Brief ECPYouth

Amersfoort, 3-3-2021

Dear board members of ECPYouth,

We hope that this letter finds you all in good health.

A founding member of ECPYouth, PerspectieF has gone through a remarkable development in the past decade, with the emphasis shifting from conservative-ethical issues to social-economic priorities. A similar development can be detected in the work of our mother party, the ChristenUnie (CU). Throughout this development, we continued to be a member of ECPYouth and ECPM, though after the 2019 EP elections, the CU decided to join the EPP faction rather than the ECR.

At the same time, several political (youth) organizations with a more conservative leaning have joined the ECPM and ECPYouth. Moreover, numerous journalists have brought significant donations of questionable far-right thinktanks to ECPM to light. As you can imagine, this has raised questions among the members of the CU and PerspectieF: is this still the right place for us in the European public square? Are we able to give voice to our climate and social justice concerns at a European level when politicians associate our youth network first and foremost with conservatist family politics?

Considering this question, it is important to highlight that PerspectieF is an ambitious political youth organization: we want to make a difference for Christian-social politics. Right now, ECPYouth appears to offer our members too little opportunities for making such an impact. Her influence is limited, and the politicians to which she is linked are usually not very eager to advocate for our green, social and pro-EU political ideals. Moreover, we have a hard time motivating our members to join ECPYouth activities.

In light of these considerations, we ponder the questions whether it would not be better for PerspectieF to also join an additional network, such as EDS or YEPP, given the work our mother party does within the EPP faction. Of course, ECPYouth founding principle was not: what is in it for us? Rather, it is an instrument in promoting democracy and (Christian) youth participation in Europe. In that light, it is excellent that ECPYouth council meetings provide opportunities for new friendships and relations. Meanwhile, we are looking for ways to broaden the political scope and impact, both within the existing relationship with ECPYouth, and outside of this relationship.

We have voiced these and similar concerns several times over the past year. However, we would like to discuss these matters with you before deciding on how to move forward. This was also something we discussed with your president, Klariska ten Napel, recently. Therefore, with the present letter, we would like to initiate such a meeting. We think that the following questions should be addressed during such a meeting:

  • Does ECPYouth recognize the different political profiles among her member organizations, as hinted at in this letter, and does she recognize the questions this might rise among membership?
  • Does ECPYouth agree that an international political youth network has an important role to play in bringing together (Christian) youth from around the continent, yet that it should also be a catalyst in achieving political impact?
  • Does ECPYouth have a clear idea of the political profile she wants to build in the coming years?
  • Does ECPYouth have an idea how to navigate the different (and deviating) political profiles of her member organizations in the coming years?

We are looking forward to digitally meeting and discussing these questions. We warmly invite you to get in touch with our general secretary, Justin den Harder, as to plan and arrange this meeting.

With warm regards,

The board of PerspectieF, ChristenUnie-jongeren