Over 200 young people and policy makers from across Europe have this week agreed on a set of joint recommendations and on how to implement these in order to empower young people to participate politically.
The EU Youth Conference (which took place in Luxembourg City from 21st to 24th September) on “empowering young people for political participation in democratic life in Europe” concluded with joint recommendations and an “implementation toolbox” published and to be presented to the Council of Youth Ministers. These are the final result of an 18-month policy making process, focusing on youth political participation, which took into account the suggestions made by more than 40,000 young Europeans who took part in the process known as the Structured Dialogue.
The outcome of the conference in Luxembourg is a set of concrete recommendations as well as an implementation toolkit, which lays out how to achieve full youth political participation. These include:
– Implementing pilot projects at local level for lowering the voting age to 16.
– Fostering a culture of participation at school through, for example, citizenship education in school curricula.
– Encouraging an open and inclusive political culture through policy makers at all levels using youth-friendly communication.
– Establishing initiatives and long-term partnerships with youth workers and NGOs in order to transfer knowledge and develop young people’s political participation.
“I will take these recommendations and submit them to the Council of Youth Ministers that I will convene later this year. I also think that improving young people’s participation in Europe is a shared responsibility. All of the participants of this conference can and should add their contribution to the process. But beyond them, we also need to make participation a reality for all young people in Europe.” said Claude Meisch, Minister of Education, Children and Youth of Luxembourg.
Johanna Nyman, President of the European Youth Forum, comments:
“Far from being apathetic or disinterested, young people are simply rejecting out-dated political structures which do not respond to our needs and do not deliver what we want. We need new structures that include young people and their representatives in order to create a politics that prioritises young people’s rights and helps them to be fully included in their society. Political leaders must listen to the voice of young people that has been expressed here in Luxembourg and through the Structured Dialogue.”
The President of the National Youth Council of Luxembourg (CGJL), Maurice Losch, said:
“We need a strong young generation, ready to build a future together. This can only be achieved through full youth political participation and youth organisations closely involved in policy processes. The youth delegates and policy makers that have gathered in Luxembourg this week have come up with strong recommendations and concrete ways to have these implemented. We call for a long-term vision and follow-up to make sure that the culmination of 18 months of work and consultation with thousands of young people is truly implemented.”
The implementation toolbox will be finalised and disseminated to all relevant stakeholders by the end of the Luxembourgish Presidency, with the aim of increasing the capacity of policy makers in the implementation of the recommendations.
As well as youth delegates and policy makers, also at the EU Youth Conference were high-level speakers, including the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel and the EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Tibor Navracsics.