Youth Forum backs European Parliament President Martin Schulz’s opposition to abolishment of Spanish Youth Council

24. 10. 2013

European Parliament President Martin Schulz wrote a letter on the 17th October urging Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to reconsider abolishing the Consejo de la Juventud de España (CJE), or Spanish Youth Council. In July, the Spanish government outlined a number of governmental bodies, including the CJE, to scrap in order to conserve resources and rationalise public expenditures.

Citing the European Union’s (EU) White Paper on Youth in his letter, Schulz stressed the importance of democratic platforms such as the CJE in promoting youth participation “through the general introduction of youth councils that are independent of political authorities at regional and national level.”

Schulz goes on to list several of the CJE’s significant responsibilities and accomplishments, especially during a time when Spanish youth are among the groups most affected by the ongoing economic crisis. He also highlighted the CJE’s instrumental role in influencing the Youth Employment Package in Spain.

Immediately following the Spanish government’s announcement of its administrative reforms in July, the European Youth Forum expressed its firm disapproval of the government’s plan to close down the CJE. "With this step, the Spanish government wants to silence the critical voices expressed by legitimate youth representatives that fight for the rights of young people in Spain and worldwide,” Forum President Peter Matjašič said in a previous statement. “Even worse, the Government does that under the disguise of administrative reforms and under the pretext of cutting costs."

More than ever, the Forum strongly echoes Schulz’s sentiment and calls on the Spanish government to recognise young people, through their representation by youth organisations such as the CJE, as critical components of a healthy democracy.

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