Youth in Action

Table of Contents:

Youth in Action

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Youth in Action


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 in Action (2007-13)

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 1719/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2006 establishing the Youth in Action programme for the period 2007 to 2013 [See amending act(s)].


The Youth in Action programme for the period 2007 to 2013 aims to pursue and strengthen European Union (EU) action and cooperation under the Youth action programme (2000-06) and the programme to promote bodies active in the youth field (2004-06). With a view to involving young people in society as active citizens, the programme is intended to strengthen their sense of belonging to Europe. It also aims to contribute to quality education and training in the broader sense and help young people develop a sense of solidarity and mutual understanding.


The programme has five general objectives that complement EU activities (training, culture, sport or employment) and contribute to the development of EU policies (cultural diversity, social cohesion, sustainable development and anti-discrimination). Each of these general objectives is subdivided into specific objectives.

The general objective to promote young people’s active citizenship, which also involves promoting their European citizenship, is made up of ten specific objectives:

  • giving young people and the organisations that represent them the opportunity to take part in the development of society and of the EU;
  • developing a sense of belonging to the EU;
  • encouraging the participation of young people in the democratic life of Europe;
  • fostering young people’s mobility in Europe;
  • developing intercultural learning;
  • promoting the fundamental values of the EU;
  • encouraging initiative, enterprise and creativity;
  • facilitating participation in the programme by young people with fewer opportunities, including young people with disabilities;
  • ensuring that the principle of equality between men and women is respected in selecting the participants for the programme and that gender equality is fostered in the actions;
  • providing non-formal and informal learning opportunities with a European dimension and opening up innovative opportunities in connection with active citizenship.

The general objective to develop solidarity among young people aims to promote tolerance and thus reinforce social cohesion by means of two specific objectives:

  • giving young people the opportunity to express their personal commitment through voluntary activities at European and international level;
  • involving young people in EU solidarity actions.

The general objective to foster mutual understanding between young people in different countries includes three specific objectives:

  • developing exchanges and intercultural dialogue between young people in the EU and in neighbouring countries;
  • promoting the quality of national support structures for young people and the role of persons and organisations active in youth work;
  • developing transnational thematic cooperation projects involving young people and those active in youth work.

The general objective to develop the quality of support systems for youth activities and the capabilities of civil society organisations in the youth field aims to:

  • contribute to the networking of organisations;
  • develop the training of, and collaboration between, those active in youth work;
  • promote innovation in the development of activities for young people;
  • improve information for young people, including the access of young people with disabilities to this information;
  • support long-term youth projects and initiatives of regional and local bodies;
  • facilitate the recognition of young people’s acquired skills;
  • promote the exchange of good practices.

The general objective to promote European cooperation in the youth field takes due account of local and regional aspects and is made up of four specific objectives:

  • encouraging the exchange of good practices and cooperation between administrations and policymakers;
  • encouraging structured dialogue between policymakers and young people;
  • improving knowledge and understanding of youth;
  • contributing to the cooperation between various national and international youth voluntary activities.


The five actions contained in the programme aim to implement its general and specific objectives. These actions support small-scale projects promoting the active participation of young people, while ensuring the European visibility and impact of projects. These projects are local, regional, national or international, including the networking of similar projects in different participating countries.

The “Youth for Europe” action mainly seeks to strengthen exchanges between young people with a view to fostering their mobility, whilst reinforcing their feeling of being European citizens. The emphasis is placed on participation by young people, whether this is in projects to develop awareness of social and cultural diversity and mutual understanding or to reinforce participation at a linguistic and intercultural level. These exchanges are based on transnational partnerships.

This action also aims to encourage young people to come up with their own projects, thus supporting their initiative, enterprise and creativity.

The participative democracy projects promoting citizenship and mutual understanding also fall within the scope of this action. They support the involvement of young people at local, regional, national or international level, as well as projects and activities based on international partnerships for the exchange of ideas, experiences and good practices at European level on projects at local and regional level.

The “European Voluntary Service” action aims to strengthen young people’s participation in various forms of voluntary activities, both within and outside the EU, with a view to developing solidarity and promoting active citizenship and mutual understanding among young people.

This action supports:

  • young volunteers who take part in a non-profit, unpaid activity to the benefit of the general public in any country other than their country of residence for a period of two to twelve months;
  • volunteer projects involving groups of young people who take part in activities at local, regional, national, European or international level, in fields such as culture, sport, civil protection, the environment and development aid;
  • activities for the training and tutoring of young volunteers and coordination activities for the various partners, as well as initiatives that aim to build on experience gained by young people during European Voluntary Service.

The action covers the volunteers’ expenses, insurance, subsistence and travel, as well as an additional allowance for young people with fewer opportunities where appropriate.

EU countries and the Commission ensure compliance with quality standards, including a non-formal education dimension (activities to prepare young people at a personal, intercultural and technical level and ongoing personal support), the substance of the partnerships and risk prevention.

The “Youth of the world” action contributes to the development of young people’s mutual understanding and active engagement through an open-minded approach to the world. The aim of this action is to support projects conducted with non-EU countries that have signed agreements with the EU relevant to the youth field, such as exchanges of young people and persons and organisations active in youth work. It also supports initiatives that reinforce young people’s mutual understanding, sense of solidarity and tolerance, as well as cooperation in the field of youth and civil society in these countries.

The programme distinguishes projects conducted with the neighbouring countries (European neighbourhood policy (ENP) partner countries, Russia and western Balkan countries) from those conducted with other non-EU countries. Preference is given to the exchange of ideas and good practices, the development of partnerships and networks and the development of civil society.

The “Youth support systems” action supports:

  • bodies active at European level: non-governmental organisations (NGOs) pursuing a goal of general European interest and involved in the active participation of young people in public life and society and in the implementation of European cooperation activities in this field;
  • the European Youth Forum and its activities in representing youth organisations vis-à-vis the EU, its function as an information relay to young people or its contribution to the new cooperation framework in the youth field. The annual resources allocated to the Forum shall not be less than EUR 2 million even though at least 20 % of its budget must be covered by non-EU sources;
  • training and networking of those active in youth work, such as project leaders and youth advisers. The support may cover, for example, the exchange of experiences and good practices or the activities of long-lasting, high quality partnerships and networks;
  • projects encouraging innovation and quality, as well as innovative approaches in this field;
  • information activities for young people and persons and organisations active in youth work, such as those improving their access to relevant information and communication services. These may be European, national, regional and local youth portals or measures that promote the involvement of young people in the preparation and dissemination of understandable, user-friendly and targeted information products and advice;
  • partnerships with regional or local bodies whose funding focuses on projects and coordination activities;
  • support for the structures implementing the programme: the national agencies or assimilated bodies (national coordinators, Eurodesk network, Euro-Mediterranean Youth Platform, associations of young European volunteers, etc.);
  • adding value to the programme and its implementation by the Commission through the organisation of events (seminars, colloquia, etc.) or information actions.

The “Support for European cooperation in the youth field” action aims to organise structured dialogue between the various actors in the field of youth, i.e. young people themselves, persons and organisations active in this sector and policymakers. The activities may cover:

  • the promotion of cooperation and exchanges of ideas and good practices and the development of the networks necessary to a better understanding and knowledge of youth;
  • the organisation of conferences by the EU Presidencies and of the European Youth Week and support for objectives in the field of youth through the open method of coordination (OMC) and the European Youth Pact;
  • cooperation between national and international youth voluntary activities;
  • seminars on social, cultural and political issues for young people;
  • the development of political cooperation and cooperation by the EU with other international organisations (the Council of Europe, the United Nations, etc.).


The programme is intended for non-profit projects for young people, groups of young people and persons and organisations active in youth work. In principle, it is aimed at young people aged from 15 to 28 (under certain conditions from 13 to 30).

The programme is open to EU countries, European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries that are members of the European Economic Area (EEA), EU candidate countries, countries of the western Balkans, Switzerland (subject to the conclusion of a bilateral agreement) and non-EU countries (or partner countries) that have signed cooperation agreements with the EU relevant to the youth field. It is also open to cooperation with international organisations operating in this field, such as the Council of Europe.

The programme’s budget for the period 2007-13 is € 885 million.

The Commission and the participating countries implementing the programme shall make provision for the necessary structures at European, national and, if required, regional or local level. In this respect, the Commission shall be assisted by a management committee made up of representatives of EU countries and chaired by a Commission representative. Most of the implementation measures must be adopted in accordance to the management procedure. Only decisions regarding the awarding of small grants, which do not involve sensitive decision-making, shall not be adopted in comitology. The programme is mainly managed on a decentralised basis by independent national agencies that must comply with the rules of sound financial management and be subject to audits and financial inspections. However, the centralised projects are managed by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency.

In addition, the Commission and the participating countries shall take appropriate measures to encourage the recognition of non-formal and informal learning of young people (documents, certificates, etc.) and of the experience gained through the programme.


Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 1719/2006/EC

14.12.2006 – 31.12.2013

OJ L 327, 24.11.2006

Amending act(s) Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 1349/2008/EC

25.12.2008 – 31.12.2013

OJ L 348, 24.12.2008

Successive amendments and corrections to Decision No 1719/2006/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference purposes only.

Related Acts

Commission Report to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 20 April 2011 – Interim evaluation of the ‘Youth in Action’ Programme [COM(2011) 220 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Council Decision 2011/82/EU of 31 January 2011 on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Union and the Swiss Confederation establishing the terms and conditions for the participation of the Swiss Confederation in the ‘Youth in Action’ programme and in the action programme in the field of lifelong learning (2007 to 2013) [Official Journal L 32 of 8.2.2011].

Resolution of the Council and of the Representative of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, on youth work [Official Journal C 327 of 4.12.2010].

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