For some years now, the EESC has been working on how to better integrate the voice of young Europeans in its work and in the EU decision-making process in a structured and meaningful way.
In September 2020, the EESC adopted the opinion Towards structured youth engagement on climate and sustainability in the EU decision-making process. The opinion was written in close cooperation with the European Youth Forum and Generation Climate Europe, and its main recommendations were:
- to establish the Youth Climate and Sustainability Round Tables, to be hosted by the EESC in cooperation with the European Commission;
- to include a youth delegate in the official EU delegation to UNFCCC COP meetings as well as in the delegation of the EESC, which holds observer status at such events;
- to include youth voices in EESC opinions relating to climate and sustainability, by proactively seeking input from youth representatives.
In December 2021, in its dedicated opinion the EESC welcomed the proposal to designate 2022 the European Year of Youth. The Committee established a Coordination Group for the European Year of Youth in order to ensure the representation and visibility of this initiative within the EESC and to coordinate the ongoing youth-related initiatives. The Coordination Group received the mandate to strengthen cooperation with youth organisations and young people during and beyond the European Year of Youth and to cooperate with the other EU institutions and civil society organisations to ensure better cross-cutting integration of young people in their everyday activities.
In September 2022, the EESC adopted the opinion The EU youth test, a tool designed to strengthen youth participation and youth mainstreaming in policy-making based on consultation, impact assessment and mitigation measures, becoming the first EU institution committing to its implementation.
In December 2022, the EESC adopted the resolution The long-lasting legacy of the European Year of Youth: youth mainstreaming and empowerment to ensure that the European Year of Youth will have meaningful impacts on the participation of young people in the EU decision making process.
In July 2023, the EESC Bureau approved a proposal from the EESC President to establish an ad hoc group on youth engagement at the EESC (EESC Youth Group) and to launch a pilot project for the implementation of the EU Youth Test in the opinion-making process.
Finally, the EESC also runs the youth event Your Europe, Your Say! (YEYS). Since 2010, the EESC's flagship communication event brings together 16- to 18-year-old pupils and their teachers from all EU Member States and candidate countries to connect with the European Union. Every year, more than 100 students come to Brussels for two days and work together to draft recommendations which are presented to the other EU institutions at the highest level. These recommendations contain their ideas, proposals and hopes for their future as European citizens.
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