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Youth Council Conclusions say youth participation must be strengthened!


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Christiana Xenofontos

Last week’s Youth Council Conclusions mark a big step forward for youth rights, stating that young people’s voices must be heard in all decision-making that affects them.

The Conclusions on ‘Strengthening the multilevel governance when promoting the participation of young people in decision-making processes’ were adopted on Monday 17 May and emphasise the importance of equal opportunities for participation, involvement and empowerment for all young people in society.

The European Youth Forum has long advocated for young people’s participation in decision-making processes, and we are pleased to see that the Conclusions set specific goals on how to drive this forward at European, national, regional and local levels.

We are also delighted that our own initiative, the European Youth Capital, was highlighted in the Conclusions for its role in fostering young people’s participation and enhancing links between policies at European and local level. For over ten years, the European Youth Capital award has been supporting young people to meaningfully participate in public life, and be vehicles of change in their cities and local communities across Europe. We are happy that the work of young people creating a change is being noticed.

The Council Conclusions were adopted alongside the Ministers’ debate on the rights based approach to youth policy. The Youth Forum together with the National Youth Councils of the Trio Presidencies had a chance to input into this debate at the EU Youth Dialogue breakfast meeting hosted by the Portuguese Presidency before the Youth Council’s meeting. Further discussions on this topic are also due to take place at a Peer Learning Activity in June 2021, organised by the Portuguese Presidency.

It is essential that young people are able to exercise their right to democratic participation, and to have their voice heard on decisions that will shape their present and future. The Youth Forum calls on Member States and the European Commission to follow the invitations for action laid out in these Youth Council conclusions and support sustainable multilevel governance structures for young people’s participation.

You can read more about the Youth Council Conclusions here.

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