Today the elections for the European Parliament begin. In this series you can read how green political youth parties from across Europe think about the future of the EU. Which topics are important to them, and how can young people make themselves heard? Today we speak to Julia Matser, chairwoman of DWARS.
Connections with Brussels
As chairwoman of DWARS, the youth party of GroenLinks, Julia regularly attends the GroenLinks party meetings in The Hague. Here, she ensures that young people indirectly have a voice in national politics. But what about young voices in Brussels? At the GroenLinks congress, where members established the EU election program, DWARS submitted proposals, such as the need for a European army. This proposal was not adopted, but the proposal on better train connections was. ‘GroenLinks only wanted to collaborate more with the other member states but we believe that there should be an agency in Brussels that is actively involved in setting up a European train network. The party leadership advised members not to vote in favor of our proposal, but it had broad support, so it was adopted!’
Future of the EU
Better train connections are essential for a sustainable future, according to Julia. “The future of the EU is first and foremost a green one. We will have to think about how we are going to shape the energy transition and how we can radically restructure the agricultural industry.” DWARS does not only concern itself with climate issues. Together with three other Dutch youth parties, DWARS recently drafted a refugee manifesto, calling for a fair distribution of refugees across the EU. A belief in the power of cooperation is also reflected in DWARS’ position on tax avoidance by multinational corporations. ‘The member states allow themselves to be played out against one another by large companies. If we want to combat tax avoidance, the Member States must work together. Only then will we get a fairer distribution of the tax burden between citizens and companies.’
For everyone who wants to contribute to combatting climate change, Julia has one advice: ‘Go vote! Last time, only 18% of Dutch young people voted, which is far too little. Persuade your friends, and make sure that people cast their vote on Thursday.’ For all young voters, Julia has one more tip for in the voting booth. ‘Remember that there are not only many men in Brussels, but also many old people. So if you do not vote for the Greens, at least vote for a young person. In this way we ensure that there are members in the European Parliament who understand the issues that concern us.’
This text was collected by Aoife Flemming.
This is the last article in the series Green ideals in election time. Do you want to read more? Read the interviews with Slovenia and Sweden here.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the editorial stance of the Ecosprinter nor the positions of FYEG.
Aoife Fleming is a law student at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Through her work for the Green Office, and a project focussed on sustainability in legal education Aoife aims to have an impact on the world around her.