European Youth Forum welcomes steps towards raising awareness of youth rights by EU ministers

Brussels, 12th December 2014 // The European Youth Forum welcomes positive steps proposed today by the European Union’s 28 Youth Ministers, as they adopted a series of conclusions regarding promoting young people’s access to rights.

The Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council met today in Brussels in order to discuss young people’s access to rights to foster autonomy and participation in civil society. The European Youth Forum, whilst pleased to see specific conclusions taken from the recommendations made by young people at the European Youth Conference, which took place in Rome in October, is disappointed by the lack of ambition and vagueness of the conclusions.

The Youth Forum is pleased to see two recommendations which came from the EU Youth Conference, the culmination of the Structured Dialogue process, an in-depth process of exchange and policy recommendations including young people and decision makers across Europe:

       that the EU and Member States should invest in raising awareness among young people of their rights and how to assert them;

       the importance of the recognition of youth work as a tool to encourage the autonomy of young people.

Whilst the Youth Forum welcomes the proposal to reinforce a cross-sectional approach especially in the implementation of the outcomes of the Structured Dialogue on youth, we need to see stronger commitment and detail on how this will happen.

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

“We are pleased to see that some of young people’s recommendations have fed into these Council Conclusions. What is disappointing, however, is that the conclusions lack the scope, detail and ambition in order to tackle these problems. Having said that, I would like to thank the Italian Presidency and the Italian Youth Council for their important efforts in taking up this topic of youth access to rights and putting it on the political agenda.

 

“We look forward to working closely with the incoming Latvian and upcoming Luxembourgish presidencies, and we hope they will be even more ambitious

in making concrete proposals on youth empowerment for political participation, taken directly from young people themselves and really making the most of the excellent tool the Structured Dialogue provides for consulting and co-creating policy with young people.”

Other positive conclusions agreed upon by the ministers today include the recognition of the economic and social consequences of the crisis affecting young people and the knock-on impact on their capacity to become autonomous. The importance of creating quality jobs and social protection for young people was also noted. Finally, the Council invited the Commission and Member States to invest in adequate funding for independent youth and youth-led organisations; to support entrepreneurship; and to mainstream youth participation and autonomy into social and economic policies.

Today is the second day of EU ministers meeting, with EPSCO (employment, social policy, health and consumer affairs) meeting yesterday. The Youth Forum welcomes the fact that youth employment was on the agenda of this EPSCO council; however, we were disappointed to see, yet again, the discussion focus on supply-side measures rather than kick-starting growth and, therefore, jobs for young people through more focus on the demand-side. The Youth Guarantee was also on the agenda and we continue to urge Member States to properly monitor its implementation to ensure quality job offers for young people, as well as to involve youth organisations in its implementation.

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