By: Junior Sikabwe, Member of Europæisk Ungdom Danmark
From the 6th to the 8th of November, a conference on youth unemployment took place in the European Parliament in Brussels. This conference was initiated by Martin Schulz and Isabelle Durant, President and Vice-President of the European Parliament, respectively, and chaired by Martin Hirsch, former French High Commissioner for Active Solidarity against Poverty and President of the French Civic Service Agency.
The conference gathered together 56 young people from the 28 EU members states. A delagation of 2 from each. I was one of the 2 delegates representing Denmark.
The Citizens’ Agora conference provided us room for open debate with a view to building consensus and revealing diverging opinions on the action to be undertaken to address Youth Unemployement challenges in Europe
A ‘Youth Charter’ setting out common principles on internships and volunteering, measures to foster entrepreneurship at an early stage and enabling young people to manage a small part of the EU Youth Employment Initiative programme were among the key recommendations of our gathering.
We agreed that measures to foster entrepreneurship should start at an early stage, as we were convinced that entrepreneurship belongs to our future and to the future of Europe. We also stressed the need to give young entrepreneurs a status and priority in public procurement.
We called for the creation of information platforms, training and professional guidance and improved information on EU programmes.
Mobility in the EU should be a choice and an opportunity, not forced by economic necessity, we added; as pointed out by the delegates from Greece and Spain.
We stressed that we want to be involved in designing and implementing policies. For example, a small percentage of the Youth Employment Initiative, one of the new EU youth programmes, should be dedicated to projects conceived by youth. This is one of the reasons why we decided at the end of conference to create a think-tank tasked with tackling the issues of youth unemployment. The project is still under construction, but we have already been contacted by
the EU Directorate General for Communication, Events and Exibitions that offered us workshops slots at the European Youth Event (EYE), a huge event that will gathered 5.000 young people in Strasbourg in may 2014. A 2 hours session has been reserved to us
The ideas and conclusions from the Agora in Brussels were taken to the youth unemployment conference with European heads-of-state in Paris on November 12. The meeting was unfortunately behind closed doors, but we got news that our conclusions were in the speaking notes of Martin Schultz.
Want to know more about the Citizens’ Agora? Check out the official site.