Press Release – EU Youth Conference concludes in Thessaloniki

March 12, 2014

Thessaloniki, 12th March 2014 // The EU Youth Conference has concluded today in Thessaloniki (Greece), with young representatives and policy-makers from all over Europe having drawn up concrete policy recommendations to feed into Council Conclusions to promote youth entrepreneurship to foster social inclusion of young people and a Council Resolution on the overview of the structured dialogue process including social inclusion of young people.



The Greek Presidency of the Council, together with the European Youth Forum and the Greek Youth Council, hosted the EU Youth Conference in Thessaloniki from 10th to 12th March 2014. The conference, which is a real milestone of the structured dialogue process, underlined the main focus of the Greek Presidency on youth issues: social inclusion of all young people with a clear emphasis on youth entrepreneurship.


Around 250 delegates – young people and policy makers – from all the EU Member States discussed, through workshops and plenary debates, various aspects of social inclusion based on the results of consultations and discussions between young people and policy-makers conducted in the 28 Member States of the European Union, as well as the reports submitted by several international NGOs active in the field of social inclusion of young people.


The recommendations agreed upon are based around seven themes drawn from the consultations of young people and policy-makers across the EU prior to the conference. The recommendations highlight key elements of social inclusion and include:



  • On implementing the Quality Framework for Traineeships, Member States should develop policies based on the guidelines outlined in the European Quality Charter on Internships and Apprenticeships. In addition, young people’s transition to employment should be facilitated through various measures, including making the Youth Guarantee more long-term orientated and more accessible for all young people.


  • Quality jobs should be ensured for all young people, in particular Member States must set a non-age discriminatory minimum wage adjusted to the actual cost of living.


  • On quality education, there should be equal learning opportunities for all, including free access for young people, in particular disadvantaged youth, to validation for competencies gained through non formal education and informal learning; learners should have the opportunity to decide on education system structures and teaching methods.



European Youth Forum President, Peter Matjašič, states:


“Now more than ever, it is essential that young Europeans are given the opportunity to access their rights and be fully included in their society. The EU Youth Conference has provided a key opportunity for young Europeans to have a strong policy impact on the key issues of social inclusion, such as age discrimination, quality jobs and inclusive education.


“Youth unemployment continues to debilitate Europe’s youth and therefore I am pleased that this conference has seen strong recommendations in this area. However, youth entrepreneurship is not the only solution for youth unemployment, but is one among many and diverse measures needed, which include quality job creation, more investment in education and training, and career guidance for quality transition to the labour market. Just this week we have seen a key opportunity to improve this transition lost, with the Council Recommendation on a Quality Framework for Traineeships which was weak and insubstantial and included no provision for remuneration for interns; a decision that the European Youth Forum has condemned.”


This EU Youth Conference, which follows those of the Irish and Lithuanian presidencies, is the last in this Trio Presidency, which have all focused on social inclusion of young people. The Conference brought together participants from all the EU Member States and candidate countries, both representatives of young people and of Ministries responsible for Youth Affairs, as well as from international NGOs, the European Commission and the European Youth Forum.


The Joint Recommendations adopted by youth representatives and policy-makers at the EU Youth Conference have been officially endorsed by the Greek Presidency at the closing plenary when the Presidency confirmed that will promote them in the Council of the EU in view of feeding into the Council Conclusions on youth entrepreneurship as well as the Council Resolution on social inclusion.


The Joint Recommendations also highlighted the fact that inter-generational solidarity should be enhanced. In terms of social inclusion, it is recommended that young people must be fully included in their societies through integrated programmes promoting young people’s physical, mental and sexual health, ensuring healthy lifestyles. On youth entrepreneurship, Member States should strengthen their support of youth organisations as the main providers of non-formal education and Member States should support start-ups by offering incentives. Finally, it is recommended that social entrepreneurship should be encouraged by establishing national networks of young social entrepreneurs.


To read the EU Youth recommendations in full, go to: 



Notes to the editors:


About the EU Youth Conference


The EU Youth Conference is one of the milestones of the Greek Presidency of the Council. EU Youth Conference and the meeting of the Director-Generals for Youth Affairs are run in each presidency on a yearly basis. The event is dedicated for discussion of youth policy and social inclusion, the main topic of the last 18 months’ Presidencies. The Conference is a core element of the EU process of the structured dialogue with young people and brings together 250 participants from the 28 Member States. The joint discussion is based upon the inputs and suggestions expressed by over 15,000 young people and more than 700 experts and public authorities from all over the EU.


The European Youth Forum position on the structured dialogue can be found here.

More information on the EU Youth Conference in Thessaloniki can be found on the official Greek Presidency website. For more information on the European Youth Capital, go to the website here.



About the European Youth Forum


The European Youth Forum is the platform of youth organisations in Europe. Independent, democratic, youth-led, it represents 99 National Youth Councils and international youth organisations from across the continent. The Forum works to empower young people to participate actively in society to improve their own lives, by representing and advocating their needs and interests and those of their organisations towards the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations. For more information, visit

European Youth Forum AISBL

Rue de l’Industrie 10, 1000 Brussels

Tel.: +32 2 793 75 20
Fax : +32 2 893 25 80

With the support of
The European Commission
The European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe