The European Commission’s Valentine’s Day Proposal
Today was a big news day for the European Commission. It released not one, but three key documents offering proposals for what the future of Europe could look like and more importantly how we can get there.
The communications were published in advance of the European Leaders’ meeting which will take place on 23 February 2018.
While the European Youth Forum is glad to see that the role of young people is acknowledged in these documents, we believe that the pathways put forward by the Commission could be, and need to be, even more ambitious.
Young people are now looking to the Member States to not only match the ambition set out by the European Commission, but to go even further to ensure that young people can thrive in a sustainable, democratic and inclusive Europe.
For a new and modern, long-term EU budget
To make the Europe young people want and deserve a reality – we need investment, not just political promises. As the EU’s long term budget, the Multiannual Financial Framework, will be renewed in 2021 the European Commission has already begun the discussions of how our money will be spent.
After reviewing today’s reflections from the Commission, the European Youth Forum:
- Welcomes the reinforcement of the EU’s commitment to achieve sustainable development.
- Also welcomes the ambition to fully implement the European Pillar of Social Rights.
- Emphasises that the purpose of the European Social Fund should be to take a holistic approach to social inclusion.
- Welcomes the Commission’s proposal for 1 in 3 young people to participate in Erasmus, HOWEVER, we call for an even more ambitious proposal to multiply the budget to #Erasmusx10. Increasing the Erasmus budget by ten times would give the opportunity for at least 1 in 2 young people to participate in Erasmus.
For more democratic European elections
During this turbulent time, young people more than ever need a European Union that puts citizens at the centre of its decisions.
Following the Commission’s roadmap, the European Youth Forum:
- Welcomes the Commission’s commitment to strengthening democracy in the EU and promoting the European dimension of the European Elections.
- Particularly welcomes the emphasis on encouraging European political parties and their national affiliates to engage in dialogue with citizens and civil society organisations in the run-up to the European elections in 2019. We believe that they should aim to engage with youth organisations in particular, as young people are too often under-represented in European politics.
- Supports the lead candidates process – “Spitzenkandidaten” – as a way of increasing the democratic legitimacy of the position of President of the European Commission.
- Calls for European and national political parties to address young people’s concerns and to include youth in their electoral campaigns, by giving a prominent role to their youth organisations, by placing more young candidates in electable positions, and by prioritising youth concerns in their campaigns.
- Encourages European political parties and their national affiliates to consider including the lowering of the voting age to 16 in their policy programmes, as a way of increasing youth participation in the European Elections.
So, thanks for the proposals European Commission, but we know you can give us a better offer.