An indigenous youth organisation is participating in a joint legal action against key EU institutions for failing to protect them from climate change. Sáminuorra is a Swedish Sami Youth Association which has joined forces with other outraged parties from Portugal, Germany, France and Italy in protesting the EU’s perceived negligence.
The alliance argue that the greenhouse gas emissions targets set by the European parliament and Council of the EU are not enough to protect their rights to life, health, work and property under European human rights legislation. Current EU targets are to reduce emissions by 40% before 2030. Sáminuorra and the other parties – which include a French lavender farmer – say allowing high emissions to continue for another 12 years poses a severe threat to their health and livelihood.
“If we lose the reindeers, the Sami culture will be lost”, said Sanna Vannar, 22, the chair of Sáminuorra. “Many of the Sami youth want to stay with their families and be reindeer herders, but they cannot see a future. This is mostly due to the threat of climate change. This must be urgently addressed for the safety of our generation and the next generations.”
Sáminuorra and the other parties are not asking for compensation, simply a change to the EU’s 2030 climate targets.
European Student Card
Plans for a European Student Card which provides discounts on administrative costs for young people across the EU have taken a step forward. The European Commission has announced a new Youth Strategy to help develop a European Education Area by 2025. The student card – expected to be unveiled in 2021 – is just one of a series of new ideas outlined in the ‘Building a Stronger Europe’ strategy. Other initiatives include the establishment of Vocational Education and Training Centres of Excellence across the continent.
There will also be mutual recognition of diplomas to make it easier for educated young people to secure jobs in different countries. Under an evolved Erasmus+ programme, long-term partnerships will be established between universities to encourage innovation, language learning and the exchange of both students and teachers.
Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, said: “Education, culture and youth policy have a central role in building a resilient, competitive and cohesive Europe for the future.”
The Commission is confident that the European Education Area will prove popular among EU citizens, particularly young people. A recent survey found that nine in ten people thought a network of European universities would greatly benefit the region, while 84% would welcome initiatives to help them learn a new language.