Originally from southern Germany, my JEF life started when I re-founded JEF Stuttgart in 2008. I have been active in JEF ever since. Having been a European federalist before I “lived Europe” myself, it is fair to say that JEF changed my life: I focused on European studies during my undergraduate in political science and history in Munich, then moved on to study the European Neighbourhood policy in Warsaw and currently live in London, again working on EU legislation. Friends describe me as an open and communicative person with a strong desire to understand. They would say that I am analytical in my approach, but once I am convinced, my enthusiasm can inspire others. And they say that I may talk about pragmatism, but ultimately I would spend my life following dreams. – If this is all true, it is no surprise I fell in love with JEF. When I am not caught up in EU stuff, I enjoy conversations over coffee (filter, black), travelling (anytime, anywhere) and sports (I love handball and football, but mostly just go running).
Motivation for the position
The European project for me is one of the most exciting political ideas, and one that I truly believe in. While much has been achieved, it has possibly never been so close to fail. On the eve of the 1st World War in August 1914 the then British foreign minister famously said: “The lights are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.” – I don’t want to see the lights go out over Europe for our generation – and they don’t have to. I believe we as Young European Federalists have answers to the current challenges. Answers that might make Europe shine its light even brighter. JEF cannot save Europe alone. But the older I get, the more I believe that civil society organisations like JEF are incredibly important. JEF makes young people experience Europe, it makes young people dream about a better Europe and think about how it can be achieved in practice. It is the idealistic and optimist voice in an all too often cynical discourse. This is why after 7 years of JEF activity on all levels, I am still not tired of this organisation and am ever more motivated to dedicate my time and effort to defend – together with all of you – our common dream. I tremendously enjoyed the past two years as vice-president in the EB. To act as the president of JEF comes with a considerably bigger responsibility, but I am excited to take on the challenge and I feel I am well prepared. In my eyes, a president should be able to fully identify with what JEF represents and stands for and be ready to go out and fight for it. I certainly do this, perhaps more than ever. A president should also have a deep appreciation for all different views united in JEF Europe and should be able to form compromise and consensus. I feel that the last two years as Vice-President of JEF Europe have prepared me well for this job. I certainly bring the patience, the ability to listen and the creativity. And, perhaps most importantly, a president should know what he wants to achieve in his term and set ambitious, yet realistic objectives. I do bring a clear vision, which I have outlined below. It would be very honoured to serve as president for this ever young – yet almost historical – fascinating and beautiful organisation.
My Vision of the Future of JEF
JEF is at its best, when we live the JEF spirit, when we are inclusive and curious, bold and idealistic, and when work is fun. We are usually great at thinking, we are great at dreaming, but we can still become much better at doing. And this is what I want to focus on. I believe the EB has done some great work during the last two years. We have reinforced our inclusiveness and kept the organisation together. Statutory meetings have become more fun and also much more efficient. And we have generally become more focused on results and worked more professionally. I believe this is right. We should not be complacent and hide behind our status as “volunteers”. If we didn’t want to achieve something, we wouldn’t need to be in a political organisation in the first place. Some more “drive” doesn’t need to take away from the human touch in JEF. I want to build upon the great legacy the last EB leaves us in this regard. We will continue to work on a JEF Europe that is a home to all sections and whose statutory meetings are events that everyone leaves with a positive feeling. I will continue to think about how we can use time efficiently. And I would want to focus even more on results. A great example is our work with PCs and JEF ambassadors. If we can link our internal policy debates with bigger debates that happen outside of JEF, our voice is amplified and we can start having a real impact. And of course, I would want to make sure that the EB continues its more professional working style – clear communication, no last minute calls to action, no unreasonable deadlines. The work of the last EB also gives us the possibility to set new goals, building on what has been achieved. What I would want to focus on is to do more, and mainly to do more in the Brussels bubble. I want JEF Europe to regain its status as a recognised political actor in Brussels. There are many things that national sections can do equally good or better, but what really can only be done by the European level is the lobbying for a federal Europe in Brussels – and there is scope to do more. It will take some effort to be present wherever we can and we will need to be provocative at times, we will need to be loud. But I am confident that we can become a Brussels “household name” again. I also want to continue to build our presence in Eastern Europe and support small sections where we can. In this sense, it is a great symbol that our next FC will take place in Poland.
My Opinion on the needed Political Commissions and Taskforces/Working Groups The structure of the Political commissions has worked reasonably well and I would want to sustain it. I would want to aim for the PCs to focus their work even more on the “usefulness” of resolutions for outside debates and processes. the ambassador project has been a huge success in this regard. For this, I think we might want to keep the current setup if we can agree on clear objectives and timelines for TF finances, TF organisation and TF renewal of European democracy. however, the structure depends very much on the specific interests of the next FC members. A TF I would like to add is the TF Communication.