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Training and Education Policy

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The YOUTH Community action programme (2000 - 2006) promoting mobility,
initiative, intercultural learning and solidarity among young people
throughout Europe and beyond.


Official title

"YOUTH Community action programme (2000-2006)".


Legal references

  • Decision No 1031/2000/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 April 2000 establishing the YOUTH action programme. (OJ L 117 of 18.05.2000).

  • Call for submission of large scale cooperation, training and information projects, Action 5 - Support measures. (OJ C of 27.7. 2000)



The YOUTH action programme puts the previous Programmes Youth for Europe and the European Voluntary Service on a single legal basis. It also supplements the Leonardo and Socrates Programmes. The overall aim is to allow young people to acquire knowledge and skills in order to exercise responsible citizenship in the European context. The objectives of the programme are:

    1. promoting the participation of young people in transnational exchanges within the Community or with third countries in order to allow them to develop their understanding of the cultural diversity of Europe and to promote respect for human rights and combat racism;

    2. strengthening young people’s sense of solidarity through participation in transnational community-service activities;

    3. encouraging their initiative, enterprise and creativity so that they may take an active role in society and, at the same time, recognise the value of informal education;

    4. supporting cooperation in the youth field by fostering the exchange of good practice, the training of youth workers/europa/leaders and the development of innovative actions at Community level.



The YOUTH action programme is aimed at young people, principally between the ages of 15 and 25, and at those involved in youth work. Participants must be legal residents in a Member State or in a third country. The following groups can benefit from the YOUTH programme:

  • groups of young people, who want to go on a youth exchange;
  • young people who want to launch an initiative in their local community;
  • young people who would like to get involved in voluntary service;
  • ex-volunteers who are looking to build upon their experience;
  • youth organisations;
  • youth leaders and youth workers;
  • project managers or organisers;
  • local authorities;
  • other organisations working in the third sector;
  • others who are in some way involved in the field of youth and informal education.

The programme is open to 31 countries, which include the 15 Member States, as well as the 3 EFTA/EEA countries, the 13 Candidate Countries including Malta and Turkey, according to the specific agreements which they have signed with the EU. In addition, some activities may involve cooperation with third countries.

Co-operation with the Mediterranean countries is the subject to the Euro-Mediterranean Youth Action Programme (Euro-Med), which gives them a privileged position in youth co-operation with the EU Member States.

Particular attention shall be paid to participation by young people and small-scale or local groups who have not experienced activities at European level before and to those who for cultural, social, physical, mental, economic or geographical reasons find it more difficult to participate in relevant action programmes at Community, national, regional or local level.



The programme shall be implemented over the period 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2006.

There are various deadlines for the submission of applications depending on the action. Details are published on the website:

The latest call for proposals was published in OJ C 214 of 27.7.2000 for large scale European projects within action 5. The deadline for the submission of applications is 1 November 2000.

The Commission shall regularly monitor the programme in cooperation with the Member States. The Member States shall submit reports on the implementation and the impact of the programme by 31 December 2004 and 30 June 2007.

On the accession of new Member States the Commission shall submit to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of regions a report on the financial consequences of the accessions on the programme followed by, if applicable, proposals to deal with financial consequences. In addition, the Commission shall submit an interim evaluation report on the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the implementation by 30 June 2005 and a final report on the implementation of the programme 31 December 2007.


Nature of Actions

Action 1: Youth for Europe

The exchanges have a pedagogical, informal learning aim. The Community shall support mobility activities, which last at least one week. These activities, based on transnational partnerships between groups of people, are to involve their active participation and be designed to enable them to discover different social and cultural realities and to encourage them to participate in, or initiate, other activities at European level. Community support shall be given to projects, which involve groups of young people aged principally between 15 and 25 years. Activities designed to strengthen the active involvement of young people in group mobility projects may receive funding, particularly in the form of activities to provide the young people in question with linguistic and intercultural preparation before their departure. Actions can be carried out at two levels:

  • Action 1.1: Intra-Community exchanges for young people

    This action involves groups of young people in the Member States. Community support shall progressively be focused on multilateral group-mobility activities. Bilateral group mobility shall receive funding if this is justified in terms of the target groups or a specific pedagogical approach.

  • Action 1.2: Exchanges of young people with third countries

    Support shall be given to mobility activities, which involve young people in at least two Member States and a third country. These projects should make it possible for partners in the third countries to gain experience of activities in the field of informal education and to contribute to the development of youth work and associations in those countries.


Action 2: European voluntary service

The Community shall support transnational projects, which give young people, in principle 18 - 25 years, a possibility to participate in a non-profit-making, unpaid activity designed to help meet the needs of society in a wide range of fields (social, ecological and environmental projects, arts and cultural and new technological developments, leisure and sports, etc). The voluntary service can last from 3 weeks up to 12 months in a Member State other than the one in which volunteer resides, or in a third country. The projects should constitute an experience of informal education with a view to acquiring social and cultural skills, and bring young people into contact with other cultures and languages.

The Community may support schemes, particularly those with a linguistic or intercultural element, which aim at preparing young volunteers for their departure and easing their social integration during those activities as well as when they have completed their period of European voluntary service. The voluntary service should not result in job substitution. Full board and lodging as well as mentoring, insurance and pocket money shall be provided to the volunteer. The European voluntary service shall be carried out at two levels:

  • Action 2.1: Intra-Community European voluntary service
  • Action 2.2: European voluntary service with third countries


Action 3: Youth initiatives

Support shall be given to projects in which young people participate in innovative and creative schemes and in schemes, which focus on the social commitment of young people at local, regional, national or European level. Moreover, the Community shall support initiatives designed to help young volunteers to make the best possible use of the experience they have gained during their period of voluntary service and to encourage their active integration into society. Support shall aim at encouraging extension of these projects to include similar initiatives conducted in other Member States in order to strengthen their transnational nature and expand exchanges of experience and cooperation between young people. This aid may include organising meetings of young promoters of Europe- wide initiatives. Financial aid may be granted towards the effective establishment of stable, transnational partnerships between such projects.


Action 4: Joint actions

This action brings together the education (SOCRATES), vocational training (LEONARDO DA VINCI) and YOUTH programmes. It shall provide support for initiatives that build on the complementary nature of the three programmes, which involve organisations in the fields of education, training and youth.

Furthermore it shall support co-operation to facilitate moving from formal to informal education. The Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, shall aim at developing a common system of information, observation and dissemination concerning good practice in the field of knowledge and lifelong learning, alongside joint actions with regard to multimedia for educational and training purposes. Those projects shall cover a range of schemes from a number of different sectors including youth. They may be funded in a complementary manner by a number of different Community programmes, and may be implemented by means of calls for joint projects.

Appropriate measures may be adopted to promote, at regional and local level, contact and interaction between those participating in this programme and in programmes dealing with vocational training and education. In this context, activities increasing awareness of the opportunities provided by the Community to young people may be supported.


Action 5: Support measures

  • Action 5.1: Training and cooperation in relation to those involved in youth policy

    Funding shall be granted to the following activities:

      1. training of persons involved in youth work, particularly European voluntary service instructors, youth workers, those running European projects and youth initiative counsellors;

      2. developing European modules fulfilling the requirements for transnational cooperation;

      3. study visits, feasibility studies, seminars and work-experience focusing on exchanges of experience and good practice between transnational partnerships and multilateral networks in the youth field;

      4. innovative new approaches and new forms of cooperation;

      5. conferences and seminars promoting cooperation and the exchange of good practise in the youth field as well as other promotion and dissemination measures regarding the results of the projects and activities supported within the framework of Community actions related to youth.

    Activities associated with these measures may be solely intra- Community in nature or involve non-member countries.

  • Action 5.2: Information for young people and youth studies

    Funding is to be provided for initiatives involving:

      1. the acquisition of the necessary skills to carry out youth information projects based on transnational cooperation and projects which provide information and advisory services for young people;

      2. cooperative projects focusing on information dissemination, enhancing the awareness among young people of the field covered by the programme and giving young people access to all necessary information to achieve the objectives of the programme;

      3. the implementation,as part of transnational cooperation projects, of mechanisms permitting dialogue both between and with young people, particularly through the use of youth-oriented media and new technologies;

      4. studies analysing the impact of other policies on the world of youth and providing a more comprehensive picture of young people's needs and of the circumstances in which they live. Priority shall be given to studies concerning the paths taken by less-favoured and marginalised young people and to comparative studies of measures designed to promote the spirit of initiative, including their impact on local development (creation of jobs, creation of cultural or social enterprises, etc.).This research may take the form of case studies, the most relevant of which shall be made public.

  • Action 5.3: Information and visibility of measures

    The Commission shall take all necessary measures to, inter alia, collect information on measures in the youth field from a range of sources, draw benefits from EU youth projects and increase the visibility of the actions aimed at young people at Community level by developing appropriate means of dialogue with them, including through the Internet.


Financial participation of the EU

The financial contribution of the EU for the period 2000 - 2006 shall be EUR 520 million. The annual appropriations shall be authorised by the budgetary authority within the limits of the financial perspective.



The European Commission

With the assistance of a Committee, the European Commission is ultimately responsible for the smooth running of the YOUTH programme and the co-ordination of the YOUTH programme National Agencies. It is in charge of the management of the budget and sets priorities and targets for the programme on an ongoing basis. The European Commission co-operates closely with the National Agencies and oversees their activities.

National Authorities

Each of the National Authorities (Ministries responsible for youth affairs in the Member States) appoints a representative to sit on the Programme Committee. The National Authorities are also responsible for the designation of the National Agencies and jointly with the European Commission, for the monitoring of these National Agencies.

National Agencies

At the national level the Programme shall be managed and implemented by the YOUTH programme National Agencies. The vast majority of applications for funding shall be processed by the National Agencies. However, a certain number of specific types of projects shall be dealt with directly by the European Commission. National selection panels shall select projects at common selection dates. The panel shall consist of people familiar with the youth field and its activities. Selections are made in accordance with the European Commission's guidelines. For projects selected at the European level, the selection panel shall consist of representatives from the European Commission, the National Agencies, and the youth organisations.

For the Mediterranean partners who are participating in the programme via the Euro-Mediterranean Youth Action Programme, YOUTH programme National Co-ordinators fulfil a similar role to the National Agencies in programme countries.


Communication support

The following information is available on the YOUTH web-site:

  • Users guide
  • Application forms
  • Expression of interest for host organisations
  • Examples of projects
  • Legal texts
  • Addresses to YOUTH programme National Agencies and National Co-ordinators in the Mediterranean countries


Additional sources of information

  • European Commission
    Directorate General for Education and Culture
    Directorate D Citizenship & Youth, Unit D6
    200, rue de la Loi
    B-1049 Brussels
    Fax: +32 2 299 41 58

  • Technical Assistance Office
    Youth Department
    Rue de Trèves 59-61
    B - 1040 Brussels
    Tel. (32-2) 233 01 11
    Fax: (32-2) 233 01 50

  • Structure for Operational Support for the European Voluntary Service R
    Rue Quai aux Briques 76
    B - 1000 Bruxelles
    Tel. (32-2) 549 5590
    Fax (32-2) 549 55 99

  • Eurodesk

    The "Youth" fact sheet replaces the fact sheets "Youth for Europe III" (P 4.3.1) and the "European Voluntary Service for Young People" (P.4.3.2) which were published in the last edition of the Directory "European Union's action programmes and rural development".



last update: 08/2000

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