What is a stronger society

The next note is ... Commission wants young people to be more involved in society

In its communication of 5 September 2007, the Commission underlined the need to invest more and earlier in the education and health of young people at EU level and in the Member States and to facilitate the transition from training to work. It also stresses the importance of getting young people more involved in civic life and in society as a whole.

“There are currently millions of young Europeans returning to their study places at the start of the new academic year and this is an opportunity for us to remember that we must redouble our efforts to create better conditions for young people to develop their skills and themselves to participate more actively in society. Young people need to feel that their voice counts in society, ”said Ján Figel ', European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth.

Vladimír Špidla, his colleague in charge of employment, social affairs and equal opportunities, added: “We have to resolve the paradoxical situation that in the EU, on the one hand, there is a shortage of skilled workers and, on the other hand, far too many young people are unemployed - among them the unemployment rate is twice as high overall. ”He added,“ We ​​need to pay more attention to building an inclusive society in which no child or young person is excluded. ”

Today, the challenges young people face as they grow up are more complex than those of their parents' generation. The transition from school to work has become more complicated. Half of today's jobs are very skilled and the others require more diverse skills than they used to be. Around a quarter of European youth do not have the skills and abilities they need to enter the labor market. In many Member States, a third of young people have still not found work a year after leaving school.

Education and employment opportunities need to be improved. At the same time, however, volunteering is also important so that young people get actively involved in society. Such activities can be encouraged through better collaboration and sharing of best practices. According to a recent Eurobarometer survey, 74% of young people think volunteering programs are a good way to increase their participation in society.

Today the Commission underlined in particular the need to invest more - and as early as possible - in young people, not only financially but also politically and socially, through families, NGOs, teachers and employers. At national and EU level, priority must be given to developing cross-cutting strategies for youth, and these must cover a wide range of policy areas, from education policy to employment, health, enterprise and youth policy to sport policy. The Commission also called on the Member States to step up their efforts to

  • reduce early school leaving and provide more pre-school education, starting with children in disadvantaged areas and with accompanying measures to prevent early school leaving;
  • Address youth issues in the EU's growth and jobs strategy through 'flexicurity' approaches that focus on young people and improve the chances of newcomers in the labor market;
  • strengthen links between business and the education sector and increase mobility; It is in this spirit that the Commission's pilot initiative “Your first job abroad” to promote worker mobility in the EU will be presented at the “European Job Days” 2007;
  • To involve young people in the decision-making process on youth-oriented policies and in their evaluation by intensifying the existing partnerships between young people, their organizations and the EU institutions. This could be expressed and confirmed in a declaration by the EU and the Member States on developing better opportunities for young people, coupled with a commitment by young people to take an active part.
The communication makes a number of other specific proposals:
  • submission of an EU youth report every three years, including young people in its preparation; it is intended to describe and analyze the situation of young people in Europe, thereby increasing understanding of the problems and intensifying interdisciplinary cooperation;
  • an initiative for a European quality charter for internships in 2008 to promote internships and combat their abuse;
  • a new health strategy with specific measures for young people (currently being developed);
  • Consultation and impact assessment on volunteering in preparation for an initiative to remove barriers and facilitate recognition of skills acquired during volunteering;
  • To study national procedures for young people's access to culture with the aim of facilitating this access.
The Commission's communication builds on a consultation it carried out with the European Youth Forum and will serve as a basis for future closer coordination of youth policy in the EU. Commissioners Figel 'and Špidla will present the document to young people on September 16 at an event largely dedicated to this initiative in Lisbon.

For Lissy Gröner MEP, the Commission communication published today is an important step in the right direction. "It is foolish to let every sixth young person fail in school and then later to accept high youth unemployment with all the negative social consequences", says Lissy Gröner. "The communication describes the problems - more solutions are needed."

In contrast to the communication, Lissy Gröner calls on the Commission to publish a child and youth report every two years, on which European child and youth organizations are also involved. "Only if we take the many young Europeans on board can we shape a good and future-oriented European future," says Lissy Gröner, emphasizing the need for young people to participate in European politics.

"We have to take young people seriously and give them the opportunity to have their voices heard," said the European Parliament's long-time rapporteur on youth. "Another component is the children's and youth telephone that I initiated, which is currently being prepared and will be a free contact point for young people throughout Europe."

Above all, the Commission's communication makes one thing clear: just listening is not enough, not even for free.