Live from Brussels

A YMCA Europe Brussels Newsletter.
Phone: +32 486 843826
Skype: ileniaYMCA

What`s New This Year

By Ilenia Ventroni

Hello Everyone! First of all, introductions: I am Ilenia, the new Advocacy, Fundraising and Project Officer for YMCA Europe. That’s right, YMCA Europe is now present and active in Brussels, the capital of Europe, and seat of the most important European Institutions.

I am here to provide added value to our movements, bringing their interests to European Institutions and finding more opportunities to raise funds and strengthen them.

Why Brussels?

This is where policies are made, and most of all, this is where laws that affect what we do and funding opportunities that allow us to do it are created. It is very important that YMCA, like all other major NGOs (notably the Big 6) takes its place here in Brussels and gets its voice heard. The decision-making process can be influenced by what we have to say, and this is what Advocacy takes care of. Laws that decide what we can do (and what funds we can get for it) can get influenced by our activities. Moreover, being in Brussels allows us to learn in advance about funding opportunities that will be open in the future, allowing us to prepare on time. Alerting you on new funding possibilities and assisting you in the application process is among the things we will do in terms of Fundraising and Projects. The funding analyzed will be coming from the EU and also from the Council of Europe.

What can you find here?

In this first month I had the opportunity to speak with some of our movements and to hear about their activities and their needs, a very important tool for my job. The national movements are at the very center of the Brussels office activity.

This newsletter will be my way to reach all of you and keep you updated about:
1 – Policy developments which will affect you;
2 – Funding opportunities you can take advantage on;
3 – Updates on what we are doing in terms of advocacy.

So, here we are, ready for our Brussels   journey!

Getting started!
It was with great joy that I met with Ed Eggink and Juan Simoes Iglesias, our President and our Secretary-General, and finally took residence at the Mundo J Building, in rue de l’Industrie 10, in Brussels, where our office will be staying.
A Great First Visit
From February 21st to February 23rd the Brussels office visited the Prague office (with Eva Tschornova and Sarka Cihakova, picture above), and also met with the Czech YMCA and YMCA Prague. The visit was a good opportunity to share information on the work of the offices and to learn more about future cooperation.

We keep an eye on:

The European Commission
The European Parliament
The Council of Europe

What’s up in Brussels?
This year it’s a very important year in Brussels: it’s the MFF review! What is the MFF? It’s the Multi-Annual Financial Framework of the EU: the EU plans what it does for the next 5 years, but it also reviews what it does and adjusts the funding for it periodically. This is one of those years, and this is a great opportunity for us. This is also the year of the Erasmus + Mid-Term Review: another important opportunity to get our voice heard on matters like the expansion of the Operating Grant Envelope.

What does it mean?
What we can do now is to try to influence this review process, to change all issues and processes that makes it difficult to us to obtain funding or to see our priorities respected.  We can do so with our Advocacy here in Brussels, within the work of the European Youth Forum, with other like-minded NGOs or on our own. It’s a great time for YMCA Europe to be in Brussels, and we will make our voice count! We will keep you updated on all our advocacy actions, hoping also to receive some input from you!
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