President

Below you can find the current published candidacies for the position of President of JEF Europe. One person can be elected for this position.

Christelle SAVALL

Contact Christelle

EMAIL: christelle.savall@jef.eu

TWITTER: @crmsavall

INSTAGRAM: @christellesavall

FACEBOOK: Christelle Savall

About Me

Hi everyone! I'm Christelle, and I have been a dedicated member of JEF since 2012.

I am currently Senior Vice President of JEF Europe, the main coordinator of Democracy under Pressure, contact person for 8 sections, in charge of enlargement advocacy... and so much more!

I also founded our new and upcoming JEF section in Luxembourg! Before being elected Vice President, I have been a member of the Executive Board (EB), of the Federal Committee (FC) and its Presidium as well as co-chair of the Task Force Capacity Building and an internal auditor.

In 2016-17, I was treasurer of JEF France. Before that, I had successively been in charge of conferences, Vice President, and President of my section in Paris. I was also in JEF in Sweden/Germany during my ERASMUS exchange semesters.

I monitor projects in Africa at the European Investment Bank. I hold two master degrees in international affairs/ finance from the University of St Gallen and Sciences Po.

Some random things about me: I love to read, to dance (name a partner dance and I probably tried it already), I really enjoy karaoke. I also love to learn and speak different languages: French, English, German, Swedish and Spanish, so feel free to contact me in any of those!

Motivation for the Position

JEF made me the person I am today, gave me many friends, a voice, competencies and the courage to step forward. Today I am stepping forward for the JEF we could be, an even more political and more united JEF, centred around our volunteers and sections. Starting from my long experience in JEF Europe, I co-constructed my vision and priorities together with the sections and, should you entrust me with that position, I want to focus on our grassroot political development.

The European elections of 2024 must be a stepping stone to build a stronger JEF ready to advocate further for federalism: a JEF with a higher number of volunteers in 2025 than in 2023, because while civic education and campaigns for voting for 2024 is crucial, federalism goes beyond 2024, we are only starting! Let's surf on the momentum of our ideas!

I want to work on more bottom up federalist campaigns with a fun and youthful angle and to focus both on public awareness and advocacy to decision makers. I also want to continue to work on advocacy of our ideas within and towards other networks so they adopt it in their platform and to form coalitions. At the same time, JEF Europe should be more present in the media, with for example more op-eds. In terms of highlights of our advocacy next mandate I want us to:

  • Reclaim the treaty change campaign, capitalising on our Conference on the future of Europe success;

  • In parallel, keep on our work on enlargement;

  • Continue our EUkraine advocacy, support Ukraine and work with Ukrainian civil society on enlargement as, beyond formal processes, enlargement is about the connection of people;

  • Maintain our unwavering commitment to rule of law, one of the cornerstone of federalism;

  • Restart our Don’t Touch My Schengen campaign.

JEF is the sum of its sections, we only exist thanks to volunteers on the ground and our actions at local, regional and national levels. I want us to further consolidate our central and Eastern European sections. We should support small sections to reach 50 members as is already the case for most of our candidate sections! It is also crucial to complete our network in the Balkans but also in Iceland now that a majority of the population is in favour of EU accession. I want us to find more funding and training opportunities for all, including future EU sections.

You might have heard me ask before: What’s the federalist angle? Every action JEF Europe does should advance federalism, support section growth and ensure the well being of our volunteers!

My vision of the future of JEF

A federal advocacy with strong political sections

Our advocacy for a federal Europe should be federal in itself! Rather than speaking about rule of law from Luxembourg or Brussels, we should lift the voices of our volunteers in Hungary, Poland, Greece etc. Even in a federal Europe, many decisions will happen at the national level, and, in the meantime our advocacy for a federal Europe should be done together with our national sections. To advocate for Bulgaria and Romania to enter Schengen, it is more efficient to publish articles and talk to decision makers in the Netherlands and Austria than preaching the already convinced in Brussels.

2022 saw our membership number fall to the lowest level in 10 years.

While, together with other members of the EB, I have worked tirelessly to start new sections - I am so proud and happy to see so many sections applying for full membership - our network should not be spread thinner to new countries but both enlarged and strengthened.

We need to focus on our sections by organising two trainings a year, one in Brussels and one outside of Belgium. The current and future board members of our sections trained will live our European volunteering with other Europeans. They will create personal connections all across Europe, as a basis for more collaboration in the network so we remain a real crossborder youth movement. They will also be able to exchange good practices, for which there is almost no time for at statutory events. Our small and middle-size sections can get training for their members they might not have had otherwise, and focus on recruitment, civic education and advocacy.

We need to reinforce the role of point of contact on both sides to better communicate on our priorities. Through my experience as a contact person of many sections, I experienced how crucial the role of point of contact can be to grow the relationship with and within JEF Europe and help sections flourish, both organisationally and politically. I also plan to restart the open hours of the President for the sections, so our national volunteers know they can always find support at the European level!

Invest in our internal democracy

The Federal Committee meetings are the heart of our internal democracy and a very important moment for our association to work together on our internal development, decide on our policies and campaigns and meet each other. Currently travels of directly elected FC members are not reimbursed, despite their valuable work for our organisation, unless they benefit from the Solidarity Fund.

Every directly elected FC member should be able to access travel reimbursement for their travels to FC meetings. This is how we ensure the most committed members apply and we increase the diversity of our recruitment. Access to elected positions should not be linked to having a job or coming from a wealthy background or country but only rest on our dedication to federalism! Investing in our directly elected FC members is ensuring their continued participation and showing their work is meaningful and valued, thereby contributing to their motivation.

The Solidarity Fund would therefore only focus on sections, covering up to a fourth of them, thereby securing the participation of national delegates from far-away and less wealthy countries and making sure everyone has a voice.

We should also foster swift internal communication between the EB, the Secretariat, the FC and sections to make sure we work as the Europe united team we aim to be and that everyone can benefit the most of the opportunities offered. The planning and sequencing of deliverables should always be paced to avoid overwhelming sections and volunteers alike. The microgrants should remain a focus of our support to sections, to dynamise both recruitment and social impact.

Both these priorities cost money, good news is that we already have it!

I run as a volunteer and not as a paid President and propose to allocate the amount of the President salary to fund this program. You can request access to the detailed budget here. With 25 and counting JEF travels in 2023, a very flexible work which allows me to telework from abroad and 60+ vacation days next year, I will be fully dedicated to the role. JEF is my passion and my calling, I am running for President today because I am fully convinced I can fulfil this position to the benefit of the organisation.

A healthy managed association of volunteers

One takeaway from this mandate is also the need to focus on the well being of our volunteers. JEF Europe is my home and I want everyone of us to feel welcome, empowered and cared for. I want the EB but also the FC to feel like a team where everyone has a safety net and know they will be trained but also provided with support when needed, the same way they ́ll support others in time of need. This focus on mental health, and our focus on diversity, should not be something we do but the way we do everything.

My opinion on the needed Political Commissions and Task Forces/ Working Groups

It will be up for the FC to decide of course but based on the feedback I collected Iβ€˜d say we could structure it more, by planning Taskforces (TFs) and Political Commissions (PC) calls in advance to make them more accessible on our social media and on our website. We should continue to meet up regularly with the FC to foster team dynamics, inform each other on our work and get trained together.

As contact person for PC3, I am very happy to see new important PC resolutions such as the one on Switzerland. As for TFs, as contact person for TF Empowerment and Diversity, I believe this TF is highly needed. We could also regroup Civic Education, Green JEF and Capacity Building in a bigger taskforce with more chairs to foster team spirit and share responsibilities. We could also co-opt one of the editors-in-chief of The New Federalist to further collaboration.

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