Founded in 1987, the European Youth Parliament (EYP) is a truly unique organisation, reaching out to young people across Europe, encouraging them to have their say in shaping the future of their continent. The EYP seeks to promote the European dimension in education and to give students in the 16-22 age group the opportunity to participate in a practical, positive learning experience. As the citizens of the future, the EYP experience encourages young people to be aware of the thoughts and characteristics of other nations, respect their differences and learn to work together for a common good. The EYP constitutes a forum in which these young people can express their own opinions, without any political connotations or reverting to role play. Students are encouraged to take an interest in current affairs and the democratic process, practice independent thinking and take personal initiative.
The most prominent parts of the EYP’s activities are the different kinds of sessions organised each year, namely the International Sessions. These are held in different European countries each time, bringing together over 300 students and teachers from around Europe in its widest sense – not only the 27 EU Member States. National Committees of the EYP also organise yearly Regional and National Sessions in their respective countries. National Sessions are the most prominent yearly discussion forums for young Finns on European Affairs. In Finland the National Committee organised its 20th National Session in January 2014 in Vantaa. The parliamentary model used and the discussions in the different committees ensure a wide interest among the participants, other interest groups and media. Through sessions and other events, essay contests, information campaigns and publications the EYP reaches about 20 000 young people yearly.
The backbones of the EYP organisation are the national committees in each country. These organisations coordinate EYP activities in their respective countries and among other things select the participants to foreign events. At the European level the International EYP coordinates the organisation and surveils the international sessions.