We are happy to announce the topics for Umeå 2014. I. Civil liberties, justice and home affairs - LIBE (Kieran McNulty) ‘It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.’ Harvey Milk With ten EU countries now having accepted same-sex marriage, how can young people work to encourage further acceptance of people identified as LGBTQ in society? II. Environment, Public Health and Food Safety - ENVI (Sigrun Fagerfjäll) ‘It’s obvious that the key problem facing humanity in the coming century is how to bring a better quality of life – for 8 billion or more people – without wrecking the environment entirely in the attempt.’ Edward O. Wilson The rise of the middle class: with 3 billion people set to enter the growing middle class by 2030 in developing countries, what impact will the underlying increased economic prosperity have on environmental sustainability in Europe and what small nudges and big cultural changes does the youth need to lead on in order to accommodate the rising demands for resources? III. Regional Development - REGI (Charlotta Lahnalahti) ‘The secessionist case, at heart, is a cultural one: that the minority is different than the majority in some defined way – the definitions being usually exaggerated – and can only assert and protect its difference by leaving the old country.’ Jeffrey Simpson, The Globe and Mail From Scotland to Venice: separatist movements gain momentum like never before. With numerous examples of regions demanding autonomy from their home state in the EU, how do secessionist movements influence the culture of the region and that of the home state? What should young people strive for in the process? What concrete actions can they take?
IV. Employment and Social Affairs - EMPL (Hugo Dürr) ‘Europe’s labour market is experiencing a demographic transition. Analysis undertaken by the Commission in cooperation with the OECD shows that the share of skilled workers among retirees will be significantly higher over the next decade compared to the previous one. New entries in the labour force with tertiary education are projected to decrease from 3.5 entrants for each retiree to 1.4. As a consequence, despite progress made in terms of education levels, we are facing a possible ’skills squeeze challenge’ due to population ageing.’ László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion With a deepening integration of the European labour market resulting in increasing competition between employees, what can the youth do to increase its chances in the market? V. Employment and Social Affairs - EMPL II (Noura Berrouba) ‘Almost half of Europe’s young adults are living with their parents – a record level of dependency that has sobering social and demographic implications for the continent.’ Shiv Malik, The Guardian The dependent generation: With regards to the lack of affordable, reliable and central student housing in bigger cities in Europe, how can young Europeans encourage contractors, landlords and other stake-holders to uphold building options that match young people’s demands? VI. Women’s Rights and Gender Equality - FEMM (Ciara Robinson) ‘As we develop emotionally and socially as young people, what could be more damaging than an environment dominated by gender stereotypes, the pressure to act recklessly and the sweeping dominance of ’lads’?’ Hazel Morgan, The Independent ‘Lad Bibles’ and ‘Rape Culture’: considering the persistence of ‘Lad Culture’, its promotion in pop culture and the ongoing sexism debate, how can students and young professionals end the acceptance and promotion of degrading and violent behaviour towards women? VII. Culture and Education - CULT (Julia Fahy) ‘Today we are raised with the notion that to be secure is to be financially autonomous. Amassing wealth is viewed as the primary rite of passage to a secure, autonomous existence but this is not my idea for the European Dream.’ Jeremy Rifkin, The European Dream: How Europe’s Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream Following the deepened integration and expansion of the EU, how can the youth of today establish a European identity – one that encompasses our common societal beliefs and values, while reflecting our diverse history? What is this ’European Dream’ that can be passed on to future generations, and instill pride in Europe as a ’Union’?