Youth in Europe
European Union Youth Law and Policy
In 1988, the European Union launched the Youth for Europe programme to support exchanges among young people. Several years later in 1996, the Commission unveiled the European Voluntary Service (EVS) Community action programme. These two initiatives have been included in the youth programme covering the period 2000-2006, which also seeks to establish a dialogue among Member States leading to the development of a genuine policy for young people.
After widespread consultation at both national and European level, the White Paper “A New Impetus for European Youth” was published in 2001. In an enlarged Europe with 75 million young people between the ages of 15 to 25, the White Paper is a reaction against the disinterest of many young people for traditional forms of participation in public life, and calls for their increased involvement. Active citizenship is possible only within an institutional framework capable of meeting the needs of young people and responding to their expectations by providing them with the means to express their ideas and become more involved.
In order to help Member States and regions to better implement actions in favour of European youth, the White Paper suggests a new framework for European cooperation involving two major aspects:
a) application of the open coordination method in the more specific area of youth and
b) improved consideration of the youth dimension in formulating other policies.
After including the Declaration on Sport (29) and its social importance in the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997, the European Union began to play a more active role in this area. The EU accordingly increased its support for projects favouring the integration of young people through sports activities and combating doping in sport, and launched an information and awareness-raising campaign in educational institutions stressing the ethical values of sport. Furthermore, 2004 was declared the “European year of education through sport 2004”. The Union wishes to promote the educational role of sport and develop its European dimension.
Working Party on Youth
The Working Party on Youth prepares the items for decision by EU ministers for youth. The work includes horizontal youth issues such as active citizenship and recognition of the value of informal and non-formal learning. The working party also deals with youth issues in relation to a number of other sectors, first and foremost education, employment, health and well-being and sport. This work is coordinated with other relevant working parties.