To secure a more prosperous future for their citizens, Western Balkan governments need to address the problems encountered by young people, who hold the key to such a future. Sufficient and transparent budget allocations for youth policy development and the inclusion of young people in the EU accession process are a prerequisite for facilitating positive changes and improving the situation of young people in the region.
The EESC held a public hearing in preparation for an own-initiative opinion on The EU Youth Test. The event provided an opportunity to learn from the experiences of other Member States that have already implemented similar youth test approaches, as well as to consider youth participation in the context of Europe's future.
On 29 June, the Civil Society Organisations' Group (Group III) held a webinar entitled Youth in the post-war reconstruction process. The webinar was organised in the context of the European Year of Youth 2022 and moderated by Group III Member Katrīna Leitāne, who is chairing the EESC coordination group for the European Year.
Although the majority of young people were not considered as the main risk group for COVID-19, they were among those who most strongly felt the consequences of the social and economic measures deployed to fight against the spread of the virus
An interview with Nicoletta MERLO, one of the youngest members of the EESC. She is National Head of Youth Policies for CISL, one of the largest Italian trade union confederations, and represents her confederation on the Italian National Youth Council. In 2017 she started a European experience in the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), which led her to be elected, in 2019, as a member of the Bureau of the ETUC Youth Committee.
In the EU, 2022 will be the Year of Youth. Proposed by the Commission, the Year aims to promote opportunities for young people and engage them to become active citizens and actors of change. Although such an initiative is to be applauded, we must ensure it is geared towards achieving concrete and enduring outcomes for all young Europeans
COVID-19 has caused youth unemployment to soar in many Member States, pushing up the number of young people who neither work nor are in school or in training. National recovery plans represent a unique chance to reverse this trend and secure decent work for all young Europeans.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) opinion on structured youth engagement on climate and sustainability in the EU decision-making process is gaining momentum. When adopted in September 2020, it proposed, among other recommendations, the establishment of a Youth Climate and Sustainability Round Table, to be hosted by the EESC in conjunction with the European Commission, European Parliament and youth organisations.
On 30 June, the Diversity Europe Group held a webinar under the banner of the Conference on the Future of Europe on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the mental health and employability of young people.
Young people have the right to have a say on matters that concern them. The climate emergency the world is facing today has mobilised millions of young people around the world, many of whom are profoundly affected by the threat it poses for their future. At the same time, it is the young people who have repeatedly demonstrated their energy, creativity and motivation to challenge current unsustainable models and push the decision-makers to adopt ambitious policies. Despite that, a wide gap remains between listening to young people, and actually acting upon their calls and demands.