On the release of the EU Youth Report, the European Youth Forum calls for a coherent youth strategy and warns that more must be done in order to truly involve young people in their societies and in policy making.
The Youth Report, published by the European Commission yesterday (15 September) illustrates the harsh reality for way too many young Europeans: 8.7 million young people aged 15-29 are unemployed, 13.7 million are not in employment, education or training and close to 27 million are at risk of poverty or exclusion.
The Youth Forum calls for action from the European Commission and Member States to tackle the parlous state Europe’s youth finds itself in, for example by tackling youth unemployment and eradicating inequalities, leading to social exclusion of young people.
The Youth Report highlights the need for integration of young people into society in the context of “violent radicalisation”. Whilst social inclusion is a vital issue, it cannot be dealt with in isolation: solving youth unemployment, creating economic opportunities and basing policies on social, economic and political rights are key to tackling so-called radicalisation. It is only through looking at the issues that affect young people in a holistic way, that the root causes of the problems that youth face can be tackled.
The report also calls for young people to be given a strong political voice. The Structured Dialogue with young people conducted within the EU is a valuable tool for political participation and while trying to involve a growing number of young people in it we should not sacrifice quality for quantity. It is fundamental to give young people a more permanent seat at the decision-making table and have a real say in the policy making that affects them. Citizen involvement is a necessity if we want to agree on and deliver effective public policy.
Johanna Nyman, President of the European Youth Forum, comments:
“The EU Youth Report casts an important light on the difficult situation that far too many young people in Europe face: years after the end of the economic crisis, youth unemployment still blights the lives of millions; and poverty and social exclusion haunt large portions of our society, particularly afflicting young people. We see these negative trends continuing. Not acting fast enough will cost us more in the future while many more young people fall through the cracks!”
The European Youth Forum will also soon publish its own Shadow Youth Report which, following an in-depth consultation with its member organisations, will cast further light on the problems that young people face in Europe and how these can be tackled jointly with young people and youth organisations.