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Brussels, 30 May 2005

[Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED ]

Addressing the concerns of young people in Europe: the Commission adopts a communication on youth policies

The European Commission adopted today a Communication on “European policies concerning youth”. This text is a follow-up to the adoption of the European Youth Pact by the European Council in March 2005, which made young people a key part of the renewed Lisbon partnership for growth and jobs and which proposed taking action for young people in the fields of employment, integration and social advancement, education and training, mobility, and reconciling family and work life.

“Europe’s future increasingly depends on its ability to foster societies that are child and youth friendly,” said Ján Figel’, commissioner in charge of Youth, and the Communication adopted today is a clear signal that the Lisbon partnership for growth and jobs is very relevant for young people since it addresses issues that affect them directly”.

The Communication adopted today points out that unemployment among young people is more than double the overall unemployment rate in Europe, while young people as a group are particularly at risk of poverty. And yet, as Europe’s population shrinks, a smaller number of young people will have to carry the burden of replacing the larger numbers of the preceding generations. Young people will be vital in ensuring that the Lisbon goals of more growth and jobs can be met – as the future work force, and the future source of the research capabilities, innovation and entrepreneurship that Europe needs to succeed. However, these goals can only be met if young people are equipped with knowledge, skills and competences through high quality, relevant education and training, and if barriers such as growing up in poverty and social exclusion are removed.

For these reasons, the issue of securing a fair deal for Europe’s young people was on the table at the European Council of March 2005, when European Heads of State and Government adopted the European Youth Pact (the 1st time that a Youth Council had sent a contribution to a European Council). The aim was clear : improving the education, training, mobility, vocational integration and social inclusion of young Europeans, while facilitating the reconciliation of family life and working life.

Under the revitalised Lisbon partnership for growth and jobs agreed at the March Summit, Member States must prepare “national reform programmes” for autumn 2005 indicating the actions they will take to achieve the goals of more growth and jobs. The Communication outlines how Member States can put the Pact into operation by drawing on the integrated guidelines for growth and jobs from the Commission. The Communication also highlights actions for young people at European level within the Pact.

The European Council underlined that the Pact, to be successful, requires the involvement of all actors, and first and foremost of youth organisations and young people. The Communication invites Member States to take the necessary steps to consult young people in developing measures for the Pact and following up its implementation. It announces the consultation process that the Commission will undertake on youth policy, beginning with an Internet consultation this summer, and culminating in the Youth ‘Etats Généraux’ – ‘Youth takes the floor’ at the end of 2005, involving young people, Commissioners, MEPs and other policy makers.

Finally, the comprehensive overview of youth policy that the Communication provides is completed by identifying other policy areas and EU programmes that are especially relevant for youth.

For further information see:

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