The conference aimed to highlight innovative ways to encourage the participation of marginalized young people in society and to identify key factors for success in projects working in this area. More than 150 participants came from all over Europe, including representatives of 23 umbrella NGOs and national or local NGOs from all Member States, youth workers and policy-makers.
Ján Figel', European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, said: ''When young people 'fall through the cracks' and find themselves socially excluded, society as a whole faces huge social and economic costs as a result. Europe loses out if the young are not able to make their full contribution. Such a contribution only comes about through effective participation in the society in which they live. Yet throughout Europe, increasing numbers of marginalised young people are becoming disenfranchised and distant from society, with crime and anti-social problems as the result. We must work together to prevent this from happening. This conference is the first to take place at EU-level that will look into this problem in greater depth.''
The conclusions of the Conference will complement the exchange of good practices between Member States at the Council of Ministers, and should be presented at the Council meeting on Education, Youth and Culture on 21 and 22 May.