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Refreshing the youth agenda of the Council of Europe

Recommendation 1844 (2008)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 1 October 2008 (33rd Sitting) (see Doc. 11696, report of the Committee on Culture, Science and Education, rapporteur: Mr Schneider). Text adopted by the Assembly on 1 October 2008 (33rd Sitting). See also Resolution 1630 (2008).
1. Young people are no younger than they were some forty years ago in 1968 when the Parliamentary Assembly held a major debate on youth questions. However, their situation has changed and it is relevant for the Council of Europe to review its position.
2. It has often been observed that young people are our future. Young people are also part of our present. Yet young people in Europe today are a decreasing percentage of the population.
3. Past calls for the provision of a debating platform for young people should be transformed into a means of their effective involvement. Young people must be in touch, know they are in touch and assume responsibility for being in touch with government.
4. The creative potential of young people should be valued and encouraged.
5. There is therefore a real need for youth policy to be taken seriously if we want to ensure the sustainability of our European society.
6. Youth policies should be established at local, regional and national levels. They should be promoted and, where relevant, complemented by action at European level.
7. The Assembly therefore recommends that the Committee of Ministers invite the governments of member states and bodies responsible for youth questions at national, regional and local levels to:
7.1 establish the following conditions as a basis for youth policy:
7.1.1 education for democratic citizenship;
7.1.2 lifelong learning (initial and continued training);
7.1.3 employment;
7.1.4 social inclusion and youth autonomy;
7.1.5 personal and community safety;
7.1.6 participatory structures for youth involvement at all levels;
7.2 ensure that youth policy debate focuses on relevant issues that are defined on a continuously interactive basis of consultation with young people and include such subjects as:
7.2.1 mobility;
7.2.2 faith and intercultural dialogue;
7.2.3 intergenerational dialogue;
7.2.4 gender-specific issues;
7.2.5 environment;
7.2.6 employment;
7.2.7 health;
7.2.8 children;
7.2.9 bioethics;
7.2.10 new information technologies;
7.2.11 world political issues;
7.3 pay special attention to the support of disadvantaged young people and those with special needs such as migrants and rural youth;
7.4 submit regular (annual or biannual) progress reports on the participation of young people in civil and institutional life.
8. The solid experience and achievements of the Council of Europe youth sector are considerable. Priority should however be given to promotion of constructive forward-looking activities rather than monitoring procedures and past achievements.
9. The Assembly therefore recommends that the Committee of Ministers refresh the youth agenda of the Council of Europe and in particular:
9.1 strengthen the role of the European Youth Centres in Strasbourg and Budapest which are places of networking, provision of non-formal education, capacity building and which promote Council of Europe core values;
9.2 recognise and reinforce the unique role of the European Youth Foundation in strengthening civil society and associating young people in activities at local, regional, national and pan-European levels;
9.3 ensure adequate funding for the youth sector and its activities;
9.4 give a favourable response to the proposals of the European Youth Ministers’ meeting in Kyiv in October 2008 for the future youth agenda of the Council of Europe in the intergovernmental sector;
9.5 continue to support and promote the Council of Europe youth sector’s co-management system as a unique and valuable co-operation and decision-making mechanism between governments and youth organisations;
9.6 associate young people in Council of Europe activity in general and in such priority areas as intercultural dialogue, and education for democratic citizenship and human rights as well as in the fixing of budgetary allocations;
9.7 encourage all Council of Europe Steering Committees, in co-operation with the European Steering Committee for Youth, to ensure that a youth dimension is taken into account when defining and carrying out their programmes of activities;
9.8 address youth policy and its development in a cross-sector manner to ensure its coherence, and employ targeted and tailored measures addressing the needs of young people; this can only be achieved through the co-operation of all Council of Europe directorates and bodies;
9.9 recognise the added value of partnerships with international organisations and other stakeholders of youth policy in Europe;
9.10 continue to develop its training programmes for young political leaders and associate the Council of Europe’s Schools for Political Studies more closely with its other activity in the youth sector.