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Common objectives for participation by and information for young people

This Resolution sets common objectives to develop and improve young Europeans' effective participation in democratic life and their access to information.

ACT

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.

Last updated: 01.10.2005

See also

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 Official Journal].

Resolution of the Council and the Ministers of Youth meeting within the Council of 8 February 1999 on youth participation [Official Journal C 42 of 17.02.1999].

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