Home POLITICS Ursula Von der Leyen: “A Union is stronger if it embraces the aspirations of our young people”

Ursula Von der Leyen: “A Union is stronger if it embraces the aspirations of our young people”

by asma
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Frans Timmermans

Following the announcement made by President von der Leyen in her 2021 State of the Union address, the Commission has adopted its formal proposal to make 2022 the European Year of Youth.

Europe needs the vision, engagement and participation of all young people to build a better future, that is greener, more inclusive and digital. With this proposal, Europe is striving to give young people more and better opportunities for the future.

The Commission is also publishing its latest EU Youth Report, which provides an overview of the situation of young Europeans in terms of education, training, learning, employment, and civic and political participation.

With the European Year of Youth, the Commission intends, in cooperation with the European Parliament, Member States, regional and local authorities, stakeholders and young people themselves:

  • to honour and support the generation that has sacrificed the most during the pandemic, giving them new hopes, strength and confidence in the future by highlighting how the green and digital transitions offer renewed perspectives and opportunities;
  • to encourage all young people, especially those with fewer opportunities, from disadvantaged backgrounds, from rural or remote areas, or belonging to vulnerable groups, to become active citizens and actors of positive change;
  • to promote opportunities provided by EU policies for young people to support their personal, social and professional development. The European Year of Youth will go hand in hand with the successful implementation of NextGenerationEU in providing quality jobs, education and training opportunities; and
  • to draw inspiration from the actions, vision and insights of young people to further strengthen and invigorate the common EU project, building upon the Conference on the Future of Europe.

The pandemic has robbed young people of many opportunities – to meet and make new friends, to experience and explore new cultures. While we cannot give them that time back, we are proposing today to designate 2022 the European Year of Youth. From climate to social to digital, young people are at the heart of our policymaking and political priorities. We vow to listen to them, as we are doing in the Conference on the Future of Europe, and we want to work together to shape the future of the European Union. A Union that is stronger if it embraces the aspirations of our young people – grounded in values and bold in action.

European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen

The Commission is currently developing its programme of activities and all interested parties will be invited to submit their ideas and proposals. A dedicated survey on the Youth Portal will be launched in the coming days. Working together with other EU institutions, Member States, civil society organisations and young people, the Commission will organise a number of activities throughout the year at European, national, regional and local level and consider new initiatives.

The scope of activities will cover issues that mostly affect young people, following the priorities highlighted in the Youth Goals, such as equality and inclusion, sustainability, mental health and well-being, and quality employment. They will involve young people beyond the EU. The Commission calls on Member States to appoint a national coordinator responsible for organising their participation in the European Year of Youth.

The Commission’s proposal will now be discussed by Parliament and Council, with the opinions of the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions taken into account. The events and activities are expected to start in January.

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