Today I’m focusing on young people, who voted overwhelmingly for the UK to stay in the EU.
This month the first steps were taken to implement the European Parliament’s plan to give a free Interrail pass to Europeans turning 18 to help foster a sense of community in Europe. It will give an estimated 20,000-30,000 young people a travel experience that will help reinforce common European values and promote the discovery of European sites and cultures. It will offer these young people, regardless of social or educational background and including people with reduced mobility, a chance to travel abroad.
We must never forget that the EU was founded in order to promote peace and initiatives like this help future leaders and voters across the continent connect and understand each other. Young people in the UK can take advantage of this initiative for as long as we remain in the EU.
In other recent news the European Parliament has now voted on the next EU budget which will include increases in the funding of programmes for young people, like Erasmus+, which will receive €30 billion (£26.4bn). This programme opens doors to new opportunities for young people across Wales – opportunities that will enhance their career prospects and develop their ability to work in today’s global economy. The programme also helps our schools, colleges and universities develop partnerships in Europe and share best practice.
In the new budget there is also a 50 per cent increase in investment in research and innovation, with €100bn (£87.9bn) for flagship programmes Horizon Europe and Euratom, a 900% increase in investments in digital transformation and networks to €12bn (£10.6bn), and increases in expenditure for external border management, security, and external action. But after Brexit our young people are unlikely to benefit from these programmes.
Most young people did not get the chance to vote in the referendum, with those that did overwhelmingly voting against Brexit; being excluded from Erasmus would be punishing them further, weakening their future prospects and those of British industry that needs broad educational and cultural experience.
Likewise, for research and innovation, it is essential the UK continues to participate in programmes like Horizon Europe - the successor to Horizon 2020 - and Euratom, both of which bring essential research partnerships to the UK's world-class research and science sectors.
If you are a young person concerned about Brexit and how it might impact you or if you have an EU issue I might be able to help with, please contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org