Speech by Renaldas Vaisbrodas, President of the European Youth Forum
Warsaw, 17 May 2005
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great honour to be here as representative of youth organisations in Europe, to present you with the Final Declaration adopted by the participants of the European Youth Summit that took place these past 2 days. This Summit gathered 92 youth leaders from the 48 countries parties of the European Cultural Convention, representatives from national youth councils and international youth organisations.
For young people in Europe, this is an important moment. Not only for the opportunity given to send a representative to address all European Heads of State and Government, but also because we know that the message will get through, and that it will be translated into concrete actions, by giving us the means, the space, the opportunity and the support to engage in actions and activities so as to contribute to building European democratic societies.
At the First Summit in 1993, the commitment of Heads of State and Government expressing the conviction that participation of young people is essential for creating a cohesive yet diverse Europe, constituted the basis for large ranges of activities and programmes, that led to the development of youth policies and youth work in Europe. The major achievements are in the fields of: human rights education democratic citizenship
In those areas, a number of prominent policies were developed and translated into actions with a strong impact on young people at national and local level.
Those achievements were extremely important, because our work is based on co-decision in the spirit of equal partnership between representatives of governments and youth organisations.
We believe that those achievements are essential elements contributing to the work of the Council of Europe in the field of Human Rights, Democracy and the rule of law.
To give it new impetus and adapt it to the changes in Europe in the last 10 years, this final declaration emphasises the need to involve young people in the two following challenges that Europe is facing today:
Making democracy work
Implementing the principle that became our motto: All different all equal.
The first implies supporting youth participation, as a crucial element of democratic processes.
The second implies increasing the need to promote the basic values of human rights among Europe’s younger citizens.
We strongly believe that to promote shared values of human rights and in the long term, to overcome phobia and all sort of discrimination, we must more than ever open dialogues to underline that differences between people represent an added value, and that the diversity of our societies is a basis for European construction.
On this basis, and to reaffirm our commitment to put all this into practice, we call upon all the Heads of Sate and Government of Europe to reaffirm their political commitment in encouraging and enabling young people to participate in building European societies based on shared values.
For this, we first and foremost call upon Europe’s Heads of States and Government to launch a European Youth Campaign for Diversity and Participation.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
All different All equal is neither a slogan, nor a concept, it is the reality in which young people in Europe want to live in.
Therefore we need to put an end to all expressions of racism, anti-semitism and islamophobia and we pledge to build peaceful societies based on diversity and inclusion in a spirit of respect and mutual understanding.
We need it for the future of Europe and its youth!