EU Youth Conference concludes in Kosice, Slovakia
Košice, Slovakia, is the most important city for youth in Europe this week. The Slovak Ministry of Education, together with the Slovak Youth Council, the European Commission and the European Youth Forum is hosting the EU Youth Conference in Kosice from the 3rd to the 6th October bringing youth delegates and policy makers together.
This EU Youth Conference is part of the 5th cycle of the Structured Dialogue – a unique participative process where young people contribute to EU youth policy. The three EU Youth Conferences of the cycle of the current trio Presidency (Dutch, Slovakian, Maltese) focus on the theme “Enabling all young people to engage in a diverse, connected and inclusive Europe. Ready for life, ready for society.”
Over four days, youth delegates and policy-makers are working to identify the main challenges faced by young people today to fully develop their potential and become engaged in society. They develop recommendations based on the input of 65,000 young people from around Europe.
The joint recommendations were presented today to representatives from the European Commission, the European Parliament and the ministries responsible for youth of the EU Member States. These recommendations will be discussed in November in a High Level Policy Debate by the Ministries from the 28 member states. They will then be addressed to the Council of the EU to be the basis of participative youth policies.
The outcome of the conference in Kosice is a set of concrete proposals, including:
- The EU Institutions and the Member States should develop or further implement evidence based policy and practice that aim to continually improve the skills of young people to critically evaluate and process information through both formal and non-formal education.
- Increase funding and institutional support in establishing Local Programmes and National Level Exchanges to enable all young people to have a direct connection with others from different backgrounds and realities, so as to strengthen intercultural competences, tackle discrimination, promote empathy and solidarity, and experience the benefits of diversity.
- The European Commission and Member States should allocate sufficient operational funding so that youth work and youth organisations are able to implement sustainable youth work that is accessible, relevant and meaningful for all young people.
See the full recommendations below.
Allan Päll, Secretary General of the European Youth Forum:
“In the context of rising hate crime and discrimination, it is now more crucial than ever to think about how to foster inclusion of young people through their development. Today, youth delegates have co-created with policy makers a set of concrete proposals. The onus is now on Member States, the European Commission and relevant stakeholders to make sure that these recommendations are put into practice. The Structured Dialogue can only be a success if it leads to policy change."
Matej Cíbik, Rada mládeže Slovenska – Slovak Youth Council:
“The last few days (and the months of consultations that preceded them) showed a great appetite young people have to participate on decision-making processes and share their perspective on various policy issues. The common narrative portraying youth as passive and disengaged is clearly false. However, young people need meaningful instruments to engage. That is why Structured dialogue is so important. “
Jens Nymand-Christensen, Deputy Director General, Education and Culture, European Commission:
“The European Solidarity Corps will allow up to 100.000 young people to engage in society and live the European values in a concrete way. Through volunteering young people can help rebuild the social fabric of our societies in a period when the gap between the have and the have not is growing. Social exclusion is a threat to our society and leads to disengagement, resignation, and in some rare case to violent radicalisation. Many young people don’t feel they have a place in our society. We want to give them more chances to engage, especially those coming from disadvantaged groups by funding more accessible volunteering opportunities through the voluntary solidarity corps”.
Peter Krajňák, State Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of Slovak republic:
"I have read the results of the Structured dialogue in Slovakia and they are interesting. The two key competences that most of the students say are missing in the education system is critical thinking and an active attitude towards society.”
About the Structured Dialogue with young people
The Structured Dialogue with young people originates from the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field adopted in 2009. Since then, this tool of joint reflection on the development of youth policy, which is meant to engage equally young people and decision-makers, has been repeatedly revised. The current Team Presidency of Netherlands, Slovakia and Malta decided to further strengthen the link between Structured Dialogue and processes taking place in the Council. In three successive EU Youth Conferences, youth representatives and decision-makers together will transform the vast amount of input received from young people across the EU into a set of concrete proposals.
More information about the Structured Dialogue can be found here.
About the European Youth Forum
The European Youth Forum is the platform of youth organisations in Europe. Independent, democratic, youth-led, it represents 100 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 www.youthforum.org
About the Slovak Youth Council
Slovak Youth Council (Rada mládeže Slovenska) is an NGO that since 1990 represents youth organizations with regards to the public sector and the government. Now it has more than 20 member organizations that together have more than 55 000 members. Slovak Youth Council advocates a supportive and favorable environment for non-formal education. It connects and trains organizations, associations and initiatives in the youth sector, it stimulates exchange of information and good practices, and it informs the general public. For more information, visit www.mladez.sk