All too often the gap between national parliaments and the European Parliament seems wide. Members of national parliaments often have only a dim awareness of what goes on ‘in Europe’. MEPs, from their side, would benefit from closer ties with national parliaments at a time when so many people are turning their backs on Europe.
A network of young politicians building a Europe close to its citizens
That’s why the EPP Group launched a unique visitor programme for young members of national parliaments. This week, Ewa Kolodziej, Member of Parliament in Poland for Civic Platform, and Konstantinos Karagounis, Member of Parliament from Greece for Nea Democratia, were welcomed by Tom Vandekendelaere MEP, President of the EPP Young Members Network.
I hope the programme lays the foundations for a network of young politicians that, together, builds a future Europe that is close to its citizens and attentive to people’s day-to-day concerns Tom Vandekendelaere
“I hope many more young members of national parliaments are inspired by Ewa and Konstantinos and that the Young MP Erasmus Programme lays the foundations for a network of young politicians that, together, builds a future Europe that is close to its citizens and attentive to people’s day-to-day concerns."
Insider view of the functioning of the European Parliament
The Young MP Erasmus Programme offers young MPs from EPP sister parties across the EU the opportunity to gain an insider view of the workings of the European Parliament. Participants are invited to Brussels for one week, where they follow a young MEP in his or her work.
Sarah Claerhout, Member of the Belgian Federal Parliament for CD&V, participated in the programme in September: “Being part of our European political family in the European Parliament for those days was a very stimulating experience. For me, being a permanent member of the Belgian Parliament's Committee for External Relations, it was also extremely interesting to follow the internal EPP debates on international issues and see how the EPP Group reflects on this.”
It has allowed me to better understand what role we national parliamentarians have in bridging the gap, real or perceived, between our national parliaments and the European Parliament Noel Rock
Noel Rock, Member of the Irish Parliament for Fine Gael, said about his experience: “I would encourage any eligible Member of a National Parliament to consider taking part in this programme. It is intense, but it has allowed me to deepen my understanding of the European institutions and better understand what role we national parliamentarians have in bridging the gap, real or perceived, between our national parliaments and the European Parliament.“