Youth - Young people building Europe

Youth participation and democratic citizenship 

Youth participation is an essential part of the mission of the Council of Europe’s youth sector. By establishing, from the outset, a true partnership between the civil society (youth organisations and networks) and governments through the system of co-management the youth sector has set up an exemplary model in this respect. This model should be used for promoting young people’s participation in democratic institutions and processes throughout Europe.

There exists today a growing feeling among young people that the representative political institutions are out of touch with their realities. These institutions are not perceived as being fully representative or accessible. Young people belonging to marginalized or disadvantaged groups often lack appropriate channels through which to articulate their concerns and interests. In many countries, women, and in particular young women, do not participate on an equal footing in public life. One reaction is to disengage oneself from participating in the political democratic processes, a reaction, which can vary from half-hearted, sporadic commitment at election time to outright political apathy.

Efforts have been made to improve the participation of young people, in particular disadvantaged and minority groups, not only in youth organisations and networks but also in the institutions and processes of pluralist democracy. Support should be intensified for the training of young democratic leaders.

In 2009 this priority shoud give the following results:

Expected Result 1:
The role of youth NGOs in the development of democratic participation will be promoted and sustained.

Expected Result 2:
Innovative ways and forms of youth participation will be shared and supported.

Expected Result 3:
Youth workers develop projects for European Citizenship through the Youth Partnership with the European Commission. (more…)


"Young active citizens" Award 2006-2007

European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life

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Friendly version of the Charter


Useful links

Education for democratic citizenship

Making democratic institutions work




Education for democratic citizenship
Political participation