Mini Europe Smabs Sputzer

Mini Europe. Photo by Smabs Sputzer.

 

The Young Greens of England and Wales have called for young people to “fight for the EU” in the forthcoming referendum, saying that there is “huge potential” for progressive movements to succeed within the European Union.

“Europe’s youth and student population has a proud tradition of cross-border solidarity and protest made possible by freedom of movement, and with progressive movements now growing all across the continent, with youth at their forefront, it’s clear that there is a huge potential for effecting radical change within the EU.

“Young people and students benefit immeasurably from the opportunities to live, work and travel all across our continent that our membership of the EU gives us; our culture and society are enriched by the breaking down of artificial barriers. It’s vital that young people make our voice heard in this referendum, and unite to fight for the EU – but for an EU which is as democratic, progressive and effective as it can and should be.”

Their call comes as the official ‘In’ campaign is launched, with the Green Party’s only MP Caroline Lucas joining the campaign’s board. Announcing her membership of the board yesterday, Lucas pledged to “give young people a reason to engage” with the referendum.

Lucas said: “I’ve joined the board of the ‘In’ campaign because I believe we are stronger when we work across borders on the challenges we face. In particular I want to give young people a reason to engage with a referendum that will shape their futures, both in terms of protecting our shared environment and our basic rights, and by helping define the kind of country we want to be.”

Other members of the Britain Stronger In Europe board include the National Union of Students president Megan Dunn, Liberal Democrat Sir Danny Alexander, and Labour former business secretary Peter Mandelson.

At its Autumn Conference earlier this month, members of the Green Party of England and Wales voted in favour of a motion calling on the party to run a ‘distinct Green campaign in favour of the EU in addition to cross-party campaigning.’

The Scottish Green Party, however, voted this weekend not to join the official ‘In’ campaign, as ‘we do not want to align ourselves with the other parties potentially involved in such a campaign’ – but voted to run a positive campaign for the UK to remain in the EU.

The Young Greens have in recent months been leading calls for 16- and 17-year-olds to be given a vote in the referendum, to be held by the end of 2017.