus on what should happen between now and the next election, the Greens argue they have a long-term vision for Europe over the next 30 years, including the transition to 100% renewable energies and jobs for young people. The Greens also believe that more European integration, democracy and transparency and including young people (their leading candidate – Ska Keller – is just 32 years old) will make Europe stronger and more prosperous in the long run.
Finally, we spoke with Tim Dier, Chairman of the European Young Conservatives. He criticises the three leading candidates (Jean-Claude Juncker, Martin Schulz and Guy Verhofdstad) for all being carbon copies (for instance, they all grew up within 100 kilometers of one another). Therefore, Tim thinks people should vote for the Conservatives as they are the only ones offering genuine reform.
Who will YOU vote for? Do you agree with the Conservatives that Europe is going in the wrong direction? Should we have more political integration or less? Have the Centre-Right’s economic policies been the best way to tackle the crisis? If not, who provides the best alternatives? VOTE for the party you think can best lead Europe to a better future in our Debating Europe Vote 2014!