The opinion brings forward ideas to enrich the cooperation in the youth field on the basis of the 2015 EU Youth Report, which summarises the results of the second work cycle of the EU Youth Strategy (2013-15) and proposes priorities for the next 3 years.
The European Parliament Resolution of 27 October 2016 on the assessment of the EU Youth Strategy 2013-2015 (2015/2351(INI)) echoes several points highlighted in the CoR opinion.
"A. whereas young people should be actively involved in the planning, development, implementation, monitoring and assessment of all youth policies;
B. whereas young people should be helped and empowered to address the extremely serious problems they currently face and to tackle the challenges they will face in the future through more relevant, effective and better coordinated youth policies and targeted use of economic, employment and social policies resources at local, regional, national and EU level;
C. whereas there is a need to reinforce the mainstreaming of youth policy, cross sectorial cooperation, social action within the EU and the synergy between the European Youth Strategy and other European strategies such as those concerning education, training, health and employment, in order to guarantee that both current and future policy making effectively addresses the situations and needs of young people, who are having to deal with severe economic, employment and social problems and whereas in this regard the participation of youth organisations in policy making is crucial;" - Point 4. 10. 11.12.
"I. whereas youth policy should be rights-based and support the development of all young people, ensuring the fulfilment of young people's rights and potential, while avoiding stigmatising specific groups; - Point 22.
J. whereas it is important to underline that young people are politically engaged in many ways, but their participation in elections is decreasing; - Point 10.
K. whereas it is important to ensure that all young people have access to quality education – both formal and non-formal – and training as today's European youth is facing high unemployment rates in many Member States, unstable jobs and an increased risk of poverty and social exclusion, and in particular young people with poor qualifications, young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs) and those with special needs, disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds such as ethnic minorities, refugees, migrants and asylum seekers who are more likely to be unemployed and marginalised;" - Point 4.
"Q. whereas the needs of young people affected by multiple discrimination, including young people with disabilities or with mental health conditions, and young people identifying themselves as LGBTI, must also be given special consideration when designing and implementing youth policies;" - point 22.
"2. Views the open method of coordination as an appropriate but still insufficient as a means for framing youth policies that needs to be complemented by other measures; reiterates its call for closer cooperation and exchange of best practices on youth issues at local, regional, national and EU level; urges the Member States to agree on clear indicators and benchmarks in order to allow for monitoring of the progress made;" - Point 7.
"4. Stresses the importance of the Structured Dialogue as a means of involving young people, both those who are involved in youth organisations and those who are not; highlights in this regard the need to increase and improve the outreach, visibility and quality of the process, giving special attention to the involvement of vulnerable and marginalised groups, in order to develop, implement and evaluate youth policies more effectively at all levels and to foster active citizenship among young people; calls for strengthening the Structured Dialogue as a quality participatory tool for young people in the next cooperation framework for youth;" - Point 32.
"6. Stresses the importance of the EU Youth Strategy, given the EU’s alarmingly high youth unemployment, the high and widely varying percentages of NEETs, and the challenges of youth poverty and social exclusion; stresses that the next cycle (2016-2018) should contribute to the two objectives of the EU Youth Strategy by identifying and tackling the causes of youth unemployment, such as early school leaving, by fostering entrepreneurship among young people, by investing in education, internships, apprenticeships and vocational training in the skills that reflect labour market opportunities, needs and developments, and by facilitating the transition to the labour market in terms of measures ensuring better coordination of education programmes, employment policy and labour market demands; points out that labour market actors must be supported in their endeavours to implement the Youth Guarantee Scheme in an effort to ensure that, at the latest, four months after leaving school, young people are either in employment, in education or undergoing vocational (re)training;" - Point 38.
"9. Expresses its concern at the brain drain and the dangers thereof for certain Member States, in particular those facing difficulties and included in adjustment programmes, where an increasing number of graduates are being forced by massive unemployment to go abroad, depriving the countries concerned of their most valuable and productive human resources;" - Point 17.
"14. Stresses the importance of cross-sectoral cooperation at all levels and notably between the different EU strategies that affect young people (current and future EU strategies on Youth, Education and Training Strategy, Health, Employment, etc.);" - Point 8.
"17. Suggests involving local and regional authorities in the area of youth policy, especially in those Member States where they have competence in this area;" - Point 5.
"23. Calls on the Member States to issue knowledge- and evidence-based reports on the social situation and living conditions of young people, and to draw up national action plans and implement them consistently;" - Point 20.
"46. Underlines the fact that a holistic and inclusive educational approach is essential in order to make all students feel welcome and included and empowered to take decisions about their own education; points to students leaving school with no qualifications as being one of the greatest challenges for our societies – and combating it one of our main goals – as it leads to social exclusion; points out that apart from adjusting training systems, specific measures must be introduced for those in greatest difficulty; recalls that traineeships and apprenticeships should lead to employment and that the working conditions and tasks assigned should enable trainees to acquire the practical experience and relevant skills needed to enter the labour market; believes that, in order to tackle youth unemployment, the involvement of regional and local public and private stakeholders in the design and implementation of the relevant policy mix is fundamental;" - Point 5.
"49. Points out, however, that education should not only provide skills and competences relevant to job market needs, but should also contribute to the personal development and growth of young people in order to make them proactive and responsible citizens; stresses, therefore, the need for civic education in the whole educational system, both formal and non-formal;" -Point 14.
"113. Stresses the vital importance of informal and non-formal learning, the arts, sport, volunteering and social activities for encouraging youth participation and social cohesion as tools that can have a huge impact on local communities and can help address many of the societal challenges;" - Point 14.
The Council Conclusions of 21 November 2016 on Promoting new approaches in youth work to uncover and develop the potential of young people ((13621/16) echoes several points highlighted in the CoR opinion.
In order to uncover and develop the potential and talents of all young people, the EU and its Member States need to support and promote the implementation of effective cross-sectoral policies that can encourage and support young people and help them realise their full potential. Special attention should be given to those in difficult life situations. - Point 8.
The youth work environment should be stimulating, adaptive, attractive and responsive to new trends in the lives of young people and thus support them in uncovering and developing their potential, which can be often hidden and not apparent within formal education or in other sectors. This environment should be a place to experiment and try new things, where failure is allowed and is considered part of the learning and social integration processes. - Point 27.
11. Young people themselves should play a crucial role in the design, development and implementation of the innovation process of youth work to make this innovation successful. - Point 4.
18. Work closely with the representatives of regional and local authorities, youth councils and youth work organisations, young people and other actors in the youth field so that the messages included in these conclusions are widely incorporated into practice at regional and local level. - Point 3. 5.
21. Consider the regular collection and analysis of information on the living trends of young people and support dissemination of the findings to the relevant stakeholders, including national, regional and local policy makers, volunteers in youth work, youth leaders and youth workers. - Point 20.
25. Make regular analysis and insert a section in the Youth Report providing up-to-date and accurate information on the latest lifestyles and living trends of young people. - Point 20.
Follow-up of the European Commission stresses that LRAs are key actors for preparing and implementing the most suitable measures in response to migration and integration challenges and shares the CoR's view in several questions on education and local competences.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- insists that in the future, ensuring equal opportunities, promoting social integration and improving the competitiveness of young people on the labour market, while fostering active citizenship (youth participation), the strengthening of youth work, non-discrimination and intercultural understanding, should remain the key objectives of youth policy;
- expresses its concern however that the Commission fails to mention the role of local and regional authorities (LRAs) in relation to youth policy;
- continues supporting the recognition and publicising of non-formal and informal learning in youth work;
- suggests developing a basic package that each Member State should, where possible, guarantee for young people. This package could focus on access to high speed internet, the option of learning a second foreign language to the equivalent of at least B2 level within the public education system, career guidance and continuous mentoring, the chance of appropriate involvement in volunteering, promoting the preparation for a first job, and flexible and accessible forms of funding. At the same time, calls on the European Commission for action to ensure that all young people in the EU who are interested in vocational training have access to it, and also to have a "minimum qualifications and skills guarantee", recognised and validated in all Member States;
- stresses the need to match skills with employers', production and territorial needs, and for equal opportunities for young people who live in small communities, located in peripheral, outermost, island and rural areas that are facing demographic challenges;
- deems it necessary to bolster the role of young people in the democratic process, to make their voices heard;
- draws attention to the importance of strengthening protection and support of the family, particularly in regions that are demographically challenged;
- the Committee underlines that all youth strategies and policies shall incorporate horizontal measures fighting the phenomena of discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability and sexual orientation.