The EESC underlines the importance of having accurate, up-to-date data in order to monitor and evaluate the impact of policies on youth and to define good practices which address young people. It believes that the EU Youth Dialogue should be strengthened, involve bodies representing young people meaningfully throughout the policymaking process and take into account the new ways in which young people engage, debate and mobilise. More support should be dedicated to building the capacity of the social partners, particularly among young members, with a view to social dialogue and collective bargaining.
This own-initiative opinion highlights the importance of equal treatment of young people in the labour market. It covers key aspects such as access to jobs, education-to-work transition, traineeships and internships, minimum wages, skills, social security, mental health and well-being. The EESC provides recommendations to promote and ensure equal treatment of young people in the labour market while supporting their economic activity through entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation.
One of the main conclusions of the 8th Cohesion Report is that although cohesion and convergence among regions in the European Union has improved, there are still remaining gaps especially in less developed regions related with their territorial characteristics. EU islands, mountain areas and sparsely populated areas still face many challenges on their growth and income and disparities exist.
In these regions, there are still a lot of gaps in terms of employment and investment, social exclusion is evident and gender disparities have not diminished.
The EESC points at the need to improve youth participation, tackling in particular the lack of youth democratic representation and the lack of a youth perspective outside of the traditional youth policy domain. The EU Youth Test should not substitute meaningful engagement with young people in general and should complement existing participatory mechanisms. It should be part of the Better Regulation Toolbox as a separate tool, since future generations and young people deserve specific attention. The EESC encourages the EU institutions and Member States to implement measures and mechanisms that ensure that the youth perspective is taken into account in every policy field. Suitable resources should be made available for meaningful youth participation in policy-making.
In the Declaration from the EU-Western Balkans Summit held on 6 October 2021 in Brdo, Slovenia, leaders from the EU and the Western Balkans launched a dedicated Agenda for the Western Balkans on Innovation, Research, Education, Culture, Youth and Sport - a comprehensive, long-term cooperation strategy that aims to "promote scientific excellence as well as reform of the region’s education systems, create further opportunities for the youth, and help prevent brain drain". ...
The EESC welcomes the proposal to designate 2022 as the European Year of Youth. Clear indicators need to be developed for the Year, which should focus on the impact on policies and cross-sectoral work beyond the activities organised. The EESC calls for a more ambitious budget, and emphasises the need to ensure that harder-to-reach groups are included in this Year. Welcoming the work that this Year envisages with regard to external relations, it points at the important role that the relatively well-developed youth policies in Europe can play in our neighbourhood and beyond. It points at the need for all institutions to further develop the voice of youth in their policy proposals.
The EESC welcomes the NRRPs as an unprecedented opportunity to drive change and trigger investments in sustainable growth and creation of quality jobs. It urges the Commission to put in place measures that guarantee structured involvement of the social partners, CSO and youth organisations in the implementation and monitoring of the NRRPs. It calls on the Member States to ensure quality and inclusive guidance and counselling for all young people in order to provide them with more information on their further education and, subsequently, on career possibilities in the context of the green and digital transition of the labour market. Close attention should be paid to the issue of mental health and psycho-social disorders, especially among young people, by reducing the stigma around mental health issues through prevention and awareness-raising work.