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Status: Pastfrom 23-03-2015to 26-03-2015
The twice-yearly EU Youth Conference concluded this week in Riga, Latvia, with a series of recommendations aimed at dealing with the low levels of youth political participation across Europe.
The conference, held from 23-26 March, took place in Riga as part of the Latvian Presidency of the European Council.
Entitled 'Empowering young people for political participation in democratic life in Europe', the event brought together youth organisations from all over Europe, representatives of pan-European youth organisations such as the European Youth Forum, the European Commission and the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science.
The conference issued recommendations for authorities engaged in youth issues across Europe, grouped under the following goals:
- Involving young people in political decision-making
- Enhancing policymakers' engagement with and commitment to young people
- Strengthening the role of youth work for the political empowerment of all young people
- Developing youth-friendly tools for political participation
- Developing local and direct democracy
Going forward from Riga, the political participation of young people will be the subject of a high-level policy debate of European Union (EU) youth ministers at the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council to be held on 18-19 May in Brussels, Belgium.
Speaking at the conference, Johanna Nyman, President of the European Youth Forum, said:
"The divide between the democratic institutions in Europe, their representatives and political parties and Europe's young citizens is growing. To ensure that young people are fully included in society, the EU and the Member States must do more. Participation is not a luxury but a basic human right."
For the 5 months prior to the EU Youth conference, the Structured Dialogue Deutsch (de) English (en) español (es) français (fr) italiano (it) , a policy consultation with over 40,000 people across Europe, was carried out by the European Commission to ensure continuous civil society input on the development and implementation of EU youth policy.