Tag Archives: Young person

Mobility of young volunteers

Mobility of young volunteers

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Mobility of young volunteers

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Youth

Mobility of young volunteers

Document or Iniciative

Council Recommendation of 20 November 2008 on the mobility of young volunteers across the European Union [Official Journal C 319 of 13.12.2008].

Summary

This recommendation establishes a framework of cooperation for Member States, based on which the cross-border mobility of young volunteers may be strengthened. It does so with due respect to the diversity of the national volunteering schemes.

The Council has defined cross-border voluntary activities as: “open to all young people, undertaken by their own free will in the general interest, for a sustained period, within a clear framework and in a country other than the country of residence, unpaid or with token payment and/or coverage of expenses”. Voluntary activities provide a non-formal educational and informal learning experience through which young people may develop their professional and social skills and competences. Thereby, these activities enhance their employability and active citizenship, while benefiting local communities and fostering social cohesion.

With this recommendation, the Council is encouraging Member States to strengthen cooperation among voluntary organisations and public authorities involved in organising voluntary activities, in order to promote the mobility of young volunteers within Europe. To this end, Member States should take action to:

  • promote the dissemination of information on national voluntary activities;
  • facilitate stakeholders’ access to information regarding cross-border voluntary activities and provide information on rights and opportunities thereof;
  • facilitate young volunteers’ access to cross-border voluntary activities, in particular by simplifying the procedures;
  • develop opportunities for cross-border voluntary activities through a flexible approach, taking into consideration such issues as hosting capacities, establishment of contacts among volunteers, use of European mobility mechanisms, mobility of youth workers and training of those active in youth work;
  • promote the development of intercultural competences and the learning of languages as means to facilitate cross-border mobility;
  • support the development of self-assessment tools with which voluntary organisations may guarantee the quality of their cross-border activities;
  • exchange information and cooperate with each other in order to assure the social and legal protection of volunteers;
  • promote the recognition of volunteers’ learning outcomes through the use of national and European level qualification instruments;
  • promote the participation of young people with fewer opportunities in cross-border voluntary activities.

The Commission is committed to support Member States’ actions relating to the above. It will do this through the EU cooperation framework in the youth field, the open method of coordination as well as the European Voluntary Service (EVS), as contained in the youth in action programme. The Commission will develop opportunities for voluntary organisations to exchange information and experience on cross-border cooperation. In addition, it will establish a European Youth Volunteer Portal to disseminate information to all stakeholders.

Background

The common objectives for young people’s voluntary activities and their implementation at national level were identified in the Resolution of 15 November 2004 on common objectives for voluntary activities of young people and in its implementing resolution of 16 November 2007. These also requested that Member States develop means to measures progress in practice. The 2007 resolution further requested the Commission to propose additional ways to promote and recognise young people’s voluntary activities.

Health and well-being of young people

Health and well-being of young people

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Health and well-being of young people

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Youth

Health and well-being of young people

Document or Iniciative

Resolution of the Council and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council of 20 November on the health and well-being of young people [Official Journal C 319 of 13.12.2008].

Summary

Even though the health of Europe’s young people is considered to be in general rather satisfactory, concerns remain regarding nutrition, physical activity, alcohol abuse, as well as sexual and mental health. In this context, it is essential to promote a healthy lifestyle, to adopt preventive measures and to take gender issues into consideration.

Several aspects related to living conditions pose a risk to young people’s health and well-being. To ensure the healthy development of young people, their physical and social environments should be wholesome. This aim is best achieved by giving further support to parents.

The extent of social inclusion and level of education of young people is closely related to their health and well-being. Hence, it is important that young people are kept well informed of the advantages of a healthy lifestyle and that they are encouraged to become more responsible and autonomous with regard to their own health.

In order to ensure that youth health policy is efficient, the state of play should be assessed to provide better tailored strategies that take into consideration the needs of and differences among young people. The strategies should be based on a comprehensive and cross-sectoral approach. Youth health policy should involve the local, regional, national and European levels and be developed in close partnership with a wide range of stakeholders.

Consequently, the Council is inviting Member States to:

  • mainstream the “youth” dimension into all initiatives that are related to health issues and implement appropriate measures for youth health policy;
  • allow all relevant stakeholders, including young people themselves, to participate in developing and implementing the initiatives related to health issues;
  • support young people’s access to both cultural and physical leisure-time activities;
  • consider youth health issues in information and the media programmes and policies;
  • promote youth workers’ and organisations’ training on health issues and prevention measures.

The Commission is also invited to ensure the mainstreaming of the “youth” dimension in all initiatives related to health issues, as well as to include all stakeholders and the young people themselves at all stages of development of the initiatives on youth health policy.

Finally, the Council is inviting Member States and the Commission to collaborate, in order to:

  • expand knowledge of youth health issues by increasing research into and regular reporting on the topic;
  • include data on youth health and well-being into the Commission’s triennial report on young people’s situation in Europe;
  • inform the public about issues that affect the health of young people;
  • promote exchanges at the local, regional, national and European levels on best practice related to youth health;
  • promote the use of existing European Union (EU) instruments in the development of youth health-related projects;
  • encourage stronger collaboration on youth health issues among young people, youth organisations and other relevant stakeholders as well as civil society.

Background

The White Paper on youth of 21 November 2001 recognised the importance of health in empowering young people, fostering their social inclusion and developing their active citizenship. The European Youth Pact, adopted in March 2005, further emphasised the need to mainstream the “youth” dimension, in particular issues related youth health, to other relevant European policies.

Youth mobility

Youth mobility

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Youth mobility

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Youth

Youth mobility

Document or Iniciative

Conclusions of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council of 21 November 2008 on youth mobility [Official Journal C 320 of 16.12.2008].

Summary

The mobility of young people is essential in promoting a sense of belonging to Europe, enhancing social and occupational integration, and ensuring a competitive European economy. However, the mobility of young people is not widespread, regardless of the success of the Erasmus programme.

All young people in Europe should have opportunities for mobility. This should consist of physical mobility, whereby the young person will stay in another European country to study, do an internship, volunteer or carry out other training. In the educational context, “virtual mobility” may also contribute to the mobility of young people. Through mobility, young people may develop their skills and competences, thus improving their versatility and employability.

A European policy for mobility should be cross-cutting, provide for the arrangements with which opportunities for mobility are prepared and supported, and promote the recognition of learning outcomes from periods of mobility and the development of opportunities for mobility for teachers and trainers. Young people coming from disadvantaged backgrounds or having special needs must receive particular consideration.

In light of the above, Member States are encouraged to:

  • provide further opportunities for cross-border mobility within education, training and volunteering, thereby transforming mobility into a widespread phenomenon;
  • take steps to attain the objectives of the current European Union (EU) programmes for education, youth, culture, citizenship and research;
  • build on the work of the High Level Expert Forum in order to facilitate the participation of all young people in mobility schemes and enhance the mobility of all educational staff;
  • take action at various levels and in partnership with various stakeholders to increase opportunities for mobility.

The Member States and the Commission are invited to set out measures to remove possible barriers to mobility and to ensure the recognition of cross-border mobility periods. In particular, they should:

  • develop scope for mobility by promoting active coordination between stakeholders so that the management of public sector support is enhanced, taking advantage of relevant EU programmes, considering the needs of disadvantaged youth and encouraging the establishment of new opportunities for mobility;
  • inform about mobility programmes by disseminating information via various means to young people and their families, educational staff and youth workers, as well as by supporting the implementation of relevant EU programmes;
  • simplify procedures for implementing the EU programmes, for creating the financial incentive strategies and for enhancing the recognition of learning outcomes from periods of mobility;
  • provide funding sources for mobility through appropriate Community financial instruments such as the Structural Funds and by promoting funding from public and private sectors, with particular support given to disadvantaged youth and youth with special needs;
  • enhance the application of the European Quality Charter for Mobility principles in mobility schemes by promoting the exchange of best practices concerning reception conditions, the provision of proper living and working conditions as well as preparation for mobility, in particular from a linguistic and cultural point of view;
  • increase knowledge of youth mobility through comparable statistics and survey results, as well as by conducting impact assessments on the cultural, educational and professional benefits of mobility.

Furthermore, the Commission is invited to set up a work plan for the incorporation of cross-border mobility into other EU programmes. Information on these programmes should then be disseminated as widely as possible, in order to promote them among young people. To this end, national “one-stop-shops” and a European youth mobility portal should be created. In addition, the Commission must provide a mid-term report on the developments of youth mobility in Europe before the end of 2010, followed by regular reports. Finally, the Commission is requested to provide national authorities and other stakeholders with a guide on European policies that may be used to support mobility, as well as to investigate new financial support mechanisms.

Background

The European Council decided in March 2008 to establish a “fifth freedom” whereby barriers to the free movement of knowledge would be removed. This also entails improved cross-border mobility of students, researchers, scientists and educational staff.

EU Youth Strategy

EU Youth Strategy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EU Youth Strategy

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Youth

EU Youth Strategy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 27 April 2009 – An EU Strategy for Youth: Investing and Empowering – A renewed open method of coordination to address youth challenges and opportunities [COM(2009) 200 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The communication provides a strategy for future youth policies. It seeks to establish a cross-sectoral approach to empower young people in Europe to face a number of current challenges, in particular regarding education, employment, social inclusion and health. Young people should be given the resources and opportunities to achieve autonomy.

The current framework of cooperation, which will expire in 2009, has introduced a youth dimension in other policy fields as well as served to influence national policy-making. Nevertheless, the framework needs to be developed further, both in terms of its coordination and its impact on other policy areas. The scope of the framework also needs to be enlarged to reach young people with fewer opportunities.

The EU’s vision for young people is based on two approaches: investing in and empowering youth. The proposed new strategy pays particular attention to youth with fewer opportunities. Collaboration between youth and other policy areas, as well as collaborative policy-making through the renewed open method of coordination (OMC) will be improved. In the context of the latter, young people will also be able to express themselves in a structured dialogue.

The new long-term strategy consists of three overarching and interconnected aims that are closely associated with those of the renewed social agenda, with several fields of action proposed under each aim. Each field of action consists of a short-term objective and specific actions to be undertaken by Member States and the Commission, based on their respective spheres of competence. These will be assessed every three years.

Under the aim of creating more education and employment opportunities for young people, the following fields of action are proposed:

  • education: non-formal education should be better integrated to complement formal education, its quality should be developed and outcomes recognised;
  • employment: to facilitate the transition of young people from school, inactivity or unemployment to work, national and European employment policy actions should respect the principles of flexicurity. Moreover, education should aim to provide the skills demanded by the labour market;
  • creativity and entrepreneurship: the development of talent, creative skills, entrepreneurial mindsets and cultural expressions should be promoted among young people.

The following fields of action are proposed under the aim of improving young people’s access and full participation in society:

  • health and sport: to prevent and treat obesity, injury, addictions and substance abuse, promote the adoption of healthy lifestyles among young people and encourage collaboration between youth workers, health professionals and sporting organisations;
  • participation: to increase young people’s participation in the civic life of their communities as well as in representative democracy, provide support to youth organisations, encourage the participation of non-organised youth and provide better information services for young people.

The aim of fostering mutual solidarity between young people and society incorporates the following fields of action:

  • social inclusion: to prevent the social exclusion of young people, the relevant actors such as parents, teachers as well as social and youth workers should be mobilised;
  • volunteering: to support volunteering by young people, more opportunities, including cross-border, should be developed, obstacles removed and recognition of the value of non-formal education enhanced;
  • youth and the world: the existing youth networks and tools should be used to involve young people in global policy-making.

Youth work can provide an added value to the fight against unemployment, school failure and social exclusion. More support and recognition should thus be given to youth work, which should also become increasingly professional. To achieve this, Member States and the Commission are invited to promote the financing and quality of youth work, as well as the skills and mobility of youth workers. The Commission is committed to further examining the economic and social contribution of youth work.

For the new integrated cooperation framework in the field of youth, cross-sectoral policy approaches need to be developed at all levels. For the monitoring of its implementation, permanent and regular dialogue should be established at the EU level and between Member States and young people. With a view to improving policy-making, peer-learning exercises in the form of high-level seminars for political cooperation and clusters for technical expertise are proposed, which would also see the involvement of relevant stakeholders. Policy-making should also be evidence-based. To this end, current tools to acquire knowledge of the youth field should be used and further developed. The Commission also proposes to further develop other evidence-seeking instruments, such as studies and Eurobarometer surveys. Furthermore, existing EU programmes and funds, most notably the Youth-in-Action programme, should be used to support youth policy and to provide opportunities for young people, and measures should be taken to ensure the widespread availability of information about these opportunities.

Green Paper on the learning mobility of young people

Green Paper on the learning mobility of young people

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Green Paper on the learning mobility of young people

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Youth

Green Paper on the learning mobility of young people

This green paper launches a public consultation with the aim of boosting mobility opportunities for young people.

Document or Iniciative

Green Paper of 8 July 2009 – Promoting the learning mobility of young people [COM(2009) 329 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Transnational mobility through which young people may acquire new knowledge and skills (learning mobility) enhances personal development and employability. Currently however, the learning mobility of young people is more an exception than a rule, and should therefore be promoted in all disciplines and contexts. As a result, the Commission is launching this public consultation to initiate discussions on how existing and new instruments, as well as public authorities and stakeholders can be mobilised to that end.

The green paper presents a number of issues where further efforts towards learning mobility are needed. The aim is to promote organised mobility that is carried out across borders as well as within and across sectors. While the value of virtual mobility is recognised, the focus is on physical mobility and the challenges arising before, during and after such periods.

Preparing for a period of learning mobility

Preparation is an essential element of any mobility project and needs to be well thought-out in order for the mobility period to be a success. Firstly, this consists of providing good quality and easily accessible information and guidance on mobility opportunities, including on funding, education and training programmes, as well as on any practical issues. Secondly, there is a need to promote and motivate young people to be mobile by informing them of the benefits and guaranteeing the recognition of such an experience. Thirdly, linguistic skills and intercultural competences facilitate mobility, and may be upgraded during mobility periods. However, as a lack of such skills may be a barrier to participation, ways to address these obstacles must be explored.

Other challenges to take into consideration during the preparatory phase include the legal status of the young people in the host countries. A secure framework for the mobility of minors and a European Trainee Statute for the mobility of trainees could help to overcome such legal obstacles. Similarly, the obstacles to the portability of grants and loans as well as to the access to benefits, which often contravene Community law, should be overcome to promote mobility. To this end, the Commission is suggesting the publication of guides for Member State authorities and stakeholders.

There is also a need to assure that the mobility period is of a high quality, to which both the sending and receiving institutions should commit. Appropriate mechanisms should be set up for selecting participants in a fair and transparent manner, as well as for matching participants and receiving institutions. A number of charters, such as the European Quality Charter for Mobility, could be used to guide this work, as could learning/training agreements drawn up by the sending and hosting institutions together with the participants. Finally, measures should be taken to reach disadvantaged groups, so that they may also benefit from the opportunities of learning mobility.

The stay abroad and follow-up

Proper arrangements should be in place to receive young people during their mobility periods abroad. It is particularly essential that the hosting institutions provide mentoring support to young people in order to help them integrate better into the host environment. Concerning the follow-up, mobility periods must be appropriately recognised and validated in terms of both formal and non-formal learning. To this end, a number of European instruments are already available (such as ECVET, EQF, Europass), but greater use should be made of them at the regional and sectoral levels.

A new partnership for mobility

In order to overcome the continuing obstacles to mobility, it is imperative to mobilise actors and resources at all levels. A new partnership should be established between public authorities, civil society and partners from the business world. At the same time, the funding base needs to be enlarged to provide mobility opportunities to all groups of young people.

Virtual mobility can provide an added value by acting as a catalyst for physical mobility, as well as by providing an international dimension to learning for those who cannot or do not want to go abroad. “Multipliers”, such as teachers and trainers at all levels, youth workers, as well as people who have been mobile are important in motivating young people to embark on a period of mobility. Any obstacles to their involvement in promoting mobility should be removed and opportunities for their mobility encouraged.

At the moment, mobility has wide backing. However, it is essential to turn this support into concrete targets, based on which Member States, regional authorities, institutions and organisations may define their mobility strategies. Strategic benchmarks should also be established to complement those developed at European and national levels.

Background

The Commission invites stakeholders and the wider public to respond to the issues raised in this green paper before 15 December 2009. The Commission will propose follow-up actions on the basis of these responses.

A renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field

A renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Youth

A renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-18)

Document or Iniciative

Council Resolution of 27 November 2009 on a renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018) [Official Journal C 311 of 19.12.2009].

Summary

For Europe to attain the objectives regarding growth and jobs set by the Lisbon strategy, it is imperative that its young men and women are socially as well as professionally well integrated. Such integration also promotes young people’s personal fulfilment, social cohesion and active citizenship. However, young people still face challenges in terms of employment, education and training, poverty, health, and participation and democratic representation. Therefore, a renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field has been designed to provide better opportunities for Europe’s young people.

This renewed framework is based on the Commission’s communication of April 2009 on the new European Union (EU) Youth Strategy. It aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of European cooperation by establishing a strategy for the next decade that builds on the progress made and lessons learned under the previous framework.

European cooperation in the youth field during 2010-18

European cooperation in the youth field during 2010-18 is motivated by two interrelated objectives:

  • the creation of more and equal opportunities in education and the labour market;
  • the promotion of active citizenship, social inclusion and solidarity.

To this end, specific initiatives targeting young people and mainstreaming initiatives to incorporate youth issues into other policy areas are developed and promoted. The renewed framework outlines eight fields of action in which cross-sectoral initiatives to support young people should be taken:

  • education and training;
  • employment and entrepreneurship;
  • health and well-being;
  • participation;
  • voluntary activities;
  • social inclusion;
  • youth and the world;
  • creativity and culture.

European cooperation in the youth field must uphold a number of guiding principles, particularly:

  • promote gender equality;
  • combat all forms of discrimination;
  • consider differences between young people, especially in terms of disadvantage;
  • provide for the participation of young people in policy-making.

European cooperation should be evidence-based, relevant and concrete with clear and visible results that are regularly presented, reviewed and disseminated. It should be applied through a renewed framework of open method of coordination. This requires political commitment from EU countries and working methods based on:

  • a series of 3-year work cycles (the first cycle covers the years 2010-12);
  • an overall thematic priority for each trio presidency and specific priorities for each presidency country contributing to the overall thematic priority (the priorities for the period from 2010 to mid-2011 are set out in the annex to the resolution);
  • implementation instruments (knowledge building, mutual learning, progress reporting, dissemination of results, monitoring of the process, dialogue with young people, mobilisation of EU programmes and funds).

Within this renewed framework for European cooperation, the role of youth work must be strengthened. It should be supported and recognised for its social as well as economic contribution. The discussion should focus on the training, recognition of skills and mobility of youth workers and leaders, as well as on the promotion of innovative solutions in youth work.

Role of EU countries and the Commission

EU countries are called upon to work together on the basis of this resolution, with a view to improving European cooperation in the youth field. They should adopt national level measures that contribute to achieving the objectives set for this cooperation.

The Commission is invited to work with EU countries as well as to support their cooperation within the framework. The Commission should monitor the achievement of the objectives, in relation to which it should establish a working group to review data on the situation of young people and evaluate the need to develop new indicators for fields related to youth. The Commission should also propose peer-learning activities and initiate relevant studies.

Background

Established in June 2002, the framework for European cooperation in the youth field provided for the application of the open method of coordination in this context as well as for the mainstreaming of youth issues into other relevant policy areas. The European Youth Pact was adopted in March 2005 to contribute to reaching the objectives of growth and jobs of the Lisbon strategy. The renewed social agenda of July 2008 established children and youth as one of its main priority areas for action.

White Paper on Youth

White Paper on Youth

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about White Paper on Youth

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Youth

White Paper on Youth

Document or Iniciative

European Commission white paper of 21 November 2001 – A new impetus for European youth [COM(2001) 681 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

In recent years, Europe has experienced economic and socio-cultural changes that have significantly affected its youth. Hoping to meet the expectations of young people by giving them the means to express their ideas and to make a greater contribution to society, the Commission adopted this White Paper following wide-spread consultations with all relevant stakeholders at both national and European level, including young people themselves.

The White Paper on Youth is also intended as a response to young people’s strong disaffection with the traditional forms of participation in public life. Following the example of the White Paper on Governance, it calls on young Europeans to become active citizens.

In order to help European Union (EU) countries and regions to take action for young people in Europe, the White Paper proposes a new framework for cooperation consisting of two components: increasing cooperation between EU countries and taking greater account of the youth factor in sectoral policies.

Increasing cooperation between EU countries

The “open method of coordination” encourages cooperation between EU countries and takes advantage of best practice developed throughout Europe. It involves setting guidelines for the EU, together with timetables for meeting the short, medium and long-term objectives set by EU countries. It also provides for monitoring mechanisms. In this connection, the White Paper proposes appointing a national coordinator as Commission representative for youth-related issues.

The priority areas for this method of work are as follows:

  • introducing new ways of enabling young people to participate in public life. The Commission proposes giving general currency to regional and national youth councils and overhauling the European Youth Forum in order to make it more representative. In 2003 and 2004, the Commission will also launch pilot projects with a view to encouraging participation among young people;
  • improving information on European issues. To this end, the Commission proposes setting up an Internet portal and forum to allow young people to obtain information and express their opinions;
  • encouraging voluntary service. As an educational experience and a way of integrating young people into society, voluntary service plays an important role both at European level, within the European Voluntary Service (the EVS is part of the Youth in Action programme), and at national, regional and local levels, for which EU countries need to make a greater effort to eliminate the remaining obstacles to mobility;
  • increasing knowledge of youth-related issues. This involves, inter alia, networking existing research work and structures at European level.

Incorporating the youth factor into sectoral policies

The White Paper calls for EU and national policies to take greater account of the needs of young people. The policies most concerned are employment and social integration, the fight against racism and xenophobia, education, lifelong learning and mobility. The complex question of young people’s autonomy is also included in the future work programme.

Background

On the basis of Article 149 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (now Article 165 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), various European level actions related to young people have been developed in recent years in the fields of education, employment, vocational training and information technologies. EU countries have also begun to cooperate on issues related to youth exchanges and mobility.

All of these specific actions have received constant support from the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, either when the programmes were being adopted or in the form of resolutions relating inter alia to the participation of young people or their social inclusion and, later, to young people’s sense of initiative. The Committee of the Regions and the Economic and Social Committee have regularly issued positive and encouraging opinions on various aspects of youth. However, greater use needed to be made of this body of information, and this still modest cooperation needed to be consolidated for and with young people themselves.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council of 22 October 2004 – Follow-up to the White Paper on a New Impetus for European Youth: evaluation of activities conducted in the framework of European cooperation in the youth field [COM(2004) 694 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission takes stock of the progress made since the publication of the White Paper, in terms of the mandate expressly conferred upon it by the Council and the undertakings made with regard to all those involved in the process. The Commission’s undertakings have all been fulfilled, and the widespread mobilisation of young people, youth organisations, public authorities, ministers and European institutions has been achieved.
To prevent any loss of the new impetus imparted by the White Paper, the Commission feels that the Council should take account of the following aspects:

  • the priorities of the European cooperation framework must be discussed;
  • the balance between the flexibility and effectiveness of the open method of coordination in the youth field must be reassessed;
  • the open method of coordination must lead to effective action at national level in order to guarantee young people’s support for and commitment to the process;
  • young people should be consulted regularly, in a structured and effective way, at both national and European levels.

Common objectives for participation by and information for young people

Common objectives for participation by and information for young people

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Common objectives for participation by and information for young people

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Youth

Common objectives for participation by and information for young people

Document or Iniciative

Council Resolution of 25 November 2003 on common objectives for participation by and information for young people [Official Journal C 295 of 05.12.2003]

Summary

In this Resolution the Council approves the common objectives with a view to encouraging active citizenship among young people, promoting their access to information and their involvement in the implementation of strategies in this field.

The new framework for cooperation in the field of youth has identified participation by and information for young people as priority issues. This Resolution sets out a non-exhaustive list of possible areas for action to achieve the common objectives in both fields. It focuses on the inclusion of disadvantaged young people in order to avoid all forms of discrimination or exclusion (cultural or ethnic background, disabilities, socio-economic factors, gender, etc.).

Increasing participation

With regard to participation, the Council proposes to promote the introduction of, and support for, measures to encourage young people to exercise their citizenship actively and to participate effectively in democratic life, and in particular to:

  • increase participation by young people in the civic life of their community;
  • increase participation by young people in the system of representative democracy;
  • provide greater support for various forms of learning to participate.

Encouraging information

The Council proposes to promote access for young people to information in order to increase their participation in public life and help them realise their potential as active, responsible citizens, in particular by:

  • improving access for young people to information services;
  • increasing the provision of quality information;
  • increasing participation by young people in youth information, for example in the preparation and dissemination of information.

The Council calls on the Member States to specify their priorities with regard to these common objectives and to submit their national contributions to the implementation of the objectives by the end of 2005. On the basis of these national contributions, the Commission will prepare a progress report and will convene, when appropriate, representatives of the national administrations dealing with the field of youth, in order to promote the exchange of information and best practice.

Related Acts

Resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States of 24 May 2005 meeting within the Council on implementing the common objective “to increase participation by young people in the system of representative democracy” [Official Journal C 141/02 of 10 June 2005]
The Council notes that young people are not automatically interested in participating in the institutions of democracy and that their participation is tending to decline in some Member States. Against this background it calls on the Member States to:

  • encourage political parties’ awareness of the importance of increasing their youth membership and the number of young people on their lists of candidates;
  • mobilise the support of regional and local authorities for young people’s participation;
  • make young people aware of the importance of voting in elections;
  • The Council invites the Commission and Member States to
  • draw up an inventory of existing knowledge of obstacles to young people’s active participation in representative democracy;
  • exchange information on measures already taken and examples of good practice;
  • strengthen dialogue between young people and political leaders;
  • meet in 2006 to review progress on this objective.

Resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States of 24 May 2005 meeting within the Council on implementing the common objectives for youth information [Official Journal C 141/03 of 10 June 2005]
The Council agreed that special attention should be focused on:

  • stepping up networking among youth-oriented information structures in various sectors at local, national and European level;
  • continuing training for those involved in youth information.

The authors of the resolution call on the Commission and Member States to:

  • propose guiding principles in order to enable youth information structures to develop quality assessment;
  • raise the profile of quality youth information in Europe;
  • promote and develop cooperation, networking and the exchange of good practice between national youth information sites and portals across Europe, together with analyses of the use of such sites and portals.

In connection with youth information, the Member States are invited to use European programmes to develop:

  • a greater insight into young people’s information needs;
  • the exchange of experience among youth information experts at various levels, through European seminars and training sessions;
  • a regularly updated database, with particular reference to networking among youth information structures in various sectors.

Communication from the Commission to the Council – Follow-up to the White Paper “A New Impetus for European Youth” – Proposed common objectives for the participation and information of young people, in response to the Council Resolution of 27 June 2002 regarding the framework of European cooperation in the youth field [COM(2003) 184 final – not published in the Official Journal].
Analysis of Member States’ replies to the Commission questionnaires on youth participation and information [SEC(2003) 465 – not published in the Official Journal].
In accordance with the mandate given to it by the Council Resolution of 27 June 2002 and in application of the open method of coordination (OMC), the Commission drew up two detailed questionnaires in consultation with the Member States for each of the priorities identified in the White Paper on youth, namely participation of young people in public life and information for young people. These questionnaires were forwarded to the Member States and the candidate countries in order to gather basic information on the legislation in force in each country and then to present an outline of current policy with examples of best practice and, finally, details of expectations at European level.
In an enlarged Europe of 27 Member States there are 75 million 15-25 year-olds, i.e. between 11% and 19% of the national population of each country. Depending on the country, young people represent between 10.5% and 17.5% of the electorate. Participation systems are many and diverse. The most common are:

  • at national level: youth councils, youth parliaments and youth associations;
  • at municipal level: councils or committees open to participation by young people;
  • at school level: pupil or student councils.

Wishing to establish the opinions and needs of young people, many countries use forms of consultation such as surveys, forums, round table conferences, debates, etc.
However, there are no statistics enabling an overall picture to be gained. The best way to make young people’s involvement in the decision-making process more effective is to take more account of their specific needs and personal development and by developing co-responsibility and co-decision structures. The Member States and the candidate countries agree on the main priorities to be implemented, namely increasing participation by young people in Community life, the mechanisms of representative democracy and the educational environment.
As regards information, only a few Member States have a clearly identifiable youth information strategy which is implemented by national youth information networks, ensuring coordination between the national, regional and local levels. The majority of Member States and candidate countries do not, however, have a genuine, funded, systematic, coherent and integrated youth information policy or any all-embracing youth information strategy. In order to offer all young people equal and non-discriminatory access to information and advisory services, the report proposes extending the use of the Internet as a major channel for informing young people. The Member States and candidate countries agree on the common priorities to be implemented, namely access of young people to information, improvement of the quality of information and participation of young people in the production and dissemination of information.
The OMC provides for common objectives to be defined and monitored. This monitoring is carried out by the Commission at European level.

Common objectives for voluntary activities

Common objectives for voluntary activities

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Common objectives for voluntary activities

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Youth

Common objectives for voluntary activities

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council of 30 April 2004 – Follow-up to the White Paper on a New Impetus for European Youth – Proposed common objectives for voluntary activities among young people in response to the Council Resolution of 27 June 2002 regarding the framework of European cooperation in the youth field [COM(2004) 337 final – Official Journal C 122 of 30.4.2004].

Summary

The overall objective of the proposal is to develop, facilitate, promote and recognise voluntary activities at all levels. On the basis of European Union (EU) countries’ replies to the questionnaire on voluntary activities at national level, the Commission has proposed four common objectives:

  • to develop the voluntary activities of young people with the aim of enhancing the transparency of existing opportunities, enlarging their scope and improving their quality;
  • to make it easier for young people to carry out voluntary activities by removing the existing obstacles;
  • to promote voluntary activities with a view to reinforcing young people’s solidarity and engagement as citizens;
  • to recognise voluntary activities of young people with a view to acknowledging their personal skills and their commitment to society.

In order to ensure that these objectives are properly transposed, the Commission proposes measures for each objective. These include the following:

  • strengthening voluntary organisations, stepping up exchanges of information, and extending the European Voluntary Service (EVS) within the Youth programme 2000-06;
  • simplifying legal, administrative, fiscal and social constraints, for example by exchanging information and best practice;
  • encouraging the participation of young people by disseminating information at all appropriate levels (local, regional, national, European), by encouraging closer cooperation between the various groups involved (young people, youth organisations, voluntary organisations, public authorities, private sector, etc.), and by putting an end to the exclusion of certain categories of young people;
  • guaranteeing recognition of voluntary activities by means of certificates, reward schemes and awards, by introducing at national level concepts such as National Volunteers Day and European Youth Week, and by consolidating projects such as Europass.

For the sake of clarity, the report also makes a distinction between the following concepts:

  • voluntary activity: includes all kinds of voluntary engagement;
  • voluntary service: voluntary activity characterised by the following aspects: fixed period; clear objectives, content, tasks, structure and framework; appropriate support; and legal and social protection;
  • civic service: voluntary service managed by or on behalf of the State, e.g. in the social field or in civil protection;
  • civilian service: an alternative to compulsory military service in some countries, but not voluntary.

The first European conference on civic service and youth was held in Rome on 28-29 November 2003. The conference was designed to allow an exchange of views, activities and national practices on the civic service of young people. Another objective of the conference was to identify ways of achieving closer cooperation between civic services at European level, including the EVS.

Under the open method of coordination, the Commission proposes that EU countries undertake to achieve all the objectives and submit reports on their national contributions by the end of 2006.

Background

Following the new framework for cooperation, which identified voluntary activities as a priority issue, the Commission sent a questionnaire to EU countries in order to ascertain their situations and their expectations at European level. It consulted the European Youth Forum and called on EU countries to ask for the opinions of young volunteers, youth organisations and volunteer organisations.

Related Acts

Council Recommendation of 20 November 2008 on the mobility of young volunteers across the European Union [Official Journal C 319 of 13.12.2008].

Resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, of 14 February 2002 on the added value of voluntary activity for young people in the context of the development of Community action on youth [Official Journal C 50 of 23.2.2002].

European Commission White Paper of 21 November 2001 – A new impetus for European youth [COM(2001) 681 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 July 2001 on mobility within the Community for students, persons undergoing training, volunteers, teachers and trainers [Official Journal L 215 of 9.8.2001].

Towards the establishment of a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps

Towards the establishment of a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Towards the establishment of a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Humanitarian aid

Towards the establishment of a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 23 November 2010 – How to express EU citizen’s solidarity through volunteering: First reflections on a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps [COM(2010) 683 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Lisbon Treaty provides for the establishment of a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps (EVHAC). To this end, the Commission examines the best approaches for its establishment, in particular concerning the identification and recruitment of volunteers, their training and their deployment.

Guiding principles

The EVHAC must respect and promote the principles of:

  • solidarity with people affected by disasters and cohesion of European society;
  • humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, as set out in the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid;
  • professionalism and safety, in order to meet needs in a rapid and operational manner, especially in conflict areas;
  • coordination and cooperation with existing humanitarian organisations and structures.

Establishment

The establishment of the EVHAC must take advantage of the experience gained from existing volunteering schemes. The new Corps must bring added value to the conduct of the EU’s humanitarian aid operations.

Its functioning must also meet the needs of humanitarian organisations and the conditions of operation of voluntary organisations. From this perspective, the Commission proposes in particular to:

  • develop critera for the identification of volunteers;
  • establish training programmes based on common standards and good practices, as well as on conditions in countries and specific situations;
  • establish stand-by rosters of experienced volunteers to ensure the smooth functioning of emergency operations;
  • strengthen support to back-up functions in implementing organisations;
  • improve advocacy for European citizens.

The EVHAC must receive specific financing, since its budget is not to be diverted from the core operational budget for the victims of humanitarian disasters. It must operate under increased security conditions, especially where interventions take place in areas affected by conflicts.

Finally, its scope of intervention must not be limited to emergencies but be extended to operations in the area of supporting local capacities, reconstruction and post-disaster recovery. The establishment of the EVHAC should make it possible to encourage twinning and exchanges with local organisations in third countries.

Context

The voluntary sector has evolved rapidly in the last decade. A large number of organisations offer schemes open to European citizens, including the Commission-driven European Voluntary Service (EVS) and the United Nations Volunteers Programme.

On the occasion of the European Year of Voluntary Activities, several stages are to lead to the establishment of the EVHAC. Following public consultation, the Commission intends to table a legislative proposal in 2012.