The new EU Youth Strategy (EUYS)
The ongoing EUYS (2010-2018) sets out a framework for cooperation between EU Member States in order to “provide more and equal opportunities for young people in education and the job market [and to] encourage young people to actively participate in society”.
The EU Youth Strategy proposes initiatives in eight areas: Employment and entrepreneurship, Social inclusion, Participation, Education & training, Health & well-being, Voluntary activities, Youth & the world, Creativity & culture. That means that the work of EFIL and of any national AFS organisations is deeply affected by this set of policies.
The next EUYS will affect the period 2019-2024. In order to draft the new framework, the European Commission has set up consultations, and especially the EU Council has dedicated the current cycle of EU structured dialogue with young people on this specific topic.The European Parliament (EP) is also contributing to the process and on the 23rd of January organised a Public Hearing and asked some relevant civil society stakeholders to expose their experiences in this field and to give some advises: Simone Muhlbach (AFS Belgium French) and Hannes Verdegem (AFS Belgium Flanders) attended the hearing on behalf of EFIL.. A pleasant way for European Parliament to earn transparency and improve democratic participation.
Hannes Verdegem and Simone Muhlbach at the European Parliament
The only negative point: even though the hearing was public, there was not any spot for people attending to speak up, only the panel and the EP members had the opportunity to say something because of the tight timeline. In general the speakers agreed that EUYS is an important youth empowering tool, even if some mechanisms for implementation and monitoring are needed. The new strategy should care much more about young people’s democratic participation and provide a more binding framework for Member States. Ideally the EU should push national governments to create inter-institutional working groups taking care the progression of youth policies. Youth organizations should also be part of those groups as a direct link between youngster and politicians. In that case EFIL, in coordination with every national AFS, should take the opportunity to take part and showcase the quality of the educational opportunities we offer to young people.
EFIL‘s position on the new EU youth strategy is to demand support and funding for a more diverse and inclusive Europe through international educational programs – which of course needs a strong framework provided by governments and international associations. Within this process, the European Youth Forum, together with its members, is advocating for: increase of the funding for the Erasmus program, quality standards for Youth Guarantee offers, continuation of the EU structured dialogue with young people and funds to implement the results, strong support for youth organisations and a recognition of non-formal education.
The contribution of the EU Structured Dialogue with youth to the shaping of the EU Youth Strategy
Through the structure dialogue process, EFIL managed to reach out to 300 young people and consult them on the future of Europe and the EU youth strategy! To learn more about the process, you can read here.
We have consulted 130 participants of the ECTP Europe Camp, and 170 volunteers responded to the online survey: we are impressed by the diversity and the high quality of the answer we received. A great thank you to all those who have participated either during our live consultations or the online survey! We have analysed the answer together with other International youth NGOs and tried to get a clearer picture of what the European youth demand from our decision makers and for the future of Europe.
The results of the live-consultations of the participants of EFIL‘s European Citizenship Trimester program of the 131 participants.
Overall 50 000 young people participated in this consultation process all over Europe (4000 are young people from international organisations like EFIL).
From 16 to 19 April the second conference of the structured dialogue took place in Sofia, Bulgaria, which is holding its first EU Presidency. Lukas Findeisen from the the Pool of Representatives (AFS Germany), represented EFIL there. The objective of the conference was to define the goals for the future EU youth strategy, starting from the outcomes of the massive consultation. You can have a look here at the 11 youth goals that have been formulated as outcome. EFIL activities mainly fit under the goal number 8 “Quality education” targeting to guarantee universal and equal access to quality education and life-long learning.
Although the outcome of the conference are the 11 ambitious youth goals, the event has been controversial because of lack on inclusive approach towards youth and people with disabilities, and inappropriate speeches and attitude by government officials. Here you can read the press release of the European Youth Forum.
The European Commission’s proposal for the next EU youth strategy will take in account the outcomes of the structured dialogue process and will be published on 2nd May.
European Working Group, namely the representatives of international NGOs taking part in the Structured dialogue process.
By Lukas Findeisen, Hannes Verdegem, Simone Muelbach
For more information: [email protected]