Youth action plan in the EU external action


With a unanimous vote, the EESC's section for External Relations adopted the own initiative opinion on the Youth Action Plan (YAP) in EU external action at its section meeting on 6 March 2023. This is the first-ever policy framework fr a strategic partnership with young people around the world put forward by the Commission and the High Representative.

The EESC is uniquely positioned to facilitate engagement with youth networks recognising the important role of young people in building a better future-greener, digital, more inclusive and more democratic. Since 2018 the Committee has adopted opinions focused on structured youth policies with the active participation of young people in the EU decision-making process. At the same time, the Committee has called on the EU institutions and Civil Society Organisations to ensure better cross-cutting integration of young people in their everyday activities and not just the "traditional" areas associated with the youth.

The EESC fully supports the YAP, but it also points out that there may be challenges in the roll-out and delivery, which will need monitoring and oversight and therefore it is asking to be actively involved in the implementation of the YAP.

Key points

In the opinion, the EESC

  • alls for constant attention paid during implementation to the most marginalised young people, including young people with disabilities, and all leadership work being complemented by an equal focus on grassroots support for youth in local communities
  • Believes that the expertise and experience of youth organisations in the EU, and around the world, is a great resource in the delivery of the plan, both for the European Commission and the EU delegations
  • Recommends that target countries should be encouraged and given the tools to have their own tangible dedicated youth policies and national youth councils or equivalents
  • Suggests that activities focusing on education should be centred on equality, particularly protecting young girls, and that strategies should ensure the engagement of hardest to reach
  • Welcomes and encourages links with the work of the United Nations (UN) and its' agencies in this area, particularly with regard to the Youth Peace and Security Agenda and any synergies with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

The full text of the opinion can be found here.


Additional information

Section: External Relations Section (REX), Date of the section meeting: 6 March 2023

Opinion number: REX/566

Opinion type: Own-initiative

Rapporteur: Michael McLoughlin (Civil Society Organisations' Group – IE)

Co-rapporteur: Tatjana Babrauskienė (Workers' Group – LT)

Joint Communication by the Commission/EEAS Youth Action Plan in the European Union external action for 2022-2027

Date of adoption by section: 06/03/2023

Result of the vote: 67 in favour/ 0 against /0 abstention

Date of adoption in plenary: 22 March 2023

Result of the vote: 

Related opinions: 

SOC/589 A new European Union youth strategy (Communication)

NAT/860 Empowering youth to achieve sustainable development through education (own-initiative opinion)

REX/553 Youth Policy in the Western Balkans, as part of the Innovation Agenda for the Western Balkans

SOC/728 The EU Youth Test



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