Fine Gael and Young Fine Gael secure top position on board of Europe’s largest political youth organisation

It was officially confirmed today (Friday) that Fine Gael member, Colm Lauder, has successfully secured the position of Secretary General of Europe's largest and most influential political youth organisation - the Youth of the European People's Party (YEPP). Colm Lauder will take up his position at the upcoming YEPP Congress in Sofia, Bulgaria on the 11th May.

Minister for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton T.D. commented: "YEPP has played a highly influential role in the EU over the last 15 years. Holding a senior seat on the board is crucial to Irish interests, particularly considering YEPP's efforts in tackling issues such as youth unemployment - a real priority for the Irish government. YEPP has been an important ally of Fine Gael in gaining support for Irish issues and goals."

It was announced in Brussels that Mr. Lauder would be uncontested for the position, following intense negotiations with various European political organisations over the past six months to secure an Irish seat on the board of YEPP. The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny T.D. and Minister Creighton assisted and advised during the negotiations. Previous Irish board members include the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar and Minister Creighton.

"I am delighted with the opportunity to hold one of the most significant youth political positions in Europe. It is crucial for Ireland to have a strong and competent voice within Europe's most powerful political youth organisation. We are facing a challenging negotiating period with our European colleagues and need to be well placed to ensure Ireland's interests are fought for at every European level," Colm Lauder commented.

YEPP has been extremely influential in EU policy over the last two years, as the organisation responsible for the EPP's policy on Basel III and on the Youth Guarantee. In recent months, Mr. Lauder has led YEPP in its lobbying of EU governments against the proposed Financial Transaction Tax, stressing the importance of Ireland's financial services industry.

Minister Creighton continued, "Colm has played a pivotal role in YEPP over the last two years. He successfully led the campaign to protect the ERASMUS budget in the Multinational Financial Framework, which secured the budget following tense individual meetings with 16 EU Heads of State. He has proven himself as a highly capable representative of Ireland in YEPP and will no doubt play an important role in Europe as Secretary General over the coming term."

"Securing this senior seat on the YEPP board will be of enormous benefit to Ireland, to Fine Gael and to YFG. It will allow unprecedented access to leading European politicians which is crucial for securing and defending Ireland's interests," said YFG President, Patrick Molloy.

Mr. Lauder will formally commence in his new role at the YEPP Congress, which will take place from 9-12th May in Sofia and which will be hosted by the former Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Boyko Borisov and be attended by MPs and Ministers from over 16 European Union governments.

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