Jean Lambert was a secondary school teacher before her election in 1999. She has used her voice in Europe to promote the rights and interests of young people, and has been closely involved in youth groups and campaigns across London.
Jean is a strong advocate of young people in London and Europe, and a vocal critic of the demonisation of young people in the media. She has used her expertise in other areas to campaign on issues where they are particularly vulnerable – for example in asylum and immigration, and employment, where she has highlighted the fact that a living wage for all would make a real difference to the lives of young people.
Jean has also used her position as a member of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee to call for action on youth unemployment. Earlier this year, she invited her fellow committee member, Emilie Turunen MEP, to London to discuss her draft report on the issue with aspiring youngsters like the Young Mayor of Lewisham.
She has also worked hard to realise Child Rights, and to encourage the EU to take account of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child in all its decision-making, especially qhen it comes to the Human ights of undocumenteed child migrants, education and poverty-reduction. Here she explains why:
Jean is committed to helping young people connect with politics and encouraging them to exercise their democratic rights to effect change, both in their own communities and at an international level. She hosted the Youth Platform at the Green Party conference in September 2008 and she commissioned Just Cities, a year-long project involving 14 to 16 year olds from London, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam, and co-ordinated by Capacity Global, the Southwark-based consultancy. It culminated in April 2008, when pupils from the City of London Academy in Bermondsey visited the Parliament in Brussels.
In 2006, Jean invited sixth-formers from Newham to produce a DVD explaining the workings of the European Parliament, EU4U! Your voice can make a difference!#
As a substitute member of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties committee, Jean supported the report Towards a Strategy for the Rights of the Child, and secured Parliamentary support for a number of amendments, including the right to play, the right to a clean and protected environment, and equal pay for young workers. The report was adopted in January 2008.
She has also called for the EU to assess and encourage good practice in dealing with young offenders. Jean has been very involved with pushing for new EU anti-discrimination legislation, which will extend protection from discrimination on grounds of age, beyond the workplace. This is now being developed.
The Green Group in the European Parliament has worked to ensure that youth and cultural organisations in particular have better access to funding programmes, and prompted the European Commission to produce a user’s guide to funding, so young people are aware of the support that is available to them.
In Manchester 2003, Jean recorded a video message for a Young Greens convention in Manchester, discussing issues ranging from Bhutan and the Euro to austerity, climate change, youth unemployment, training and internships, youth security and autonomy, bankers’ bonuses, free movement around the EU for young people and young peoples’ involvement in politics: