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European youth co-operation and recent proposals for structural change

Recommendation 1364 (1998)

Parliamentary Assembly
See Doc. 8016, report of the Committee on Culture and Education, rapporteurs: Mrs Plechatá and Mr Jakic. Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 18 March 1998.
1. The Assembly recognises young people as the future of Europe and a positive force for present change. The Council of Europe should therefore consider them as a priority target for, and partners in, its activities.
2. It has drawn attention to the importance of the participation of young people in institutional and political life in its reports on group participation (1975), youth co-operation in Europe (1980), on the participation of young people in political and institutional life (1985), on youth representation at national level (1990) and on the European Youth Centre in Budapest (1996).
3. The Assembly acknowledges the major role played by youth organisations in the opening up of central and eastern Europe, and in the promotion of the ideals of the Council of Europe, in particular in the Campaign against Racism, Anti-Semitism, Xenophobia and Intolerance, and recalls the importance of their present involvement in the Euro-Mediterranean youth dialogue.
4. The Assembly is aware that only a small percentage of young people are organised in a traditional way. However, the activities of youth organisations benefit a larger number of young people than their members. Already in 1980, the Assembly stressed the importance of "also involving young people who do not belong to recognised youth organisations". Today it feels that further efforts are needed to identify and reach young people and especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, in order to associate them with the work of the Council of Europe.
5. The promotion by the Assembly of initiatives concerning young political leaders and its active involvement in the Democratic Leadership Programme are examples of this concern.
6. The Assembly has also tackled some present social and economic concerns of young people such as youth unemployment, mobility in central and eastern Europe, drugs, marginalised youth, or rural youth.
7. In order to pursue such problems further, there is a need to ensure co-operation between the youth sector and other sectors of the Council of Europe, namely the Directorate of Education, Culture and Sport, the Directorate of Social and Economic Affairs, and the Human Rights Directorate.
8. The Committee on Culture and Education has been following the current review of policy, activities and institutions in the youth field of the Council of Europe launched by the Ministers’ Deputies and the Secretary General, and has held exchanges of views with different bodies involved.
9. The Assembly therefore recommends that the Committee of Ministers take into account the following points in reviewing priorities and structures in the youth sector of the Council of Europe:
9.1 the participation of youth representatives in the decision-making process (co-management system) should be maintained at the same level as at present;
9.2 social workers, researchers and other new partners who work for young people may be consulted or invited as resource people;
9.3 consideration should be given to the advisability of maintaining a specific steering committee for intergovernmental co-operation in the youth field;
9.4 co-ordination should be ensured with other sectors without recourse to the creation of further intermediate structures;
9.5 the European Youth Centre in Budapest should be reassured of its original equivalent status with the European Youth Centre in Strasbourg and not be relegated to a "second class" centre for east European young people;
9.6 no re-structuration should be undertaken with the effect of diminishing the financial and staff allocation of the youth sector;
9.7 contributions to the budget of the European Youth Foundation should be made compulsory for all the signatories of the European Cultural Convention and the choice of activities to be supported by the European Youth Foundation should continue to be the sole responsibility of its Governing Board;
9.8 co-operation with the European Union should be strengthened