Yesterday, 23rd November 2011, the European Commission presented its Communication “Erasmus for all: the EU Programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport” that detailed its vision for the EU budget in the field of youth and education.
The European Youth Forum (YFJ), a platform representing 98 National Youth Councils as well as International Youth NGOs from all over Europe including JECI-MIEC, strongly believes that Europe needs to make youth policy a financial as well as a political priority. Today, in times of crisis, as well as in the long-term, investing in youth will reinforce the values of European cooperation.
During the Council of Members an extraordinary General Assembly of the European Youth Forum in Braga, Portugal, from the 17th-20th November 2011, the delegates present adopted an urgent resolution on the future of the Youth in Action (YiA) programme.
As stated in the resolution, the European Youth Forum reaffirms “the success and impact of the European Union’s current Youth in Action programme in Europe, which supports youth-led activities with the aim to improve the situation of young people. From 2007-2013, it will have provided around 1,000,000 young Europeans with valuable non-formal education (NFE) experience and mobility possibilities.”
Currently, out of 100 euro paid in taxes by a European citizen, only 2.80 flow to the EU. Out of these 2.80 only 0.1% are used to provide funding to youth programmes. In average, the current ‘Youth in Action’ Programme just costs less than 28 cents per year to each European citizen. Investing in youth and in youth organizations is an extremely cost-efficient way to comprehensively reach the objectives of job creation and innovation, social inclusion and sustainable growth.
Taking into account this progress experienced the Forum decided to demand the further maintenance of Youth in Action as an independent programme and brand for the non-formal education provided in youth organizations.
“Youth in Action is the only EU programme that provides support to youth work, non-formal education and youth organizations in Europe,” affirms Peter Matjaši?, President of the European Youth Forum. “As such, Youth in Action ensures and represents a visible EU youth policy initiative and the continuation of diversity, quality and the unique character of youth work in the long-term”.
In 2009, with the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty, the EU gave itself the objective and competence to encourage the participation of young people in the democratic life in Europe. The European Youth Forum is concerned that this increased competence is not reflected in the Commission’s proposal and that it misses a strong link between the article 165§4 TFEU and the focus of the EU budget efforts in the field of youth, training and education.
Acknowledging planned increases in the EU budget in terms of finances as well as the pan-European approach, the inclusiveness and the reflection of the Youth Forum’s key strands in the programme itself, the urgent resolution comes along with six concrete demands:
– to foster – in line with the Lisbon Treaty (TFEU) article 165(4) – the active citizenship and participation of young people;
– to support non-formal education and volunteering in youth organizations;
– to strengthen young people’s autonomy in terms of youth-led, volunteer based and democratic organizations as bodies;
– to understand the need of implementation of the programme’s actions to be done by the youth organizations;
– to assure co-management with young people as far as it regards the programme
– to improve the user and youthfriendliness of the programme’s management.
Finally right at the moment the European Youth Forum is launching the campaign “Where are you going?”. You can find more information about this campaign on www.whereareyouthgoing.eu.