Youth - Young people building Europe


Intergovernmental programme

Conferences of European Ministers responsible for Youth

The 9th Conference of ministers responsible for youth was held in St Petersburg from 23-25 September 2012 on invitation of the government of the Russian Federation.

(The documents on this conference, as well as the eight previous ones are available in the table below)


The main theme of the conference was “Young people’s access to rights: development of innovative youth policies”. The objectives were:

  • to take stock of the major achievements regarding youth policy development within the Council of Europe and the member States since the last conference in Kiev (2008), bearing in mind the Committee of Ministers Resolution CM/Res(2008)23 on the youth policy of the Council of Europe (Agenda 2020);
  • to offer the possibility for ministers to share examples of good practice as regards youth policy in their respective countries;
  • to examine possible youth policy strategies and actions to improve young people’s access to rights;
  • to mark the 40th anniversary of the Council of Europe youth sector.

    A youth event on the main theme of the conference was held on 22 and 23 September prior to the conference. It was organised jointly by the Advisory Council on Youth (CCJ), the European Youth Forum and the National Youth Council of Russia and brought together some 150 youth representatives.

Half a day was entirely given over to three parallel working sessions (panels) to discuss the following topics:

  • Social inclusion of young people
  • Democracy and participation
  • Living together in diverse societies

The working sessions took into consideration the main theme of the conference “Young people’s access to rights: development of innovative youth policies”. The discussions also offered an opportunity to share concrete examples of good practice.

In spite of an agreement among member states on most of the content of the draft Final Declaration of the Conference, it proved impossible to arrive at a consensus on a draft Final Declaration. The only controversial point was whether to include, or not, an explicit reference to “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in the list of reasons for discriminatory practices against young people. A proposal for compromise consisting of including in the draft Final Declaration a reference to a Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers dealing with this specific issue (CM/Rec (2010)5) could not be agreed upon by all the member states.

The first European Conference of Ministers responsible for Youth took place in Strasbourg in 1985. Together with the European Youth Week, the Conference was a highlight of the Council of Europe's contribution to the International Youth Year – one of the memorable events of this year in Europe.

Since then, Ministers have met periodically (Oslo 1987, Lisbon 1990, Vienna 1993, Bucharest 1998 and Thessaloniki 2002) to exchange views and co-ordinate national youth policies, and recommend joint action at European level, particularly in the areas of youth mobility, participation, information and advice and research.

The theme of the fourth Conference (Vienna, April 1993) was, in view of the upheavals that had taken place, "Youth in the Greater Europe".

In 1995, a first informal meeting of European ministers responsible for youth was held in Luxembourg on "Appraisal of and prospects for youth work at the Council of Europe". Co-operation with INGYOs (International Non-Governmental Youth Organisations) which co-operate with the European Youth Foundation and European Youth Centres is not only visible by their active role in conferences but also by their involvement in the evaluation of the said conferences. A close dialogue can be developed between the decision takers and those who are directly concerned.

9th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Youth
“Young people’s access to rights: development of innovative youth policies”
St Petersburg, Russian Federation,
23-25 September 2012

8th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Youth
“The future of the Council of Europe youth policy:
AGENDA 2020”
Kyiv, Ukraine,
10-11 October 2008

7th Conference of European Ministers responsible for Youth
“Human dignity and social cohesion: youth policy responses to violence”
Budapest, Hungary, 23-24 September 2005

6th Conference of European Ministers responsible for Youth
“Youth constructing Europe”
Thessaloniki, Greece
7-9 November 2002

5th Conference of European Ministers responsible for Youth
Young people: active citizens in a future Europe. Human Rights-Participation-Solidarity”
Bucharest
27-29 April 1998

Informal meeting of European ministers responsible for youth
"Appraisal of and prospects for youth work at the Council of Europe"
Luxembourg, 1995

4th Conference of European Ministers responsible for Youth
"Young people in Greater Europe"
Vienna, Austria
13-15 April 1993

3rd Conference of European Ministers responsible for Youth
“Youth mobility in Europe”
Lisbon, Portugal, 1990

2nd Conference of European Ministers responsible for Youth
“Strategies for European youth policies in the approach to the year 2000”
Oslo, Norway, April 1987

1st Conference of European Ministers responsible for Youth
“Participation of young people in society”
Strasbourg, France
17-19 December 1985