Economic and Monetary Union
The economic and monetary union (EMU) is a trade bloc combining features of the common market, customs and monetary union. LYMEC believes that the convergence criteria of the Maastricht Treaty must be adhered to strictly and exceptions due to political reasons should not be allowed under any circumstances. The EMU encourages member states to uphold and fulfil its criteria and enables EU enlargement efforts. Member states remain autonomous in economic, fiscal and budgetary policy and LYMEC believes the EMU could improve in these areas.
While recognising that the diversity of Europe’s education systems is to some extent a good thing, LYMEC is strongly in favour of a greater harmonisation of educational standards and the establishment of common values. Foreign language education should begin at the earliest possible age; schools and universities should place greater emphasis on critical thinking skills; educational institutions should do more to foster a sense of European values among young people; and there should be greater standardisation in the tertiary education sector, to allow for students to move easily between different providers and experience life in other countries.
EU enlargement has been the most effective EU policy for spreading the Union's values and norms as well as for consolidation of the EU's global and regional role and influence. The European Union must develop a comprehensive strategy for cooperation with, and accession of, the European countries which are not members of the EU yet. LYMEC reaffirms its commitment to support enlargement of the EU to its maximum viable boundaries.
LYMEC is deeply concerned by rising levels of atmospheric CO2, widespread pollution and environmental degradation, and the growing prevalence of extreme weather events. We call urgently on the EU to prioritise the transition to a carbon neutral economy and to impose higher standards on private bodies whose operations contribute to the problem. Strategies such as the European Emissions Trading System must be strengthened, and an urgent plan on reducing plastic consumption is needed.
The Erasmus+ programme offers unparalleled opportunities for young people, championing education and skills, social mobility, and global cooperation efforts. As an organisation which has personally benefited from the Erasmus+ grant, LYMEC has long held that Erasmus+ is the key to unlocking a more interconnected and youth-mobile Europe - a key reason why LYMEC has championed the expansion of the programme to include the United Kingdom, Kosovo, Montenegro and other non-participant, non-EU countries.
In general, we believe that the composition of the European Commission does not sufficiently reflect the political composition of the European Parliament. Additionally, there is a concerning lack of transparency surrounding the appointment of the President of the Commission. We therefore strongly support the development and introduction of a new process to appoint the Commission President and College of Commissioners, involving a greater input from the political groupings of the European Parliament.
European Military Cooperation
While recognising the successes of the European Common Security and Defence Policy, LYMEC believes that the focus of the European Union should turn to the creation of a European Defence Force, which would allow the Union to better address the security and defence challenges of the 21st century. In particular, such a force would allow for greater focus on conflict prevention and would also provide extra support to civil authorities in times of humanitarian crisis or natural disaster.
European Neighbourhood Policy
LYMEC considers that the European Neighbourhood Policy has been largely unsuccessful in promoting democratic development in ENP countries, and that there has been a failure on the level of the European Council to liberalise visa arrangements and promote free trade. We strongly favour a revitalised Neighbourhood Policy, including sufficient funding for student and cultural exchanges; building links between European and ENP countries’ infrastructure; removal of trade barriers; and renewed focus on the promotion of democracy and the rule of law.
European Railway Authority
LYMEC is highly supportive of the establishment of a new European Railway Authority, which would be tasked with the planning and construction of a high-speed, low-carbon railway network connecting major European cities and urban areas. Affordable and reliable rail travel would drastically cut carbon emissions by offering an attractive alternative to flight, and such a major infrastructure project would create valuable employment opportunities.
LYMEC is in favour of the introduction of voluntary euthanasia in specific and carefully controlled situations, where a patient’s suffering is incurable and second medical opinions have been sought. However, we believe strongly that there should never be any duty placed on medical professionals to perform euthanasia.