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Europe's future lies in the hands of young people - 12/08/2009

The European Union offers young Europeans the opportunity to express their views and help build a sustainable world.

On the eve of the tenth International Youth Day, the European Union has highlighted again that, if society is to make sustainable progress, young people must take a fuller part in social, economic and political life.

There are 96 million young people aged 15-29 in the EU (about 20% of the population). The programme 'Youth in Action' was designed to meet their expectations and aims to inspire young Europeans with a sense of citizen participation, solidarity and tolerance by involving them more in shaping Europe's future.

In concrete terms, the programme encourages:

• young people to move around the EU and the world to study and work;

• non-formal education and contact with other cultures;

• the inclusion of all young people, regardless of educational, social or cultural background.

To this end, the European voluntary service (EVS) supports young people participating in various voluntary activities within and beyond EU boarders. It helps young people aged 18-30 to work on social projects abroad for between two and twelve months, a formative experience at a key stage of their life.

For example, last winter, eight motivated young Europeans met up for an EVS project in Redon, western France. Assisted by the town's schools and associations they helped organise a special 'European Week'. Not only did they improve their language skills during their stay, they emerged far more open-minded and rounded than before they went. It's schemes like this that will ultimately help all Europeans, young and old alike.

More on EU youth policies

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