The European Youth Forum has started in 2013 a recollection of the national legislations related to young people, youth organizations and youth work in order to start developing a database of youth laws in Europe. The information collected for the development of the database has been put in this website to provide an easy-to-use and comprehensive catalogue of youth related legislations in different European countries. This online tool aims at enabling a comparative understanding of the issues that enter such binding documents in Europe at supporting Youth Forum members in advocating for better youth policy and legislations for young people in Europe. Users will be available to retrieve the information of interest for a European country and to compare legal developments on a certain topic, in several European countries.
This database is a work in progress and it is a first exercise of this kind for the Youth Forum. By no means should it be taken as a comprehensive image of the state on youth legislation in Europe.
As a result of the work carried out collecting pieces of legislation around Europe, a narrative report on the national legislations related to young people, youth organisations and youth work has been produced. The report highlights that different countries have different political rationales for regulating an area or not and there is an element of risk in advancing recommendations. There are, however, several issues that may be considered at a more general level, by members of the Youth Forum. Cross country comparisons are a useful instrument for informing country-level policy developments in the area of youth. Whilst many countries seem to follow a mainstreaming approach in youth policy making, this is rarely made explicit. In this respect, the status of Youth Laws, as related to other national laws, risks remaining ambivalent. The intersectional vulnerability of several groups is rarely incorporated in the laws reviewed.
Several Youth Laws seem very detailed in regard to a particular issue and leave other (arguably important) matters of concern, less regulated (unless included in other, more specific, laws). Examples of themes (categories) that seem very rarely included in the legislation are: youth political participation, the support measures for young refugees and asylum seekers.
For the time being, youth legislation is centered on the role and obligations of state authorities, and leaves largely unaddressed the growing involvement of private and commercial actors, including media. In the same time, the involvement of the private and corporate actors in activities that concern youth is expanding (see, for instance, the new developments in the area of youth entrepreneurial learning in non-formal settings, the growing number of commercial providers of volunteering experiences abroad, or of youth camps). There are nevertheless, opportunities, contradictions and major dilemmas involved. In view of these transformations, there is a need for a more coherent legal frame that incorporates the obligations of commercial actors. The main rationale is to ensure private actors, as well, comply with a set of principles related to young people. Also in view of emerging protocols on corporate responsibility, it may be timely for the youth policy community to prepare a set of expectations to be incorporated in further agreements and to advocate for developing such legislation.
Cross-country comparisons allow more informed conclusions on the different ‘regimes’ of youth policy making: from the more flexible approaches, providing a minimum level of regulation, to regulatory regimes, with strict monitoring mechanisms. When reading legislation comparatively, it is possible to gain a sense of the underlying principles that frame the legal documents. They may go from a developmental approach focused on youth socialization, institutional capacity-making (the so called ‘fitting young people in’ approach), to a tendency to provide young people with enabling opportunities for personal and collective participation. Ultimately, this reflects an overall social and political vision on the role and status of young people. Engaging in more meaningful debates on the very social and political thinking that shapes the legislation may be a pertinent approach in youth policy making. Hope the database will enable this type of reflection, besides providing an easy-to-use catalogue of youth related legislations in European countries.
Read the full report here. Narrative Report_Youth Laws
In this section you can find all the pieces of legislation collected so far. This database is a work in progress and it is a first exercise of this kind for the European Youth Forum. By no means should it be taken as a comprehensive image of the state on youth legislation in Europe. A large part of the documents was obtained with the support of the Youth Forum Secretariat after an open call to the membership of the Youth Forum. A valuable source was the overview of national youth policies made publicly available by Youth Policy Press through youthpolicy.org. The database includes a number of 32 legal documents (largely Youth Laws) from 22 countries. The database is conceived as a work in progress, as it allows further inclusion of legal documents.
The review included only the binding documents. Youth Strategies, recommendations and policy reports were generally screened out. For each law there is a brief description of the law content and links to the entire documents.
List of countries from which pieces of legislation have been collected. By clicking on each country you will find the corresponding laws and categories.
A number of themes and categories have been identified during the analisis of the laws. By clicking on the categories you can find the pieces of legislation in which those themes are actually analysed by the legislator and their country.
Form more information on the categories and themes identified read the full report Narrative Report_Youth Laws