European Youth Event postponed due to coronavirus

, by Madelaine Pitt

European Youth Event postponed due to coronavirus
The European Youth Event normally takes place every two years at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Photo credit: European Parliament

The biggest youth conference in Europe has had to be postponed following the coronavirus outbreak.

The biannual event, which involves 9,000 young people, was due to take place at the European Parliament in Strasbourg 29th-30th May 2020.

The aim of the event is to encourage young people to take an interest in the EU and to give them an opportunity to present ideas on the future of Europe, giving them a voice in European politics.

However, for the safety of participants and their friends and families, the European Parliament has decided it is impossible to proceed as planned.

In France, the country in which the event was due to take place, all schools and universities have been closed in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. Gatherings of over 1,000 people have also been banned until further notice.

Although the Parliament plans to hold the event at a later date, it is not yet known when this will happen.

The European Parliament Press Services have issued the following statement: The European Parliament decided to postpone the European Youth Event (EYE) 2020 in line with the actions taken by the French authorities in relation to events and gatherings with more than 1.000 people and in view of the exceptional measures taken following the COVID-19 outbreak. The final decision on the exact date of the event will be taken by the Bureau of the European Parliament, the body that lays down rules for the institution.

The postponement is a huge disappointment for the 9,000 registered participants, who may not be able to attend the event later on. For many, the EYE is a unique opportunity to meet like-minded people from across Europe and contribute to the debate on the future of the EU.

Many participants have already booked transport and accommodation for the event and may not be able to get a refund.

A team of young journalists was due to collect participants’ ideas in a report for MEPs. A multimedia team had been recruited for the first time to make video reports and podcasts to cover the event.

Juuso Järviniemi, a reporter from Finland, said that he is, “saddened by the postponement of the event. The EYE was the highlight of my summer in both 2016 and 2018, and I was looking forward to experiencing the event in a new role this time around. With that being said, I do understand the Parliament’s decision, and I’m glad that the event is not cancelled altogether. Good things come to those who wait!”

A great deal of misinformation on coronavirus is circulating online - always check your sources! The World Health Organisation has provided public advice on coronavirus, which you can read here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

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