The European Youth Parliament (EYP; in French, Parlement Européen des Jeunes, PEJ) is a politically and religiously unbound non-profit organisation, which encourages European youth to actively engage in citizenship and cultural understanding. It involves 20,000 youngsters from all around Europe. It was established in 1987 in Fontainebleau, France.
The European Youth Parliament was founded by Bettina Carr-Allinson, initially as a school project at the Lycée François-Ier in Fontainebleau, to the south of Paris. It is there that three of the first four International Sessions were held, starting in 1988, about a year after the idea took place.
It then developed steadily for a few years until it moved to Witney, Oxfordshire, in 1991, and was legally recognised as the European Youth Parliament International Ltd., a subsidiary of a charity created in 1992 for this purpose, the Fontainebleau Youth Foundation. The organisation experienced an enduring growth for the next ten years, its network counting an increasing number of National Committees and its activities becoming both larger and more numerous. The National Committees stretch beyond the scope of countries within the European Union and try to encompass all European countries.
In the years 2001 to 2004, the EYP encountered various problems of financial nature. On November 4, 2004, however, the European Youth Parliament was reborn due to a mutual agreement between representatives of EYP's Board of National Committees, alumni and the Heinz-Schwarzkopf Foundation. The EYP's status since then has been a programme of the Heinz-Schwarzkopt-Stiftung, and is hosted in Berlin, Germany.
The actual activities of the EYP never faltered during this period.
Since 2004, the EYP has introduced several reforms to introduce more transparency in its institutions and further enlarged its activities.
At the international level, the EYP is governed by an international board, the Governing Body. The Governing Body has six members elected by the National Committees and by the alumni of past sessions. A representative of the Heinz-Schwarzkopf Foundation is also a member. The board is largely responsible for the quality assurance of the International Sessions but also takes responsibility for the overall direction of the organisation and the long term sustainability and protection of the Organsiation. The day-to-day business of the organisation is administered by a hired manager. Philipp J. Scharff was manager from 2004 until 2008. In 2008/9 Jan Phillip Beck took over this role and is currently Manager of the EYP.
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