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.
In this own-initiative opinion, the EESC calls on the European Union to develop a coherent and uniform approach to protecting unaccompanied foreign minors in Europe. It urges the European Commission to draw up a Directive on the protection of unaccompanied minors that serves the best interests of the child. The principle of "the best interests of the child" should take precedence over all other national and international law. The EESC calls on the Member States to evaluate minority based on a body of evidence, consisting principally of the declarations by the person in question, civil status documents presented and interviews with the person. Given that bone tests are not really reliable, the EESC calls for them to simply be stopped.
The objective of the opinion, requested by the Romanian Presidency, is to explore which measures and initiatives should be taken at EU and national level in order to promote organised philanthropy and eliminate barriers within the internal market that are hindering the realisation of its full potential, so as to maximize its contribution to EU values, such as cohesion, social justice and European Policies, and to the competitiveness of the European economy.
The opinion is expected to feed into the Romanian presidency programme and into the political priorities for the new Commission.
In this opinion, the Committee endorses, without comments, the Commission's proposal on the resources for the specific allocation for the Youth Employment Initiative.
The objective of the proposal is to adapt the amounts of resources available for economic, social and territorial cohesion set out in Article 91(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1303/20131, the amount of resources for the specific allocation for the Youth Employment Initiative ('YEI') set out in Article 92(5) of that Regulation and the annual breakdown of commitment appropriations reflected in Annex VI of that Regulation to reflect the increase of the resources of the YEI, in line with the adopted budget for 2019. More specifically, commitment appropriations for the specific allocation for the YEI should be increased by an amount of EUR 116,7 million in current prices, bringing the overall amount for 2019 up to EUR 350 million.
In its opinion, the EESC welcomes the commitment to the renewed European Solidarity Corps (ESC) with an increased budget and target for participation. It also appreciates the merging with the EU Aid Volunteers. The Committee believes that in the future, the EU needs to develop two independent support programmes, one for youth and one for volunteering.
The EESC makes a series of concrete recommendations, such as: 1) the employment strand of the ECS needs to be subject to strict regulation and regular review; 2) there should be no age restriction on the ESC as it should be a support for volunteering; 3) the ESC should be restricted to the not for profit sector; 4)the main civil society platforms in the field (the European Youth Forum and the European Volunteering Centre) should be centrally involved in the regulation and oversight of the ESC.
The opinion deals with the prevention of "radicalisation" of young people. For the purpose of this opinion, radicalisation is understood as a process through which individuals or groups become extremists eventually using, promoting or advocating violence for their aims. The opinion highlights activities undertaken by civil society and calls for continuing to work on a coherent EU-concept, including sustainable and effective European support, funding and coordination.