Common objectives for a better understanding and knowledge of youth
With a view to achieving more relevant national and Community policies on youth, the Commission has presented its proposals for common objectives, in response to the Council Resolution of 27 June 2002. The idea is to base these policies on the best possible knowledge of youth.
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].
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.