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EU Youth Strategy Enters Into Force

Ireland set to meet all commitments by ensuring a voice for young people


Wednesday 2nd January 2019

Ireland is ready to meet commitments set out in the EU’s new Youth Strategy which came into force on 1st January 2019, according to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone. 

"Engaging, Connecting and Empowering young people: a new EU Youth Strategy" covers the period 2019 – 2027. 

The Strategy sets out key principles to ensure young people form part of future decision making within the EU. 

It commits countries to promoting dialogue and participatory mechanisms at all levels of decision-making, paying special attention to outreach to young people with diverse backgrounds. It also promotes voluntary engagement, learning mobility, solidarity and intercultural understanding, as well as supporting youth empowerment through quality, innovation and the recognition of youth work. 

Ireland will meet these commitments by continuing to promote cross-sectoral cooperation and designating youth as a priority among different policy areas through the Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures national policy framework for children and young people. Structured Dialogue is written into the implementation structure of Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures. This is an instrument of EU youth policy which ensures that the opinion of young people is taken into account in defining youth-related policies. 

Furthermore, Ireland was the first country in Europe to develop a National Strategy on Children and Young People's Participation in Decision-Making 2015-2020 and we will continue to implement that, as well as continue to pay special attention to reaching out to young people with fewer opportunities. Ireland's commitment to and active participation in Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps will also ensure that young people in Ireland will continue to benefit from engagement in mobility, volunteering and solidarity activities and support them in becoming active citizens who contribute to the development of a caring and strengthened Europe. 

Minister Zappone had this to say about the new European Youth Strategy: 

“Young voices must be to the fore when it comes to deciding the future of Europe. It is our young people who will live with the consequences of the decisions which are being taken now. 

The new EU Youth Strategy is significant as it is a testament to the ability and determination of policy makers and young people to work together. 

As Minister I have seen at first hand the impact young Irish delegates are having at meetings with their European counterparts, politicians and members of the European Commission. 

Ireland leads Europe in this area. We have sent delegates from all parts of Irish society to set out their hopes in terms of rights, equality and justice. Their voices are listened to. 

I am particularly excited about the improved opportunities that EU Youth Dialogue will provide to build on this work. 

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet with young people at the EU Youth Conference in September in Vienna and discuss with them the excellent work they did on creating 11 Youth Goals through the Structured Dialogue process. 

These Youth Goals are an important annex to the new Strategy and show how deeply young people care about the world around them and that they have an excellent capacity to collaborate on issues that matter." 




The new European Youth Strategy was adopted at the Council Meeting of EU Youth Ministers in Brussels on 26 November. Building on the experiences of cooperation in the youth field in recent years, the new European Youth Strategy aims to tackle existing and new challenges young people are facing across Europe. It provides a framework of objectives, principles, priorities, core areas and measures for youth policy cooperation for all relevant stakeholders with due regard to their respective competences and the principle of subsidiarity. 

Structured Dialogue has been an important part of the current Strategy and will be improved upon and known as European Youth Dialogue in the new Strategy. It is a tool to ensure that the opinion of young people is taken into account in defining youth-related policies of the European Union by bringing together young people, youth organisations, youth representatives and policy-makers across the EU to jointly discuss issues affecting young people and feed into youth policy at national and European level. In Ireland it is managed by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, in conjunction with the National Youth Council of Ireland and branded as 'Young Voices'

Structured Dialogue is divided into cycles, with each one running over the course of three EU Presidencies. The current, sixth, cycle began in July 2017 and ended in December 2018 and its theme was "Youth in Europe: What's next?" Each Presidency hosts a Youth Conference to advance work on the selected theme and Ireland sends three youth representatives to each of these conferences. During the sixth cycle, young people from all over Europe worked together to define 11 Youth Goals concerning issues that matter to them. The Youth Goals have been included in the new EU Youth Strategy as an annex. These are as follows: 

  1. Connecting EU with Youth 
  2. Equality of All Genders 
  3. Inclusive Societies 
  4. Information and Constructive Dialogue 
  5. Mental Health and Wellbeing 
  6. Moving Rural Youth Forward 
  7. Quality Employment for All 
  8. Quality Learning 
  9. Space and Participation for All 
  10. Sustainable Green Europe 
  11. Youth Organisations and European Programmes