Tag Archives: Youth policy

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

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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

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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

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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.

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].

Common objectives for a better understanding and knowledge of youth

Common objectives for a better understanding and knowledge of youth

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Common objectives for a better understanding and knowledge of 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

Common objectives for a better understanding and knowledge of youth

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council of 30 April 2004 — Follow-up to the White Paper “A new impetus for European youth”. Proposed common objectives for a greater understanding and knowledge of youth, in response to the Council Resolution of 27 June 2002 regarding the framework of European cooperation in the youth field [COM(2004) 336 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Commission proposes four common objectives based on the responses from the Member States to the questionnaire on their own situations and their expectations at national level. In order to achieve these objectives, the Commission presents lines of action at national and European levels for each of them.

Objective 1 – Identify knowledge relating to priority themes

This involves identifying and organising existing knowledge relating to priority themes in the youth field (i.e. participation, information and voluntary activities) and implementing measures to supplement, update and facilitate access to that knowledge.

Objective 2 – Identify existing knowledge relating to other areas

The aim here is to identify and organise existing knowledge relating to other priority areas of relevance to the youth field and to implement measures to supplement, update and facilitate access to that knowledge.

These other themes of direct interest to the youth field include autonomy, non-formal learning, the fight against discrimination, education and training, employment, transition from education to employment, social inclusion and health.

The lines of action at national level for objectives 1 and 2 are as follows:

  • to identify and organise existing knowledge;
  • to undertake further studies, collect statistical data and gather practical knowledge of NGOs, youth organisations and young people themselves;
  • to facilitate access to knowledge by compiling and disseminating documents, also electronically.

At European level, the Commission proposes exploiting the Youth programm e and making maximum use of any other relevant instruments available at European level, such as Eurobarometer surveys, Eurostat and framework research programmes, as well as any other tools being developed, such as the Online European Knowledge Centre for Youth Policy (EKC).

Objective 3 – Knowledge quality

Ensuring quality, comparability and relevance of knowledge in the youth field by using appropriate methods and tools remains one of the Commission’s priorities.

The lines of action at national level are:

  • to implement and further develop appropriate tools and methods;
  • to promote education and training of researchers and experts, especially younger ones, working in the youth field.

At European level the Commission proposes:

  • cooperation to identify and define common concepts and a minimum core content;
  • cooperation to identify quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods with a view to exploiting and comparing results;
  • cooperation to better identify the indicators which will enable the impact of the current Youth programmes to be evaluated.

Objective 4 – Dialogue and networks

This objective consists in facilitating and promoting exchange, dialogue and creation of networks to ensure the visibility of knowledge in the youth field and anticipate future needs.

The lines of action at national level are:

  • to encourage and develop exchanges, structured dialogue and national networks between policy makers, researchers, young people and their organisations;
  • to discuss future needs and identify new priority themes to be explored through the networks;
  • to promote cross-sectoral cooperation through conferences, seminars and events focusing on themes of common interest.

At European level, the Commission proposes coordinating the national networks by setting up a European network of youth knowledge, in cooperation with its partners in this field.

Implementing and monitoring mechanisms

The Member States must submit reports on their national contributions to the concrete achievements relating to the first priorities (“participation and information”) by the end of 2005 and the “voluntary activities” priority by the end of 2006. In these reports the Member States must also describe the steps taken in order to fulfil the first, third and fourth common objectives for a better understanding and knowledge of youth.

The Member States must subsequently report on the concrete achievements resulting from implementation of the second common objective by the end of 2008. At the same time they must inform the Commission of the further steps taken in order to fulfil the third and fourth common objectives for a better understanding and knowledge of youth.

Related Acts

Analysis of Member States’ and acceding countries’ replies to the Commission questionnaire on a greater understanding and knowledge of youth [SEC(2004) 627 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Resolution of the Council and of the representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, of 27 June 2002 regarding the framework of European cooperation in the youth field[Official Journal C 168 of 13.07.2002].

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

Participation of young people with fewer opportunities

Participation of young people with fewer opportunities

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Participation of young people with fewer opportunities

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

Participation of young people with fewer opportunities

The European Union (EU) supports young people with fewer opportunities by helping them to realise their full potential and strengthening their participation in society.

Document or Iniciative

Resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council of 22 May 2008 on the participation of young people with fewer opportunities [Official Journal, C 141, 7.6.2008].

Summary

Young people with fewer opportunities in society face specific difficulties because they come from less privileged educational, socio-economic or geographical backgrounds, or have a disability.

Their participation in the democratic, economic and cultural life of society needs to be given special attention at both national and Community level.

Strategic Approach

This Resolution invites Member States and the Commission to give priority to young people in vulnerable situations when implementing the Lisbon Strategy, the measures in the European Pact for Youth and national flexicurity strategies.

Member States must adopt an interdisciplinary approach when developing their specific policies and programmes. These strategies must be of a long-term nature and include early intervention measures. Guaranteeing easier access to EU programmes and Structural Funds will also support the social inclusion and participation in society of young people.

In particular, the Council invites the Commission to:

  • study national good practices in order to identify possible lines of action at European level that will facilitate the social inclusion of young people and their participation in society;
  • take these objectives into account when proposing the priorities for the future framework of cooperation in the field of youth.


Social Inclusion

The social inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities must be a priority at both national and Community level. The EU social protection and social inclusion process helps to fight discrimination and to promote equal opportunities. Furthermore, as regards policies on health and living conditions, the social, economic and other factors that determine the well-being of young people need to be better monitored and studied.
Member States and the Commission must take action against social exclusion and against the intergenerational transmission of economic inactivity by supporting access to good employment opportunities and by improving the mechanisms for vocational guidance and counselling.

Active Citizenship

The Council requires Member States and the Commission to conduct a structured dialogue that is inclusive and suitable for all. Democratic and community involvement can be enhanced by informing young people and by developing innovative forms of participation, particularly through the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

Member States must support the work of youth organisations and social organisations, in particular by providing professional development opportunities for managers and youth workers.


Context


The European Pact for Youth contributes to the implementation of the renewed Lisbon Strategy.
It aims to improve education and training for young people, as well as their mobility. It gives priority to young people with fewer opportunities.

In this context, the Youth in Action Programme specifically encourages young people to participate in public life and fosters their spirit of initiative, entrepreneurship and creativity.

Related Acts

Presidency Conclusions, 13 and 14 March 2008. 7652/1/08 (pdf ).

The Council reaffirms the social dimension of the Lisbon Strategy. The priorities identified are combating poverty and social exclusion, promoting active inclusion and increasing employment opportunities for those furthest from the labour market.

Resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, of 25 May 2007 on creating equal opportunities for all young people – full participation in society [Official Journal – 2007/C 314/01].

The Council notes that equality of opportunity means the right of all young people to a quality lifestyle, education, training, housing and work, and to access to social security, employment systems and social and political discussion.
The Council invites the Commission and all Member States to maintain a structured dialogue with young people in a variety of ways and to strengthen the impact of the open method of coordination when shaping policies for equal opportunities and social and professional integration.
The Council invites Member States to develop the regional and local dimensions of the European Pact for Youth and to enhance the effect that national policy has on the quality of life of young people.

Growth and jobs

Growth and jobs

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Growth and jobs

Topics

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

Employment and social policy > European Strategy for Growth > Growth and jobs

Growth and jobs

“Employment and social policy” >

The aim of the Lisbon Strategy, launched in 2000, was to make Europe “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion”. According to the mid-term review of the Lisbon Strategy, the results are, at best, mixed. The gap in terms of productivity and growth between Europe and its economic partners has continued to widen, and the ageing population represents a further challenge.

The European Council has therefore decided to relaunch the Lisbon Strategy through a partnership for growth and jobs. The objective of this partnership will remain firmly anchored in sustainable development. However, in order to achieve it, Europe needs to focus on a more restricted number of priorities. Indeed, the achievement of stronger, lasting growth and the creation of more and better jobs would unblock the resources needed to realise our more general economic, social and environmental ambitions.

  • A new start for the Lisbon Strategy (2005)
  • The Community Lisbon Programme
  • The Community Lisbon Programme: proposal for 2008–2010
  • Strategic report on the renewed Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs: new cycle 2008-2010
  • Participation of young people with fewer opportunities

MAKING EUROPE A MORE ATTRACTIVE PLACE IN WHICH TO INVEST
In order to boost growth and employment, Europe needs to become more attractive as a place in which to invest. Given the significant contribution made by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to creating jobs and growth, Europe must first combat the obstacles to the creation of SMEs and stimulate entrepreneurship. Furthermore, in spite of the progress achieved since the launch of the Lisbon Strategy, there is still not enough available risk capital to launch young businesses, and the current tax provisions discourage the retention of profits to build up equity.

  • Financing SME Growth
  • The contribution of taxation and customs policies to the Lisbon Strategy

Ensuring open and competitive markets inside and outside Europe
Competition on the internal market stimulates productivity and innovation. European competition policy plays a key role in shaping competitive markets. It must be continued within an enlarged Europe and in certain markets which have not revealed all their potential. This involves the elimination of barriers to competition and the rechannelling of State aid into innovation, research and development, and risk capital. Outside the EU, commercial policy must ensure that European businesses have access to the markets of third countries and comply with the rules guaranteeing fair competition.

  • A proactive competition policy for a competitive Europe
  • State Aid Action Plan
  • A stronger partnership to deliver market access

Improving European and national legislation
Simplifying legislation helps business and in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by eliminating unnecessary administrative formalities. The European Commission and the Member States have already launched initiatives to reduce administrative costs. This would benefit European businesses in terms of the productivity and competitiveness, and increase their ability to adapt, innovate and create jobs. It would also make it easier to set up new businesses.

  • Fewer administrative formalities for more growth
  • Simplifying the regulatory environment

Expanding and improving European infrastructure
Investment in transport must respond to the economic, social and environmental needs of society. A modern infrastructure is an important factor in competitiveness when it comes to attracting businesses in that it facilitates exchanges and mobility. In addition, climate change highlights the need for more sustainable mobility. The aim of intermodality is to channel traffic into more environmentally-friendly means of transport which are safer and more energy-efficient. Alongside this, new technologies make for a more efficient transport system.

  • Keep Europe moving – Sustainable mobility for our continent. Mid-term review of the 2001 White Paper

KNOWLEDGE AND INNOVATION FOR GROWTH
Knowledge and innovation are essential for the growth of productivity. Productivity growth is a critical factor for Europe, because in the context of global competition it must contend with competitors benefiting from cheap labour and natural resources.
Increasing and improving investment in research and development

  • The European Research Area (ERA): new perspectives
  • An innovation-friendly, modern Europe
  • A broad-based innovation strategy for the EU
  • Placing taxation at the service of research and development

Facilitating innovation and the adoption of information and communication technologies (ICT)
In order for research to lead to growth, research results must be used for the purpose of innovation. More cooperation between universities and businesses makes for a better transfer of ideas in return for increased participation on the part of businesses in the financing of universities. The result is higher quality, more profitable research. The Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme supports actions which promote the use of information technologies, environmental technologies and renewable energy sources.

  • Challenges for the European Information Society beyond 2005

Innovation serving sustainable development
Innovation and technological development are key factors for environmentally friendly economic growth and for ensuring the sustainability of resources (particularly energy resources). The development of environmental technologies can also open up new markets, which will boost the competitiveness of businesses and create jobs.

  • Strategy for sustainable development
  • Action plan in favour of environmental technologies
  • Life sciences and biotechnology
  • Green Paper: A European strategy for sustainable, competitive and secure energy

Contributing to the creation of a strong European industrial base
The technological potential of European industry is still not being fully exploited. A common European approach to challenges in the field of research, regulation and financing can create synergies which make it possible to achieve large-scale progress and provide a more appropriate response to the needs of society. Furthermore, a financial contribution from the public sector can foster the sustainable development of specific products and services while improving European competitiveness on an international level. The Galileo project and mobile telephony are good examples of partnerships.

  • European industrial policy

CREATING MORE AND BETTER JOBS
Europe needs more and better jobs. Demographic change, which is exerting increased pressure in terms of employment needs, makes this an absolute necessity from an economic and social viewpoint.

  • Promoting solidarity between the generations
  • The demographic future of Europe – from challenge to opportunity
  • Green Paper “Confronting demographic change: a new solidarity between the generations”
  • Promoting young people’s full participation in education, employment and society

Attracting more people to the labour market and modernising social protection systems
The Member States are being called upon to set employment rates for 2008 and 2010 and adopt the measures to be implemented in their national reform programmes. The integrated guidelines for employment help them to select the most effective instruments. The challenge lies in attracting more people to the labour market and in keeping them there: particular attention is focused on the unemployed, young people and older workers. In this context, there is also a need to reform the pension and healthcare systems in order to ensure their viability and provide reliable social protection.

  • European values in a globalised world

Increasing the adaptability of workers and businesses and the flexibility of the labour markets
Rapidly changing economies need highly adaptable workers who must be capable of developing their skills to meet the needs of high-growth sectors. However, such flexibility must be accompanied by social security provision which also covers periods of change. Social security systems must be modernised in order to cope with these new challenges. In order to meet market needs more effectively, it is essential that obstacles to labour mobility be removed.

  • Green Paper on Modernising Labour Law
  • Workers’ mobility: facilitating the acquisition and preservation of supplementary pension rights

Investing more in human capital through better education and skills
Education and training play an essential role in a knowledge-based economy in that they support growth and employment by providing highly qualified and adaptable labour. They also strengthen social cohesion and active citizenship. Access for everyone to education and training should be ensured through the European area of lifelong learning, which should become a world reference by 2010.

  • European Job Mobility Action Plan (2007-2010)

The EU Cohesion policy for 2007-2013 and the role of the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund
The Community strategic guidelines lay down priorities for cohesion policy. These guidelines identify the fields in which cohesion policy can help to achieve the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy and of the integrated guidelines for growth and jobs. The programmes and national projects under the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund therefore target growth, employment, innovation and the knowledge-based economy, as well as the creation of physical infrastructure.

  • Research and innovation in support of the competitiveness of the European regions

Youth on the Move

Youth on the Move

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

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 on the Move

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 15 September 2010 – Youth on the Move – An initiative to unleash the potential of young people to achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in the European Union [COM(2010) 477 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

High quality education and training, effective labour market integration and increased mobility are essential to unleash the potential of all young people and to achieve the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy for European Union (EU) growth. However, young people continue to face challenges in these domains. Consequently, through its flagship initiative “Youth on the Move”, the EU aims at responding to these challenges and helping young people succeed in the knowledge economy.

The Youth on the Move initiative presents key new actions, reinforces existing ones and ensures their implementation at the national and EU level by exploiting financial support from relevant EU programmes and the Structural Funds. It focuses on four main strands:

Lifelong learning

The Europe 2020 strategy set the target of reducing the rate of early school leaving to 10 %. To this end, action that focuses on prevention and targets pupils at risk of dropping-out should be taken as early as possible. In June 2011, the Council adopted a recommendation on reducing early school leaving, to respond to its different causes. The Commission also set up a High Level Expert Group on Literacy, tasked with recommending new avenues for improving reading literacy in the EU.

In its communication on a new impetus for cooperation in vocational education and training (VET), the Commission reiterates the importance of modernising this sector with a view to improving its quality and provision. Recognising the contribution that VET can make to youth employability and to reducing early school leaving, cooperation in this area was given new impetus at the end of 2010 through the adoption of the Bruges Communiqué . The latter defines strategic objectives for the period 2011-2020 and an action plan with concrete measures at national level and aid at European level.

Apprenticeship-type vocational training and high quality traineeships are essential for enabling young people to adjust to the demands of, and thus better integrate into, the labour market. Hence, the Commission will propose a quality framework for traineeships and will support EU countries in improving access to and participation in traineeships.

The recognition and validation of non-formal and informal learning (learning outside the formal education system) can facilitate access to further learning, particularly for young people with fewer opportunities. To this end, the Commission will propose in 2011 a draft Council recommendation to improve the ways in which EU countries recognise skills acquired through such learning activities.

Higher education

The contribution of higher education is essential to achieving the objectives of the knowledge economy. However, the sector needs to be modernised to allow it to contribute even more effectively and to help reach the Europe 2020 target of increasing the proportion of young people graduating from higher education or equivalent to 40 %. To this end, the Commission presented a communication in September 2011 on a new and reinforced agenda for higher education.

Cooperation and competition between higher education institutions are very much influenced by their performance. Knowing the performance level of an institution can help students in their choice of study as well as facilitate partnerships across borders. Thus, in June 2011 the Commission presented the results of a feasibility study for establishing a global multi-dimensional tool to rank higher education performance and educational outcomes. On the basis of these results, the Commission will continue to develop this tool from the end of 2011.

Europe’s innovation capacity is vital for ensuring its economic competitiveness. This requires the further development of knowledge partnerships and the creation of stronger links between education, research and innovation. With this in mind, in June 2011 the Commission proposed the establishment of a multiannual strategic innovation agenda that sets out priorities for the next seven years for higher education, research, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Mobility

Through learning mobility, young people can acquire new professional competences and thus improve their future employability. At the same time, learning mobility has enabled education and training systems and institutions to become more accessible, international and efficient. In order to extend opportunities for learning mobility to all young people, the Commission:

  • created a “Youth on the Move” website for information on opportunities for leaning and mobility in the EU;
  • proposed a Council recommendation to EU countries that addresses the obstacles to learning mobility;
  • will develop a Youth on the Move card to facilitate mobile learners’ integration process abroad;
  • will develop in 2012 a European skills passport based on Europass, which will facilitate the recognition throughout the EU of competences acquired by European young people outside the formal education system.

There also continue to be obstacles for employment mobility, through which young people could acquire new skills and competences. For this reason the Commission will implement:

  • a pilot project called “Your first EURES job” to test new ways to help young people find a job anywhere in the EU;
  • a “European Vacancy Monitor” through which vacant jobs, together with the skills needed, can be identified in Europe.

Youth employment

To contribute to the Europe 2020 objective of increasing the general employment rate of 20-64 year-olds to 75 %, it is essential to reduce the high level of youth unemployment. As part of this, young people should be better supported in the transition from education to employment through active labour market or social measures. At the same time, incentive measures should be put in place for employers to employ new entrants. Young people at risk should be targeted in particular, so as to facilitate their return to education and training or to the labour market. In order to support policy development in this field, the Commission has undertaken to carry out systematic monitoring of the situation of young people not in employment, education or training. It has also established dialogue between the European Public Employment Services which met in March 2011 to examine the approaches and measures taken by these services in order to help low-skilled young people.

Self-employment and entrepreneurship should also be considered as valuable options for reducing youth unemployment and tackling social exclusion. Thus, it is essential that educational institutions, with the support of the public and private sectors, promote entrepreneurial mindsets and attitudes. Young people should be given more opportunities and support for creating an enterprise or for starting their own business. In this respect, the Commission encourages greater use of the new European Progress Micro-finance Facility to support potential young entrepreneurs.

Related Acts

of 19 November 2010 on the ‘Youth on the Move’ initiative – an integrated approach in response to the challenges young people face [Official Journal C 326 of 3.12.2010].

The Council requests that the Youth on the Move initiative is implemented within the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy and in line with the 2020 Education and Training Programme. It also insists on the need to rationalise and optimise the objectives and investments in times of budget constraints.