Commission kick-starts work to make 2022 the European Year of Youth
(Source: European Commission)
Following the announcement made by President von der Leyen in her 2021 State of the Union address, the Commission has adopted today its formal proposal to make 2022 the European Year of Youth. Europe needs the vision, engagement and participation of all young people to build a better future, that is greener, more inclusive and digital. With this proposal, Europe is striving to give young people more and better opportunities for the future. The Commission is also publishing its latest EU Youth Report, which provides an overview of the situation of young Europeans in terms of education, training, learning, employment, and civic and political participation.
With the European Year of Youth, the Commission intends, in cooperation with the European Parliament, Member States, regional and local authorities, stakeholders and young people themselves:
- to honour and support the generation that has sacrificed the most during the pandemic, giving them new hopes, strength and confidence in the future by highlighting how the green and digital transitions offer renewed perspectives and opportunities;
- to encourage all young people, especially those with fewer opportunities, from disadvantaged backgrounds, from rural or remote areas, or belonging to vulnerable groups, to become active citizens and actors of positive change;
- to promote opportunities provided by EU policies for young people to support their personal, social and professional development. The European Year of Youth will go hand in hand with the successful implementation of NextGenerationEU in providing quality jobs, education and training opportunities; and
- to draw inspiration from the actions, vision and insights of young people to further strengthen and invigorate the common EU project, building upon the Conference on the Future of Europe.
The Commission is currently developing its programme of activities and all interested parties will be invited to submit their ideas and proposals. A dedicated survey on the Youth Portal will be launched in the coming days. Working together with other EU institutions, Member States, civil society organisations and young people, the Commission will organise a number of activities throughout the year at European, national, regional and local level and consider new initiatives. The scope of activities will cover issues that mostly affect young people, following the priorities highlighted in the Youth Goals, such as equality and inclusion, sustainability, mental health and well-being, and quality employment. They will involve young people beyond the EU. The Commission calls on Member States to appoint a national coordinator responsible for organising their participation in the European Year of Youth.
The Commission’s proposal will now be discussed by Parliament and Council, with the opinions of the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions taken into account. The events and activities are expected to start in January.
Members of the College said:
European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen said: “The pandemic has robbed young people of many opportunities – to meet and make new friends, to experience and explore new cultures. While we cannot give them that time back, we are proposing today to designate 2022 the European Year of Youth. From climate to social to digital, young people are at the heart of our policymaking and political priorities. We vow to listen to them, as we are doing in the Conference on the Future of Europe, and we want to work together to shape the future of the European Union. A Union that is stronger if it embraces the aspirations of our young people – grounded in values and bold in action.”
Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas said: “Our Union is an area of freedom, values, opportunities and solidarity unique in the world. As we are emerging stronger together from the pandemic, the 2022 European Year of Youth will foster these principles for and with our younger generations across Europe. It is our duty to protect and empower them because their diversity, courage and boldness are essential for our future as Europeans.”
Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, said: “The European Year of Youth should bring a paradigm shift in how we include young people in policy and decision-making. The objectives of the Year are to listen, engage and promote concrete opportunities for youth. We also need to bridge the gap between generations. Today’s young people are less interested in traditional forms of participation, but they are active in standing up for what they believe in, engaging in new ways. This Year wants to pay tribute and recognise the commitment of young people. With this Decision we start a co-creation process with all interested parties to contribute to the successful organisation of the Year.”
The European Year of Youth will go hand in hand with NextGenerationEU, which reopens perspectives for young people, including quality jobs and education and training opportunities for the Europe of the future, and supports young people’s participation in society.
The Year of Youth will seek synergies and complementarity with other EU programmes targeting youth across the policy spectrum – from rural development programmes focussed on young farmers to research and innovation programmes, and from cohesion to climate change actions – including EU programmes with international outreach or of a transnational nature.
Besides, Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps, with budgets of €28 billion and 1€ billion respectively for the current financial period, the EU’s Youth Guarantee and Youth Employment Initiative are creating more opportunities for young people. While, in 2022 also, a new programme called ALMA will be launched to support cross-border professional mobility for disadvantaged young people.
The EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027 is the framework for EU youth policy cooperation. It supports youth participation in democratic life and aims to ensure that all young people take part in society. The EU Youth Dialogue is a central tool in these efforts.
Finally, the Conference on the Future of Europe, which will draw its conclusions also in 2022, ensures that the views and opinions of young people on the future of our Union are heard. One-third of participants in the European Citizens’ Panels and of Panel representatives to the Conference Plenaries are also young people, while the President of the European Youth Forum also takes part in Plenaries.