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Dr Katherine Zappone TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, will meet with fellow EU Ministers responsible for youth in Brussels on Monday 26 November to engage on a range of important issues related to young people in Europe. 


Monday 26th November 2018

It is a pivotal time for youth policy in Europe with a new European Union Youth Strategy on the horizon, the launch of the European Solidarity Corps having recently taken place and discussions ongoing about the new successor programme to Erasmus+. As all of this is taking place in the context of Brexit approaching and the uncertainty that brings, it is crucial that we prioritise cooperation and open discussions on what kind of Europe our young people want to live in. Most importantly, the voices of young people themselves should be heard as much as possible and Minister Zappone will be sharing with her European colleagues how the youth voice is prioritised in Ireland. 

The European Union Youth Strategy 2019 - 2027 is due to enter into force on 1 January 2019. It is broad in scope and testifies to the determination that exists in Europe to cooperate in the youth field and ensure that all young people have access to the means to reach their potential, with emphasis placed on those with fewer opportunities. One of the keys to successful implementation of the Strategy will be genuine cross-sectoral cooperation and designating youth as a priority among different policy areas. Minister Zappone will share with colleagues our experience in Ireland of promoting cross-sectoral cooperation on youth issues through our national policy framework for children and young people, Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures. 

The Strategy will also build on the current Structured Dialogue, or "Young Voices" as it is known in Ireland where it is coordinated by the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI). It will be known as EU Youth Dialogue in the new Strategy and it will continue to operate as a tool to ensure that the opinion of young people is taken into account in defining youth-related policies of the EU and that they have the means to engage with EU policy-makers. Minister Zappone met with Irish and other European young people during the EU Youth Conference in Vienna in September and listened to their views on Structured Dialogue and their vision for the Europe that they want. 

The European Solidarity Corps was recently launched in Ireland by Léargas which operates as the National Agency responsible for its administration. The deadline for the first Call for Proposals under the Programme recently passed and this was the first in a series of calls that will allow tens of thousands of young people aged 18 - 30 across Europe to engage in solidarity and volunteering opportunities, traineeships or work placements, as a means to strengthen cohesion in Europe and respond to unmet societal needs. 

Minister Zappone had the following to say about the Youth Council: 

"I am looking forward to engaging with my European colleagues on a range of important issues relating to young people. I was delighted to have the opportunity to meet with young people from all over Europe at the EU Youth Conference in Vienna in September and to hear what Europe means to them and what they want from it.

As EU Ministers responsible for youth, we must continue to listen to young people, to create real opportunities for them to engage with policy-makers and to advocate for them. We must also ensure that young people with fewer opportunities are prioritised wherever possible and can easily engage in mobility and volunteering programmes such as Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps."