Youth at the center of the discussion at the Annual Convention on Inclusive Growth (ACIG) on Youth and Social Inclusion
On the 24th of April, the Annual Convention on Inclusive Growth (ACIG) on « youth and social inclusion » was held in Brussels. Active in various sessions of the event, the Youth Forum and its member organisations highlighted the inability for social protection systems to protect and provide safety nets for young people.
Carina Autengruber, YFJ Vice-president addressed the opening plenary, underlined the disillusionment of young people with political structures, and the consequent need to include more young people in the decision making process of policies related to social inclusion.
It was brought to the attention of all who were present that young people in precarious work are struggling to access unemployment benefits. On the basis of age, young people are paid less than other workers. Pensions are increasingly becoming a seemingly unachievable dream for young people. Most national policies do not give young people the tools to reach autonomy. As stressed in our report on social inclusion of young people presented by Zuzana Vaneckova, Board member of YFJ, this increases inequalities between generations and within the young generation itself.
"We can't encourage young people to dream without giving them the resources to pursue those dreams," said one of the key speakers Prof. Justin Gest. Those of us at European Youth Forum couldn't agree more with him, and hope that in the near future the proposal for a European pillar of social rights will open the door to new resources for young people all across Europe.
We call on the European Commission to ensure the inclusiveness of its programmes such as the Youth Guarantee, the European Voluntary Service and the coming European Solidarity Corps. Matthaus Fandrejewski from CESI Youth presented the conclusions of the discussions on the need to re-build trust into Public Employment Services, to develop self-esteem and soft skills of vulnerable young people, to evaluate qualitatively these programmes – acquiring soft skills might sometimes be more useful for these young people than being placed in any kind of job.
Together with EAPN, EQUINET and ETUC-Youth, the European Youth Forum also organised a side-event to discuss the discrimination that young people face in accessing decent income, which includes minimum wage, minimum income and unemployment benefits. We call for recommendations from the European level to ban ‘youth minimum wage’, which is a clear violation of the principle of equal pay for equal work, and for a framework directive on adequate minimum income schemes ensuring no restriction in access to minimum income based on age.
All organisations present emphasized that young people are not apathetic, but rather have an opinion on decisions that influence their everyday life. The representatives from our Member organisations, CESI-Youth, CNAJEP, EFIL, ETUC-Youth, ESIB, EUDY, IGLYO, MSS, MMH, NYCI, NYCU, OBESSU, PROM and WOSM were there to promote this idea through varying sub-issues. We thank them for joining us at this event to continue the work for youth rights!