This 21 October, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophiè Wilmes welcomed several dozens of young representatives from Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg to the Benelux Youth Forum 2021 during a reception at the Egmont Palace.

The participants, all members of the European Youth Parliament (EYP), will work and debate for two days on the theme of ‘climate and sustainability’, with a special focus on mobility, energy and ‘just transition’. They will be hosted at the House of the Benelux in Brussels and at the Belgian Senate.

Sophie Wilmès: “I strongly believe that the involvement of young people in societal debates is essential. In recent years we have heard the voices of our young people calling for more action to prevent and mitigate the effects of climate change. Belgium and the Benelux share this concern. Creating more sustainability in our society is therefore one of the top priorities of the Belgian Presidency of the Benelux. As a ‘laboratory of the EU’, the Benelux wants to continue to come up with innovative projects, certainly in the area of climate change. I therefore have no doubt that the outcome of the debates within the framework of the Benelux Youth Forum will be a source of inspiration for us all.”

Minister Wilmes, Jef Druyts, Chairman of the Board of EYP and Patricia Creutz, President of the Interparliamentary Benelux Assembly, were keynote speakers at the reception. In her opening speech, Minister Wilmès stressed the importance of the political commitment of youth on the grand issues of the 21st century, among others climate change. She also announced the joint Benelux pavilion at COP-26 in Glasgow and the launch of the Benelux Circular Climate Platform.

Belgium will hold the presidency of the Benelux until the end of 2021.