To do the ordinary short introduction: Hi! My name is, as shown above, Kevin Broby Kristiansen. I come from Denmark and I just went back to studying Political Science after a semester abroad on the Danish Embassy in Prague. I have been a member of JEF DK for just about 4 years, of which I have been the regional chairman in 3 years (2012-2015) and the national vice-president of (First) Organizational affairs, and (later) Political Affairs (2015). Furthermore, I have been acting as the de-facto International Secretary of JEF DK in the last 2 FC’s. I am currently active in the European Movement DK, participating in a “Europe-Academy” organized by a Danish think-tank, which focus on European politics and finally I am JEF’s representative to the European Youth Forums Climate Change Network. It is thus fitting to say that Europe and the EU is a big part of my everyday life (Especially as I will be part of the “Erasmus-generation” from spring 2016).
First of all, I would like to apologize beforehand that I will not be able to attend the Congress in Zürich. I am in general very much opposed to running for positions “in absentia” as I believe it shows a lack of interest in the project. In my case, however, it is due to an exam. While you will be in Zürich from Friday until Sunday I will receive my assignment on Friday and deliver it on Sunday – Thus rendering me unable to prepare it before the Congress, which I would, of course, have done if it was possible. I would like to assure you, and I hope that those of you who know me can confirm, that I am whole-heartedly invested in JEF and that I will do my very best as a member of the EB, should you choose to elect me.
I will now shift to why I am running for a position as a member of the EB. My personal motivation for running for a position as a member of the EB is that I want to contribute to the continued growth and strengthening of JEF and our agenda. As I will most likely be moving around Europe the next couple of years, I have realized that I would be able to contribute the most to our common project, if I made my efforts at the European level, instead of the national level. Furthermore, I would find it interesting to bring my experiences from JEF DK to the EB together with members from other states and in this way “broaden” the perspective of our organization.
However, my motivation is, first of all, ideological. I firmly believe that there is a need for JEF in the European debate and I firmly believe that we should keep on pressing for a more integrated Europe (Federal, if I’ll have my way!). We are facing enormous pressure on the EU-system these days and I believe that only a united Europe can solve it. I need not mention the refugee/migrant crisis, climate change, the situation with Russia, the general instability in our neighbourhood etc., and that is even without mentioning the internal challenges that we face. People (and media) still believe that “Brussels” is dictating the political direction and that the EU “steamrolls” the nation-states. This proves that there is a need for JEF, both as political educators of the European people(s), and as a political influence on the political actors. Europe is facing many troubles, but we have the answer: Europe United – and that is what I would like to fight for if you would elect me to the EB; a United Europe, making joint efforts in relation to climate change, the migrant/refugee crisis and to solve our inability to act jointly in the face of threats in our neighbourhood.
My Vision of the Future of JEF
Ah, it is, of course, difficult to narrow down what I have just written above, but let me start with something I have not yet mentioned. We need to support our new chapters. JEF is nothing if not pan-European and as such it should be our goal to support those who are genuinely interested in waving the JEF-banner in their efforts to grow and become stable members of our organization. Much like Europe on its own, I believe that we are enriched by our diversity. Secondly we should continue the great effort with the Structured Dialogue (a special thank you to Marta Junqué!) and our effort to engage young people in general, especially in politics of course, as this is JEF’s main focus. Thirdly we should strive to set the agenda on the areas mentioned in the section above: Climate Change, migration/refugee crisis, situation with Russia/Ukraine and the internal issues of Euroscepticism and the somewhat related lack of knowledge about the EU. Thus, I believe that JEF’s tasks are many – but I also believe it possible for us to be active in several areas, because of our dedicated and diverse members.
My Opinion on the needed Political Commissions and Taskforces/Working Groups
I believe that the PC’s will work as they stand for now and that they can facilitate the current and future work. I would, of course, be open to any constructive suggestions as to how we can improve the setup – They should by no means be set in stone. If I was to propose a taskforce, I would suggest that we create something along the lines of “Influencing political actors” or “Influencing the media”. Now, boring as the titles may be (I am open to more creative suggestion such as “JEF’ing up the media” or such) they still examplify something that some of our local sections need: information as to how to approach decision-makers and the media in order to get federalism on the agenda. Like the great course about lobbyism/agenda-setting chaired by Sven at Bologna, I would welcome anyone who would take it upon them to bring their experiences, so that they could be shared with the other sections, thereby aiding our local sections in the sometimes uphill battle of getting the attention of decision makers and media.