YPS Amsterdam 2017
Two days of intensive debate at the Young Professionals Seminar in Amsterdam

As the pace of change in politics and technology accelerates, Europe faces fundamental questions about its security, its identity and its prosperity. Some of our neighbours have turned against us; at the same time, our traditional alliances are becoming more uncertain. Terrorism does not only threaten our physical security, but also our freedom and our way of life.

Immigration brings many opportunities, but it also raises questions in terms of security and identity. Finally, our economies and societies will come under enormous pressure due to digitalisation and the growing role of artificial intelligence.

This is why United Europe chose to focus its tenth Young Professionals Seminar from June 6 to 8, 2017, on ”Defending Europe.” The participants, 22 young professionals from twelve European nations, spent an intensive two days in Amsterdam debating the many facets of this topic. In their conclusions, they focused on three areas: what is needed to strengthen Europe on the international stage; what to do about immigration and refugees; and how to ensure Europe’s success in the digital age.

Europe in the World:

  1. Values
    1. Clearly define the values Europe stands for
    2. Be consistent about respecting them within our own borders
    3. With other countries, promote our values, but don’t impose them
    4. Agree together on allies and enemies
    5. Have a united European foreign policy
  2. Power
    1. Strengthen Europe’s soft power:
      – Be self-confident about our culture
      – Develop new cooperation models for neighbours like Turkey
      – Improve institution building both within the EU and abroad
      – Act through EU institutions instead of unilaterally
    2. Strengthen Europe’s hard power:
      – Create a joint European defence which would be interoperable with NATO
      – Define a joint responsibility to intervene & protect

Immigration, Chance and Challenge:

  1. Define common values & rules that everybody in Europe needs to respect
  2. Improve integration
  3. Differentiate between economic migrants and refugees

Economic Migration:
– Develop a proper system to attract talent & close the skills gap
– Get migrants into the labour market quicker
– Ensure they have equal opportunities
– Discourage illegal immigration
– Use migration to alleviate the effects of our ageing society

Refugees:
– Employ common European foreign policy and development aid to tackle root causes of migration
– Establish a common understanding and implementation of the EU’s border and asylum system, including refugees’ residency obligation
– Help neighbouring countries affected by refugee crises (i.e. Serbia, Turkey)
– Protect refugees from criminal or terrorist networks

Europe and the Digital Age:

  1. Require decision makers to understand and assess technology & strategy
  2. Update legal, fiscal and economic structures, adapt the business culture and make capital available to foster European digital companies
  3. Help European champions grow; provide them with temporary protection
  4. Ensure a level playing field in taxation (i.e. Apple’s tax bill in Ireland)
  5. Increase general awareness of use & abuse of data collection
  6. Keep data of EU residents under EU law; ensure enforcement
  7. Aim to keep the benefits derived from EU residents’ data in Europe
  8. Provide a social safety net and retraining for workers replaced by new technologies
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