Youth representatives, together with representatives from member states reflected on two fundamental dimensions of youth policies: the access to rights as well as the autonomy for young people.
With the overall theme of 'Youth empowerment for political participation', the conference focused on drafting a guiding framework to set common understanding on this theme and adopted the guiding questions on which the consultations will be carried out. Furthermore, joint recommendations on 'young people’s access to rights' were drawn up and will feed into Council Conclusions to be adopted in December 2014 by the Italian presidency.
The recommendations include the following key points:
The establishment of an independent ombudsperson for youth rights. The role of the ombudsperson should be to increase awareness, to map and point out challenges and discriminatory practices, and to systematically work to protect the rights of young people.
In order to empower young people to become active citizens, Member States should provide citizenship education at all stages of formal education and support non-formal education providers so that young people are aware of and able to access their rights.
Member States should implement a continuous cross-sectoral approach, as well as support inter- and national NGOs for awareness-raising activities, in order to ensure outreach to disadvantaged young people and empower them to know and fully exercise their rights, especially on local level.
The conference kicked off the updated format of the structured dialogue (a formal process whereby young people all over Europe feed into EU youth policy). In order to enhance a continuous dialogue between policy-makers and young people, the three EU Youth Conferences of the IV cycle will focus on the common overall theme of 'Youth Empowerment for Political Participation'.