Against a backdrop of rising youth unemployment, economic uncertainty in many European countries and civil unrest in some European cities, the EU Youth Conference in Warsaw(5-7 September) looked at what policy-makers are doing to re-engage with young people in order to encourage them to get more involved in civic and political life.
Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, took part in the event which brought together 120 youth representatives and policy chiefs from European and national level, as well as young people from Eastern Europe and Caucasus countries. Part of the so-called 'structured dialogue' with youth leaders, which now focuses on youth participation, the meeting was also the Commission's first opportunity to discuss its new budget proposals for education, training, youth and sport.
The Commission is calling for a 73% increase in funding to €15.2 billion for these areas in 2014-2020. This would enable the EU to substantially increase its support for study and work placements abroad, youth exchanges and volunteering, as well as cross-border co-operation and policy reform (see IP/11/857).
The Commission proposes a single programme for education, training and youth and will present details in autumn to set out how this scheme would allow for greater efficiency, a stronger focus and more synergies. As Commissioner Vassiliou underlined, the new programme would continue to support non-formal learning activities through the participation and the mobility of all young people.She pointed to the 60% turnout among Youth in Action programme participants in the last European Parliament election, compared to a 27% turnout of young Europeans in general, as an example of how to get young people involved in public life.
The conference highlighted the EU's support for non-formal education and volunteering through the Youth in Action programme, which involves countries in and beyond the European Union's borders. Last year, for instance, the EU provided €12.3 million in funding for nearly 900 projects with 5 600 young participants from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine.
Curious to find out more?