EU Youth Presidency Events
1. EU Youth Conference, 11thMarch - 13th March 2013, Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin
The EU Youth Conference was hosted by Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and was the flagship event in the Irish Presidency Youth Programme. This Conference is a core element of the European Commission's structured dialogue process with young people which brings together young people and policy - makers across the EU to jointly discuss and feed into youth policy at national and European level.
The EU Youth Conference is the culmination of the EU wide consultation with youth in which young people in all 27 Member States participate. Consultation in Member States on the theme of the social inclusion of young people took place from the end of November 2012 to mid - February 2013 in preparation for the EU Conference in Dublin in March 2013.
In preparation for the Conference, national consultations took place between November and February across all Member States, including Ireland's 'Young voices - Have your say'. Seven thematic areas covering education, employment, access to welfare and equal rights and equal opportunities to participate in society were drawn from the results of these consultations in which over 11,000 young people and youth representatives participated.
The thematic areas from the national consultations were explored at the Conference via joint workshop sessions, with almost 180 young people and Ministry officials from the 27 Member States taking part, resulting in 21 jointly defined conclusions.
The Conference Conclusions have been progressed by Ireland as the current President of the European Union, with a number of these informing Council Conclusions on the contribution of quality youth work to the development, well-being and social inclusion of young people which were adopted by the Council of Youth Ministers on the 16th May, 2013. The Conference conclusions have also informed the second phase of the Structured Dialogue process under the Lithuanian Presidency and will also contribute to the development of a Council Resolution on Social Inclusion to be proposed during the Greek Presidency.
A number of inputs were presented by young people engaged in youth services and experts working in the youth field.
Guest speaker Dr. John Bamber, Project Specialist at the Centre for Effective Services and Michael Barron, Director of Belong To Youth Service spoke about their own experiences and the impact of youth work on social inclusion and social change.
Youth services who took part include Hi Rez Youth Centre in Bray, Co. Wicklow who presented on social inclusion, youth work experience and examples of good practice through the Core Principles of the National Quality Standards Framework. The National Association of Youth Drama preformed an especially commissioned piece on social inclusion which included powerful messages on youth unemployment and marginalisation while Bu?olg Youth Group from Co. Wexford also performed on the day, showcasing the innovation and quality of Youth Arts in Ireland.
The opportunity to hear from youth work experts and young people in Ireland proved a highlight of the Conference. These inputs were found to be inspiring and motivating to delegates when participating in the workshop sessions.
- Opening Press Release from the Conference 11th March 2013
- Minister Fitzgerald's Speech from the Opening Plenary
- Young Voices - Have Your Say (Summary Report)
- Closing Press Release from the Conference 11th March 2013
- Joint Conclusions EU Youth Conference Dublin 13th March 2013
2. Informal Meeting of Directors General of Youth - 13th March 2013,
Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin
This event was held directly following the EU Youth Conference and attended by the Directors' General of Youth from each Member State, the Council Secretariat and Officials of the European Commission. During this event a number of key presentations were made on the personal, social and economic impact of youth work, following which, this theme was debated in detail and a range of key issues identified which directly informed the planning of the May Council of Youth Ministers meeting.
3. Council of Youth Ministers Meeting, 16th May 2013, Brussels
Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, chaired a meeting of the EU Council of Youth Ministers in Brussels on 16th May. In this role, Ireland brought forward work on a number of issues related to how quality youth work can contribute to young people's development, well-being and social inclusion - this includes advancing the introduction of quality standards in youth work services and also how youth policy and the youth sector can bring about new synergies and elements in addressing the pressing challenges being experienced by Europe's young people, in particular youth unemployment.
The Council of Youth Ministers formally adopted two EU Council Conclusions:
These Conclusions emphasise the distinct contribution youth policy offers to the lives of young people through its holistic and cross - cutting response and its direct connection and involvement with young people and civil society. Included are a number of concrete measures aimed raising the profile of youth work at EU level and mainstreaming youth work into broader EU policy responses to youth employment and social inclusion. These include:
- Establishing a new EU working group on quality youth work
- Strengthening the working relationship between the Council of Youth Ministers and other Council of Minister configurations
- Mainstreaming youth policy input into the European Semester reporting process
- Recognition of centrality of youth work in contributing to the Europe 2020 growth and jobs agenda
- Recognition of the role of youth work in implementing the proposed Youth Guarantee
- Greater coordination between EU youth policy and education, training and employment policies
Youth Input:A video by the Young Irish Filmmakers was especially commissioned for the meeting. This was based on the EU Youth Conference Joint Conclusions relating to employment, education and participation in civic life and gave young people in Ireland a voice to articulate the challenges they face, express what they get out of youth work and suggest recommendations for Youth Ministers in responding to these challenges. View the video here .
Presentations by Experts:The meeting also heard presentations from two experts in the youth field: Dr Massimiliano Mascherini, Research Manager, Eurofound, Dublin, Ireland; and Dr John Bamber, Project Specialist, Centre for Effective Services, Dublin, Ireland, in relation to the current challenges European young people are facing and the contribution of youth work in addressing these. These presentations informed the central question of the interactive Ministerial debate on issues which are impacting on Europe's young people.
Policy Debate:The Ministerial debate focused on the immediate and practical actions Youth Ministers can take to harness the potential for quality youth work to better meet the present days challenges faced by Europe's young people. Ministers responded to this question by drawing on a range of good practices currently being developed and implemented in their Member State as well recommendations for an EU level response though youth policy and youth work.
Key messages emerging from the debate include:
- The need for prompt implementation of the 'Council Recommendation on the Validation of Non - formal and Informal Learning'.
- Recognise the skills acquired by young people in their engagement in youth work through a common recognition mechanism such as certificates and portfolios in an effort to enhance and support employability.
- Well evidenced outcomes are needed to articulate the value of youth work to other fields through personal testimonies, interviews with stakeholders and desk research.
- A database and international exchanges to share learning and good practices in youth work is recommended at European level to ensure that youth work is horizontal and does not work in isolation.
- As youth policy is cross - cutting, consideration could be given to 'youth proofing' in future policy development.
4. BelonG To conference on "LGBT Youth and social inclusion", 17 June 2013, Croke Park, Dublin
As part of the EU Presidency Programme for Youth, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs is supporting BeLonG To www.belongto.org , Ireland's national youth service for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) young people, in hosting a one - day associated EU Presidency event on LGBT Youth and Social Inclusion.
The theme of the current EU Trio Presidency in relation to Youth is Social Inclusion.
Results from consultations across 27 Member States during the Irish Presidency on the theme of social inclusion identified young people with disabilities, young people from a migrant background and sexual minorities as being most at risk of social exclusion. Overall, many different groups of young people were identified as particularly vulnerable to social exclusion, the most common underlying causes by far being discrimination and socio - economic situation.
BeLonG To is progressing the EU Youth Conference Conclusions (March 2013, Dublin) by focussing on actions to address the exclusion of LGBT young people by:
- Bringing together examples of good practice on equality and inclusion work with LGBT youth and create a forum for discussing further solutions.
- Considering via workshops, in relation to LGBT youth, four key priorities:
1. LGBT Youth & Education
2. LGBT Youth & Unemployment
3. LGBT Youth & Participation & Rights
4. LGBT Youth & Youth Services (access and quality of youth work).
- Agree on common goals and strategies for promoting the inclusion of LGBT young people in EU policy, EU programmes and the Youth Sector in Ireland and across Europe.
- Develop the 'Dublin Statement' on the rights of LGBT youth which will act as a platform for promoting the inclusion of LGBT young people throughout Europe.
This conference will also seek to build on important international initiatives to promote the inclusion of LGBT young people, including:
- UNESCO's global work on tackling homophobic and transphobic bullying.
- The Rio Declaration on the right to education for LGBT young people.
- The recent recommendations from the Civil Society Platform on LGBT youth rights that went to the OSCE Ministerial Council.
- UN Resolutions on LGBT Rights.
- UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon's two recent statements on homophobia and transphobia and LGBT young people.
Thematic areas to be explored via workshops:
1. Education -'Young people across the EU find the current education systems reproducing inequalities and preventing inclusion.' Research in Ireland and other EU countries has found that LGBT young people experience extremely levels of bullying and discrimination. This has lead to serious mental health difficulties (including suicide) and higher levels of early schools leaving among LGBT young people. The Structured Dialogue's goal of 'Inclusive education' has special relevance for LGBT young people.
2. Youth Unemployment - as the report of the Structured Dialogue noted , unemployed young people are particularly vulnerable to social exclusion. LGBT young people face unique and severe challenges in relation to equal access to decent jobs in a work environment free of discrimination and violence.
3. Participation - Equal rights and equal opportunities to participate in civic life are crucial for LGBT young people who are too often denied a voice and whose identities are not equally respected and valued.
4. Youth Services (access and quality youth work) - This topic will be a combination of two themes in the Structured Dialogue. Supportive youth services can be life - saving for LGBT young people and quality assurance processes in youth work need to take into account the equality and social inclusion of this highly excluded group.
- Frances Fitzgerald TD - Minister for Children and Youth Affairs
- Dr. Geoffrey Shannon - Special Rapporteur on Child Protection; Chairman of the Adoption Authority of Ireland; EU Commission specialist on adoption.
- European Commission - Pascal Lejeune, Director General Education and Culture.
- European Parliament - Phil Prendergast - MEP for Ireland South and member of the LGBT Intergroup of the and lead on European Parliament anti - homophobia in sport declaration.
- European Youth Forum - President Peter Matjaṡi.
- Council of Europe, Kerttu Tarjamo LGBT Issues Unit.
- EU Fundamental Rights Agency - Board member, Patricia Prendiville.
- The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) - Director of Education - Sophie Aujean.
- The International Gay and Lesbian Youth Organisation (IGLYO).
EU and Asscession State NGO's
- Lithuanian Gay League: Tomas VytautasRaskeviius.
- Greece - Colour Youth: George Charonis
- Turkey - Nevin Öztop, Kaos
- Macedonia - KochoAndonovski - Program Director,LGBTI Support Center.
- USA - Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) - Ex. Director Eliza Bryd - www.glsen.org
5. Roundtable Event, 20 - 21 June 2013, Castletown House, Kildare
The final event of the Irish Presidency took place on 20th to 21st June, 2013 when Minister Fitzgerald hosted a high - level roundtable meeting of experts and stakeholders from Member States. European Institutions, European Youth Forum, domestic youth work interests and Irish Government Departments in Castletown House, County Kildare. The purpose was to further to examine the contribution youth work can make to enhancing youth employment. A number of experts were invited to provide inputs on this topic, including researchers, economists and youth work experts, with the aim of informing a declaration for further action on both the domestic and European level.
Text of Dublin Declaration on contribution of youth work to youth employment
The Informal Expert Roundtable organised by the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU brought together, for the first time, youth representatives, academics, business leaders, industry, innovators and policy makers on a national and European level, to discuss the contribution of youth work to youth employment.
One of the most significant issues facing young people in Europe as a result of the crisis is the challenge posed by the lack of jobs and work experience, which in turn impacts upon their well - being, independence, mobility and inclusion. There is also a widening gap between skills being sought by certain employers and those held by many prospective employees.
Responding to these challenges requires a broad range of actions involving the mobilisation of many players. Youth work offers a significant infrastructure, reach and capacity to play a highly - relevant role in developing young people's skill - sets and supporting their job - readiness.
Across Europe youth work provides opportunities for young people to engage voluntarily in non - formal educational and developmental programmes and activities. Youth workers are the experts at working with young people, including reaching out to marginalised youth and minority groups.
Through their engagement in youth work, young people attain specific and transversal skills which enhance employability. These 'soft' skills include learning to learn, social and civic competence, leadership, communication, teamwork, and entrepreneurship. These skills actively support young people's participation, development and progression in education, training and employment, in ways that are relevant and applicable to industry and valued and sought after by employers.
To maximise the contribution and viability of youth work in supporting the employability and employment of young people all stakeholders working with and for young people at European, national and local levels, should have regard to the following principles and actions:
1. Enhancing the visibility of youth work's potential
- Work with the youth work sector to take a lead in clearly, confidently and strategically communicating and promoting, to a range of audiences, its unique contribution in supporting young people to attain transversal skills which enhance employability.
- Ensure that young people's personal and social learning and skills development through youth work is recognised in term of the applicability and transferability of this learning through mechanisms such as accreditation and awards systems.
2. Building new partnerships
- Develop strategic and mutually beneficial partnerships between youth work and employers and the business community to maximise and coordinate opportunities to create new synergies aimed at enhancing employment opportunities.
- Ensure that youth work is included in high - level, inter - sectoral partnerships at both national and European Union level and this should be further explored and supported by Governments and EU institutions.
3. Ensuring Implementation
- Ensure that youth work is central to youth employment initiatives, in particular the implementation of the Youth Guarantee.
- Guarantee access for youth work to EU funding opportunities.
4. Delivering quality and innovative youth work
- Support and assure quality - based, evidence - informed youth work which places young people's views, visions and voices at the centre of practice to ensure a relevant response to their needs and interests.
- Promote and foster innovative youth work practice that is responsive to the changing needs of young people, broader society, and the needs of the labour market, for example though support for social entrepreneurship.
- Closing Press Release from the Conference 21st June 2013
- Pre Press Release from the Conference 19th June 2013