European Parliament Ambassador School – Sakharov Debate

As Year 10 Junior Ambassadors, we had the opportunity to listen to the Sakharov Debate on intergenerational equality last week with a panel of prestigious speakers including an MEP and two university professors.The talk highlighted life before the pandemic in comparison to now:
it’s about opportunities eg: climate, inequality between communities, digital future, gender discrimination. Intergenerational equality is also about fairness and justice between generations, whether that is the difference in the standard of living, job opportunities, employment, education, housing and mental health. We learnt that there is a huge gap between different generations and how fairly they can access different aspects.

Current problems discussed included the social care of elderly and young people’s schooling; disadvantaged families are struggling much more, younger people are having to worry about being evicted and are suffering financially because industries do not offer younger people many job opportunities anymore and the impact of the pandemic on mental health has been hard to reverse. The speakers felt that the youth and the elderly are being left behind.

Young people struggle to gain support because Governments are more likely to support those who vote: more than 75% of young people were learning less during Covid and less than 1% of people in power targeted youth and tried to help. This is ironic as young people are suffering from the mistakes of previous generations – existing generations have created issues such as climate change. We were pleased when our question was featured: we asked the speakers if a possible solution to this would be to have a referendum including 16 & 17 year olds on whether 16 & 17 year olds should have the right to vote. The panel agreed unanimously with our suggestion!

Madeleine and Carolina, Year 10