I have been invited to a MEP candidate hustings being held by The National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (NAWO). The hustings will be attended by a diverse range of young women (16-25 years old) from across the United Kingdom. The young women will be part of a project funded by the Directorate General for Communications of the European Parliament that will be facilitated by NAWO.
Through working to create a manifesto of demands that reflect their needs and aspirations, in addition to direct contact with MEP candidates and increased engagement with the work of European Parliament the young women will be encouraged to use their vote in the upcoming elections of May 2014.
I will be heading back to the European Parliament this month, to continue my capacity building sessions with the European Women’s Lobby, European mentoring project where I shall be receiving training on communication skills. I will also have a catch up with me mentor, Mojca Kleva MEP since she had her baby and find out more about how she is juggling motherhood and politics. I will finalise arrangements for her to come and help me campaign here in London and for me to return the favour in her country, Slovenia. I will be a guest speaker at an event the European Women’s lobby is organising at the European parliament on the 18th February, hosted by Claude Moraes MEP called ‘My MEP is just like me, Gender Equality and Diversity in European Political Life’.
I have spoken at two debates about Europe, one hosted by the Havering Fabian Society and one by the London School of Economics, Labour and Cooperative society. I think these debates are healthy and many more of them should be organised. I am a pro-european, but think we should have discussions about how we can reform Europe to make it work better for ordinary hard working Londoners. I addressed the Redbridge Young Labour AGM about the importance of young people and Europe and the Romford Labour party and the Enfield Labour womens forum about the importance of the European elections.
I will be attending the final plenary session of 2013 of the European parliament in Strasbourg from the 9-11th. This will give me an opportunity to see how plenary sessions operate and how MEP’s vote on important issues. I will also have a catch up with my mentor in the European parliament, Mojca Kleva MEP about the life of an MEP and how she balances work and family commitments.
I have been invited to be a guest speaker at an event being held by The National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (NAWO) about Young Women and Europe at an event titled ‘Why gender should be on Europe’s agenda’. Mary Honeyball MEP will also be a speaker at this event. I will highlight to the young people at the event about why the EU is so important and how they can make a difference. NAWO are hoping to produce a Young Women’s Manifesto based on information gathered from discussion at the event. It will be held on the 7th of November from 17 :00 – 20 :00 at the Human Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London, EC2A 3EA.
I have been invited to be a guest speaker at a fringe event at the Labour party conference. It is being hosted by 2020 health and is called ‘Is the EU good for our health?’ It will take place at 9am at the Old Ship Hotel, Brighton, 23rd September. The other speakers on the panel confirmed for this event are Linda McAven, MEP, and Petra Wilson, Director of Public Healthcare, Cisco.
Health systems across the European Union are increasingly interconnected. Improved technology and changes in legislation have contributed to this. The EU Cross Border Directive means that members of the EU have a legal right to health care outside their own country as well as reimbursement from their home country. This means that where choices are not available in one country, patients can receive treatment in another and be reimbursed the ‘basic’ price. This in theory could lead to patients ‘topping up’ on services, paying extra for a treatment or device of choice. In addition to this, researchers can work between countries more easily, particularly in the area of rare disease, with patients benefiting from shared clinical trials and research. An EU-wide approach could also allow for more easily coordinated and concerted efforts to tackle public health issues such as alcohol and tobacco, control of illegal drugs and promoting good sexual health. You can find out more about the event here.
I have also been invited as a guest speaker at an event being held by Amerika Haus e.V. NRW and the Helsinki Commission on the importance of diverse voices in politics. This will take place at 7pm on the 30th September in Dusseldorf, Germany. You can find out more about the event here.
I have been invited to be a keynote speaker by the Young European Socialists YES. I will be a speaker in a Question and Answer session on Islamophobia on Tuesday, 16th July 2013 from 15.00 – 17.00 at the 11th YES Summer Camp, 2013. The Summer Camp will take place from 14th to 21st July in Gümüldür (Izmir), Turkey, on the Aegean coast.
This great activity is hosted by the Turkish Republican People’s Party Youth Organisation, with the support of the Republican People’s Party of Turkey, the Party of European Socialists and the Socialist and Democrat Group in the European Parliament. The Summer Camp is a unique project among the events that YES organises. It is
not only the largest and longest, but also an exceptional mixture of politics, activism, socialist education and fun. For one week, 1000 young socialists and social democrats from all over Europe will gather to share their enthusiasm and knowledge in discussions, workshops, political seminars and conferences, learning from each other by exchanging views and ideas, enjoying the extraordinary comradeship that strengthens us as an international movement.
This month will also see me return to Brussels to have a catch up with my mentor, whom I am shadowing over the next year in the European Parliament, Mojca Kleva MEP. I will accompany her to some committee meetings and get a real insight into what an MEP really does.
I will be a participant and contributor at the first ever European Citizen’s Summit in Brussels. This summit will bring together for the first time professionals, practitioners and activists from across the different sectors – culture, development, education, environment, health, human rights, social affairs and women’s rights to discuss the future of Europe. The intention is to foster an open dialogue amongst a diverse group from across Europe in order to start a genuine participatory process on the future of the European Union, and what this means for people living within its borders.
I participated in an event with the Party of European Socialists, Womens president, Zita Gurmai, about women, austerity and Europe. This event was held at the Labour party offices in London, organised jointly by the Labour Movement for Europe and the Fabian Women’s Network.
In her keynote speech Ms Gurmai underlined that budget restrictions mostly affected the female-dominated public sector, diminishing the prospects of a swift recovery for female employment, while also weakening and dismantling national programmes and funding opportunities promoting women’s rights and gender equality.
Ms Gurmai also outlined the proposals of the Party of European Socialists to improve the situation of women on the labour market. These proposals include the Youth Guarantee, which has been recently adopted at EU-level, and the draft maternity-leave directive which aims to reconcile work and family life. Ms Gurmai also called for further measurements, both at national and European level, to ensure the economic independence of women despite the current economic circumstances.
I have been selected from over 70 applicants to be one of the 11 mentees, to take part in the European Women s Lobby, political mentoring scheme for ethnic minority women who want to get more involved in European politics. There are only 20 ethnic minority MEP’s out of over 700. I will be receiving capacity building training sessions as well as shadowing a member of the European parliament, Mojca Kleva. The first session gave us wonderful communications training as well as how to deal with popularist politicians. I also saw first hand what a MEP does in the European Parliament.
I was the only delegate from the UK to be selected to take part in the Transatlantic Inclusion Leaders, transatlantic networking and training opportunity in Brussels for young ethnic and religious minority political and civil society leaders. I also attended the Brussels Forum and the young professionals summit. The training was put on by the German Marshall Fund as they recognise the barriers that minority leaders face in their career progression.
I was delighted when the Party of European Socialist’s (PES), Deputy Secretary General, Marije Laffeber invited me to speak to this year’s PES activists forum in Budapest from the 8th to the 10th of March. I spoke at the workshop on the topic “An alternative message to the far right”. It was a lively workshop with some searching questions. There is still a lot of work to do in regards to tackling the rise of the far right across Europe.
I participated as an expert in the Council of Europe expert session on poverty and inequality across Europe. This took place in Strasbourg The two-day Conference was a unique occasion to discuss solutions to the impoverishment and increasing marginalization affecting our society in a participatory manner. We analysed the current situation and identify problems and obstacles to the fight against poverty and inequalities, formulated concrete proposals to progress in the fight against poverty and exchanged and shared experiences.
On the 1st of December I went to Nottingham to attend a youth unemployment summit as part of the relaunching Europe series being sponsored by the Socialist and Democratic (S&D) Group in the European Parliament. It was an excellent day and to begin we heard from Glenis Willmott Member of European Parliament (MEP) for East midlands and European Parliamentary Labour party Leader, then Hannes Swoboda MEP- President of the S&D Group. I attended an excellent seminar about Driving down youth unemployment, which had thought provoking young people on the panel. My final seminar of the day was about Campaigning for change today, where we heard from Emma Reynolds MP for Wolverhampton and Shadow Minister for Europe, as well as Iain McNicol, General Secretary of the Labour Party about how we can successfully campaign in our local communities. We then had a lively and engaging Q&A Session with Leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband MP. Ed went well over his scheduled time to take in as many questions as possible. I asked Ed a question about what local councils can do to drive down youth unemployment and I was very humbled when he said that I deserved a round of applause of being the youngest woman councillor at Barking and Dagenham. He answered my question by saying that some other councils had piloted their own future for jobs fund, an initiative that the current Tory led government scrapped when they came into power.
From the 16-21 I attended a global public health forum as part of the women in public service project . I was honored to be selected from over 170 applicants to be one of 35 delegates to this congress, particularly relevant as I chair the health committee on Barking and Dagenham council. This took place in Paris and I met wonderful and inspiring women from across the globe as well as having a number of great nuggets to take away with me and apply to my work on health here.
On the 27th September I flew to Brussels where was the only UK delegate to attend the Party of European Socialists (PES) annual women’s congress. The theme was women’s unemployment, a very relevant topic at this time and there was an election for the president of the women’s section where Zita Gurmai the current president was unanimously elected. On the 28th I attended the PES activist forum where we had topical discussions and debate om a range of subjects hosted as policy forum roundtables. On the 29th I attended the PES Congress where a new executive committee and president was elected and a very inspiring speech about the Socialist European future was given by Martin Schulz. I then flew into Manchester to attend the UK Labour party annual conference. Ed gave a fantastic speech without notes and I attended all of the European fringe meetings, which I noticed were very well attended and had a great pro-European vibe.