Regionalism and the regions have clearly made a comeback in the European political agenda. Whether is it Scotland, Flanders, or Catalonia, separatist movements are receiving increasing support from European citizens. Regional identities seem to have become the core element of current political rhetoric. But how is this debate being framed by young people in these regions or nations? What importance does the EU or even a European identity have? How does the youth perceive the reactions of the EU towards separatist movements?
To provide the Youth Perspective on Regionalism, JEF Bremen organized an international debate on May 23rd with representatives from JEF Belgium and JEF Spain. It was attended by Martin Maréchal, President of JEF Belgium, and Andrés Sánchez, Secretary of JEF Madrid. The debate was moderated by Oksana Muhs-Sapelkin, President of JEF Bremen.
The discussion was lively and informative thanks to the moderating skills of Oksana Muhs-Sapelkin and the excellent organization of JEF Bremen. Both commentators found differences and similarities between the situations in Flanders and Catalonia. A strong regional identity in both places was one of the similarities, but there were also differences, such as the political systems in Belgium and Spain. Also, the commentators did not find a clear connection between separatism and youth or between separatism and Euroskepticism. The debate was followed by a live audience and live streamed at the same time. In fact, many questions came from internet users.
The debate was part of the new activities organized by JEF Bremen. As such, it was evidence of the renewed vitality of this section and the closer links between different national sections of JEF. Furthermore, it demonstrated once more that federalist events are connected to the current political concerns of all European citizens and not just of JEFers.