EFIL takes part to the EU structured dialogue with young people to:
- ensure that the opinion of EFIL and its volunteers is taken into account in defining youth-related policies of the European Union.
- offer AFS volunteers the opportunity of being active European Citizens and voice their opinions on relevant EU policies that have a direct impact on them as young people and the work of their organisation.
1. In Brief
WHO? Young people and policy makers
WHAT? A space for young people and policy makers to discuss and feed into European youth policy at national and European level together.
A tool to ensure that youth policy meets the needs and expectations of young people across Europe
WHY? To recognize all young people as a valuable asset to society.
To uphold the right of young people to participate in the development of policies which affects them.
To serve as a forum for the continuous, joint reflection on the priorities, implementation and follow up of European cooperation in the youth field.
OBJECTIVE: To involve a diverse range of young people and youth organisations in working together with policy makers for the purpose of joint policymaking.
2. What is the Structured Dialogue with young people?
The structured dialogue is an instrument to ensure that youth policy meets the needs and expectations of young people across the EU by bringing together young people, youth organisations and policy-makers to jointly discuss and feed into youth policy at national and European level. As such, the structured dialogue is a continuous process aiming to secure a political outcome through joint policymaking of young people and policy-makers. According to the Council Resolution on a new framework for European cooperation in the youth field of November 2009, ‘’the structured dialogue with young people and youth organisations serves as a forum for continuous joint reflection on the priorities, implementation and follow-up of European cooperation in the youth field’’.
The structured dialogue involves consultations with young people and youth organisations at all levels in the EU Member States, and at EU level during the EU Youth Conferences organised by each EU Presidency country and during the European Youth Weeks hosted by the European Commission. The structured dialogue is implemented in work cycles of 18 months, each corresponding to a Team Presidency and having a common overall thematic priority. Each work cycle is divided into three 6-month rounds of consultations and is implemented according to an Implementation Plan agreed upon by the respective Team Presidency, the Commission and the Forum.
2. Why a structured dialogue for young people and what for?
Through the structured dialogue, young people and youth organisations can voice up their recommendations directly to decision-makers and thus participate in the development of youth policies that affect them. Therefore, by taking part in the structured dialogue, young people not only feed into policies at national and European level, but also uphold their right to participate in policy/decision-making in general. As such, youth is recognised as a valuable asset to society.
3. Who is responsible for implementing the structured dialogue?
National Working Groups
At the level of Member States, National Working Groups conduct consultations with young people and youth organisations at local, regional and national levels in each of the 27 EU Member States
European Steering Committee
At European level, the European Steering Committee is the main coordinating body of the structured dialogue. It coordinates, supports, monitors and communicates the process. The Youth Forum has the role of Chair and Secretariat of the European Steering Committee while the EU Presidency country is the Vice Chair.
4. How does it work in practice?
The structured dialogue mainly takes place at three levels:
– local and regional
The structured dialogue is organised into 18 month cycles. Each cycle is divided into three 6 month phases.
Each cycle of structured dialogue focuses on one overall thematic priority chosen by the Presidency Trio and adopted by the Youth Council of Ministers. Each of the three phases has a sub priority.
It consists of consultations with young people on a topic approved by the European Steering Committee. The topic is detailed in guiding questions.
The consultations are made by National Working Groups (one for each of the 27 EU Member State) and by Youth International NGOs’ (consulted by the European Youth Forum)
The Youth International NGOs’ run consultations among their members. Various methods and tools are used to reach out to as many young people as possible while ensuring high-quality inputs.
Each National Working Group and Youth International NGOs reports the results of the consultations to the European Steering Committee. The consultation results are then compiled thematically and serve as a common base for the discussions in joint workshops at the EU Youth Conference.
EU Youth Conferences
EU Youth Conferences are organised by each EU Presidency country hence every six months. At the EU Youth Conference, youth delegates and policy-makers discuss the consultation results in joint thematic workshops. Based on the compiled results of consultations, youth representatives and policy-makers produce Joint Recommendations relevant to the priorities of the structured dialogue process and European policymaking processes in the field of youth. Therefore, each EU Youth Conference results in a set of Joint Recommendations adopted by youth delegates and Directors General for Youth.