Brussels, 10 November 2008
European Youth Week 2008 was celebrated with over 500 activities and events all over Europe between 2-9 November. In Brussels, the highlights included the "European Youth Celebrations" on 5 November, where seven projects (see annex) that had received funding from the 'Youth in Action' programme received trophies in the presence of Ján Figel', the European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth. On 6 November, 200 young people gathered with stakeholders and policy makers to discuss the future direction of EU youth policy.
The selected projects for the 2008 European Youth Celebrations all benefited from the support of the flagship European funding programme for youth, Youth in Action, in 2005-2007. All the projects had an intercultural element, as the ceremony was a youth contribution to the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008. The winners were selected from 33 projects, one from each country/territory participating in the Youth in Action Programme.
While over 500 other events took place throughout the Youth Week across Europe, in Brussels there were workshops, a political debate and a session in the European Parliament that brought together young Europeans and representatives of EU institutions to discuss the future direction of EU actions for young people.
In their final conclusions, the young people highlighted a number of issues as policy priorities, such as the need to remove lingering legal and bureaucratic obstacles for young people's full participation in society. In the area of volunteering, they acknowledged the benefits of existing policies and commitments taken by the EU and the Member States, such as for the European Voluntary Service, and action under the Youth in Action programme. Yet, many obstacles remain, making it difficult to motivate young people to volunteer. To that end, the young Europeans proposed that the EU should nominate 2011 as the European Year of Volunteering and that it should establish a Europe-wide 'V-card', which could give more recognition, and access to insurance and discounts, to every volunteer.
In tackling the issues of well-being through employment, entrepreneurship and social inclusion in a long term perspective, young people asked the EU to set youth as its main target. Rather than seeing youth as a cheap labour force, youth has to be considered as a resource for creativity and innovation. To exploit this potential to the maximum, high quality education is of vital importance to young people in Europe.
In the area of human rights, equality and anti-discrimination, the EU should endeavour to prevent discrimination for any reason, in every area of life, as defined in article 21 of the European charter of fundamental rights. In their final conclusions, the young people recommended to improve the impact, visibility and transparency of the Youth in Action programme by simplifying its application and reporting procedures.
These conclusions will be taken into consideration by the Commission, when it reviews the political framework and future policy orientation for co-operation in the field of youth in the spring of 2009.
European Youth Week 2008:
European Commission's Youth homepage:
Youth in Action Programme overview:
1. I am not dangerous, I am different!
Youth in Action Programme, Action 1.1:
Deeply rooted in an intercultural atmosphere, the project reunited youth subcultures, such as break dancers and emo, who used art as means of expressing themselves. Youngsters from different subcultures were involved with art, media, music, theatre and dance, with the aim of giving them a more tolerant outlook on cultural diversity. The project was international and multilateral, and brought together 24 participants aged 15 to 25 and six youth leaders from Latvia, Lithuania, Germany and Spain.
Youth Initiative Centre “Šķūnis” of Saldus Children and Youth Centre
Germany, Spain, Latvia, Lithuania
2. Unterwegs – (N)irgendwo daheim
(Nowhere at home)
Youth in Action Programme, Action 1.2:
The youth who organised this project learned a lot about human rights, the daily life of asylum seekers, other cultures, and problems around integration. They all contributed their individual experiences to put together an awareness campaign, using their creativity and innovation to produce a short film, take photos, and publish a brochure. In addition, an exhibition and information stands were set up in Innsbruck’s main station, showing the daily life and the many obstacles faced by asylum seekers and Romani people in Austria.
Project group “Asyl”
3. Un Ponte Ai Diritti Culture Giovanili E Cittadinanza Attiva A Ponte Di Nona
Youth in Action Programme, Action 1.3:
Youth Democracy Projects
For this still ongoing project, 24 disadvantaged youth from the suburbs of Marseille in France and Rome, got together to learn how to take an active role and express themselves in their communities. Three of the youth were trained as group leaders and facilitators using the methodologies developed by the Université du Citoyen – an association experienced in getting people to take action. The 24 youngsters met together in three meetings – two in France and one in Italy – and discussed the topic of youth participation in city suburbs.
Cooperative Sociale DATACOOP
4. Jollieworkshop 2007
Youth in Action Programme, Action 2:
European Voluntary Service
Jollieworkshops, held in Žilina, is a great example for a project that develops solidarity and promotes tolerance among youth. This project emphasises work with a group of individuals that have mixed abilities. One activity of this project was to host Tomáš, a young man with trisomy 21 from the Czech Republic. During his European Voluntary Service (EVS), he was involved in various activities that gave him great learning opportunities and a place to develop and discover new interests.
Land of Harmony Foundation
5. East meets West for community volunteering
YOUTH Programme, Action 3.1:
Cooperation with the Neighbouring Countries of the European Union
The project reunited the best from the East and West, as 40 young participants from Sweden, Denmark and the Russian Federation gathered for community volunteer work in Cheboksary, in the Russian Federation. All of the young participants were disadvantaged. Four different projects were identified and the young volunteers were put into four international groups, each responsible for one of the projects in a local community. The young people were the main organisers and facilitators of the projects.
Denmark, Sweden, the Russian Federation
6. Solidarity within LGBT Europe
Youth in Action Programme, Action 4.3:
Training and Networking of those active in youth work and youth organisations
The seminar brought together a multicultural group of 28 young people from 14 European countries sharing an empowering experience both on a personal level and as members of the LGBT network (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender). Various workshops enhanced the participants’ skills in networking, communication, fundraising and lobbying, and contributed to the seminar’s aim of strengthening the network of European LGBT and developing future cooperation.
Wel Jong Niet Hetero
Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Ireland, Spain, France,
Italy, Lithuania, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland,
Romania, Sweden, United Kingdom
7. Kansallinen nuorisokonventti
Youth in Action Programme, Action 5.1:
Meetings of young people and those responsible for youth policy
The challenges Europe and the EU will be facing in the future were the overall topics of the Finnish National Youth Convention where dozens of young people from all over Finland came together to discuss this important issue in a structured dialogue. The debates were wide-ranging and fascinating with highly motivated young people actively taking part in it. The young people discussed important issues such as employment, youth participation, environment, immigration, developmental cooperation as well as education and democracy in EU.
Finnish Youth Cooperation Allianssi