The proposed EU Youth Strategy puts a strong emphasis on youth participation, cross-border solidarity, and on strengthening youth work in Europe. Eurodesk welcomes the proposal and believes its cross-sectorial approach is shedding light on broad priorities that once fulfilled will positively benefit young people. The proposal rightly stresses the importance of inclusion, solidarity and reaching out to those with fewer opportunities by fostering a “vision of a continent where young people can seize opportunities and relate to European values”.
Eurodesk welcomes this ambition but calls for concrete implementation measures. Indeed, young people need to know about European values and about European opportunities in order to seize them. Unfortunately, today access to such information remains very unequal across Europe; and without information there is no participation.
Ensuring proper information about Europe and raising awareness about the opportunities it offers to young people is even more important today when considering the current political context. This is why Eurodesk calls for a more comprehensive and coordinated approach to youth information.
Here is a synthesis of our policy recommendations:
- A priority is added to the strategy on “ensuring equal access to quality, impartial and youth-friendly information about how the EU works, how to engage in it and what opportunities it offers. Having specialised Youth Information Networks such as Eurodesk was recognised as a success factor in ensuring outreach in the evaluation of the current strategy.
- Youth information should be one priority of Member States’ National Action Plans, with a more proactive approach to outreach, combining digital and face-to-face methods, to connect and engage with young people with a special focus on those with fewer opportunities.
- Foster youth participation in the planning, implementation and evaluation of the Youth Strategy especially when it comes to the Youth Dialogue. Make sure youth information and outreach is strategically addressed when it comes to broadening participation in the Youth Dialogue.
- Ensure a stronger coherence between policies and programmes as well as between the various policy initiatives targeting young people. The latter are confronted with an overload of information; efforts should be taken to coordinate actions. The EU Youth Coordinator should work hand in hand with various stakeholders to ensure a coherent communication towards young people. The EU Youth Portal should genuinely become “the digital single-entry point for young people to engage with the EU”.
Youth Goal #1 “Connecting EU with Youth” ; adopted in the 6th Cycle of the Structured Dialogue.
Eurodesk performed “substantially above target” according to the Commission Staff Working Document “Mid-term evaluation of the Erasmus+ programme (2014-2020)” accompanying the “Mid-term evaluation of the Erasmus+ programme (2014-2020)” Report, COM(2018) 50 final.