On Thursday, 8 December 2022, MEP Irena Joveva met students of the Ljubljana Conservatory of Music and Ballet with whom she talked about her career path, the challenges facing young people, the education system of today, fast fashion, the protests in Iran, and particularly about the climate crisis and the environment. Small changes can make a big difference, insisted the MEP.

The students asked whether Joveva had ever had the opportunity to meet Greta Thunberg, to which she answered in the affirmative. The well-known environmental activist addressed the members of the Committee on the Environment, of which Joveva is a member, at the beginning of the current term of office.

The environment was the main topic of interest for young people participating in the event. Joveva explained the very active role the EU plays in this field: “The EU has a plan to tackle the climate crisis. We have adopted the very ambitious European Green Deal. And rightly so. Its key objective is to make Europe a carbon-neutral continent by 2050.”

Young people wanted to know what they themselves can do to help preserve the environment. In response, Joveva mentioned the separation of waste, the use of public transport, which she strongly advocates, eating less meat… At the same time, she said that she would like to see more understanding in today’s society.

When asked what she likes about her job, she explained: “As a public figure, I can afford to talk about taboos. Because I want them to be broached. This includes topics such as abortion or having a child while serving as a Member of Parliament, or about mental health, for example.” What she also likes about her job is that she can present politics as something good, and at the same time she tries to make sure that people don’t regard her as in any way superior because of her job: “I don’t want people to see me as something more just because I’m holding this position. I was elected to this office and I wish to present politics as something good. Politicians should not all be tarred with the same brush.

When the students inquired if she would choose this profession again, she replied with a touch of humour: “It depends on the circumstances. If I had to choose a profession, I would love to proofread politicians.

Of course,  the participants could not avoid the topic of youth policies, which is one of Joveva’s key priorities. In her view, the key challenge now is the ban on unpaid internships across the EU, something she is fighting hard for.

The students were also interested in Joveva’s views on the crackdown on protests in Iran. She explained that she strongly condemns the attacks on protesters and civil society in Iran. To this end, the European Parliament has already adopted a resolution expressing its strong support for the peaceful protest movement in Iran, in particular for the young women who lead and participate in demonstrations. The resolution also strongly condemns the indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force by the Iranian security forces against the masses, which has already resulted in numerous deaths. Still, a resolution is not a legislative document, she pointed out. Furthermore, the European Parliament, acting as an independent institution, has broken off relations with Iran.

To conclude the event, Joveva wished the students all the best and much understanding, curiosity, success and health.

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