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This compilation is based on information collected by EFIL from the monthly newsletter of EUCIS-LLL and from the European Youth Forum’s “Youth Policy Watch”, a bi-weekly bulletin. You can subscribe to the Youth Policy Watch directly from the Youth Forum website: http://www.youthforum.org and firstname.lastname@example.org
On Saturday 10 May, young delegates from all over the world, gathered in the World Conference on Youth, adopted the “Colombo Declaration on Youth”.
1.500 participants, including ministers responsible for youth, young people, representatives of Governments, United Nations Agencies, youth-led organisations, non-governmental organisations and other development partners took part in the Conference to explore ways and means of mainstreaming youth in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, within the agreed framework of the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY). It was the largest Youth Conference since the first edition in 1936.
On 14 April 2014, the Council of the European Union has unanimously adopted the Regulation setting up the “Europe for Citizens” programme for the period 2014-2020.
This EU programme offers funding support in two thematic areas:
1) “European Remembrance”, focusing on Europe as a peace project and on remembrance as a pre-requisite for building a brighter future;
2) “Democratic engagement and civic participation”, aimed at strengthening the general public’s understanding of how EU policies are shaped today and fostering the close involvement of civil society in European policy-making.
The Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni and the Director for Youth and Sport; Erasmus+ of the DG ECA, European Commission, Chiara Gariazzo, signed the 2014-2016 Framework Partnership Agreement in the field of youth, in order to renew and confirm the synergy between the two partner institutions in the youth field.
The three specific themes of the EU-CoE youth partnership for the period 2014-2016 are participation/citizenship, social inclusion with the focus on outreach, access to social rights and fighting new forms of xenophobia and discrimination and recognition and quality of youth work. The new partnership aims indeed to improve the knowledge on youth and contribute to the development of youth work and the promotion of its quality and recognition.
Activities of the EU-CoE youth partnership target decision makers, governmental experts, youth researchers, youth practitioners and youth organisations for the benefit of young people in Europe and are organised all over Europe and the South Mediterranean.
In the framework of the European Semester process, the Commission has issued Country-Specific Recommendations that will be endorsed this summer by the Council and addressed to Member States for the next 12-18 months. Education is seen this year as a growth-friendly expenditure to preserve, while many countries such as Italy and Greece have kept on cutting public spending in the field. A special attention has also been given this year to the implementation of the Youth Guarantee in Member States. See the Commission press release and the Recommendations in details.
Also the Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, together with EU Commissioner for Development Andris Pielbags and Norwegian and Danish Prime Ministers have written an open letter to defend the right to education (especially for girls) and protect global financing for education in view of the Global Partnership for Education conference (26 June, Brussels).See also the European Citizens’ Initiative on “Invest in Education”.
On 20 May, the 28 EU ministers in charge of education were in Brussels for the education, youth, culture and sport Council meeting. The council welcomed the progress achieved in developing a culture of continuous quality enhancement in education and training systems across Europe.
The Council agreed that increased efforts should be made to ensure that quality assurance arrangements take greater account of learning outcomes and that they cater for non-formal learning and work-based learning in either formal or non-formal settings. Non-formal education is an organised educational process that gives young people the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills, values and competences out of the traditional education system (i.e. schools and universities). Youth organisations are one of the settings where young people can learn from these non-formal processes.”
Also, the Council adopted the first-ever European Union Work Plan for Youth for 2014-2015. The Representatives of member states agree that, in light of the current crisis, the following themes should be given priority by Member States and the Commission in their cooperation at EU level:
- Development of youth work and non-formal and informal learning and its contribution to addressing the effects of the crisis on young people;
- Enhanced cross-sectorial cooperation within the framework of EU strategies;
- Empowerment, with a special focus on access to rights, autonomy, participation and active citizenship within and outside the EU.
However, there is no specific provision on how a genuine cross-sectorial cooperation will be enabled, how young people will be involved, how this plan is linked to the monitoring of fiscal policies done by the European Commission through the European Semester process.
Officially endorsed by the European Council in June 2013, the youth guarantee – the EU scheme to fight youth unemployment – has seen its first operational implementation programme adopted by France on 3 June. The budget for the whole EU is of €6 billion for the period 2014-2020. It particularly supports young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs) in the Union’s regions with a youth unemployment rate in 2012 at above 25% by integrating them into the labour market (see also new Commission scoreboard on NEET monitoring). On 3 June the Commission has adopted the French Operational Programme for the implementation of this initiative and €432 million will be allocated to support the setting up of the national Youth Guarantee, but also to enable mobility of apprentices, better identify young NEETs and many other crucial measures to tackle youth unemployment. Currently, 5.6 million young Europeans are jobless. 650.000 of them are in France, where one million young people are not in employment, education or training.
However, the European Commission expressed its doubts about the national measures to use these funds. According to the Commission, the measures taken by the French government to deliver the youth guarantee are “insufficient”: “The actual quality of this support, which includes CV-writing workshops and interview simulations, is unclear at this stage. Moreover, this guarantee only tackles a minor part of the overall youth unemployment”, states the Commission in its latest recommendation to France’s national reform programme.
On 3 June, Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner, clearly underlined the importance of promoting and protecting youth rights in Europe.
“Young people have been one of the groups hardest hit by the economic crisis in Europe, with youth unemployment being the most common pathology of many countries implementing austerity measures. However, it is not only the social and economic rights of young people that are being undermined, but also their right to equal treatment, their right to participation, and their place in society, and more broadly, in Europe. Due to chronic unemployment, many young people are losing hope in the future of their countries, their faith in the political elite, and their belief in Europe. A rights-based approach should replace the current neglect of young people in discussions about the crisis.”
At the same moment, the European Youth Forum has been included in the Council of Europe Social Charter NGO list. This means that the Forum is now able to use the collective complaint procedure. The Youth forum is now: 1) planning a new strand of activities relating to the legal treatment of youth rights cases, including strategic litigation and collective complaints and they started to identify fields of infringement and possible cases; 2) shaping a strategy for promoting both the recognition of youth rights and the improvement of the access to these rights.
One of the youth rights is Free Mobility of Young people. EFIL is supporting a campaign for Youth rights.
T-Kit No. 5 – International voluntary service (Revised edition), by the Council of Europe
Perspectives on youth, issue 1: ”2020 – What do you see?”, by the Youth Partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe
Youth knowledge book 18, volume 4, ”History of youth work”, by the Youth Partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe
The newest Eurobarometer on Youth :only 20% of young Europeans consider ‘Dialogue between cultures and religions’ as a value to be defended by the European Parliament!