2022 will be the Year of European Youth, said President of the Commission


Ursula von der Leyen delivered her second State of the Union. She mentioned a crucial role of youth and a new programme.

In her State of the Union address on 15 September 2021, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen paid great attention to youth. She emphasized the importance of young people participating in shaping the future of Europe. In this context, they should have an active role in the debate in the Conference on the Future of Europe. She also called on the EU institutions to build a "Union with a soul and a vision young people can connect to".

2022: Year of European Youth

Von der Leyen also announced the European Commission's proposal to make the next year the Year of European Youth. Among other things, this decision is meant to reward the young generation for its commitment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although being affected by the crisis themselves, young people actively helped others and tried to keep them safe.

Sabine Verheyen, EP’s Culture and Education committee chairwoman, expressely welcomed this proposal. According to her, the announcement of the European Youth Year is a clear message that the EU consideres the young generation as its priority, is aware of its problems and challenges, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic, and is ready to respond. "The Year of European Youth is now an opportunity to bring the needs and fears of young people to the forefront, and work together to identify solutions," Verheyen said. More info to be found in the press release.

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ALMA – new programme for youth

There is still a need to give more support to those who fall into the gaps. Therefore, a new ALMA programme for young people who are not in any kind of employment, education or training will be put in place. This will help them find temporary work experience in another Member State and gain necessary experience and skills. "Because they too deserve an experience like Erasmus. To gain skills, to create bonds and help forge their own European identity," von der Leyen explained.

The ALMA programme should complement the EURES Targeted Mobility Scheme (TMS), which helps 18+ people to find a job or traineeship in another Member State, Norway or Iceland. It provides them with the necessary support and helps to solve problems (e. g. funding of language courses, recognition of qualifications, transport and subsistence costs, etc.). At the same time, it connects motivated and qualified employees with potential employers.

Read the full State of the Union address.