Youth not prioritised in new Commission

Brussels, 11th September 2014 // The European Youth Forum, following the announcement yesterday of the new European Commission portfolios and Commissioners-designate, is deeply concerned that youth is not amongst the responsibilities of the new Vice Presidents. The Youth Forum urges the new Commission to give Europe’s young people the attention that they deserve. 

None of the Commission’s Vice Presidents[1] have been given responsibility for Youth, indicating a worrying lack of priority for this vital area. The Youth Forum urges the European Commission to give Europe’s young people the priority that they need in order to live autonomous, independent lives and to give them the means to emerge from the economic crisis, which still blights the lives of too many young people.

The European Youth Forum welcomes, however, the inclusion of citizenship in the youth and education portfolio and urges the Commissioner designate to engage in strong and open dialogue with young people and civil society. The increased prominence of skills is welcome. But the two Commissioners-designate must work closely together so that education and skills are entwined and a holistic approach is taken, in order to both prepare young people for work as well as equip them with a broader range of skills, such as citizenship.

The Youth Forum is pleased also to see the prominence given to the portfolio including “the Rule of Law and Charter of Fundamental Rights”, for which First Vice President, Frans Timmermans, will be responsible, underlining the importance of a rights-based approach for policy making. The Youth Forum firmly believes that youth rights must be upheld and urges Mr Timmermans to prioritise youth rights in his mandate, providing equal opportunities for all.

Peter Matjašič, President of the European Youth Forum, comments:

“Youth is nowhere in the new priorities of the European Commission. The Commissioner designate for Education, Culture, Youth and Citizenship, Tibor Navracsics, will take on one of the most important jobs in Europe. At a time when Europe’s young people are still bearing the full force of the economic crisis, this is one of the most challenging and rewarding portfolios available. However, Europe’s young people risk falling between the gaps of the new Commission structure with a clear lack of priority and mainstreaming of youth.

“Whilst we hope to engage in constructive and open dialogue with the Commissioner-designate for youth, we are deeply concerned about the recent crack-down on NGOs in Hungary and strongly urge the Hungarian government to respect the human rights and freedom of expression of civil society, as well as media freedom in Hungary.”

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