The Youth Parliament (ERYP) starts with the reception in the Asturian Parliament of the coordinators of the ERYP and the European Rural Parliament (ERP), Artis Krists Mednis and Vanessa Halhead, the mayor of Carreño, Amelia Fernández López, and the president of the Asturian Network of Rural Development (READER), Belarmino Fernández Fervienza. After this meeting, the Antigua Fábrica Ortiz de Candás became the stage for the first few bars of an intense week in which young and not-so-young people will debate the real problems of the European rural population so that it can be heard in those spaces where policies are decided.
Mednis himself pointed out the importance of both Parliaments being held consecutively in the same locality for the first time with the aim of “building together with the same agenda”. This is also what Halhead pointed out when he pointed out “the importance of making the voice of young people heard”. In fact, the Candás Declaration, the final document that will be signed at the conclusion of the ERP, will include the youth declaration itself to be raised in Brussels next January 2020. “The importance of giving a voice from the local to the European”, stressed the FYROM coordinator.
At the reception in the Asturian Parliament, its president Marcelino Marcos Líndez agreed that “this is a great debate in the short and medium term to reverse the situation experienced by the European rural population”. For Marcos Líndez, rural areas treasure “great potentialities and it is these people who really know the path to follow”. And that is where it is necessary “to combine the proposals of civil society with the resources that the Administration has to achieve the same objectives.
For Vanessa Halhead it is of enormous importance this type of meetings where other ways of doing things can be known, since all rural Europe shares the same problems, only that the solutions or the proposals are different in each place: “we have the same problems but the solutions are organised differently”.
For the president of READER, there are many challenges that the rural world has to face, but “each one of these challenges is an opportunity”.
This first day began with the official inauguration of the ERYP, which was also attended by the director of the Asturian Youth Institute, Clara Sierra Caballero, and in which the attendees began to work with different dynamics in which they shared the experiences brought from each of the sixteen countries participating in this Parliament.
The participants were also able to learn a little more about Asturian culture thanks to the workshops prepared for homemade cider making by the Casera de Carreño Cider Association, pumpkin and doughnuts doughnuts by the Association of Rural Women Nosotr@s, sports and traditional games by the Monte Areo Traditional Sports Team and a rock concert by the students of the Municipal School of Music ‘Miguel Barrosa’ de Carreño.