2022 the European Year of Youth: “To listen, engage and promote concrete opportunities for youth”

The EU Commission has adopted the proposal to make 2022 the European Year of Youth.

“During the year, the EU Commission, other EU institutions and Member States will organise various events also in light of the proposals made by young people during the initiatives of the Conference on the Future of Europe,” said Eric Mamer a spokesperson for the Commission announcing the adoption of the proposal to hold a European Year of Youth, which was put forward by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her State of the Union address last September.

“The initiative will encourage young people to become active citizens and to develop professional and personal skills through the opportunities provided by the EU”, he pointed out.

A survey dedicated to the initiative will be launched soon on a youth portal. During the events, young people will discuss the priorities highlighted in the Youth Goals, such as equality and inclusion, sustainability, mental health and well-being, and quality employment.

Young people from outside the EU will also be involved. The Commission calls on Member States to appoint a national coordinator responsible for organising their participation in the European Year of Youth.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “The pandemic has robbed young people of many opportunities – to meet and make new friends, to experience and explore new cultures. While we cannot give them that time back, we are proposing today to designate 2022 the European Year of Youth.”

“From climate to social to digital, young people are at the heart of our policymaking and political priorities. We vow to listen to them, as we are doing in the Conference on the Future of Europe, and we want to work together to shape the future of the European Union. A Union that is stronger if it embraces the aspirations of our young people – grounded in values and bold in action.”

Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Commissioner Mariya Gabriel pointed out: “The European Year of Youth should bring a paradigm shift in how we include young people in policy and decision-making. The objectives of the Year are to listen, engage and promote concrete opportunities for youth. We also need to bridge the gap between generations.”

“Today’s young people are less interested in traditional forms of participation, but they are active in standing up for what they believe in, engaging in new ways. This Year wants to pay tribute and recognise the commitment of young people. With this Decision, we start a co-creation process with all interested parties to contribute to the successful organisation of the Year.”

According to UE Commission the European Year of Youth will go hand in hand with NextGenerationEU, which reopens perspectives for young people, including quality jobs and education and training opportunities for the Europe of the future, and supports young people’s participation in society.

The Year of Youth will seek synergies and complementarity with other EU programmes targeting youth across the policy spectrum – from rural development programmes focussed on young farmers to research and innovation programmes, and from cohesion to climate change actions – including EU programmes with international outreach or of a transnational nature.

Besides, Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps, with budgets of €28 billion and €1bn respectively for the current financial period, the EU’s Youth Guarantee and Youth Employment Initiative are creating more opportunities for young people. While, in 2022 also, a new programme called ALMA will be launched to support cross-border professional mobility for disadvantaged young people.

The EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027 is the framework for EU youth policy co-operation. It supports youth participation in democratic life and aims to ensure that all young people take part in society. The EU Youth Dialogue is a central tool in these efforts.

Finally, the Conference on the Future of Europe, which will draw its conclusions also in 2022, ensures that the views and opinions of young people on the future of our Union are heard. One-third of participants in the European Citizens’ Panels and of Panel representatives to the Conference Plenaries are also young people, while the president of the European Youth Forum also takes part in plenaries.

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