European Youth Forum adopts its Strategic Priorities

“We live the European Dream!” – With this inspiring statement Peter Matjašic, president of the European Youth Forum (YFJ),  closed the Council of Members/Extraordinary General Assembly held in Brussels (Belgium) from the 20th-21st April 2012.

The conclusion that this statement is taken literally by the members of this European platform can be drawn from the results achieved through these meetings:

The COMEM/ExGA was preceeded by a joint conference between the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)/Labour Market Observatory and the European Youth Forum on the 20th April, which focussed on the topic “Quality Jobs for Youth: Are we asking too much?” This extraordinary event gave young people as representatives of their National Youth Councils or International NGOs the chance to reflect jointly with experts and researchers on the future of Europe’s labour market.

In the morning of the 21st April the delegations of the Forum organized several Thematic Squares for the meeting: Together with the Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe (EYCE) and the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) the European Coordination JECI-MIEC prepared and facilitated a Thematic Square on the topic “Secularization and Religion” which was estimated very positively among the delegates participating.

Apart from one Position Paper and two Policy Papers newly adopted and one revised, the delegates finally decided on the European Youth Forum’s Strategic Priorities for the years 2013-2018 which will particularly focus on youth participation, strenghtening youth organizations, youth autonomy and inclusion.

The European Coordination JECI-MIEC attended the COMEM of the European Youth Forum of which is a full member, from the 19th to the 22nd of April 2012. On Friday morning it started with a joint event between the Youth forum and European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) titled “Quality Jobs for Youth: are we asking too much?” The prestigious panel consisted of Krzysztof Pater, EESC member, President of the Labour Market Observatory, László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Peter Matjašic?, President of the European Youth Forum, and Staffan Nilsson, President of the European Economic and Social Committee.

Following in the afternoon, were the six policy commissions which focused on the Position Paper on EU Structured Dialogue on Youth, the Revision of the Policy Paper UN and Global Youth Work Development, the Policy Paper on New Media and Internet Governance, Towards a Youth Forum Manifesto for the EP elections 2014, Youth Rights and Towards a Youth Forum’s “New Deal for Youth” to get them out of the crisis.

The second day began with the seven Thematic squares being “Secularization and Religion” in which JECI-MIEC was among the organizers, “The new database – a chance for enhanced cooperation with Member Organizations”, “Blocs & elections within the European Youth Forum”, “Safeguarding in international youth work”, “Sustainability management in youth organizations and the Youth Forum”, “Member Organizations’ Exchange on the Donor System” and “European Volunteering Measurement Project”.

This COMEM was important as it adopted the Strategic Priorities for the next six years of the European Youth Forum. These priorities are what the YFJ wants to achieve mainly focusing on youth participation, strong youth organizations and youth autonomy and inclusion. Also they gave an insight of   how these priorities will be achieved, aiming at having the YFJ as an agenda-setter on youth affairs, more empowered youth organizations and a rights-based approach in all the work.

Also it adopted the following three policies, one the EU Structured Dialogue on Youth, another on  the United Nations and Global Youth Work Development and the last one on New Media and Internet Governance. Furthermore a resolution of VAT regulation was also approved.

(Ryan Mercieca, European Team Member, MKSU Malta)

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