Category: Haarlem Regional Conference 2022

  • DEVE

    Motion for a Resolution by the Committee on Development

    Cities of the future: European cities have increasingly accommodated cars and personal transport. Ideas like a 15-minute city have gained traction in being the future  of the modern city, but high emissions, lack of funding and lack of infrastructure have limited such ideas. How could the EU rethink its urban planning policies while keeping sustainability in mind?

    Submitted by: Cameron Berg (NL), Andreas Carter (NL), Ricardo Fajardo (NL), Felix Gabriel (NL), Yara den Haan (NL), Alice Rossi (IT), Selim Yusuf Urfali (NL) and Simon Hoch (Chairperson, DE)

    The European Youth Parliament,

    1. Aware that cities are responsible for more than 70% of global carbon emissions,
    2. Bearing in mind the rising level of urbanisation, with Europe’s level expected to rise from 75% to 83% by 2050
    3. Noting with concern the lack of targeted funds for urban development, as the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) only has a mandatory use of 5%  for integrated urban development,
    4. Deeply disturbed by the lack of targeted Cohesion policy funds for urban development, 
    5. Deploring the lack of common guidelines for urban development in the EU, 
    6. Regretting the difficulty of incorporating every city’s individuality into general guidelines for urban development, 
    7. Acknowledging the importance of involving citizens and local businesses in the transformation;    
    1. Urges Member States to create targeted social media campaigns regarding reduced carbon emissions;
    2. Invites Horizon Europe to increase financial support to start-up companies which promote sustainability;
    3. Encourages Member States to reduce carbon emissions in expanding urban areas by supporting sustainable infrastructure and housing;
    4. Calls upon the Directorate-General for Environment to propose new targets within the European Green Deal to increase sustainability in urban planning of the Member States and oversee their completion;
    5. Suggests Member States to make living in small cities more attractive by: 
      1. investing in improvement of facilities, 
      2. increasing the accessibility to public transport,
      3. making working remotely more accessible;
    6. Calls upon the European Commission to raise the percentage of the minimum mandatory use of the European Regional Development Fund for integrated urban development;
    7. Directs the European Commission to adjust their Urban Agenda for the EU by creating and maintaining general guidelines of urban development for cities to follow;
    8. Supports local urban authorities to still receive funds for fitting individual sustainable initiatives even if deviating from the aforementioned guidelines; 
    9. Suggests municipalities to involve local businesses and active citizens in urban planning initiatives.
  • DROI

    Motion for a Resolution by the Committee on Human Rights

    Living to the fullest: For decades, disabled people have been put into institutions, although it has been proven that institutionalisation could ultimately lead to worsened mental health. What can the EU do to decrease the institutionalisation of patients with mental disabilities?

    Submitted by: Emilia Boer (NL), Milla Brouwer (NL), Elena Amy Corazza (IT), Rosa Klinkspoor (NL), Sophia Ariane Manni (IT), Nadine Noothoven van Goor (NL) and Nadia Schnider (Chairperson, CH)

    The European Youth Parliament,

    1. Reaffirming that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities names the respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy and the importance of social inclusion as its fundamental principles, 
    2. Bearing in mind that as of 2007, 1.2 million persons with mental disabilities in the EU were living in institutionalised care, 
    3. Noting with deep concern the negative effects of institutionalisation on residents, such as neglect and social isolation,
    4. Recognising that the European Commission names deinstitutionalisation and the transition to community-based care as a prime objective for the protection of persons with mental disabilities,
    5. Further noting that unpaid care work of disabled family members is predominantly carried out by women,
    6. Emphasising that discrimination on the basis of disability is prohibited by Article 21 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as well as Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights,
    7. Deeply concerned the loss of legal capacity excludes persons with mental disabilities from enacting their rights and freedoms, including political participation and the right to self-determination;
    1. Urges Member States to enable more flexible care and support options for persons with mental disabilities and their families through funding from the European Social Fund Plus, such as:
      1. financially supporting using the service of home health nurses,
      2. funding daycare options,
      3. subsidising the use of support animals, 
      4. establishing a family psychologist hotline;
    2. Encourages Member States to combat the social exclusion of former and present residents of institutions by organising workshops and events for families and local communities in corporation with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as Mental Health Europe (MHE) or Inclusion Europe;
    3. Advises Member States to make institutionalised care more personalised by adding options such as internships, recreational activities or private time for residents; 
    4. Asks Member States to improve access to psychological support for people with mental disabilities by collaborating with NGOs, such as MHE;
    5. Suggests Member States to grant political rights to persons with mental disabilities, following the example of countries such as Austria or the Netherlands;
    6. Calls upon the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL) to facilitate the political participation of persons with mental disabilities by creating comprehensive political education;
    7. Designates the European Psychiatrist Association (EPA) to assist Member States in creating a more nuanced approach towards the legal capacity and political rights by creating a differentiated scale;
    8. Further suggests Member States to promote the employment and economic integration of persons with mental disabilities through fiscal incentives;
    9. Further encourages Member States to create more inclusive schools by:
      1. offering a supplementary training for teachers on integrating disabled students, 
      2. allowing flexible schedules and part time studies for persons with mental disabilities;
    10. Further calls upon the DG EMPL to combat stigmas through a media campaign featuring persons with mental disabilities;
    11. Invites the European Expert Group (EEG) on the transition from institutional to community-based care to help combat abusive guardianship relations by advising Member States in the introduction of an office for intermediation between the guardian’s and the ward’s will; 
    12. Further invites the EPA to create a common guideline on the standards of psychiatric expert witnesses in legal proceedings concerning the guardianship of persons with mental disabilities.
  • ENVI

    Motion for a Resolution by the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

    Plastic, not so fantastic: With microplastic pollution of waterways and oceans becoming an increasingly threatening health hazard, how should the EU address the problem of microplastic pollution in order to safeguard the health of its citizens?

    Submitted by: Job Hans Winter van Duijn (NL), Sergej Goekjian (NL), Ginevra Luchini (IT), Amir Melfor (NL), Annabel Smith (NL), Julia Isabel de Vries (NL), Moon Wennink (NL) and Zia Glasenhart (Chairperson, AT) 

    The European Youth Parliament,

    1. Taking into consideration that EU citizens have gotten used to the single-use lifestyle, 
    2. Concerned by everyday products being manufactured in industries that release a lot of microplastics which end up in water systems,
    3. Aware of the fact that wastewater treatment plants cannot remove microplastics completely,
    4. Noting with concern that yearly 145,000 tonnes of primary plastics and between 200,000 and 500,000 tonnes of secondary microplastics are produced, 
    5. Pointing out that some microplastics are produced on purpose while others emerge from daily use products, 
    6. Keeping in mind the harmful additives contained in microplastics can cause serious health hazards, such as cancer and damaged reproduction, in both animals and humans,
    7. Deeply regretting that the rapid discarding of fast fashion clothing leads to a large amount of microplastics,
    8. Expressing its concern regarding mismatched results between microplastics that are measured in the environment and the ones tested for effects in the laboratory, 
    9. Acknowledging that there is a lack of general knowledge on the topic in the general public, 
    10. Bearing in mind that due to a lack of research, the long-term effects of microplastics are not fully understood yet;
    1. Calls upon the European Commission to implement a ban on single-use plastic bags in the Directive on Single-Use Plastics
    2. Encourages Member States to raise the deposit price on plastic bottles;
    3. Requests the European Commission to amend Next Generation Europe to fiscally incentivise companies that strive to reduce microplastics during production and are upholding eco-friendly standards;
    4. Recommends Member States to subsidise further research on the innovation and implementation of wastewater treatment plant filters;
    5. Strongly urges Member States to introduce taxes on products containing an excessive amount of microplastics; 
    6. Emphasises Member States to open more refill shops1;
    7. Urges Member States to drastically lower the production of products with primary microplastics by replacing them with more sustainable materials;
    8. Requests the European Commission to amend Horizon Europe to subsidise eco-friendly clothing companies;
    9. Directs the European Research Council to further study the long-term effects of microplastics on the human body and address the current mismatch of research results when comparing laboratories and actual environments; 
    10. Calls upon the Directorate-General for Communication (DG COMM) to establish a sub-committee on campaigns discouraging the use of single-use plastics.
  • LIBE

    Motion for a Resolution by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

    We won’t be erased: With long waiting lists and violently transphobic measures like forced sterilisation, healthcare for transgender people is inaccessible in most Member States. How can the EU ensure accessible and safe transgender healthcare for all who need it?

    Submitted by: Constantin van der Corneils (NL), Otto Crawford (NL), Adhemar Emmink (NL), Giulia Romanini (IT), Kaitlyn van der Weerd (NL) and Alice Maffoni (Chairperson, IT)

    The European Youth Parliament

    1. Strongly emphasising Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU which prohibits any type of discrimination, including on the basis of gender identity,
    2. Noting with regret the insufficiently effective potential sanctions against Member States that are not abiding by EU law, 
    3. Noting with deep concern that in 2022, 34% of transgender people in the EU faced gender-based discrimination by healthcare workers,
    4. Alarmed by the lack of accessible and safe transgender care due to the absence of qualified clinics,
    5. Disturbed by the lack of health insurance coverage and funding for safe and high quality transgender care,
    6. Deeply concerned by discriminating legal practices towards transgender people in the EU, such as sterilisation, mandatory mental health diagnoses and the exploitation of the right to conscious objection by a medical practitioner;
    1. Strongly urges the European Commission to uphold a prohibition on discrimination against transgender people as it is stated in Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights;
    2. Encourages the European Commission to adopt targeted membership sanctions against Member States that don’t abide by the EU anti-discrimination legislation;
    3. Recommends Member States to create and implement school classes dedicated to raising awareness about the issues that the LGBTQIA+ community is facing;
    4. Invites Member States to include gender-affirming services in essential healthcare;
    5. Urges Member States to ban harmful gender transitioning requirements such as sterilisation and mental health diagnoses;
    6. Asks Member States, in collaboration with non-governmental organisations such as the Transgender Training Institute (TTI) and Transgender Europe (TGEU), to implement awareness workshops in workplaces;
    7. Encourages Horizon Europe to subsidise transgender health care;
    8. Appeals Eurostat to increase the research done about issues facing the transgender community;
    9. Requests Member States to revise the right to conscientious objection to include hormone replacement therapy. 
  • JURI

    Motion for a Resolution by the Committee on Legal Affairs

    Submitted by: Frederique Bots (NL), Tilek Buber (NL), Sara Fonti (IT), Felix Jacobs (NL), Mare Tressel (NL) and Izzy van Bemmel (Chairperson, NL)

    Keeping democracy alive: Following the current increase in populist and far-right governments, exemplified by the recent elections in Italy, what legal stance should the EU take on protecting the rule of law for all European citizens?

    The European Youth Parliament,

    1. Acknowledging the strides already made by the European Commission in limiting the Polish and Hungarian governments through the withholding of the cohesion fund,
    2. Gravely concerned by the loss of trust of citizens in the EU,
    3. Fully alarmed by the rise of nativist1 and far-right narratives which are in direct conflict with values stated in the binding Treaty of European Unity (TEU), by:
      1. being unwilling to tackle issues on areas concerning the refugee and economic crises unilaterally,
      2. disregarding frameworks to protect the rule of law,
      3. disregarding the rights of ethnic and religious minorities and the LGBTQIA+ community,
    4. Noting with anxiety the growing influence of both intentional and unintentional misinformation about political processes,
    5. Emphasising the legal roadblocks hindering any action according to the rule of law mechanism, posed by legislation requiring for a unanimous vote to take action according to Art. 7 of the TEU;
    1. Asks the European Council to accept a proposed amendment changing the requirements to invoke art. 7 of the TEU, detailing the procedure of suspension of voting rights, from unanimity to an established majority2 of at least three quarters of the Council;
    2. Urges the European Council to take more action against violations of core EU values according to the Rule of Law Framework;
    3. Calls upon the European Commission to allocate more funding to the European Investment Bank to protect economic and social stability of economically vulnerable citizens in sanctioned Member States through: 
      1. providing loans to small businesses,
      2. ensuring social security for affected citizens;
    4. Further calls upon the European Commission to provide funding and tools for factcheck initiatives;
    5. Invites the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) to create protective and financial frameworks for independent and investigative journalism;
    6. Requests the European Commission to enable non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which increase awareness of online misinformation through education by:
      1. creating an advisory cooperative framework for the NGOs,
      2. providing additional funding to the NGOs.
  • FEMM

    Motion for a Resolution by the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

    My body, my choice: Following the abortion ban in Poland and Hungary, birth control has become increasingly inaccessible and unsafe across the EU. How can the EU safeguard reproductive rights, while honouring the sovereignty of Member States?

    Submitted by: Dominique Iris De Boer (NL), Marika De Piante-Vicin (IT), Anna Huitema (NL), Selen Kaçmaz (NL), Savo Bahaddin Muheddin (NL) and Sveva Austoni (Chairperson, IT)

    The European Youth Parliament,

    1. Deeply concerned by Poland’s recent implementation of policies restricting the right to abortion by targeting people seeking to undergo one,
    2. Pointing out that banning or putting restrictions on sexual and reproductive healthcare services is a violation of human rights, as it contributes to increasing unsafe abortion practices and forced pregnancies,
    3. Considering that sexuality education is optional in eight Member States,
    4. Taking into account that sexuality education in most Member States does not follow the comprehensive guidelines of UNESCO, which aims to eradicate stigma surrounding abortions and inform on sexual and reproductive health (SRH),
    5. Noting with deep concern that people coming from lower socioeconomic backgrounds or minority groups are more affected by the inaccessibility of SRH centres and treatments,
    6. Acknowledging with regret Member States’ lack of economic assistance for SRH supplies and birth control, such as insurance coverage or reimbursement of costs; 
    1. Reminds Member States of the Treaty of the European Union and the Treaty of Lisbon expecting them to respect human rights;
    2. Urges Member States to respect the principles of Goals 3 and 4 of the 2030 Sustainability Agenda; 
    3. Condemns Member States that maintain mandatory counseling and waiting periods before accessing abortion as violation of human rights; 
    4. Requests the European Research Council to research the harmful effects of abortion bans;
    5. Asks the Council of Europe to collaborate with the Centre for Reproductive Rights in the creation of an international sexual and reproductive health rights convention aiming to create an agenda on reproductive health and sexuality education;
    6. Encourages Member States to follow the UNESCO guidelines on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE);
    7. Recommends Member States to reduce the price or reimburse the costs of contraceptives through health insurance systems and provide free abortions for all individuals;
    8. Instructs Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) to financially support Member States following the aforementioned guidelines, enabling them to partially or completely reimburse costs of SRH services;
    9. Calls upon the Directorate-General on Budget (DG BUDG) to introduce biannual checkups on the redirection of funds given to Member States with the aid of statistics provided by Eurostat.
  • FEMM


    Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

    Chaired by Sveva Austoni (IT)

    About the Chairperson

    Hello besties! I’m Sveva, an 18-year-old from Italy, and I’ll be your chairperson for your first session, how exciting is that? I am a coffee addict and I love baking, that’s about everything you need to know about me. Kidding (maybe). I also love music, so much that I actually take my guitar and convince myself I can play!! In case you haven’t noticed yet, I enjoy being an active part of EYP, I know, shocker. I can’t wait to meet you all and discuss this extremely interesting and pressing topic. See you soon!! <3 

    The Topic at a Glance

    The Polish reform on abortion at the beginning of 2021 revoked the right to get an abortion when the fetus presents life-threatening diseases or defects. In addition, more recently  it was followed by the law requiring doctors to register all new pregnancies. This near-total ban on abortion has been recognised as violating pregnant people’s privacy by identifying those who get abortions, or even have miscarriages, and by investigating the medical professionals who perform the procedure. This has raised concerns from activists and human rights organisations, such as Amnesty International and the Center for Reproductive Rights. The ban is actively endangering Polish pregnant people who will be prevented from seeking medical care, prenatal or otherwise, potentially causing an unprecedented amount of unsafe abortions and health issues, considering that a vast majority of abortions in Poland were based on the fetus having congenital problems. 

    Another alarming stepback in Europe is Hungary’s case: the Hungarian government agreed on an amendment of the current legislation pronouncing it mandatory for pregnant people to listen to the fetal heartbeat before going through with the abortion. 

    Unfortunately, these are not the only cases where abortion is being progressively limited. Although all Member States, except Malta, have legalized abortion on request and broad social grounds,  there are still numerous barriers to it, such as mandatory waiting periods, strict time limits and mandatory counselling that gives biased opinions and medically inaccurate information.

    Such restraints are to be considered alongside the lack of access to birth control, which constitute not only a violation of reproductive’s rights but also a setback in the emancipation of women. Since people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds do not have the economic means to obtain contraceptives or abortion services,  they are forced  to give up on education and fulfilling careers, and that negatively affects the society as a whole


    • Abortion on request means that the decision of terminating the pregnancy is up to the pregnant person alone, without having to justify it to medical professionals, who carry out the procedure according to the law of the country.
    • Abortion on broad social grounds is an exception when the simple request of the pregnant person does not meet the limits of the national policies. Depending on the state’s policies, such grounds are typically of socio-economic nature, and they often apply when the fetus was the result of sexual assault.
    • Comprehensive Sexuality Education aims at raising awareness about birth control methods by spreading medically accurate information and tackling stigmas around the topic of sexuality. 

    Birth control or contraceptive is any method, medicine or device, including, but not limited to, condoms, various contraceptive pills, hormonal implants, intrauterine devices (IUDs), tubal ligation for females1 and vasectomy2 for males, used to prevent pregnancies, and only some of them also the transmission of  sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Abortion is not included in the category of birth control methods. 

    1Also known as female sterilisation, it is a surgical procedure that removes, closes or clots the fallopian tubes, which is the way sperm uses to reach the eggs.

     2Also known as male sterilisation, it is a procedure that cuts or blocks the tubes carrying sperm.

    Key Stakeholders

    The European Union holds shared competence with Member States on matters concerning public health and human rights, meaning it can co-create common rules protecting and ensuring the respect of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). 

    The Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) is a crucial stakeholder that can set SRHR as priorities, collecting data on the use of contraceptives across the EU to better establish what measures to implement.  

    With the help of its Commissioner for Human Rights, the Council of Europe supports human rights defenders and can prioritise aiding organisations and governments to implement policies promoting information on birth control and allow access to it. The Council could also include abortion rights in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, as recently proposed by MEPs.

    The Centre of Reproductive Rights is the main non-governmental organisation (NGO) advocating for SRHR and works alongside the Council of Europe to establish obligations and oversee the application of aforementioned rights within the EU. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is the UN’s SRHR agency that helps fund governments and organisations supplying access to reproductive healthcare, in line with the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals which include the right to health and gender equality.

    Key Conflicts

    1. Developing a new conscience 

    Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) has shown to decrease risky sexual activities, especially in younger people who have been taught abstinence-only programs in schools, and to teach the comprehensive approach to sexuality, consequently leading to a decrease in teen pregnancies. The idea that abortion is a different type of healthcare service, and therefore should be treated as such, is supported by the rise of barriers and the criminal prosecutions against medical professionals practising unregistered abortions. Therefore CSE is set to eradicate this misconception in future generations by pursuing the teaching of unbiased and medically correct information. 

    Although UNESCO issued the International Technical Guidance on sexuality education, most Member States have yet to follow the guidelines and implement policies to guarantee the right to thorough sexuality education. 

    Figure 1: Who receives sexuality education and at what age in the EU

    2. Accessibility to modern contraceptives

    There is a correlation between the socioeconomic status of an individual and their access to contraception. People from disadvantaged social backgrounds, such as those living in poverty or with little to no education, more frequently get pregnant unintentionally. The issue concerns governments as they do not cover the costs of contraception by including it under national health insurance and fail to sufficiently inform the general public about it. Member States significantly differ in their reproductive care system policies, as certain countries such as Poland require prescriptions even in cases of emergency contraception. 

    Figure 2: Contraception access across Europe 

    Figure 3: Key to read Figure 2

    3. Conscientious objection 

    Conscientious objection is a refusal to render abortion services on the grounds of personal beliefs. In many conservative countries, such as Italy, the majority of healthcare professionals are objectors, thus leaving women no choice but to travel abroad or to turn to private clinics. This disproportionally affects pregnant people of lower socioeconomic status, by leading them to choose medically unsupervised therefore unsafe abortions. 

    Measures in Place

    All Member States have ratified the UN’s Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) aimed at achieving gender equality in all fields. Article 12 directly addresses reproductive rights, highlighting the necessity to grant accessibility to family planning care. 

    Furthermore, in 2017, UNFPA approved the Strategic Plan 2018-2021, in accordance with the 2030 Sustainable Agenda, urging governments to take action in support of the development of SRHR. 

    In 2021, the European Parliament approved a resolution recognizing sexual and reproductive as fundamental human rights, calling on Member States to remove all legal and practical barriers – that prevent access to abortions. . It sets a turning point addressing Member States’ regression in the battle for reproductive rights. 

    In September 2022, the UNFPA Supplies Partnership received EUR 45 million  from the European Commission, to be distributed over six years. The aim of this funding is to improve the delivery of contraceptives to people from every socioeconomic background in every country. 

    There are concerning disparities between Member States on the topic of SRHR policies, but some countries have adopted reforms that can be considered a huge step in the right direction. For example, Belgium has developed strategies aiming at removing all barriers in terms of reproductive health, including reimbursement for the costs of contraception and counselling.  

    The World Health Organization (WHO), the UN’s agency that promotes universal health access, issued a comprehensive abortion care guideline, aiming enable evidence-based decision-making with respect to quality abortion care, which can serve as the basis for national governments to elaborate their policies, recognising women’s fundamental rights. 

    Food for thought

    • What should the EU do to restrain conservative measures adopted in Member States, such as Poland and Hungary?
    • How can the EU ensure the dissemination of unbiased and medically accurate information and encourage the teaching of Comprehensive Sexuality Education within the EU?
    • How should the EU allocate funding directed to the development of healthcare systems and application of SHRH?
    • How could the EU and the Member States ensure access to quality contraception and safe abortions to everyone in need regardless of their socioeconomic situation?
  • LIBE


    Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs

    Chaired by Alice Maffoni (IT)

    About the Chairperson 

    Hi everyone! I’m Alice and I’ll be your chair for this session :)! I’m eighteen and I was born and raised in Milan, Italy. Something you should know about me is that I absolutely love the Dutch caramel waffles (stroopwafels I think – the Dutch language and I don’t get along very well), but other than that, I also love live music of every genre and having a good chat with my friends in front of a cup of coffee. However, what I love the most is definitely EYPsessions!! I hope you’ll enjoy EYP as much as I do and that you’ll leave this session with new amazing friends and memories. 

    Can’t wait to meet y’all, 

    Alice xx

    The Topic at a Glance

    48% of Europeans consider discrimination towards transgender people to be widespread in their country. Consequently, most people that identify as transgender, meaning that the gender they attribute to themselves doesn’t coincide with their birth sex, have been targets of harassment and hate crimes. Despite the growing awareness, gender identity or sex characteristics aren’t officially protected in numerous EU Member States. On the contrary, they’re often the object of discrimination, such as the ban on legal recognition for transgender people by the Hungarian Parliament

    Not only it is uncertain in some Member States whether individuals can claim protection from discrimination on the basis of their gender identity, but there are significant regional differences in transgender healthcare infrastructures and legal requirements. Due to limited funding, transgender health facilities have closed and diagnostic procedures, that have taken years to secure, have been suspended.  In several countries, such as Belgium, only some specialised gender clinics are qualified to handle gender confirmation treatments such as hormone therapy, surgeries and so on. Most of the time, the requested medical procedures are not even covered by the national health insurance, for instance in Hungary only 10% of the treatment is reimbursed. One of the inevitable consequences of this lack of financial support is the restriction on the right to health, one of the basic human rights. Furthermore, the requirement of surgery, sterilisation1, hormone therapy, and diagnoses of mental disorders as prerequisites for legal gender recognition raises questions about the right of self-determination and well-being of individuals. Not only does this have a severe impact on mental health, but for transgender people, the issue endangers their lives, health, and safety, facing discrimination and rejection from society and feeling obliged to follow treatments established by the law even if self-gender determination is a very personal matter. 

    Trans rights and social justice cannot wait anymore. 

    Figure 1: LGBT rights in the European Union 

    1Sterilisation is a practice that persists in Europe even while being condemned by the UN.


    • Transgenderism encompasses all the people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. While people that identify their gender outside the constructs of ‘male’ and ‘female’ genders are called genderqueer, which is used as an umbrella term that includes all identities that aren’t cisgender2.
    • Transitioning is the time period in which a person begins to live according to their gender identity, and there are no specific steps for it. It’s a very personal matter and it’s not mandatory to be able to identify as transgender. Transitioning may include changing your name, appearance, and pronouns, as well as changing documents and, for some, requesting medical procedures and hormone therapy to make their body reflect their gender identity
    • Sex refers to the various biological and physiological differences between sexes, including reproductive organs, hormonal profiles, and chromosomes. The three main sexes are men, women, and intersex people. 
    • Gender connotes socially constructed gendered features, such as conventions and gender roles. Gender differs from one society to the next and is modifiable.
    • Gender affirmation surgeries are procedures that assist patients in converting to the gender they think themselves to be.

    The European Commission has the power, if necessary, to take legal action against an EU Member State that is not abiding by EU law, by bringing the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union.Public health insurance is typically a component of national healthcare systems complemented by private health insurance. The minimal level of care provided frequently varies as a result of ongoing negotiations between the government, therefore, access to the numerous procedures that collectively make up gender confirmation treatment may differ significantly.

    Key Stakeholders

    The European Commission financially supports civil society organisations promoting LGBTIQ rights. Organisations benefitting from direct financial support include the International LGBTQ Youth and Student Organisation (IGLYO), the European Region of the International LGBTI Association (ILGA) and Transgender Europe (TGEU). ILGA and TGEU regularly monitor the situation of LGBTQI+, especially trans people in and outside of Europe, collecting publish valuable data on the situation of the queer community. 

    Trans United is a European activist organisation advocating for trans people. Since 2013 Trans United works through media content and social work to improve trans issues awareness and inclusion, such as gender-specific healthcare and HIV prevention for transmen, in the European legislation. 

    An important role in advancing LGBTQI+ rights has also been played by The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) with the 2017 resolution

    The European Commission has the power, if necessary, to take legal action against an EU Member State that is not abiding by EU law, by bringing the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

    Public health insurance is typically a component of national healthcare systems complemented by private health insurance. The minimal level of care provided frequently varies as a result of ongoing negotiations between the government, therefore, access to the numerous procedures that collectively make up gender confirmation treatment may differ significantly.

    2Cisgender refers to a person whose gender identity corresponds to the sex assigned at birth.

    Key Conflicts

    1. Mandatory mental health diagnosis as a human right violation 

    In countries such as Italy, Germany, and Spain, insurance companies require trans people to obtain a mental health diagnosis3 to gain coverage for the healthcare services they demand. The TGEU and other human rights organisations have consistently criticised pathologising4 transgender identities as a violation of the human rights and dignity of trans people. Because of the need for a mental diagnosis for insurance coverage, insurance providers and physicians hold the deciding power over whether a trans person will have access to quality care. 

    Figure 2: Trans Rights Europe & Central Asia Map & Index 2019 – TGEU

    2. Healthcare Funding 

    While the majority of nations provide a complete range of therapies, some, like Latvia and Bulgaria, have almost none. In addition, the shortage of funding for public healthcare frequently makes the access to healthcare difficult, even if should be universally guaranteed5. Furthermore, financing, when it is provided, is typically limited to what are referred to as ‘essential treatments’, which could be objects of subjectiveness, considering the personal value they hold for everyone. For instance, sex reassignment surgery in Croatia is classified as an ‘aesthetic’ treatment and is not eligible for funding. 

    3. Conscientious Objection

    The right to conscious objection, derived from the right of freedom of conscience,  states that healthcare professionals, as individuals, can refuse to provide certain services, such as hormone therapy, if they are against their personal beliefs. However, the right to consciously object may limit another person’s freedom, right to health, and autonomy. The International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stated that every healthcare provider has the professional duty to not discriminate against people’s requested surgeries on the basis of personal beliefs. However, professionals have pointed out how even their personal convictions should not be limited by the law creating an issue of competency that still has to be resolved.

    3Mental health diagnosis is done to analyse a mental disorder which is a clinically diagnosed disturbance in someone’s behaviour, mental awareness, and management.

    4 In many countries, transsexualism and transgenderism are considered mental illnesses under the diagnosis of gender dysphoria, the feeling of uneasiness that someone could experience as a result of their biological sex and gender identity not matching.

    5The right to health is a fundamental human right that does not allow any discrimination of ethnicity, religion, political belief and economic or social conditions

    Measures in Place

    The European Commission’s priority is ensuring legal protection and monitoring the existing rights of the LGBTI community. The prohibition of sexual orientation discrimination and the principle of ensuring equality for everyone has an extensive legal basis in the EU Treaties such as the tenth article of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), and the second and third articles of the Treaty on European Union (TEU). Furthermore, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU was the first international human rights charter to recognise and prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. 

    However, the EU legislation does not explicitly forbid discrimination based on transgenderism. The vast case law of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU), which developed a concept of sex discrimination covering those who have undergone sex reassignment, supports such an approach. Despite the fact that this form of prejudice is seen as a discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in some Member States, in many other countries transgender people are limited to relying on the general principle of equality and are not eligible for the more comprehensive protection provided by anti-discrimination directives.

    In addition, the European Parliament called upon the Member States to defend transgender people’s right to self-determination and to abolish the sterilisation requirement in legal gender recognition procedures. 

    The European Court of Human Rights determined that the sterilisation requirement in legal gender recognition, such as the one required by France, violates human rights. Nonetheless, trans people remain subject to mandatory mental health diagnoses which, according to TGEU’s Executive Director,  represents a violation of human rights because of the subtle implication that trans people are mentally ill, promoting social exclusion and discrimination. 

    Figure 3: Trans rights in Europe and Central Asia 2017 

    Food for thought

    • How can the EU guarantee free access to gender affirmation surgeries in all Member States?
    • How can the EU guarantee safety and recognition to the ones that identify as transgender even without medical surgeries?
    • In which way can the EU make its Member States more inclusive and cohesive towards transgender people?
    • What limits should the law hold against the right of conscious objection?
  • JURI


    Committee on Legal Affairs

    Chaired by Izzy van Bemmel (NL)

    About the Chairperson

    Hello, my name is Izzy, I am from Amsterdam, Netherlands and I love EYP. I have recently finished  my last session as a delegate, and will now continue my journey within EYP as (hopefully your) chair at Haarlem. As I love international politics and diplomacy, I look forward to learning more about our topic together and am confident we will find a solution. But most of all I am excited to meet you all and introduce you to the wonderful organisation of EYP, as this will be the first session for most of you. Until then!

    The Topic at a Glance

    In order for the European Union (EU) to function properly, it is required that all member states operate under the same, or at least similar set of values. Only if these values are respected in all member states can the EU undertake unilateral action and achieve other goals, while respecting democracy and rights of EU citizens.

    The values of the EU are agreed upon under Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union: ‘The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.’

    However, the values stated above are, while agreed upon by all, not always respected by every member state. With the rising cost of living and the current energy crisis, many of the citizens across the EU are growing dissatisfied with the, in their eyes failing, liberal EU. Due to this, far-right leaders like Meloni are on the rise as they are seen as the answer in their opposition to the governments of the last decade.

    Questions were already arising around this issue with the more and more open criticism of the EU by countries such as Hungary and Poland. However, with similar leaders in countries such as Italy, Sweden and France gaining popularity, this issue is becoming more and more pressing. The leaders of these movements are taking firm stands against the current EU measures surrounding the war in Ukraine and the economic crisis. Criticism which may prove harmful to these vital measures, since they require unilateral action to be most effective. It is therefore most urgent that these incursions upon the EU values are dealt with swiftly, to protect democracy and the European Union.

    Key terms

    • Rule of Law is one of the values stated in Art. 2.  The European Commission defines it as follows; ‘Rule of law guarantees fundamental rights and values, allows the application of EU law, and supports an investment-friendly business environment. It is one of the fundamental values upon which the EU is based on.’ In practice, this means that all laws should apply to all individuals and organisations. Every year a report on the quality of rule of law in every member state is released, according to four pillars; the justice system, the anti-corruption framework, media pluralism, and other institutional issues related to checks and balances.
    • The rule of law mechanism refers to the entire process of checking and reinforcing the rule of law in all EU member states.
    • Populism is the appeal to the common people. With the recent crises in and around the EU, many feel their voices fall on deaf ears. Populist leaders grow in popularity in the face of this dissatisfaction as they, sometimes falsely, point out the EU as the cause of all these problems and pose themselves as the solution.
    • Misinformation is often a key-factor in the rise of far-right movements. Conspiracy theories for example, often promote the far-right as the answer to the often already debunked problem they deal with.
    • Article 7 dictates the course of action to be followed in the case of large breaks in the rule of law in any member state. Art. 7 can be invoked by both the European Parliament and the European Commission, and is carried out by the European Council. The European Council will hold a vote on any measure, which may include, but is not limited to, the suspension of the voting rights of a member state, if the vote is unanimously agreed upon, it is carried out.
      This poses a problem, since multiple member states are in a position where art. 7 can be invoked, causing them to block the vote for art. 7 for each other.
    • The cohesion fund is a fund to encourage economic infrastructure and growth in the lesser developed countries of the EU. It was already ruled that Poland and Hungary would be excluded from them, which has crippled their economies. Other countries with nativist movements on the rise however, like Italy and Sweden, are not included in the cohesion fund and therefore are not as dependent on the EU for their economy, making drastic anti-EU action more accessible to them.

    Key Stakeholders

    Far-right movements advocate politics further to the right than typical movements and parties on the right. These movements typically place high value on nativism and ultra-nationalism, which interferes with the unilateral, international objectives of the EU. Most of these stakeholders are also typically uninclusive to LGBTQIA+ people and religious and ethnical diversity, which is contradictory to the values of the EU as stated in Art. 2. Far-right leaders often make use of populist strategies to promote their aims. We see these parties already ruling in Poland, Hungary and now Italy, while gaining power in countries like Sweden and France.

    It is the task of the European Commission to review the current state of rule of law and produce the annual rule of law report. They then, following the procedure of the rule of law mechanism, discuss this report with the European Council and the European Parliament. If the European Commission finds an emerging threat to the rule of law, they can invoke the rule of law framework.

    The European Court of Justice is tasked with the moderation of EU member states, and can impose restrictions when these member states act in a way that does not align with European law.

    Key Conflicts

    EU unity VS Sovereignty of individual states

    The leaders of the movements which oppose the EU often call upon their sovereignty, and that they should operate for the citizens of their countries. This nativist view often gains most popularity during times of economic crisis. However, all member states have agreed on the binding treaty of european unity, these treaties bind member states to a commitment towards all EU citizens, and therefore opposition of these nativists often argue it is not a choice to cooperate with the EU. 

    Freedom of expression VS Protection against misinformation

    Often nativist movements ground their anti-EU views in misconceptions and misinformation about the EU. For example, during the Brexit referendum it was argued that the EU was harming British trade, while studies from both before and after Brexit showed the opposite. These misconceptions and -informations are seen by many as an obstacle to rule of law and democracy. But at the same time, according to art. 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights every EU citizen has the right to freedom of expression. The writing even includes the following statement: ‘This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.’ It is often argued therefore the EU has no right to interfere with the flow of information in the political process.

    Punishment of wrongdoing governments VS Protection of all citizens

    Since member states are breaking the European laws, it is seen as logical to punish these nations for it. This is currently being done by the withholding of funding to Poland and Hungary during this time of crisis. However, this is causing crisis and a decline in economic wellbeing for a lot of citizens which do not support these governments. Others therefor argue a different route should be taken to fight these governments. 

    Current measures

    The rule of law framework is a framework of experts assembled by order of the European Commission with the task of protecting rule of law in member states. They do this according to three phases. The framework will first assess the current state of rule of law and inform the European Commission, then they will make recommendations to both the commission and the member states in question to restore the rule of law, once these recommendations are made they will monitor their implementation and report to the European Commission. The goal of the framework is to prevent threats from growing to a level where Art. 7 has to be invoked.

    Countries with prevalent anti-EU movements are, as mentioned before, often most affected by economic downfall. These countries are therefore also the countries most dependent on EU financial aid. It was already ruled in February 2022 that Poland and Hungary would loose access to over €36 billion of funding, and be possibly left out of further recovery aid. This has however only been used by the leaders of these countries to instigate further mistrust and hate towards the EU, which according to them is suppressing the political discourse of Poland and Hungary. Critics also argue that since Poland and Hungary are still receiving other EU funding, this will not sway them off-course and more economic action needs to be taken.

    The European Commission has already undertaken a media campaign during the COVID crisis to avoid misinformation, but has not yet tried to tackle any other big initiatives.

    Food for thought

    • How can the EU find a way to tackle these problems without enacting article 7?
    • Should the EU condemn populist and nativist leaders for their counter-productive rhetoric, or is this not the place of the EU?
    • How can the EU combat misinformation as a non-state actor without any direct control over the platforms on which this misinformation is spread?
    • How can the EU promote EU values to citizens in a state which suppresses them?
    • How can the EU reinforce EU values to newly nativist countries like Italy?
  • ENVI


    Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

    Chaired by Zia Glasenhart (AT)

    About the Chairperson 

    Hi, my name is Zia and I’ll be your chair for this amazing session! I’m currently in my last year of a higher technical college with a focus on Cyber Security. I love cryptography, photography, reading and volleyball – also do you wanna know a little fun fact about me? I absolutely adore coffee and probably by now have more coffee in my body than blood (which is why my best friend refuses to give me some when I’m staying at her place xd) 

    I joined EYP around two years ago and absolutely love it, which is why  I hope that you’ll love it just as much and leave the session with a smile on your face, many new friends and amazing memories <3 

    The Topic at a Glance

    Figure 1: Sources of microplastics, release routes and sinks

    Over the last century 14 million tonnes of microplastics have accumulated on the world’s ocean floor as large pieces of dumped plastic began to slowly decompose due to sunlight or oxidation, creating small pieces of microplastic that are less than 5 mm in diameter. Additionally,  1.5 million tonnes of microplastics enter the ocean every year. This led to almost every body of water nowadays containing microplastics. However, there is not only evidence for microplastics found in the environment, but they have also been found in human bodies, including in human placentas

    Microplastics can enter our body when inhaled, absorbed through the skin and of course ingested with water and food. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the environmental non-governmental organisation (NGO) World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) have both stated that there is clear evidence of health risks. Microplastics can lead to serious health hazards as they contain  harmful additives, some of which are associated with cancer or endocrine disruption1. Furthermore, they can pose a serious threat to animals’ health due to the microplastics entering their digestive systems and respiratory tracts leading to consequences ranging from impaired reproduction to death. However, both organisations agree that the long-term effects are not fully understood yet. 

    Some of these microplastics are even manufactured on purpose because they are used in household products, such as cleaners, polishes, cosmetics and paints. According to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), each year around 145 000 tonnes of these so-called primary microplastics are deliberately produced in Europe alone. In total, there are approximately three million tonnes of primary microplastics released into the environment each year. 

    Next to the primary microplastics are the secondary microplastics, of which between 200 000 and 500 000 tonnes are produced every year. Secondary microplastics emerge either from products through daily use or the breakdown of larger plastic items in the environment. Examples of how they are formed would be by abrasion of tires or washing synthetic textiles. Around 8% of European microplastics come from synthetic textiles. 

    Figure 2: Release and fates of microplastic fibres from textiles

    1 Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are substances that interfere with the normal function of your body’s endocrine system leading to endocrine disruption


    • Microplastics are plastic debris that is less than 5 mm and at least 1 micrometre in length. 
    • Primary microplastics are microplastics that are produced on purpose and end up released into the environment. 
    • Secondary microplastics are microplastics that are formed from the breakdown of larger plastic items in the environment.

    Key Stakeholders

    EU citizens, while being exposed to the health hazards of microplastics, are also partially contributing to the problem by choosing not to recycle and purchasing products containing microplastics, such as cosmetics, paint, and clothes made from synthetic textiles. Some of their choices seem to stem from carelessness and negligence, meanwhile others from the lack of awareness of the problem. However, it is not solely their fault, since over the years a system has been established in which everyday products are manufactured in industries that release and produce a lot of microplastics.  

    Most of the Member States have so far failed to put in place the laws and regulations concerning microplastics, let alone act upon them. Thus, governments fail to address the issue of microplastic pollution at its core, exposing citizens to health hazards and endangering industries that rely on clean bodies of water such as the fishing industry. Considering that the sewage systems are usually state-owned or subsidised by the governments, they have the legal competence to take action in these sectors. 

    Various companies and manufacturers are also perpetuating the problem. From fast fashion clothing brands that produce low-quality synthetic items that are quickly disposed of to cosmetics brands that use microplastics in their products, they all contribute to the microplastic burden on the waterways.

    The European Environmental Agency (EEA), an agency of the European Union that is responsible for providing independent scientific information on the environment, published a report earlier this year outlining the dangers of microplastics.

    The European Recycling Industries Confederation (EuRIC) represents the interests of the European recycling industries at the EU level. It ensures competitive European recycling by incentivising recycling, minimising regulatory burdens and guaranteeing open and fair competition.  
    Since the European Commission is the executive part of the European Union, it can propose  legislation concerning the use of microplastics. It announced a new initiative which aims to capture the capture of microplastics, measuring the unintentional release of microplastic and further research on the topic. In addition, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for the Environment (DG ENV) has announced that it intends to address microplastics globally and not only those affected by the deliberate addition restriction. Also it commissioned a study to identify policy options which could reduce unintentional releases of microplastics.

    Key conflicts

    Harm to human beings

    Some microplastics can be harmful due to the toxic nature of the contaminants that accumulate on plastic particles2. A recent study has found that an average person ingests around 5 grams of microplastics per week, which is equivalent to one credit card by weight. Some of the earlier-mentioned chemicals are not only associated with cancer, but also with mutations to DNA or endocrine disruption. These endocrine-disrupting chemicals interfere with the endocrine system and therefore affect the functioning of organs. However, up to today there have been very little studies made on the hazardous effects microplastics have on the human body. This has led to various institutions having different views on the topic, but agreeing that more research needs to be done. 

    2  For example, these contaminants include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH’s), organochlorine pesticides, trace metals or pathogens at high concentrations that leak from plastic particles as they decompose.

    Figure 3: Estimated microplastics ingested through consumption of common foods and beverages

    Harm to animals

    Animals that have ingested microplastics and the  toxins that go with them have been shown to have damaged reproduction and compromised immune systems. It has also been observed that animals become entangled in plastic that is dumped into the sea, which can lead to serious injury or even death, before they later erode to microplastics. If for example a microplastic is ingested, it can block the gastrointestinal tracts, which leads to the animal losing their sense of hunger. Research, in which 50 different kinds of marine animals were examined, pointed out that every single one contained microplastic. However, researchers also agree that the impact of microplastics on animals’ health has not been fully researched and too little is known. Furthermore, researchers have stated that plastic is not the root of the problem, but that we got used to the single-use lifestyle that has been formed over the last decades. 

    Environmental hazards

    Moreover, when farmers use sewage sludge to fertilise crops, microplastics are released into the environment and the microplastics can therefore end up in the food chain. Furthermore, it has been shown that wastewater-treatment plants are unable to remove microplastics completely, which leads to them polluting rivers, lakes, and the ocean. However, some papers indicated that the true effects of microplastics in our environment have not been proven yet. While there are clear indicators that some contain toxins, they also state that some are ‘mismatched’ in the sense of microplastics measured in the environment to those tested for effects in the laboratory. 

    Lack of incentives in the industry

    Fast fashion, due to its low quality,  wears off quickly, which leads to it being thrown away and over time turning into secondary microplastics. Furthermore, fast fashion is comparatively cheap, since its production often includes exploitation and mistreatment of the workers, which leads to more people buying at its cheap price.

    Measures in Place

    In 2018, the European Commission adopted the Plastics Strategy, which aims to make recycling profitable for businesses by taking further measures on single-use plastics products and the release of microplastics into the environment and spurring innovation and investment in plastic recycling.

    Furthermore, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) proposed in 2019 to restrict intentionally added microplastics in products, like cosmetics or fertilisers, which are subsequently released into the environment. However, the proposal has not yet been passed. 

    In 2020, the Circular Economy Action Plan, which is a vital part of the European Green Deal, was adopted by the European Commission. It produced economic incentives to produce more reparable, recyclable and biodegradable product designs. Doing so creates guidance on better plastic waste management and intensified monitoring of each country’s progress. Furthermore, it allocated funds for more research on the harm of microplastic pollution. 

    Furthermore, the Chemicals strategy was adopted by the European Commission in 2020, which enforces the phase-out of harmful substances such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)3 being added into cosmetics and plastic food packaging and boosted the innovative capacity for safer and more sustainable materials. 

    In 2021, the Directive on Single-Use Plastics came into effect. It states that if sustainable and affordable plastics are available, single-use plastics cannot be sold. Examples include cotton bud sticks, food containers, plastic bags, and cutlery. Furthermore, it applies to all products that are made out of oxo-degradable plastic4

    Also in 2021, the Zero Pollution Action Plan was introduced, which promises to reduce plastic litter at sea by 50% and microplastics that are released into the environment by 30% by 2050. It is aimed to be achieved by strengthening economic leadership and monitoring the microplastic waste situation.  

    3Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are man-made chemicals, currently including 4700 substances, that are  widely used in industry and consumer products and remain in the environment for a long time

    4 Oxo-degradable plastics are made from plastics plus certain additives, to mimic biodegradation. However, they are just facilitating fragmentation of the materials, leading to not completely degrading but breaking down into small fragments instead

    Food for thought

    • How can the EU deploy its political or economic leverage to encourage the reduction in the usage of plastic across the world? ? 
    • What is the most effective way to educate the EU citizens about the dangers of microplastic pollution and the most effective ways to act on the individual level in order to mitigate this problem?
    • Considering a lot of secondary microplastic is produced in fast fashion, what should the EU do to tackle this issue?

    Microplastics All Around Us, TED talk about the dangers of microplastics, 2022, by Dr. Jesse Meiler