Being a young MEP, the youngest ever Romanian MEP, I've entered the European parliament with the strong belief that politics and especially Europe can contribute to the improvement of people's lives. Unfortunately, so soon after my arrival, I've already encountered the barriers imposed by the Brussels bureaucracy. We have on the one side, the official rules designed to slow things down, such as the quota imposed on questions addressed by each MEP to the European institutions. On the other side, a lot of unfriendly informal rules for beginners, such as the one minute speech or the fight for your group's speaking time. Moreover, I noticed a difference between what people were telling me in the streets during the campaign and the debates we were having in the European parliament.
In view of this realisation, I discussed with the other MEPs under 40, and we have informally created a group called S&D40. With the help of the foundation of European progressive studies, we gathered around 30 young MEPs from the S&D interested in working together in building common projects, and also interacted with the major stakeholders in our fields of interest. We are interested in different topics, from youth policies to energy issues, and we try to make our voices heard in the different debates.
"I strongly believe that young MEPs, but also the newcomers, can really bring something more to European politics"
Our objective in the medium term is to push for a more formal recognition of our group by the S&D. For the time being I can only say that the leaders of our political family were more than happy to support us and we are currently trying to convince them that the younger MEPs, generally new members of the European parliament, can really contribute to our group's activities.
I strongly believe that young MEPs, but also the newcomers, can really bring something more to European politics. Knowing that 50.6 per cent of MEPs are new – a slight increase in comparison to the last mandate – means that, as you can imagine, new voices need to be heard, especially those of the young MEPs.
Young people involved in politics are capable of making policies more concrete and politics more attractive when working together. Currently there is an important age gap in the European parliament, with 66 years separating the youngest from the oldest MEP. This gap needs to be bridged through a stronger and better interaction between the members of the parliament. This is why I joined and why I was elected to the board of EU40, an independent association that gathers around 90 MEPs under 40 from different political groups. EU40 is designed to facilitate the communication between the young MEPs but also with the Brussels bubble that sometimes tends to forget about the new faces in the European parliament.
My message to those that read this article is that there is definitely a new generation of European politicians in the parliament but their voices will not be heard without the help of the media, civil society and the stakeholders who take an interest in EU politics.