Youth for Europe is geared towards the specific needs and expectations of young people. The aim is to promote a sense of ‘Europeanness’ among young people from every strata of society and encourage them to participate in the democratic process.
This Action supports three main types of activities: Youth Exchanges, Youth Initiatives and Youth Democracy Projects. The detailed criteria to submit applications are specified in the Youth in Action Programme Guide. Further information and support can also be obtained by contacting your National Agency. For youth initiatives and democracy projects, the SALTO Participation Resource Centre can also provide specific advice and support (for project ideas, partner-finding, etc).
The aim of Youth Exchanges is to get groups of young people from different countries together so they can explore their social and cultural differences and similarities. Youth Exchanges are targeted at young people between the age of 13 and 25 (up to 20% of participants may be aged between 25 and 30). They receive the unique opportunity to experience significant mutual learning situations and to strengthen their feeling of being Europeans.
Each exchange must have a theme that is relevant to the daily experiences of the young people involved but also has a clear European dimension. Themes could cover numerous issues, such as young people in society, racism and xenophobia, local heritage, drugs, the environment, etc. Click here to view examples of past projects!
In accordance with its inclusion strategy [288 KB] , the Youth in Action programme particularly encourages youth exchanges involving young people with fewer opportunities.
By participating in a youth exchange, young people go through a non-formal learning experience, which is recognised through a specific certificate called Youthpass.
Youth Initiatives are projects entirely devised, planned and implemented by young people at local, regional or national level. The goal of these important non-formal learning experiences is to stimulate young people’s creativity, enterprise and initiative. Youth Initiatives are aimed primarily at 18-30 year olds, but 15-18 year olds can take part if accompanied by a coach or youth worker.
There are two types of initiative: National Youth Initiatives, which are developed by single groups in their own countries; and Transnational Youth Initiatives where two or more groups from different European countries are involved. The themes that groups choose to work on must be relevant to the young people themselves and to the local community. Possible topics include art and culture, social exclusion, homelessness and unemployment, youth sports and leisure, media and communications, etc. The European dimension is crucial. This could be highlighted by ensuring that a chosen theme is examined in a European context. Project teams could also choose a specific European theme, such as enlargement and its cultural impact on young people. These strategies offer the chance to promote common European values like equal opportunities, human rights and democracy.
Youth Democracy Projects aim at boosting young people’s involvement in the democratic process at local, regional and European level.
The objective is to provide young people with ideas about and experiences of democracy, to spark new national and transnational networks and exchanges of good practice. Youth Democracy Projects improve young people’s understanding of how democracy works, helping them to make the most of their right to participate in the decision-making structures of a democratic society.
Among other things, projects could aim at developing actions to support a structured dialogue between decision-makers and young people.
Aimed at 13 to 30 year olds, Youth Democracy Projects should focus on such themes as European citizenship, active participation, cultural diversity, social inclusion, the future of Europe or other priorities identified in the field of European cooperation in the youth field.