Looking back at the last legislative term, what were the most significant achievements or challenges you faced as a young member of the European Parliament?
Looking back at my legislative term, the most significant achievement was the new directive in Pay Transparency. The primary challenge was the resistance from some older colleagues who held more conservative views when it came to including non-binary individuals in the new law.
How do you think your age and generational perspective have influenced your work and decision-making in the European Parliament? Can you provide examples of issues where your perspective differed from older colleagues?
My age and generational perspective have allowed me to bring a fresh and progressive approach to the Parliament. For example, I advocated for more diversity in the top positions of the European Parliament, the protection of the LGBTQ+ community, sustainability, nature conservation, a healthy lifestyle, and protecting our digital privacy—areas where older colleagues may have been less inclined to prioritize.
My advice to youth would be: stay focused, don't get distracted and work hard.
Have you encountered any obstacles or biases in the European Parliament based on your age?
Yes, I encountered biases from older members who questioned my experience and judgment due to my age. Overcoming these biases was a challenge in the first few months, but it also motivated me to prove myself through my work and results. Currently, these older colleagues appreciate my contributions, and I am far from underestimated. My advice to youth would be: stay focused, don't get distracted and work hard. Learn about your own integrity and stick to it. You'll deal with criticism. So prepare yourself and know who you are.
What are your expectations and priorities for the upcoming legislative term in the European Parliament? Are there specific issues or policies that you believe require urgent attention, especially from a youth perspective?
In the upcoming legislative term, my priorities lie in further promoting digital innovation, social justice, addressing Ecocide, and establishing new fair and sustainable trade agreements. Urgent attention is needed to combat climate change and ensure equitable economic opportunities for young people.
In light of recent youth-led movements and activism across Europe, such as climate strikes and social justice movements, how do you see the role of young MEPs in amplifying these concerns and translating them into policy actions at the European level?
Young MEPs play a crucial role in amplifying youth concerns by connecting with movements such as student strikes, housing crises, rising healthcare costs, and climate strikes. We can bridge the gap between these movements and policy by advocating for measures that reflect the aspirations and concerns of the younger generation.
How do you see the overall representation of young people in the European Parliament? What reforms or changes would you advocate for to enhance the representation and voice of young MEPs in the future?
The overall representation of young people in the European Parliament needs improvement. I would advocate for measures such as quotas or mentorship programs to enhance the presence and influence of young MEPs, ensuring a more balanced and diverse Parliament.
The most important files Rafaela worked on for the last legislative term 2019-2023:
Modernised trade agreement with Chile, with a specific Gender & Trade chapter
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