What do the National Working Groups on Structured Dialogue have to say about the High Level Policy Debate ?

02. 06. 2015

For the first time ever, on the 18th of May, the 28 EU Ministers responsible for youth met for a “High Level Policy Debate” to publicly discuss “empowering young people for political participation in the democratic life in Europe” at the Council of the European Union in Brussels on May 18th. 


This is the first time that a high-level policy debate has addressed the same topic as the Structured Dialogue on youth, bringing youth policy makers in the Council into the public arena and allowing – through a live stream of the debate – young people and the general public to watch, assess and comment on the debate via social media. 397 persons watched the debate live.

Please find below some comments from the National Working Groups taking part to the process of Structured Dialogue :

“We are satisfied over the different speeches what we heard from the ministers. They were connected with the problems that Structured Dialogue joint recommendations brought up. The only thing which was a bit frustrating is the lack of specificity in the speeches. “
National Working Group of Estonia

“We think that the idea of bringing in the studies about the politics from 6th grade at the elementary school is very important. Also it was good to hear that all the ministries had a common understanding, that the civic education is important and we need to develop the formats of the learning. It was a nice to hear that many participants to the debate agreed to lower the voting age to 16 “
National Working Group of Estonia

“Participation was often limited to participation in elections during the debate but there is a broader perspective on participation. We found really positive that citizenship education was mentioned a lot.
We want to underline some quotes from the representatives:
* Belgium: " Young people shouldn´t be seen as a danger, stigmatisation is very unproductive"
* Lithuania: "Positive citizenship is a tool to combat radicalisation" ;"We need to create a habit of voting as a right" “

National Working Group of Flanders (BE)

“If the “inclusion of young people” was mentioned several time, Ministers did not define it. Nobody explain how political representation of young people could be ensured”
National Working Group of Bulgaria
“The Belgian representative mentioned the relevance of Youth Work in enhancing a culture of political participation, and explained well how joint recommendation are taken into account in his country. He also insisted on the fact that we should not fight against radicalisation, but against intolerance, racism and for human rights for all. He had a focus on common law versus specification of the youth policy, which can lead to stigmatisation of young people. We have found it really positive.”
National Working Group of France

“We liked that the Spanish representative included its speech into a larger context and have focused on topics such as transparency and on real impact of the youth policy as key element for success in enhancing youth participation.”
National Working Group of France

It is positive that the French Youth Minister sees youth participation as an objective and also as a method. We also would like to underline that the focus on the joint recommandations was quite clear, especially on cross sectorial cooperation, evaluation of youth politicy impact, and on the importance to include youth in the decision making process. »
National Working Group of France

Read more:
- Read our report on the High Level Policy debate.

- Read our press release on the High Level Policy Debate and the Council Conclusion.
- Watch the High Level Policy Debate.

- About the Structured Dialogue
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 Italy, Latvia and Luxembourg decided to further strengthen the link between Structured Dialogue and processes taking place in the Council. In two successive EU Youth Conferences in Rome and Riga, youth representatives and decision-makers together transformed the vast amount of input received from young people across the EU into a set of concrete proposals. Amongst them: the implementation of the vote at 16, the reinforcement of citizenship education and the need for alternative and innovative forms of political participation. The draft proposals will be refined in the light of the feedback provided during yesterday’s debate and they will be adopted as joint recommendations during the final EU Youth Conference in Luxembourg, concluding the 4th Cycle of Structured Dialogue.

If you miss the debate, you can see some of the comments from Twitter below thanks to our Storify!

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