Statement of the European Youth Forum on the difficult budgetary situation of the Council of Europe
The European Youth Forum is extremely concerned by the difficult situation faced by the Council of Europe due to the reduction of its overall budget.
With the decision of the Russian Federation to suspend the payment of its contribution to the Council of Europe until the restoration of the voting rights of the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and by the announcement of the Turkish authorities to discontinue Turkey’s status as a major budgetary contributor, the Council of Europe is facing an unprecedented budget crisis. With an overall budget of approximately 450 million euros, the Council of Europe might see its budget reduced up to 15% in the future if the situation is not restored.
The Council of Europe has been, and continues to be, the pioneer and guarantor for human rights and democracy in Europe since it was created in 1949. Since then, it has been active in protecting human rights, pluralist democracies and the rule of law in our continent, bringing its people and nations together.
It has been implementing programmes and developing policies to find common solutions to the challenges faced by European societies, such as discrimination against minorities, xenophobia, intolerance, violence against children and last but not least promoting youth participation in the democratic life.
The Council of Europe has a long tradition of working with young people and, relying on co-management by youth organisations and governments, has been at the forefront of using a policy- & decision-making model, which has been successfully implemented for decades to promote participation of young people in democratic institutions and processes throughout Europe.
From the recognition of the added value of youth work, volunteering and of non-formal education to the fight for young people’s access to rights, the Council of Europe is essential to the lives of young people.
The decision of suspending or reducing the payment of their contribution to the Council of Europe budget made by the Russian Federation and Turkey earlier this year might have an unprecedented impact on the work of thousands of youth organisations and their ability to engage millions of young people across the continent as they might see the support received by the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe reduced consequently.
The European Youth Forum is calling on European leaders to put in place all diplomatic measures to solve the difficult situation the Council of Europe is currently facing. It is the duty of all governments from Council of Europe Member States to uphold its values and to preserve the work done for young people and their organisations. The Council of Europe remains dedicated to advancing democracy, human rights and the rule of law across our continent and any reductions on their activities and programmes will have a dramatic impact on our democracies and on the work of civil society and young activists in Europe.