2016 was a milestone year for the European Youth Forum as it marked our 20th anniversary, something we celebrated by striving even harder for youth rights, helping youth organisations to grow stronger and pushing our European leaders to make young people a priority.
United together with our Member Organisations, the Youth Forum has made great strides over the past 20 years to raise up young voices across Europe. We have seen lots of changes in this time and many Europeans have more opportunities than before; such as access to quality education and increased mobility. However, while the Youth Forum took more positive steps forward in 2016, this year also presented us with challenges.
It might seem we are living at a time when the border between hope for a better future and fear for the years to come seems eternally blurred. We still have much more work to do to ensure that young people, the most pro–European generation, are front and centre in leading the way to a more sustainable, democratic and inclusive Europe.
The Youth Forum launched a new publication, entitled “Inspiring! Youth Organisations contribution to Citizenship Education”. This was the final outcome of a consultation of our Member Organisations (MOs) on the topic, for which we received 24 replies. These contributions included activities, projects, interpretations of key concepts, with a specific focus on non-formal education and volunteering, and their contribution to citizenship education. It also makes recommendations on the provision of citizenship education in school and school curricula, and best practice examples for partnerships between the formal and non formal sector. This publication, which is already in its second edition, was very well received by our MOs and our partners and allowed the Youth Forum to develop partnerships with key stakeholders in the field (i.e the North South Centre of the Council of Europe, DGII Democracy - Youth Department of the Council of Europe and academics from 5 different universities)
We developed the #YouthUP campaign to generate the best ideas for politics that are more youth-inclusive. #YouthUP workshops, using Non-Formal Education (NFE) methodology to brainstorm, were organised throughout 2016 and hosted by national youth councils across Europe, involved over 600 young people. To broaden the scope of the campaign, we worked with civil society partners on 6 next kits on the themes of the YO!Fest 2017 (Participation, Inclusion, Sustainability, Rights, Health and Peace). We started preparation for the YO!Fest, to be held in February 2017 in Maastricht, where young people would put forward their ideas for the future of Europe to decision makers.
We started work towards the creation of the Youth Opportunities Index: a joint project of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) and Deloitte, the Index aims at raising awareness of contributing factors to the social progress of young people. In 2016, we developed the concept and framework model for the index, screened all existing data sources and made a selection of relevant indicators. The first edition of the Index is expected mid-2017, followed by a number of correlation reports and visuals that highlight country scores, and the social benefits of better including youth in society and policy-making.
We continued to grow the European Youth Capital (EYC) title, working with cities across Europe to promote youth rights and participation. The Board and Member Organisations travelled to Ganja (EYC 2016) to run events on gender equality and directly advocate for youth rights and YFJ values. We worked closely with youth organisations and Municipal authorities in Varna (EYC 2017) and Cascais (EYC 2018) to plan their activities and structures for the coming years, as well as providing detailed feedback on the youth participation projects of thirteen cities in the EYC 2019 competition, which was awarded to Novi Sad. We also updated the EYC application process, and involved new partner organisations in the EYC jury with a focus on human rights and funding.
2016 has been a very active year for the European Youth Forum advocacy on the Erasmus+ Programme. The views and concerns of its member organisations have been collected and included in the European Parliament Report on the Implementation of the Erasmus+. The EaP Youth Window has been finally launched and youth organisations from the region can finally apply directly to get support from the Erasmus+. The invest in youth campaign has been successful during the negotiations on the mid-term review of the Multiannual Financial Framework. The active involvement of the Youth Forum and its members in the Erasmus+ Civil Society Coalition has contributed to the advocacy of the Platform on the Erasmus+. The Erasmus+ Civil Society Coalition started contributing to the mid-term evaluation of the programme and to the development of the new generation of Programmes.
The European Youth Forum Pool of Trainers engaged in over 30 training and facilitation engagements of the Youth Forum, our partners and our member organisations. Delivering capacity building trainings on advocacy, organisational development, youth employment, the Rights Based Approach, Non-Formal Education Quality Assurance (NFE QA) and much more. We organised another successful edition of the Youth Forum Academy, which was kindly hosted by the Committee for National and International Relations of Youth and Popular Education Associations (CNAJEP) in Paris, France under the theme of “E=MC2016: Empowering, Mobilising and Connecting”. Bringing together 48 participants coming from 29 MOs for training and workshops including on: Quality Standards for Youth Policy, Messaging & Social Media, Lobbying for beginners, Participation to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), Youth Participation.
We took a strong role in the drafting and development of the 1st Council of Europe Committee of Ministers (CM) Recommendation on Youth Work, successfully ensuring that it reflects our understanding of Youth Work, as set out in our Policy Paper on Youth Work, and takes into account the needs and challenges of Volunteer-led Youth Organisations. The Conseil de l'Europe (CoE) Youth Work Recommendation will, once it will be adopted later in 2017, serve as the main political outcome of the Youth Work Convention. Additionally we launched the WeAreYouthWork campaign, aiming to bring visibility to the work of youth organisations and showcasing the richness and diversity of the youth work field. Lastly, we have a new publication - "The Validation of Non-Formal Education in the Youth Sector: Key Success factors and Recommendations" - with recommendations for the successful recognition and validation of validation of non-formal and informal learning (NFIL) on the youth field.
We continued our support of the Network of Universities on Youth and Global Citizenship with our presence in the three sister universities of the Network. Under the topic of “Connecting Identities”, the Youth Forum organised this year during the University on Youth and Development (UYD) an week-long activity on “Work and Youth in a Changing Society” with 12 participants from our MOs. This year’s edition of the UYD brought together 215 participants from 60 different countries and a motion of recognition of this year’s UYD Declaration was adopted by the General Assembly of the European Youth Forum last November in Varna.
We continued our fight for quality internships, supporting intern organisations across the world to organise the Global Interns Strike. We also intensified our work on quality apprenticeships, and ensured the participation of 10 young people at the first European Union (EU) Vocational Skills Week in December 2016. Through continued pressure on institutions to bring more young people into discussions, in 2017, the European Commission is supporting a European Apprentices Network that we will launch with the Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions (OBESSU) to put the voice of young people at the centre of discussions on apprenticeships.
We successfully lobbied for an extra 2.2 Billion EURO of EU funding to implement the Youth Guarantee by the end of 2020. This was done through bringing our Member Organisations to Brussels to discuss directly with policy-makers and experts, and through strong collaboration with social partners and other organisations to pressure the Parliament and the Council.
We put young people at the centre of the European social agenda. Following consistent advocacy, the Report of the European Parliament on the upcoming European Pillar of Social Rights has a strong youth focus, calling for the banning of zero-hours contracts, for support for young people to access housing, and for quality conditions for interns and apprentices.
Through this work, we are becoming a legitimate and sought-after voice on European social policy. We were the only non-institutional speaker invited to the high-level Social Rights Pillar conference of the European Commission, where we also had the active participation of 10 youth organisation representatives.
This work was made possible by our extensive report on the social inclusion of young people, published May 2016, that looks at the challenges young people face when accessing healthcare, housing, employment, inclusive education and adequate social protection.
In cooperation with the European Commission and the European Youth Forum, Member Organisations have hosted 17 youth events across Europe in 2016. They brought the discussions on the future of the EU and what the European project is all about to a regional and local level. With a strong youth perspective the a huge diversity of topics was discussed: economic development and social inclusion, EU governance, political participation, mobility and education, as well as external policies. The outcomes, the ideas and suggestions of young people are being brought back to Brussels. Among others they will feed into the process of the next EU Youth Strategy.
The Vth Cycle of Structured Dialogue began in 2016, on the topic of “Enabling all young people to engage in a diverse, connected and inclusive Europe”. The Netherlands and Slovakia held their very successful youth conferences, including some important methodological innovations, and 65,000 young people were reached during the consultation phase. Youth Ministers discussed the recommendations providing valuable input for their further implementation. A new visibility for the Structured Dialogue was also chosen, focusing on the theme “SpeakUp”. It will be rolled out at a European level in 2017.
2016 was a year of intense cooperation between the European Youth Forum and EU institutions, meeting the First Vice-President of the Commission, Commissioners, Ministers and Members of European Parliament (MEPs), engaging in expert groups, contributing to Commission consultations and numerous reports of the European Parliament. Highlights of the work were definitely the high engagement of the Youth Forum and its Member Organisations in the future of Europe (Bratislava) process, which contributed to European Council Conclusions with a youth focus in December 2016, the reaction and contribution to the European Solidarity Corps, as well as the preparations for the EU youth policy cooperation framework after 2018. Following a long series of consultations, a detailed policy document on the future EU Youth Strategy was adopted at the General Assembly in November.
On 20-21 May, 7500 young people from all across Europe came to the European Parliament in Strasbourg for the second edition of the European Youth Event (EYE), establishing it as the major bi-annual political youth festival in Europe. In more than 200 workshops, debates and other activities young people and a dozen of MEPs exchanged and developed their ideas for a better Europe under the theme “Together we can make the change”. The YO!Village was composed of 5 hubs reflecting the main themes: War and Peace, Apathy or Participation, Exclusion or Access, Stagnation or Innovation, Collapse or Success. In the autumn the event was followed by EYE hearings in the European Parliament, discussions between young ‘idea givers’ and MEPs about the outcomes of the event in the most relevant committees.
In September 2016, the Committee of Ministers Recommendation on Young People’s Access to Rights put an end to a process of several years for a document recognising and strengthening the rights of young people all across Europe. The Youth Forum accompanied and supported this process in the drafting group, Joint Council meetings, as well as reaching out to all permanent representations and meeting a dozen of them during a crucial lobby mission. Moreover, the Youth Forum supported the transition and start of the new mandate of the Advisory Council on Youth and further broadened its cooperation within the Council of Europe, beyond the important long-lasting partnership with the Youth Department, engaging for example with the Human Rights Commissioner, Social Charter, Education Department, Congress, Court of Human Rights etc.
We actively participated in the first United Nations (UN) Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law in November 2016 on the theme of “Widening the democratic space: the role of youth in public decision-making” and supported six members to attend. As a panelist, Board Member Dejan Bojanic highlighted the interdependence and interrelatedness of all human rights, focusing on the right to quality education. The Youth Forum organised a side event on participatory policy-making that co-sponsored by the Romanian and Irish Missions, and supported by the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth; over 70 participants attended. We also provided a written submission with recommendations on youth participation, youth and sustainable development, and youth rights. The report and recommendations of the UN Forum will be sent to the Human Rights Council in March 2017.
Following intensive and coordinated lobbying the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers adopted the Recommendation on Young People’s Access to Rights in September. This represents the culmination of years of advocacy and provides an indispensable tool for youth organisations to advocate for young people’s access to all of their rights, whether civil, political, economic, social or cultural. Member States’ follow-up to the recommendation will be examined by the Committee of Ministers in 2022.
In the April Council of Members Meeting (COMEM), a resolution was adopted identifying a series of quality standards for youth policy. These standards specified that a youth policy must be based on a rights based approach, be participatory, be based on evidence, be multi-level, must be strategic in an overall context, must have available resources, political commitment and accountability, and must have a cross-sectoral element. These standards were taken forward by the Expert Group on Youth Policy and formulated to become the Quality Standards in Youth Policy publication which was launched in June 2016. A huge thank you to the Expert Group for their tireless work on this publication and its promotion.
Over 2016, we saw a big growth in the amount of members joining and interacting with the Youth Forum and with members. Specifically in the networks on Funding, Migration & Human Rights, Youth Work & Education, the online sharing and interaction has developed strongly. However Yammer as a tool for sharing updates has its limitations and is sometimes inaccessible for new members. Therefore we will establish a new online sharing tool to make Youth Forum information and interaction more accessible for all members.
During the year, the Youth Forum offered specific training for members – such as rights-based approach and NFE quality assurance, as well as a limited tailor-made capacity building programme. Though many members benefited from this capacity building, the uptake was not as high as we had expected. Therefore, we are moving towards a more broad-based tailor-made capacity building programme. Members' needs will be identified through the membership survey and a capacity building programme will be developed based on these needs.
The extra funding that the European Commission has proposed for the Youth Guarantee is a vote of confidence in the scheme that has already engaged allowed nine million young people to take up an offers of employment, education, traineeship or apprenticeship under the Youth Guarantee since 2014. However, there was a slow start in many countries to the implementation of the scheme – our infographics on the state of the development of the scheme across Europe have helped highlight this. We will work with our National Youth Council and Trade Unions to keep this implementation data up to date and work to ensure a commitment from the EU on the youth guarantee.
In late October, the Youth Forum met with Commission First Vice President Timmermans regarding sustainable development, calling for an overarching and ambitious implementation of the 2030 Agenda in the EU and ensuring the engagement of youth organisations in dialogues regarding this policy topic.
Our members INYF (Intl. Young Nature Friends) and WOSM (World Org. of Scout Movement) gave examples of how youth organisations are implementing sustainable development and conveyed our willingness to support, partner and facilitate access to young Europeans and youth organisations.
Ten member organisations were part of the partners that started the development of activities for YO!Fest 2017 in Maastricht early February. A partners meeting was held in October where members engaged with the local partners in preparing the activities.
The invest in youth event in May brought together nearly 20 youth organisations to give their views to the European Parliament rapporteurs on the review of the EU budget. Using non-formal methods, members were able to vote for their priorities and present them to the MEPs present. The event lead to strong support for EU youth programmes (Erasmus+ and the Youth Guarantee) in the European Parliament’s report on the mid-term review of the EU budget.
|DG-Education, youth, Sport and Culture||€ 2 375 926||67%|
|Council of Europe||€ 93 000||3%|
|European Parliament||€ 741 883||21%|
|Open Society Institute||€ 65 172||2%|
|Other income and partnerships|
|Membership fees||€ 150 597||4%|
|Other||€ 72 860||2%|
|Total income||€ 3 535 845|
|Policy and Advocacy||€ 1 328 979||38%|
|Governance||€ 351 685||10%|
|Operational Costs||€ 935 130||27%|
|European Youth Event 2016||€ 743 978||21%|
|League of Young Voters||€ 65 172||2%|
|Yo!Fest 2017||€ 36 407||1%|
|Other||€ 3 427||0%|
|Total expenditure||€ 3 464 778|
Musa AKGUL - Estel BUCH MUNDÓ - Ivana DAVIDOVSKA - Maya DONEVA - Ilaria ESPOSITO - Ksenia FEDOROVA - Tea JARC - Natalie JIVKOVA - Ida KREUTZMAN - Stefan MANEVSKI - Dusan MILOJEVIC - Joana PINTO - Eliza POPPER - Milosh RISTOVSKI - Jaan URB
Job Creation Network - Mobility Network - Climate Change Network - Education Network - Quality Assurance Thematic Network - Youth Work Recognition Network - Funding Network - Vote@16 Campaigners Network - Migration and Human Rights Network - Sustainable Development - Network - Secretaries-General (SGs) network - Finance Network