Ministers for Youth miss the opportunity to improve social inclusion of young people

Brussels, 20 May 2014 // Today, the 28 Ministers for Youth met in the Council of the EU and adopted a Resolution that concludes the 18 months of structured dialogue with young people. For the first-time ever, they also adopted a European Union Work Plan for Youth for 2014-2015. However, the European Youth Forum is disappointed that the Council of the EU did not respond to young people’s calls and did not clearly commit to any concrete policies for better social inclusion of young people.

The Resolution fails to reflect the core messages and input from young people, such as the need for quality employment, better access to welfare, well-being and solidarity. The European Youth Forum considers it to be an extremely worrying sign that the Ministers for Youth did not take on board in the text of the Resolution any proposals for fostering social inclusion put forward by young people over the 18 months of intense dialogue with policy-makers.

Young people are deeply disappointed that the promises made repeatedly by the Presidencies of the Council of the EU that their proposals are listened to, have been unfulfilled. The European Youth Forum urges the Member States to respond to young people’s disappointment by making real and urgent progress in turning their proposals into reality. Only by doing so, can the right of young people to participate in the making of policies that affect them, be ensured and respected.

The Youth Forum, having worked hard to put young people at the core of EU agenda, welcomes the first ever EU Work Plan for Youth, as a step forward towards a more consistent approach to youth issues in the EU. The Youth Forum sees this as an opportunity to reinforce and further define cooperation on youth issues across policy areas.

However, it is concerned about the many question marks that remain on the way the Work Plan will be implemented. There is a lack of clarity from the European Commission, the Council and Member States on how a genuine cross-sectorial cooperation will be enabled. It is also unclear as to how young people will be involved, as well as the Council’s plans to feed in the European Semester, to ensure that this Work Plan is a useful tool for EU Youth Policy.

Peter Matjašič, President of the European Youth Forum, comments:
“The Council of the EU has missed a huge opportunity to further young people’s inclusion in wider society and to prove to them that their voice matters and is listened to in shaping policies for them. Young people have invested a huge amount of effort and dedication over the last 18 months of dialogue. This is the third cycle of structured dialogue and the commitment of the Ministers for Youth is still not matching that of young people. We call upon Member States stop making empty promises and listen to the voice of youth! We expect that the EU Work Plan for Youth is instrumental in preparing and implementing efficient youth policy together with young people. Let’s not have further wasted opportunities.’’

[ENDS]
Notes to the editor:
The Council Resolution on Structured Dialogue can be found here: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/doc/srv?l=EN&f=ST%209026%202014%20INIT

The European Youth Forum Reaction to the Council Resolution can be found here:
http://www.youthforum.org/publication/20-may-2014-yfj-reaction-to-the-council-resolution-on-structured-dialogue/

The Council Resolution on the EU Work Plan for Youth can be found here: http://www.parlament.gv.at/PAKT/EU/XXV/EU/02/44/EU_24488/imfname_10464980.pdf

The European Youth Forum Reaction to the EU Work Plan for Youth can be found here:
http://www.youthforum.org/publication/20-may-2014-yfj-reaction-to-the-resolution-for-eu-work-plan-for-youth-policy-2014-2015/

About the European Youth Forum
The European Youth Forum is the platform of youth organisations in Europe. Independent, democratic, youth-led, it represents 98 National Youth Councils and international youth organisations from across the continent. The Forum works to empower young people to participate actively in society to improve their own lives, by representing and advocating their needs and interests and those of their organisations towards the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations. For more information, visit www.youthforum.org 

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