Eston McKeague, YWF President, was invited to speak at the European Congress of the Young European Federalists (JEF) in Madrid, Spain on 11 November 2023. The JEF European Congress comes together once every two years and brings together representatives of the JEF sections across Europe, sets the political agenda for JEF, and elects new members of the JEF Executive Board.
Eston briefly presented YWF and world federalism to the Congress, shared the history of the relationship between European federalists and world federalists, and detailed how united regions like the EU can be a stepping stone to a united humanity. Read Eston's full speech below.
Speech by YWF President, Eston McKeague at the 2023 JEF Federal Congress in Madrid, Spain
My name is Eston McKeague and I’m the President of the Young World Federalists, or YWF.
Thank you all so much for the invitation to join this European Congress. It’s wonderful to be together with so many federalists all in one place.
It has been super fun watching the Congress, and, I'm inspired to see such an impassioned, and organized group of young federalists. The new sections here are particularly inspiring and I applaud these successes for the federalist cause.
This reminds of my time at the 2021 Ventotene International Seminar, where we discussed European and world federalism in-depth and got in touch with the history of our movement.
European and world federalism have been sister causes since the beginning. At one of the first meetings of European and world federalists in Montreux, Switzerland in 1947, the chief of the European Federalists expressed a desire for “One Europe, in One World”.
If I may quickly ask, who has heard of YWF or world federalism in general? *everyone raised hands*
Ah, then why aren't you all Members!?
At the Young World Federalists, we build support for world federalist ideas like global democracy, legal world citizenship, and global institutions to address global problems.
The clearest examples of global problems requiring global solutions are wars, climate crisis, pandemics, human rights abuses, and the unforeseen challenges laws by things like Artificial Intelligence.
But if you ask a world federalist, nearly every issue has some sort of global component.
YWF was founded four years ago, and since that time we have grown to over 200 members and volunteers around the world, with around 15,000 followers and online community members. I'm proud to say that we have mobilized young people across every populated continent.
We support regional integration like the EU, as a stepping stone towards global integration. We hope that these regional bodies will help mitigate the shortcomings of the nation-state system rather than transposing them onto a larger geographic area.
We believe that subsidiarity and the protection of minorities must be pillars of any world federation, while also recognizing that nation-state violence and chauvinism are the root causes of many of our common struggles.
We see clearly that borders and walls of all types are not only crimes against the inherent and inalienable right of humanity to move freely but that they always fail to accomplish their stated goals.
We support all pathways to a world federation, including one led by the people from below, by regional integration across the globe, or by powerful democratic countries from above.
Importantly, as an organisation, we are neutral on the questions of how to achieve a world federation and what exactly that world federation should look like. Our mission at YWF is to foster debate on these questions while building support for world federalism.
We hope and strive for a sustainable, just, and peaceful world through a democratic world federation. A world run by humanity, for humanity, providing equal opportunity to all on a thriving planet.
Our goals are shared by the wider World Federalist Movement, of which JEF is also a member. I personally look up to JEF as an older sibling and look forward to our continued friendship.
If you are interested in learning more, feel free to check out our website at Y-W-F dot world.
Once again, thank you very much for the invitation. Good luck with the rest of Congress, and I look forward to getting to know you better over dinner.
YWF would once again like to thank JEF for this opportunity. We are eager to work with the new Executive Board on projects to build One Europe, in One World.