The European Economic and Social Committee believes that the future of Europe lies in the ideas and imagination of young people and is committed to ensuring youth engagement in relation to political priorities and the work delivered.
That is why the Committee organises various events specifically for young citizens of the European Union. On the one hand, these offer young people the chance to expand their own knowledge, but also allow the EESC to benefit from the ideas and inspiration of youth.
In this sense, the EESC has not only welcomed the designation of 2022 as the European Year of Youth, but has called for clear plans for the institutions' commitments to contribute to the EU Youth Strategy, focusing on achieving concrete results for all young Europeans.
We invite you to take a look at some of our most important youth projects in our Youth engagement corner.
Your Europe, Your Say! (YEYS)
Since 2010, the annual event Your Europe, Your Say! (YEYS) has been the perfect opportunity to bring young people together to contribute their ideas, opinions, and vision to the EU's decision-making processes.
Each year, topics are chosen that are of great importance for the lives of young people, but also for the future of Europe as a whole. This year YEYS took place under the title The Truth about lies. Youth Challenging Disinformation.
99 young students and 44 teachers from different countries came together to brainstorm, participate in workshops and discuss how to tackle disinformation more effectively and better educate themselves, their peers and others.
EESC Work at legislative level
Apart from the youth events, the EESC also promotes youth engagement throughout its legislative work. (Further information on EESC opinions). The EESC has issued an opinion on the European Year of Youth, in which it stresses the importance of working with young people and youth organisations and to closely relate this Year to the European Youth Strategy, in particular to the cross-sectoral dimension of youth policy.
The EESC has also recently concluded an own-initiative opinion on how to ensure decent work for young people and ensure the inclusion of NEETs ("Not in Education, Employment, or Training") through the proper development of national recovery plans. This opinion encourages the use of recovery funds in investments to create quality jobs for young people, with a focus on permanent contracts and decent working conditions
The EESC is currently working on an own-initiative opinion on The EU Youth Test, in which it aims at developing a youth impact assessment tool, that the EU can use to ensure that all European legislative proposals have a positive impact on young people.
Youth Climate and Sustainability Round Tables
In line with the adoption of the EESC opinion "Towards structured youth engagement on climate and sustainability in EU decision-making", the Youth Climate and Sustainability Round Tables were launched in July 2021.
Hosted by the EESC in cooperation with the European Youth Forum, Generation Climate Europe and the European Commission, the Youth Round Tables take place at least twice a year in Brussels. What makes them special? They provide a space for young people to engage in regular, structured and meaningful dialogues with EU decision-makers.
Each Youth Round Table has a specific topic, which is discussed within a group of around 10 youth representatives and the Commissioner responsible for the selected topic. After each event, the participants draft a document with some concrete policy demands to submit to the Commissioner involved, who provides a clear written response to the proposals in the following month.
Until now, the following two Youth Round Tables have been held:
The kick-off event took place on 13 July 2021 with the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans.
Towards the end of the year, on 26 November 2021, the second Youth Climate and Sustainability Round Table took place with the EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius.