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Young Bulgarians discuss European elections with PES Women President

Zita Gurmai and Veronika DelibaltovaOn Saturday 29 March, the Youth Union of the Bulgarian Socialist Party met in the National Palace of Culture in Sofia to elect their new board and to discuss the issues affecting young people across the country. PES Women President Zita Gurmai addressed over 700 delegates from across the country, with a clear focus on youth unemployment and gender equality. 

Gurmai praised the Youth Union for the work they have been doing: “After so many years of crisis it can be difficult to see reasons to hope, but I see over 700 reasons to hope right here in front of me”. She went on to describe other work the Youth Union has been doing recently, including the organising of local discussions on the Youth Guarantee, making budget proposals and campaigning at a grassroots level on issues that affect them, their families and their friends. Gurmai expressed her hope that the next board of the Youth Union would be headed by a woman and that the BSP would continue to promote young women in politics. Later that weekend this wish was fulfilled with the election of their new Chairperson Veronika Delibaltova.

The PES Women President received thunderous applause when calling for increased funding to end the crisis of unemployment hurting people across the Union. She called for the same urgency which was applied to bailing out our banks to be applied to helping our youth. Turning to issues of gender equality, Gurmai pointed out that this crisis has been effecting women especially hard. There is already a gender pay gap which means that effectively women are working 2 months for free each year when compared to men, but cuts to social services and childcare because of austerity are making it even more precarious for women. “We have 120 million people at risk of poverty or social exclusion out of a population of 500 million” said President Gurmai, “this is because of austerity; this is why we need a change of leadership with Martin Schulz as Commission President!” 

Delegates were further asked to #knockthevote in the upcoming European elections and received help in the form of workshops delivered by Liegey Muller Pons, who are helping the PES to train activists for the campaign. Trainer Louise Mariani described how French Parti Socialiste members made a huge difference in Presidential elections in France in 2012 by reaching 5 million voters. Using the same methods, the Youth Union of the Bulgarian Socialist Party is ready to play its part in making the S&D the biggest political group in the next European Parliament and making Martin Schulz the Next President of the European Commission.

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