On 10 January, the European Commission published a document with measures to strengthen the role of youth in EU policies
The measures set out in the Communication on the European Year of Youth (2022) build on the legacy of the European Year of Youth (2022) and come in the context of the upcoming European Parliament elections, in which the European Commission wants to involve as many young people as possible. The measures are also in line with the EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027 and commit the Commission to giving young people a stronger voice in EU policy-making and to addressing youth issues in all policy areas (mainstreaming). In addition, the Commission should take action in five key areas that are important to young people: health and well-being; environment and climate change; education and training; international cooperation and European values; employment and inclusion.
The "Youth check" and mainstreaming
In the document, the Commission commits to continue to use existing platforms and initiatives for involving youth in European policies, such as the EU Youth Dialogue or the policy dialogue between European youth representatives and the European Commissioners. Newly, the Commission intends to introduce the so-called "youth check". This involves the Commission carrying out a youth needs analysis when proposing EU policies, so that the impact of policies on young people is systematically taken into account. The aim is to continue to mobilise the Commission's internal network of Youth Correspondents and to launch a series of dedicated roundtables on mainstreaming youth in all EU policy areas.
What will the Youth Check look like? The Commission will first assess, with the support of its Youth Correspondents, the relevance of each new policy initiative for youth. If the initiative is included among the priority youth initiatives, the Commission will consider dedicated youth consultations (targeted surveys, discussions with young people, etc.). In this sense, the Commission's measures also encourage EU Member States to nominate a national youth coordinator who could facilitate consultations at national and regional level. Subsequently, the Commission, with the support of the Youth Correspondents, will carry out so-called impact assessments on issues considered to be of particular importance for youth and will ensure that the impact on young people is properly analysed. Finally, the Regulatory Scrutiny Committee will verify that all the possible impacts were taken account.
Next steps to support youth empowerment
The Commission is also to establish, among other things, a forum for regular dialogue and consultation with youth organisations around the world through the EU External Action Youth Dialogue Platform. It should also update the framework on the quality of traineeships and related issues (fair remuneration and access to social protection) and develop guidelines on welfare in schools. The Commission is also planning to expand the range of volunteering opportunities for young people to get involved in the green transformation by increasing support for the European Solidarity Corps 2024 call under Horizon Europe.
Other measures the Commission intends to take to involve youth in EU policies and public affairs include exploring the possibility of providing micro-grants in the future Erasmus+ programme. Micro-grants have been tested during the Year of Youth and it is clear that this type of grant provides young people with easy access to funding that allows them to work on joint projects and develop the skills, competences and confidence to make a positive contribution to development in their communities. In addition, micro-grants are an effective mechanism for raising young people's awareness of the opportunities offered by the EU.
For more information, see the press release and the Communication.