Structured Dialogue in the UK
Structured Dialogue happens in cycles lasting 18 months and will cover three Presidencies of the European Union. The topic of Structured Dialogue is set by a European Steering Committee consisting of representatives of the National Youth Councils and Youth Ministries of each Presidency country along with representatives of the European Youth Forum and the European Commission.
The current the thematic priority is: 'Enabling all young people to engage in a diverse, connected and inclusive Europe' and the cycle runs from January 2016 to June 2017 over the course of the Dutch, Slovakian and Maltese EU Presidencies.
The European Commissioner for Youth on Structured Dialogue, Tibor Navracics, mentioned:
"Europe needs the input of its young generation to overcome the big challenges it is facing. I want to give all young people in Europe the chance to have their voice heard. The Structured Dialogue has an important role to play in this. I am more determined than ever to reach out to one million young people during my term as Commissioner. Together, we can build an open, diverse, strong Europe."
In the UK, the main objectives are:
- Young people have greater access to rights
- Greater local, national and European political participation of young people in the UK
- Change in policy and practice in the UK and across the EU
- Stronger policies, processes and practice of youth participation
As well as building:
- Understanding of youth access to rights in the UK
- Greater awareness of rights and how to claim them
- New and innovative approaches to youth participation, particularly political participation
- Mechanisms to hold government and duty-bearers to account
The British Youth Council, a Eurodesk UK Partner, is the organisation leading on the Structured Dialogue process in the UK. To do this they recruit UK Young Ambassadors (UKYAs), a group of 12 young people (aged 18-25) from across the UK with diverse backgrounds and experiences. These young people work together to plan and contribute towards the structured dialogue process, and present their findings at meetings with European decision makers.
The UK Young Ambassadors are currently running a survey to rank recommendations made in the European Youth Conference in Slovakia in order of importance so they can lobby on for the duration of their term.
Phases of the EU-wide Structured Dialogue – Fifth Cycle (January 2016 – June 2017)
1st European Youth Conference:
4-7 April 2016, Amsterdam. Youth representatives and policymakers agreed on a guiding framework for the national consultations organised in each country.
2nd European Youth Conference:
3-6 October 2016, Slovakia. The outcomes of the national consultations were debated and Joint Recommendations, aimed at increasing the participation of youth people in politics, were endorsed.
Margarita Petkova, a British Youth Council Young Ambassador from Northern Ireland attended the European Youth Conference in Slovakia and told us about her experience.
3rd European Youth Conference:
20-23 March 2017, Malta. The Youth Conference discussed and developed practical measures for implementing the recommendations resulting from the consultation of young people conducted during the Slovak Presidency and also proposed an implementation toolbox.
Make sure to keep an eye on the UK Young Ambassadors if you would like to know how things develop!