The last phase of the cycle on ‘Youth empowerment for political participation’

In June 2015 the last phase of the structured dialogue cycle is coming to the end while feedback from young people and policy makers is gathered on the recommendations drafted at the EU Youth Conference in Riga in March 2015 on youth empowerment for political participation.

Within this phase EFIL gathered 14 feedbacks from its members and volunteers, on the basis of which our representative Charlotte Klinting (AFS Denmark) drafted a report.

Also, on 15 July members of the EFIL European Pool of Representatives, Hannes Verdegem (AFS Belgium Flanders) and Stefan Ubiparipović (AFS Serbia), attended the Round Table on Structured dialogue at the European Parliament. The event was organised by the Member of the European Parliament Ms Eva Paunova (EPP) and several International Non-Governmental Youth Organisations, namely AEGEE-Europe, CESI Youth, EEE-YFU and JEF Europe. Aside from the representatives of the INGYOs, high-level European policy makers representing the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee took part in the discussions. The objective was to discuss and receive feedback on the recommendations. EFIL reemphasized the importance of culture of participation at schools, involvement of young people in political decision making, growing of local and direct democracy. There is a strong initiative to support the Round Table with EU policy makers and stakeholders and make sure it takes place annually during the feedback phase of the structured dialogue process.

Hannes&Stefan_SD event

(Hannes Verdegem – AFS Belgium Flanders and Stefan Ubiparipović – AFS Serbia at the Round Table on Structured dialogue at the European Parliament)

Also, All 28 EU Ministers responsible for youth met on 18 May at the Council of the European Union in Brussels to discuss “empowering young people for political participation in the democratic life in Europe”. It is the first time that the topic of the Structured Dialogue on youth has been addressed at this level

At the EU Youth Conference in Luxembourg in October the recommendations will be finalized and feed the Council conclusions to be adopted by the end of the year.

The upcoming cycle: revision of the process and new topic!

The upcoming cycle starting in January 2016 with the Trio Presidency -Netherlands, Slovakia, Malta- has been discussed in a 2 day event during the European Youth Week gathering 200 participants and attended by the member of the European Pool of Representatives (EPOR) Marin Bjort Valtysdottir (EVS volunteer, intern in the EFIL office). There International Youth NGOs (IYNGOs) raised their voices regarding their role within the entire process of Structured Dialogue: IYNGOs do not access the online tools available to National Working Groups, they are not recognised as official actor in the process and they do not have access to the financial framework that would allow to organise discussions between young people and decision makers on the structured dialogue topic and therefore reach more young people. A letter with these points have been sent by IYNGOs to the European Steering Committee managing the Structure dialogue.

Structured dialogue is not only about process, but mainly about content. Therefore also discussion on the topic of the upcoming cycle have started. The Trio Presidency has just announced that the overall priority will be ‘Life Skills that young people need to prosper in inclusive societies’. Intercultural awareness is included in the life skills and EFIL will make sure that intercultural learning and dialogue will be included in the Council conclusions as main tools to build inclusive societies.

The upcoming EU Youth Conference in Luxembourg will definitely have more to say about the continuation of the Structured Dialogue process.

For more: Stefan Ubiparipovic ([email protected]) and Elisa Briga ([email protected])